Email hosting without a website

For many years I have had my business website hosted by Hostmonster and my domain name registered with them, with email hosted by Google Workspace.

I have now closed the business and will be taking down the website.

Is there a way to continue having Google host my business email address without using Hostmonster?

You do not need a website (or webhost) in order for your email to work. You just need to own and control the domain. If Hostmonster is controlling your domain registration and DNS (the annual renewal fee, and the domain records which inform the rest of the internet what services are available at the domain) then you will need to work out with them the particulars of how that will work in the future (either continuing to let them manage it, or transferring that domain to another provider you control.) Often these webhosts will continue to mange the domain for you even if you aren’t paying for hosting — they will just tack on a small fee to the annual renewal cost.

Beyond that, you shouldn’t need to make any other adjustments. As long as the MX records in your domain’s DNS point at Google Workspace per their configuration requirements, the email will continue to flow to your account. You can either delete the existing web “A” record in the DNS (this is the entry that points to a web server), or leave as-is and have it directing traffic to a dead or confused web server.

If, upon discontinuing your web hosting, Hostmoster will no longer be managing your domain, I recommend setting up an account with and transferring the domain to their control. They are easy, fast, and reputable.


Yes, as @thomasjpr mentioned, you only need to maintain your domain name registration (i.e., ownership of the name) and keep your domain name service (DNS) records current (i.e., where the name points to and a few other features).

Domain name registration and DNS management are separate functions, and some people like to get them from separate providers, but it’s convenient to get both from the same provider.

If Hostmonster won’t make it easy for you to switch to Registration+DNS only, there are many services that will be happy to help. You would want to investigate “domain transfer” services. Most providers will be happy to help you manage the transfer so that everything works without interruption.

I have no doubt that the TidBITS community will be able to offer a huge number of suggestions. Personally, I find Namecheap to provide an excellent balance of low price and quality support. For your purposes, you shouldn’t need to spend more than $20/year for reliable service.

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I am very interested in this as well, for one of my clients. A past project manager setup a domain with website through Godaddy, and the email is hooked into their Microsoft 365 (which is a yearly fee). It’s nearly impossible to download into Mail and has to be read online.

We want to setup a couple of entities with their own email but they do not need websites, just a domain. My requirement is that we can use any email client we want, web or individual program on a computer.

Thanks for the Hover comment - they do like they provide that and I’ll be hoping for some more to research!


If any of those organizations are registered non-profits, keep in mind that free or substantially reduced plans that include email are available directly from Google and Microsoft. (I’ve heard that Microsoft recently started charging $1/user for its formerly free basic non-profit plan, though I haven’t confirmed that.)

I’m involved with non-profits that use the Google and Microsoft discount programs with good success. To the degree I’ve seen problems with common email clients, they’ve tended to come from someone trying to use an older client that doesn’t support current security protocols. is a good resource for more information.

Excellent comments as usual on here. I will only add that I use for domain registration and CloudFlare’s free DNS services for DNS. CloudFlare are best known for their reverse proxying web acceleration but part of that package is really great free DNS that you can hook into from various certificate management and dynamic DNS client tools, so that’s how I manage my own server certificates, email records and dynamic DNS updates to track my home IP, all at my own domains and without websites. Totally doable.

Thank you @thomasjpr for this information (and also thanks to @josehill and @Sebby for further tips). Just so I understand, if I don’t have a website, will I still have a cPanel? Otherwise, how will I change the DNS records?

By the way, Hostmonster does not currently have email-only, but they say they might in a couple of months or so. (I would probably not wait for it.)

Every mainstream domain name service provider will let you manage/update your DNS records via a web interface, which may or may not be cPanel. If you can handle cPanel, I doubt you’ll have any trouble with alternative web interfaces.

If you’re happy with your Google Workspace account(s), there is no real reason to leave Google Workspace. You simply would need to copy over the Google-related DNS entries from your current DNS provider (e.g., Hostmonster) to your new provider.

If you’re asking if Hostmonster would let you keep cPanel if you switch to a DNS-only or Email-only plan with them, there’s no technical reason for them to use something else, but they may prefer to use something else for that type of customer. If you contact them, I’m sure they will tell you how they handle that.

I just looked to see if Google, itself, would take on registrar and/or DNS hosting services and note that they’ve just killed Google Domains for new customers! Their KB articles are literally endorsing people use free DNS hosting services if their domain registrars don’t provide good DNS management!

Typically stupid and destructive move by Google—this is the perfect use case. Wow.