Email for freelancers – making it to clients’ inboxes

Email is a complicated system, with millions of spam messages sent every day. Upcoming changes will potentially make getting to people’s inboxes more tricky for freelancers and we discuss options in this article.

freelance email advice

Email is a complicated system, with millions of spam messages sent every day that interfere with our genuine messages. Large email providers like Google and Microsoft do fairly well at keeping on top of this, and smaller hosting providers also do their best in this constant battle between spammers and providers. There are some upcoming changes that may have a huge impact for those of us using smaller hosting services.

Email delivery issues

We’ve been seeing issues with some emails sent to Gmail, BT, Office365 and other large providers quietly going missing. They don’t bounce back with an error message, so you’ll never know if it’s been received or not unless you get a reply from whoever you sent it to. This is becoming a problem for website contact forms as well as email accounts. My automated invoices and the proposals I send to potential new clients sometimes don’t arrive.

This is usually due to settings on the recipient’s mail platform. While there are some hosting package tweaks we can do to improve things, we’re still at the mercy of the big email platforms. is a good plain-English rundown of what we need to do to keep our emails arriving in people’s inboxes.

Google’s upcoming changes –

Yahoo’s upcoming changes –

Your options

You can add settings to your hosting account to help emails arrive in people’s inboxes (for the technically knowledgeable; the SPF, DKIM and DMARC settings on your hosting package can help). This is not guaranteed however and you might not know if your emails are not making it, as they get silently discarded with no bounce-back message.

Migrate email to a mainstream email provider

I’m recommending that some people move to Google Apps, Office 365 or another mainstream provider for business critical email accounts to ensure their emails get through. They also offer larger mailboxes than we can provide (up to 50gb per mailbox for some providers).

Privacy focused email providers

For the more technical or privacy minded folks, there are services like Protonmail and Tuta that offer cost-effective email packages. I am likely going to migrate to Protonmail as I prefer to support privacy respecting companies rather than the Big Tech players.

(I also don’t trust Microsoft for reasons like this:


Large email providers are making it more difficult for emails from small providers to reach people’s inboxes. This is apparently being done to reduce spam, and it’s causing problems for people who rely on email for business communications.

To help this you can add some settings to your email to help deliverability. Moving to a mainstream emai provider or a more privacy focused email service can help your emails make it to people’s inboxes.