Leveling Up Your OSINT Game: Creating a Professional Email on a Budget


Some sites do not allow new users to register with a “free” email such as gmail.com or outlook.com. This is especially true if a site offers some free capability, but with the hope of converting you into a paying customer.

Most OSINT practitioners would prefer to avoid using their “real” work email to signup for services, so the easiest solution is to register a domain (if you don’t already have one) and setup an email account using that. In this blog post we’ll explore how to accomplish this task as easily, and inexpensively as possible.

Step 1: Acquire The Domain

Many of us have likely purchased a .com or other domain over the years. Maybe you still have some, or maybe they expired. For years the only domain registrar I used was Google Domains. It was easy, inexpensive and provided free private registration to help enhance privacy. Recently, Google decided to get out of the domain registration business and is in the process of transferring all registered domains to Squarespace. I’m not a fan of this change at all so we will not be using Squarespace for the example, we’ll use namecheap.com for our example here.

Looking at the namecheap results for “osintfun” domains that are available, we see that the price for different types of domains vary greatly, but some are available for under $2 USD per year.

Once you’ve made your purchase, we’ll move on to step 2, but know that we will be coming back to your domain registrar of choice in just a minute.

Step 2: Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail is a business email solution that offers numerous plans, including a free plan with a limit of up to 5 users and a 25MB limit on attachments.

You can use Gmail and multiple other options to create a new account with Zoho Mail and once you’re logged in, select the free plan using the domain that you just registered.

Once you’ve completed that step, Zoho Mail tells you that you need to confirm that you own the domain you’ve used. For this step, Zoho Mail will provide you with a unique TXT record that you need to add to your new domain’s DNS records.

Step 3: Prove it!

The exact how-to for this step will vary depending on which domain registrar you chose, but all registrars should have detailed instructions on how to make these changes. Once the TXT record is in place, wait a minute or two and go back to Zoho Mail and have them verify that the TXT record is in place. DNS records usually populate within a few minutes so after 15-20 minutes if Zoho is still unable to verify, you may want to doublecheck that the TXT record is entered correctly back on your domain registrar site.

Step 4: Use it!!

Once Zoho Mail has confirmed the DNS entry, you’re ready to go! I authenticate to Zoho using Gmail, but once logged in I have access to email for my new domain!

This non free email should be able to be used with services that require a “real” business account. Congratulations!


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