In migrating our initial clients to Office 365 two weeks ago there were a number of “gotcha’s” regarding accessibility of plans to full Office 365 functionality. I’ve come to learn the best bet its to always recommend the E-plans to customers with more than 3-4 employees. Although P-plans supposedly allow for up to 25-50 users, I have yet to find an environment where it actually makes sense to use the P1 plan for customers with 5+ users and/or an existing email server.
One big area of confusion for customers who try figure out the migration themselves has been around domain management differences. I thought I’d take a moment to cover this topic in greater detail.
Quick answer: Domain management differences in Office 365 plans
For users who don’t want the complex details, here is the quick scoop:
- Both plan types (E and P) allow you to continue to host your own website away from Office 365. Yet with the “P” plan it is slightly more time consuming to set it up this way.
- With the P plan you must manage your DNS records within Office 365, this is done after you add your domain. With the E plan you can choose to manage them with your previous DNS hoster
- With the P plan you can add secondary domains, but you cannot add subdomains. (IE: www.seconddomain.com [YES] ; www.subtag.firstdomain.com [NO])
Long Story: Domain management differences in Office 365 plans
[P1 Accounts] Small Businesses: Office 365 Domain Management
- To verify added domains you will be required to point name servers to Office 365 hosted DNS servers, the instructions to this are included in the process and are easy to follow.
- Lync Online and Exchange Online configurations automatically execute after verifying a domain.
- After switching name servers, Office 365 will host all DNS records for your domain. This renders your domain registrar somewhat obsolete (except for the billing relationship). Future changes to DNS records will be done through your Office 365 portal.
Public facing website set-up:
- Office 365 comes with a public facing website that you can configure easily to have basic content. The setup of this is done through a pre-configured SharePoint template that is more or less a bunch of building blocks that are easily thrown together. The overall options to customize this are unfortunately highly limited to only the most common SharePoint features under the small business P1 subscription. The short story is: if you want a quick web presence for your home office business, then it is a good fit. However, if you are planning on turning your web presence into a serious asset, a P1 license will be too limiting.
- After you add your domain and verify it, you can then easily make it your web presence as well.
- On the Admin page, in the left pane, under Management, click Domains.
- Click Change address, and then step through the wizard.
- Note: You can’t import your existing public website to Office 365. If you choose to use SharePoint Online (instead of keeping your current website), you’ll need to design and populate the new website from scratch.
Sub Domains/Secondary Domains:
- You cannot have subdomains with a P1 license (example of a subdomain: www.subname.yoursitename.com)
- You can have secondary domains (IE: more than one www.sitename.com URL), however only one can act as your public facing website.
- Email and IM will automatically set up to use your selected domain.
- You cannot change these to be hosted by an alternative provider
- However you can set up multiple domains with Office 365 and host across these as necessary.
- You may always choose to host elements away from Office 365, however, don’t expect the rich integration that comes with having all your services in one place. Someone with an existing website hosting service would follow this path.
- Although you can add multiple domains, you cannot add the same domain across multiple Office 365 accounts.
[E & K Accounts] Enterprise: Office 365 Domain Management
- Unlike the small business subscription, after you add your domain to Office 365 you continue to manage DNS records at your domain registrar. This may be preferable to certain businesses with existing server equipment of companies who need to run a hybrid environment.
- Under the enterprise licensing you can use both subdomains and secondary domains to any extent needed. (Example: www.subname.sitename.com OR www.othersitename.com)
- In configuring your public facing website, the sharepoint tools allow for a much greater depth of functionality than under the P1 licensing
- After adding a domain to Office 365, it can be set so that email, IM, and SharePoint Online use your domain as hosted by Office 365. OR you can instead host some or all of those services on a domain with another provider.
- When adding multiple domains
to Office 365, these options can apply to any of those domains and associated services.
Please note this list is in no way comprehensive, it is merely meant to shed some light when picking licenses. Please feel free to call and dig for more details if you need them! 1-855-IT-BOOST
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