Tools Of The Trade: Fasthosts LiveMail Pro email system

No missed messages, no need for hardware

For small businesses, setting up a reliable and dependable email system is often a headache. For large organisations, running extensive email systems based around Microsoft Exchange or other business email programs can be time consuming and expensive.

For small businesses, setting up a reliable and dependable email system is often a headache. For large organisations, running extensive email systems based around Microsoft Exchange or other business email programs can be time consuming and expensive.

Virtually all internet service providers include basic email with their business and consumer services, but these email accounts have limitations, such as small mailbox sizes or restrictions on the number of users. Another disadvantage is that they do not support the collaboration tools that business email systems offer.

Web hosting company Fasthosts has now launched an alternative, which sits between the two established options of using an internet provider's email accounts, and running mail servers in-house.

The company is offering Microsoft Exchange email, but with the software hosted on its servers. Companies can manage the set-up and administration of their email through the internet, and browse messages either using Microsoft Outlook - which is included in the cost - or through web mail.

Microsoft Exchange web mail is an incredibly powerful tool, making it especially useful for businesses whose staff have to travel frequently. All you need to view your emails is a web browser (Livemail Pro works best with Explorer but runs well enough with alternatives such as Apple's Safari) and an internet connection. Users can log on and access their mailboxes, and also share calendars and address books.

Alternatively, Livemail Pro supports access across the web for users running Outlook on their PCs. This gives them the flexibility to work on messages offline - valuable for laptop users, in particular - combined with the security and reliability of keeping messages on a central server. In contrast to running an Exchange server locally, though, the Fasthosts system runs well on almost any internet connection. Not all internet providers allow their customers to run servers, and not every small business would want the expense, and security risks, of doing so anyway.

One of the greatest benefits of Livemail Pro is that it works in an almost identical fashion to a standard Exchange account. Fasthosts also provides an automatic script that IT managers can use to configure their computers, which makes setting up the system very simple indeed.

Admittedly, we encountered some problems when setting up a test account but these were down to the way an ISP had set up an internet domain, rather than to Livemail Pro itself.

It is very hard to fault the way Livemail Pro works on a day-to-day basis. The standard mailbox is 100MB, which should be enough for most people, and users can buy more space if they need it.

Perhaps the only real flaw in the system is that running a hosted, rather than a local, Exchange system makes backup a little more difficult. In effect, users have to back up their own mailboxes - which they should be doing, anyway - but Microsoft Windows Server 2003 offers extensive support for automatic backups. Although Fasthosts has its own backup systems in place to make sure that customers do not lose data, businesses using Livemail Pro will find it necessary to set up policies for archiving mailbox data.

Unless they can rely on their users to do this, they may need to install server and backup software locally. But at current pricing, Livemail Pro would seem a very attractive alternative to buying and running Exchange in house.

THE VERDICT

Fasthosts Livemail Pro email system

Pros: very low cost, no need for in-house hardware

Cons: users need to be religious about backups

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Price: £64.99 + VAT a year for first user; £5.99 a month for additional Exchange mailboxes

Contact: www.fasthosts.co.uk

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Senior SEO Executive

£24000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior SEO Executive is requi...

Recruitment Genius: Online Customer Service Administrator

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Online customer Service Admi...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This global, industry leading, ...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk