When you’re purchasing a Microsoft 365 account, you need to decide how many users you want to buy. You’ll need a separate user for each individual person who will have their own, personal mailbox. However, when it comes to other addresses like email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, there are several options for creating free addresses. These give you flexibility without needing to add additional users.
Aliases are a good way to make a small operation look a bit bigger. An alias is a completely different email address that sends all mail to the original mailbox. If email@example.com sets up an alias, jobs@mollysbarkandwine, all mail sent to either molly@ or jobs@ goes to the molly@ mailbox. Molly has 2 email addresses, but has only purchased 1 user. Create an email alias.
Shared mailboxes are a good way to provide a generic email address that many people can access. For example, Molly sets up firstname.lastname@example.org as a shared mailbox. She shares it with herself (email@example.com) and her partner (firstname.lastname@example.org). They can both read and reply to mail sent to questions@ but Molly only has to buy 2 users, one for herself and one for Joe. Create a shared mailbox.
Distribution groups are another way to extend your address count. Typically, a distribution group is used to communicate with a group of people internally, but you can also have external contacts in your distribution group list. Molly could set up a distribution group for all her servers, for her vendors, and her VIP customers, all for free. She wouldn’t need to buy users for any of those distribution group addresses. Create a distribution group.
Shared contacts are people outside of your domain who you want to include in a distribution group. These accounts are also free; you do not need to buy an extra user to create a shared contact.
- Now that you know how many users to buy, check out the different Microsoft 365 plans.