Mailboxes and Aliases – Which to choose?

How many email addresses do you use? If you need a new email address with Microsoft 365/Exchange, you can have a new Outlook mailbox, or make a new alias for an existing mailbox. Both options have their uses depending on how you want to use your email addresses.

Imagine a series of pigeonholes for sorting post outside a block of flats. There’s a pigeonhole for each flat number and you put all the mail for that person in their pigeonhole. These are mailboxes, where the emails that arrive are stored. Aliases are the name labels on the box, so letters for “Joe Bloggs” at Flat 1 could be addressed to say “Occupier” or “Landlord” and consulting the first address line tells the post delivery person they are all to go in the Flat 1 Pigeonhole. Flat 1 could have letters for all three in it if Joe Bloggs is the landlord and occupier of Flat 1. Somebody living in another flat within that block, however, has their own pigeonhole, which has their name and any other ways they could be addressed as aliases for their flat number mailbox.

In Outlook, a single mailbox can have up to ten aliases. As implied by the name, an alias defines an email address that is an additional label for the mailbox. So that’s like a pigeonhole having ten blank labels on it that can then be filled in. An email sent to an alias is delivered to the mailbox that alias labels, even if the mailbox’s main/primary/login email address is different.

Collating emails into one mailbox by using aliases has the advantage of reducing the number of mailboxes used, as Microsoft charges per mailbox. This is the cost-effective option, so why isn’t it used all the time? An important factor is that access to any alias linked to a mailbox gives access to every email sent to every email alias for that mailbox. This is like any resident of a flat seeing post arrive for all members of the household when they pick up it off the doormat or out of the pigeonhole. If for example, a new employee joins your company, using aliases to give them an email address would give them access to the emails arriving for their manager as well, if the manager’s email is just another alias. In summary, it’s a question of how much separate access is required.

At Solidarity IT, we can import mailboxes to Microsoft 365 from existing providers, moving historical emails from the old account to the new one. Prices are per mailbox, on a monthly subscription, and cost the same as going directly to Microsoft but with our professional access to Microsoft technical support as an additional benefit. These prices currently range from £3.63 pcm inc. VAT for just a mailbox, to £13.56 pcm if you want the full Microsoft 365 Business package license for that user and mailbox.

If you’re considering whether to add new email addresses to your business and don’t know which option is the best, just get in touch. We’ll discuss your specific needs with you and find the solution that works for you.

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