Nearly everyone has a Google mail account these days.  In case you haven’t paid attention, those are the email addresses that end with Gmail.  This makes sense as it is a free service that provides a lot of functionality.  However, it does not allow you to customize your address, nor can you use a company domain.  There is “Google for Business” that provides these options, but before you try that, let’s take a look at Amazon’s competitor WorkMail.

WorkMail is Part of a Suite

There is a slowly growing suite of services that Amazon categorizes under business productivity.  This category currently includes WorkMail, WorkDocs, and Chime.  We will look at the other services in future posts.  However, there is some benefit to bundling these services.  Therefore, it pays (literally) to check out all of the options before committing to one.

Getting Started

It is easy (and free) to get started with WorkMail.  Once you have an Amazon AWS account set up, click on the services menu from the Dashboard and browse to find WorkMail.  When you go to the service, you start by giving a name for your account.  This name is most often your domain (without the .com), so we would use develpreneur for our account.  Once you enter a name, it takes a few minutes to get the system initialized.  Once initialized, click on the alias to create an account.

Note that several system accounts are built by default, and there is a disabled Administrator account as well.  Go ahead and click the create user button.  This will ask for an address (, first and last name, and password.  Once an account is created, you have 50GB mail storage available per user and can configure it in your favorite mail client.  The ability to send emails through this new account is not a simple setup so that I will save that for another day.

WorkMail Features

The service provides some features that are useful to even small businesses.  Groups can be created (e.g., [email protected]) that allow you to publish an address that is an alias for several users.  The use of groups is a great way to shield personal accounts from outsiders.  It also reduces the need to change up marketing materials every time a person changes jobs or roles.  It also happens to be a feature we missed when we used the Gmail tool.

All email is encrypted, and it allows for easy configuration of journaling.  This feature makes it possible to track every email sent through your domain and direct them to a storage service.  Thus, when lawsuits or other issues arise, you will have access to all communication done through your system.  It is a good CYA tool to have for companies that deal with sensitive information or have tight security policies.

The service also provides a way to set your general security policies.  Simple things like password difficulty options (minimum length, alphanumeric, etc.) and even the ability to wipe mobile devices are available.

WorkMail vs Gmail

Amazon’s WorkMail is a full enterprise-ready solution that can be implemented in small steps.  It is just like their other services.  This tool provides an incremental way to grow your business while still providing top-notch quality.  On the other hand, Amazon business services are not as user-friendly as their Gmail counterparts.  My experience with the Amazon products for mail and messaging have required a bit of research to get things working.  Their goal is to keep spammers and other Internet bad boys from using their services to appear legitimate.  While this is a valuable niche to fill, it does keep their solutions from being a one size fits all sort of solution.  When you are ready to go beyond mail and add scheduling and an internal or private approach then it will be time to check out WorkMail.





Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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