TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Top 8 Best Email Services for Businesses
- What Are Business Email Providers?
- What Do Business Email Services Offer?
- Different Types of Business Email Services
- Comparing Email Protocols
- Other Popular Business Email Service Providers
- How to Choose the Best Small Business Email Service Provider for You
- Best Email Hosting for Small Business: Closing Thoughts
- Business Email Services FAQs
With more than 300 billion emails sent and received worldwide every day, there’s no doubt that email is a critical tool in many of our lives.Statista. “Email usage in the United States – Statistics & Facts“. Accessed Jan. 12, 2024.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, email allows its users to instantly transmit text, data, links, and other details. It is a primary communication format for many businesses worldwide.
Whether you are starting a new business or already managing an enterprise, choosing the correct email service is critical. Fortunately, many full-service business email providers make it easy to issue emails linked to your business’s domain to your staff.
In this guide, we look at the top eight email services for small business owners. Furthermore, we provide insights into email hosting options, delve into various email protocols, highlight key features to consider, and explore a range of related topics.
Top 8 Best Email Services for Businesses
With so many business email providers to choose from, it can be challenging to identify which option is best for your enterprise. Let’s take a look at the eight best email services for business below:
1. Microsoft 365 & Outlook
Prices start at $6 per user (per month)
Microsoft continues to be a significant player in the software industry, and its Microsoft 365 business email packages are our top choice for small business owners. When you choose Microsoft 365 for your business email, you are benefiting from a full-scale solution that helps you manage all forms of communication within your organization.
Currently, there are three different plans available to business customers: Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, and Microsoft 365 Business Premium. All plans come with 1 TB of cloud storage, security, chat features, and call features.
When you sign up for any of the Microsoft 365 business email packages, you benefit from a range of mobile apps and services helping with collaboration. Let’s take a look at what apps and services are also included in the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan:
- Microsoft Word
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Microsoft Teams
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Exchange
- Microsoft OneDrive
- Microsoft SharePoint
When you consider your business probably already needs to license many of the above software products, the Microsoft 365 business email packages begin to look like a much better option!
2. Google Workspace
Prices start at $6 per user (per month)
Google Workspace is one of the best email services for businesses. As with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace offers a full range of organizational solutions paired with its standard email services. There are three Google Workspace plans available: Business Starter, Business Standard, and Business Plus.
While the Business Starter plan provides users with 30 GB of cloud storage, this capacity significantly increases for Business Plus clients who receive 5 TB of cloud storage.
In addition to Gmail, Google Workspace clients have access to Google Docs (including Google Sheets and Google Sliders) and seamless integration with Google Calendar. If you are already familiar with using Google Apps and services, you know that its ease of use makes it an attractive option.
3. Zoho Mail
Prices start at $1 per user (per month)
Zoho Mail is a lesser-known email platform packed with extensive features suitable for businesses of all sizes. Zoho offers a sleek, easy-to-use interface that makes managing large inboxes simple for your employees. In addition to traditional email services, Zoho Mail offers calendars, task lists, notes, contacts, and more.
Moreover, Zoho Mail excels in facilitating collaboration within your organization. Its innovative “Streams” feature blends the functionality of a messaging board and a chatbox, creating a dynamic hybrid that streamlines teamwork across your entire staff.
Zoho Mail offers three plans: Mail Lite, Mail Premium, and Workplace. If you opt for the Workplace plan (starting at a monthly fee of $3 per user), your business will benefit from email, presentation software, online spreadsheets, chat boxes, online meeting software, an online file manager, and more!
For enterprises with unique and specialized needs, Zoho Mail extends its support through tailored enterprise solutions. Don’t hesitate to contact Zoho Mail’s dedicated sales team to explore and discuss these customized plans further.
4. Amazon WorkMail
Prices start at $4 per user (per month)
Amazon WorkMail is a commercial email platform powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon WorkMail users benefit from world-class security, managed services, universal access, and advanced integration benefits.
Unlike other business email services, you can use Amazon WorkMail with other client applications, such as Android or iOS email applications. You can also integrate corporate directories directly into the Amazon WorkMail platform, making it simple to upload your existing business contacts.
Although this is a useful email platform, it is a more technical option than other email solutions in our guide. If you have a small business that doesn’t need advanced IT capabilities, this might not be a suitable option.
While prices start at $4 per user (per month), you can access a free trial directly on the AWS website.
Prices start at $0
If your business is searching for a secure, highly customizable business email solution, then Mailfence is a good option. This is one of the few email providers on our list offering both cloud hosting and self-hosting options to its clients, meaning you have complete control over how you facilitate this platform.
Mailfence users can access custom domain names, control panels, large storage capacity, and integration with external solutions. Additionally, you can personalize the user interface by incorporating your business’s logo, adding an extra layer of customization to your email platform.
In terms of functionality, Mailfence provides features like alias emails, group sharing, document storage, calendars, and a range of other useful tools that can be useful for your team.
While Mailfence does offer a free plan, you may want to consider one of its premium options to fully leverage its services. There are three paid plans available: Entry, Pro, and Ultra. With the Ultra plan you gain access to up to 50 GB of email storage, 100 aliases per account, 70 GB of document storage, and more.
Mailfence takes pride in delivering secure, privacy-focused email services to its clients. The company offers features such as password-encrypted messages, digital signatures, integrated “keystores,” and a host of other security enhancements.
6. GMX Mail
Prices start at $0
GMX Mail is a basic email provider offering solutions to both personal and business clients. It’s a good choice if you prefer a simple, no-frills, and free email service. Users will benefit from antivirus security, spam filters, 65 GB of storage, ten alias addresses, 50 MB attachment limits, and encryption.
In addition to its core email features, GMX Mail provides GMX Online Office, a digital collaboration platform that helps companies access tools for word processing. While this resource is basic compared to competitors like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, it’s an excellent add-on for those using GMX Mail.
Prices start at $10.99 per user (per month)
ProtonMail is another business email provider that places a strong emphasis on privacy. Based in Switzerland, a country known for its strict privacy laws, ProtonMail employs zero-access encryption to safeguard your emails.
ProtonMail’s Business plan, priced at $10.99 per user per month with a 12-month commitment, offers a host of features. Users gain access to 500 GB of storage, 15 emails per user, the Proton Calendar, the Proton Drive, the Proton VPN, custom email domains, and more.
Furthermore, ProtonMail caters to businesses with extensive needs through dedicated “Enterprise” account options. If your business requires additional features or storage, ProtonMail is ready to offer customized solutions. You can contact their sales team directly via their website.
Prices starting at $0
If you want an affordable, easy-to-use email solution for your small business, then Mail.com provides the goods. This popular email platform offers all the basics at no cost to its customers. While you won’t find some of the premium features included in the other email providers on our list, this is an excellent starting point if you don’t have a large budget for your new business.
Still, even though this product is free, users can access online document editors, cloud storage, 100 MB attachment limits, and a range of other useful tools. You can also have ten email accounts linked to a single email inbox, which makes it easy to manage multiple points of contact across your business.
One feature that makes Mail.com unique is its wide range of domain choices. While you can’t connect your personal domain name to your email address at Mail.com, the company has other domain options (around 200 total), many of which are related to specific industries. Let’s take at some sample domain name options below:
Overall, considering this is a free platform, Mail.com offers plenty of benefits to small business owners on a budget.
What Are Business Email Providers?
Business email providers are businesses that offer email services as communication tools for commercial clients. Many consumer email providers also have commercial email options.
For business email providers, it’s crucial to provide scalable solutions capable of accommodating multiple employees and meeting various organizational requirements. These solutions allow businesses to have multiple email addresses associated with the same domain name, @google.com or @harvard.edu, for example.
Likewise, business email providers should make it easy for business owners to onboard employees with new email addresses. Quickly integrating new staff into a business’s email system is essential for communication.
What Do Business Email Services Offer?
Initially, email accounts simply allowed users to send and receive text and attachments. However, as email platforms grow more advanced, many business email providers now include a range of premium features, enhancing capabilities and user experience.
Let’s take a look at features you may find in a business email service:
- Easy-to-Use Email: Modern business email services make it simple to read, send, forward, save, delete, and archive emails.
- Domain Linking: Business email providers will allow you to link your business’s domain name to ensure your email accounts appear legitimate to customers, staff, and others.
- Many Accounts: Business email accounts allow businesses to issue many accounts, making it easy to scale your business and add new employees.
- Additional Storage: Business email accounts provide additional storage, making it simpler to store large attachments and archive necessary emails.
- Attachment Limits: Business email accounts will have attachment limits, making it stress-free to send large attachments to staff members, clients, and more.
- Calendars: Many business email accounts will also have internal calendars, making it easy to send meeting invitations and synchronize calendars across your entire organization.
- Workflow Management Tools: Some business email accounts will also have workflow management apps to improve internal collaboration.
- Email Marketing Tools: Some business email accounts will have email marketing tools simplify customer outreach. Also, some email providers will synch with third-party email marketing platforms.
Different Types of Business Email Services
One of the core features to consider when choosing a business email provider is the type of email hosting they offer. There are three primary hosting options available to business email users:
Self-hosted email servers
Self-hosted email servers are servers dedicated to hosting your business’s email. If you choose this option, you will require an IT team with the skills and resources needed to keep servers secure. Traditionally, this option is only suitable for large businesses that can handle the requirements of maintaining servers.
If you have complete control over your servers, you won’t be subject to performance problems related to a third party’s server. Self-hosted email servers can be extremely fast if they are correctly implemented.
Third-party email hosting
Third-party email hosting is one of the best options for small businesses. This type of email hosting involves paying a company to host your email servers and provide email services to your enterprise. It’s an all-in-one solution making business email simple for business owners.
Technically, this can be more expensive, as your business is paying for convenience. However, your business will need to be large enough to invest in server infrastructure for self-hosted email servers to be more affordable. Third-party email hosting is much more accessible for small and medium-sized enterprises.
Shared web hosting with email service
Shared web hosting with an email service involves sharing servers with other businesses or clients of a server provider. While this is cheaper than dedicated hosting, it may impose limitations on your emailing capabilities (if you need to send large email volumes, this is not a good option).
Comparing Email Protocols
In addition to email hosting options, your business should also consider the type of email protocol offered by the business email providers you are comparing. Let’s delve into the details of the three primary email protocols below:
IMAP, which stands for Internet Access Message Protocol, handles the receiving of emails. While IMAP doesn’t facilitate sending emails, it efficiently manages the reception and storage of incoming emails on a server. This enables synchronization across multiple devices, such as phones and laptops.
SMTP, or Simple Mail Transfer Protocol, is the standard email protocol used for sending, relaying, or forwarding emails. Although it doesn’t contribute to receiving emails on your servers, SMTP plays a crucial role in transmitting emails to their recipients.
POP3, or Post Office Protocol, is an alternative to IMAP for managing email reception. However, unlike IMAP, which stores emails on a server, POP3 downloads emails directly to your device. This makes it less suitable for scenarios where you need to access your email account on multiple devices.Microsoft. “What is the difference between POP and IMAP?“.Accessed Jan. 12, 2024
Other Popular Business Email Service Providers
While the top eight list in this guide is a good starting point for any business seeking a new commercial email provider, plenty of other companies are now offering business email accounts. Let’s take a look at some other top providers below:
- iCloud Mail
- OX App Suite
- Guerrilla Mail
- Kerio Connect
How to Choose the Best Small Business Email Service Provider for You
If your business is considering a new email service, selecting the best platform is crucial. While changing email providers is possible, it can lead to logistical challenges and disrupt your team’s productivity in the short term. Thus, making the right choice from the beginning can save you time, money, and a major hassle.
Let’s explore the factors to consider when you compare different email providers for small businesses:
How much storage do you need per user?
First, you need to consider your storage requirements. This needs to be assessed on an individual staff member basis – how much will each of your employees realistically need?
We suggest you seek plans with at least 2 GB of storage for each employee. However, your needs may vary depending on your industry. For example, if you run an architecture or graphic design firm, you may routinely send and store large files and images, which can eat into your storage space. These types of businesses will require more storage.
Also, many email providers will allow you to upgrade your plans to accommodate additional storage. Choosing an email company that has the option to upgrade can help you increase your storage limits as your needs grow!
Do you need collaboration tools like chat and calendars?
Determine if your team requires additional collaboration tools like chat and calendars. Chat services can streamline quick, real-time communication among staff members. If your small business doesn’t already have a chat system in place, choosing an email provider that offers this feature can be beneficial.
Additionally, consider whether your business needs a unified calendar system for efficient employee scheduling.
Do you need video conferencing features?
Recent research suggests 58% of American workers work from home at least one day per week.McKinsey & Company. “Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it“.Accessed Jan. 12, 2024. This means it’s more critical than ever to have video conferencing features available to your company. If you prefer receiving all your communication tools from a single source, identifying an email provider with video conferencing capabilities can be helpful.
Do you need a productivity suite with a variety of sharing tools?
Evaluate whether your team would benefit from a productivity suite equipped with various sharing tools. These tools enable task assignment, progress tracking, file sharing, and collaborative work on documents. They are particularly valuable for remote workforces and can enhance internal productivity.
These tools are increasingly popular for modern businesses. Forecasts predict the business productivity software industry to grow by more than $90b between 2022 and 2026 as more companies identify the need for collaboration resources to improve internal productivity.Global News Wire. “The Global Business Productivity Software Market is expected to grow by $ 98.39 bn during 2022-2026, accelerating at a CAGR of 14.24% during the forecast period“. Accessed Jan. 12, 2024.
Best Email Hosting for Small Business: Closing Thoughts
With so many premium business email services at your fingertips, it can be hard to choose a single option for you and your staff. However, by implementing the tips and knowledge within this guide, you will be well-placed to select an email provider that helps improve your business’s internal and external communication. Don’t underestimate the power of choosing a high-quality email company to facilitate your enterprise’s emails and seamlessly connect to all parts of your business like CRMS, credit card processing providers, and more.
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Business Email Services FAQs
Which is the best email service provider for small businesses overall?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for small business email. You need to identify an email provider offering the tools you need at a price your business can afford.
How do you choose a custom email address for business use?
You need to purchase a domain name if you want to use a custom email address for your business. Domain names are web URLs for your business and you can attach your domain name to your email address to make your communication seem more official.
Business owners can purchase a domain name from a third-party company and transfer it to their email platforms. Each email provider will have its own steps for this process. Also, many email providers now sell domain names, so you can also purchase your new domain directly from the email company if you don’t have an existing option.
Do I need a separate server for email hosting?
The answer to this question depends on your needs. If you run a small business and you want to keep your email maintenance to a minimum, hosting your own server might be more trouble than it’s worth. Plenty of third-party email hosting options are suitable for small businesses.
Why does a small business need email hosting?
While a small business does not need self-hosting or dedicated hosting, they do need some form of email hosting. Small businesses often use third-party hosting, which removes the technical requirements of hosting email servers. Choosing a business email provider to host and facilitate emailing within your company can help you easily communicate with staff, customers, and other individuals or parties needing to contact your business.
What’s the average cost of email systems for small businesses?
The average cost of email systems for small businesses will vary significantly depending on the email provider, features, storage, and more. However, there are plenty of affordable options available to US business owners. For example, Microsoft 365, the top choice on our list, starts at just $6 per employee (per month).
What bandwidth server do I need for small business email hosting?
The bandwidth you need will depend on your email volume, file sizes, and other factors. This type of question will require the assistance of an IT team, which is why it’s often an easier and more affordable option to use third-party hosting that can handle a range of bandwidth requirements.
- Statista. “Email usage in the United States – Statistics & Facts“. Accessed Jan. 12, 2024.
- Microsoft. “What is the difference between POP and IMAP?“.Accessed Jan. 12, 2024
- McKinsey & Company. “Americans are embracing flexible work—and they want more of it“.Accessed Jan. 12, 2024.
- Global News Wire. “The Global Business Productivity Software Market is expected to grow by $ 98.39 bn during 2022-2026, accelerating at a CAGR of 14.24% during the forecast period“. Accessed Jan. 12, 2024.