Quite often the webmail account provided with your website hosting might not have the functionality you need to use it for day to day emailing. It’s might be great for accessing your emails when on holidays or away from your computer/office but you wouldn’t want it to be your permanent “inbox”. It’s just not MS Outlook after all. On top of that, it’s not likely that your hosting account allows for unlimited storage space for all your emails. If you have a lot of emails (that you don’t delete) and especially if they contain large attachments, you could well be bursting your “quota”.
Enter Gmail. 7 GB of space to play with and a friendly interface that helps you organise your emails well (learn how to use “labels” instead of folders). If you’re a power user of Outlook it might not cut the mustard but for general day to day use, it does just fine.
“But,” I hear you say, “Haven’t you always said not to use free email accounts when you have your own domain name because it doesn’t promote your brand and looks unprofessional?” Yes indeed, you’ve got the message right. You can use Gmail for your email and still send and receive from firstname.lastname@example.org if you set it up correctly and with a bit of help from Gmail’s Mail Fetcher.
Disclaimer: This will not work unless your hosting company provides POP3 email accounts. If your website is hosted by us, Technology Matters, then this comes as standard.