How many user email accounts do I need to buy?
When you’re purchasing an Office 365 account, you need to decide how many users you want to buy. You need to buy a separate user for each individual person who you want to have their own, personal mailbox. So, first count the number of people that you want to have their own inbox. But when you get 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 buy 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. So, email@example.com set’s 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. Read more about aliases.
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. Read more about shared mailboxes.
Distribution groups are another way to extend your address count, for free. 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. Read more about distribution groups.
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.
Resource accounts are used for booking rooms and equipment, in your shared Office 365 calendar. You can set up an account for each room or piece of equipment you want people to book, and these are all free. You do not need to buy extra users for resource accounts. To set up accounts for rooms and equipment, see Set up a mailbox for equipment or rooms.
- Now that you know how many users to buy, check out the different Office 365 plans.