Email providers are service providers who host email addresses for businesses or individuals. We looked at more than a dozen business email providers and narrowed the list down to the top six, comparing each on price, attachments and data storage, security, accessibility, spam and virus protection and available integrations, finding the best overall.
Top 6 Business Email Providers for 2018
|G Suite||(Best Overall) Small businesses that want a flexible, scalable email with great apps at a competitive price|
|Zoho Workplace||Businesses that want an email provider that offers up to 25 free email addresses with ability to grow|
|Bluehost||Startup companies that want an email provider and website hosting service all in one|
|Office 365||Larger or mature organizations that want email and access to robust Microsoft Office tools|
|Rackspace||Businesses that need a low-cost email provider with basic functionality at $2 per address|
|Mail.com||People who want a single free email address without a web-hosted domain|
How We Evaluated the Best Business Email Providers
All businesses need an email address that can be accessed quickly, securely and reliably with enough storage to keep messages from bouncing. However, some businesses only need a single address while other businesses need a scalable email solution. For that reason, we looked at a range of options that can serve anyone from the sole proprietor wanting a free address to a growing business with multiple employees.
The criteria we used to evaluate each of these business email providers include:
- Price: We compared the cost of basic email service as well as the cost of paid upgrades or any other service fees
- Available storage: We reviewed each service’s policies with regard to email attachment size and general data storage
- Security and accessibility: We looked at how each service protects your data, their claims regarding their reliability of service as well as how easy it is to access your messages on a mobile device, desktop or browser-based client
- Spam and virus protection: We compared each product’s built-in spam and virus protection
- Access to apps: We compared other communication and collaboration tools included with email hosting, which might lessen a business’ reliance on emails alone like Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Skype or instant messaging
- System integration: We reviewed each service’s ability to integrate with third-party apps and other office productivity tools
- Ease of use: We reviewed user interfaces like webmail, administrative set-up requirements and user reviews
- Scalability: We compared the number of email addresses each service provided and if they included features like email aliases
Based on the criteria above, we believe G Suite is the best. While it is not the lowest cost option, it’s overall reliability, available productivity tools, best-in-class security practices and ease of integration with other products is the reason it is the dominant provider in the market for small business.
Best Overall Small Business Email Provider: G Suite
G Suite is the parent group of Google’s email service, also known as Gmail. Starting at $5 per user per month, G Suite lets you use your web domain as your email address and is accessible via browser, desktop client and on mobile devices. G Suite also includes tools designed around supporting business communication and collaboration. For this reason, it’s great for small businesses that need a flexible and scalable email provider with easy access to great apps.
G Suite Pricing
G Suite’s pricing is tiered starting at $5 per user per month for their basic plan and $10 per user per month for its business plan. G Suite also offers an enterprise level plan that includes advanced customization and pricing is tailored to a business’s specific needs.
G Suite Tiered Features
|Recover Deleted emails for 30 days|
|Centralized Admin Console|
|Supports Multiple Aliases|
|Vault for eDiscovery and Archiving|
|Data Lost protection|
|Integration with Third-party Archiving Tools|
G Suite’s Basic plan costs $5 per month per users and gives users access to email via Gmail browser tool, which includes email delegation, email recovery, spam protection, offline access and attachment previews. In addition to email, G Suite also gives users access to the business suite of Google Docs, works with third-party apps, includes 30GB of document storage and offers a guaranteed uptime of 99.9 percent with best-in-class security certifications.
However, the Basic plan does not come with a vault for eDiscovery and archiving of documents saved in Google Drive. Therefore, G Suite is best for teams that want a highly reliable email provider and access to Google suite of productivity tools.
The Business plan costs $10 per user per month and offers all the same email benefits as the Basic plan. Like the Basic plan, users have the option of setting up an approved sender list, allow a co-worker’s email using the same email domain to bypass the spam check or to increase the stringency of Google’s default spam filtering. However, unlike the Basic plan, the Business plan gives users a vault for eDiscovery of documents as well as archiving.
The Business plan removes the limit on document storage. Therefore, the Business plan is best for teams that need email and want the ability to create more documents or collaborate more easily and securely in the cloud.
The Enterprise plan includes all the same functionality as found in the Business plan as well as additional features like data loss protection and access to third-party archiving tools. The price for G Suite’s Enterprise-level plan is dependent on service requirements and quoted on a case-by-case basis.
The Enterprise plan offers many additional integrations with third-party applications, such as Microsoft’s desktop Office products as well as the cloud-based integrations available in the lower-tiered plans like Pipedrive CRM, Zoho CRM, Asana, RingCentral and DocuSign. Therefore, it’s best for teams that want the security and flexibility of Gmail but will be using desktop office tools.
What G Suite Is Missing
The Gmail browser-based client within G Suite does not include bulk clean-up tools like Zoho Workplace or Office 365 both does and does not support multiple email signatures or email templates unless you install third-party add-ins or integrate your email with a desktop client. Therefore, the browser client works best for those who either don’t need this functionality or plan to utilize third-party tools.
What Users Think About G Suite
At FitSmallBusiness, we use G Suite for many of our business communication and collaborations. While Google’s word processing and spreadsheets do not have as many features as those found in Microsoft Office suite, its mail works well regardless of mobile and desktop device making it a flexible and affordable option for small business owners.
Where to Find G Suite
G Suite gives you all the tools you need to work together in a single package that works desktop, tablets or mobile devices. Best of all you start using its professional email as well as its suite of office productivity tools for free for 14 days by visiting its website.
Best Free Small Business Email Provider: Zoho Workplace
Zoho Workplace is a web-based free business email provider for up to 25 users and four robust tiers. It also offers its own suite of online productivity tools as well as web domain hosting and integration with third-party apps with a paid upgrade. Few business email providers offer free plans, especially free plans without ads, making Zoho best if you’re looking for a free email webmail service for up to 25 employees with the ability to scale without changing providers.
Zoho Workplace Pricing
Zoho Workplace has a free plan that supports up to 25 users with 5GB of data storage and three paid plans. The paid plans range in price from $2 per user per month to $8 per user per month and include additional features like multiple domain hosting, email forwarding and system integration.
Zoho Workplace’s Tiered Plans
|Supports Rich Text Email Signatures|
|Multiple Domain Hosting|
|G Suite Integration|
Zoho’s Free plan includes webmail-based email and single domain hosting for up to 25 users. While the free plan includes 5GB of storage and supports email attachments up to 25MB, it does not include the advanced email functionality found with Zoho’s paid plans including internet message access protocol (IMAP) and post office protocol (POP) support, active sync or integration with other tools like Zoho’s in-house document writer, chat, video conferencing or third-party integrations like Google Apps.
Therefore, the free plan is best for solopreneurs or teams of less than 25. It is also good for those who only need webmail-based email and don’t require access to additional tools like document writer, website builder or Zoho chat.
Zoho’s Standard plan includes features like IMAP and POP support letting you work with your email in your favorite native email client and costs $2 per user per month. The standard plan also comes with multiple domain hosting, meaning you can manage more than a single site from your account as well as domain aliases and 30GB of data storage.
However, unlike the Pro plan, the Standard plan does not include more advanced features with their other business productivity tools like group sharing of documents. Therefore, it is best for small teams that do not require group sharing and those that don’t need more than 30GB of data storage.
The Pro plan allows users to customize the look and feel of their user interface with their company logo and costs $5 per month per user. The Pro plan also gives users 100GB of data and increases the attachment limit to 40MB, but the Pro plan doesn’t include Zoho’s eDiscovery functionality, which helps you find any file across the organization from within the document management tool.
This means teams using the Pro plan may have to send more emails to teammates with links to a file’s location but still makes it a good option for teams expected to exchange large files over email, such as designers or salespeople with graphics-heavy presentations. The Pro plan is also a good choice for organizations that want to emphasize the importance of their brand by making it appear in every aspect of their business.
The Enterprise plan costs $8 per month per user and increases the combined storage to 1TB of data, however, attachments are still limited to 40MB. In addition, the Enterprise plan gives users 25GB of file upload storage, which is then discoverable by the whole team. With 25 remote attendees, the Enterprise plan also more than doubles the number of people who can participate in a single video conference and also includes 5GB videoconference recording.
For these reasons, the Enterprise plan is a good choice for teams who want to reduce their reliance on email for internal communication and collaboration. It is also a good option for teams that need to use significantly more storage data per user.
What Zoho Workplace Is Missing
Zoho can integrate with many third-party applications including Google Apps, but currently lacks G Suite’s brand awareness and ability to sign in to other products using your Gmail login. This means you may have to maintain separate logins for those additional services. However, Zoho seems to be making a marketing push for its tools, and this may be changing in the future.
What Users Think About Zoho Workplace
Users of Zoho Workplace appreciate the tool’s uptime record, spam protection and security. They do, however, report that the tool can be somewhat intimidating to set up unless you are already technically savvy. While there are no third-party ads in the tool, users have reported that the service does promote its paid services, which can also be annoying. You can read more about Zoho and its suite of products like its CRM application on our Zoho Review page.
Where to Find Zoho Workplace
Zoho Workplace is a suite of products designed around business productivity as well as communication and collaboration. Best of all it comes with free email for up to 25 users. Sign up today.
Best Small Business Email Provider with Web Hosting Services: Bluehost
Bluehost is primarily a website hosting provider but also offers email hosting as a value-added service starting at $2.95 per month. It provides email with IMAP and POP support and website hosting plans and supports website plug-ins but doesn’t include any additional collaboration tools. It is a good choice for startup businesses that need email services along with web hosting for a new business website all-in-one.
Bluehost offers a range of hosting options from website hosting on a shared server which can range from $2.95 to $13.95 at its introductory price as well as cloud hosting, which can range between $6.95 per month and $15.95. Either hosting option includes a free domain as well as email, which makes it within a similar price range as Zoho for email with domain hosting.
Bluehost Shared Hosting Tiered Features
|Access to SpamExperts|
Bluehost Basic shared-hosting plan includes email with features like IMAP and POP support, three different webmail solutions to choose from and email forwarding for up to five email addresses with a 99.99 percent uptime measured over the past year. It also includes subdomains and parked domains and costs $2.95 a month to get started.
Bluehost is also one of WordPress’ premier recommended partners based on its technical support and its ability to integrate plug-ins that are available through its Mojo Marketplace.
Therefore, Bluehost is a good choice for startups that are looking for an email hosting services as well as a website hosting partner with WordPress or WooCommerce plug-in support.
Bluehost’s Plus plan includes all the same email functionality as found in the Basic plan but removes the limit on email storage, number of parked domains and number of email accounts. In addition, the Plus plan includes access to Bluehost SpamExperts with an introductory cost of $5.95 per month.
SpamExperts is the name of Bluehost’s spam management and advanced email administer tool. With it, email users can view a quarantined message, manage personal email settings, whitelists and blacklists and specify an incoming delivery queue as a way of reviewing and controlling incoming spam. The Plus plan is best for teams looking for email hosting services as well as a website hosting partner and more robust spam control.
The Choice Plus plan offers the same email functionality as the plus plan along with access to SpamExperts but also includes domain privacy. The plan has an introductory cost of $5.95 per month — matching that of the Plus plan — and a regular price of $14.99 per month. Bluehost gives users secure socket layer (SSL) security for transactions on your website, but some third-party plug-ins can affect the security of your data.
Domain privacy can help shield your data from external threats on the shared server. Therefore, the Choice Plus plan is best for businesses wanting additional security on their email as well as more robust spam control and a website hosting partner that can support plug-ins.
The Go Pro plan is nearly identical to the Choice Plan, but your business email and website are hosted on a high-performance server at starts at a cost of $13.95 per month. The high-performance server gives you faster access to your email while also resulting in a faster website.
The Go Pro plan is, therefore, best for teams in need of email and a website hosting partner that can support plug-ins and want the best possible user experience. However, none of the shared hosting plans include automatic site backups or system restores. If this is a feature that is important to you, consider Bluehost’s Business Pro cloud-hosted plan.
Bluehost Cloud Hosting Plan Options
Bluehost’s cloud-hosting plans differ from the shared-hosting plans as follows:
- Starter: Its introductory price is $6.95 per month and includes 500MB of email storage and supports up to 100 email accounts but is otherwise comparable to the Basic plan
- Performance: Its introductory price is $8.95 per month with unlimited email storage, unlimited email accounts and access to Bluehost’s SpamExperts and is otherwise comparable to the Plus plan
- Business Pro: Its introductory price is $15.95 per month with unlimited email storage, unlimited email accounts, access to Bluehost’s SpamExperts and includes domain privacy, making it comparable to the Go Pro plan, but also includes site backup and restore
What Bluehost Is Missing
Bluehost is designed to help you make the most of your professional website. Unlike Zoho, G Suite or Office 365, it does not offer bundled office productivity tools. Therefore, it is best for companies that need a professional website and email addresses but does not need those additional tools.
What Users Think About Bluehost
Bluehost users report an overall good experience with Bluehost, saying it easy to use with average to good customer support. They also like the price of Bluehost compared to other similar web hosting solutions. Some users have complained that websites speeds could be improved. You can read more about Bluehost on our Bluehost Review page.
Where to Find Bluehost
Bluehost includes a free domain with free SSL and one-click WordPress install. You can take advantage of their limited time $2.95 introductory offer by signing up today.
Best Email Provider for Larger Teams with Microsoft Tools: Office 365
Office 365 is a reliable business email provider that offers a suite of productivity tools, including word processing, spreadsheets and video conferencing, all built around Microsoft Office products. Office 365 is packed rich with proven features and functionality and may be more robust than is required by smaller, more nimble businesses. For this reason, it is best for larger teams already familiar with Office suite of products.
Office 365 Pricing
Office 365 has an email only plan that costs $4 per user per month as well as two plans that include tools like Word and Excel. The Essentials plan costs $5 per month and does not include desktop or mobile access to office suite applications like Word or Excel. The Business Premium plan does and costs $12.50 per month per user.
Office 365 Tiered Features
|Web Versions of Word, |
Excel & PowerPoint
|Video Conferencing |
Up to 250 People
|Microsoft Connections |
|Outlook Customer Manager|
|Desktop Versions of |
Office 2016 Applications:
Outlook, Word, Excel,
PowerPoint & OneNote
Microsoft Exchange Only
The Microsoft Exchange Only Plan includes email with a 150MB attachment limit and 50GB of email and document storage per user for $4 per user per month. In addition, Exchange lets you capture events from emails such as flights and hotel reservations, makes suggestions as to where to meet potential connections based on your location, comes with spam and virus protection and is backed by a 99.9 percent uptime guarantee.
Exchange includes email only and does not includes access to web versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint or features like video conferencing or team sites found in the Essentials plan. Therefore, the Exchange only plan is best for individuals who want to access email, backed by Microsoft with mobile and webmail access.
Office 365 Essentials
The Office 365 Essentials plan costs a flat $5 per month, making it the more economical choice compared to the Exchange only plan for teams. In addition to the email functionality of the Exchange plan, the Essentials plan also includes access to the web versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint as well as team sites for collaboration and tasks.
The web-based versions of Office tools are not as powerful as the desktop versions included in the Business Premium plan but do offer advanced custom formatting, formulas, drag-and-drop and more sorting than is available with Google Apps without the need for additional add-ons. Therefore, the 365 Essentials plan is great for teams who need email and who want to utilize Office’s robust business productivity tools.
Office 365 Business Premium
The Business Premium plan costs a flat $12.50 per month, making it a more affordable option compared to G Suite for larger teams. The Business Premium plan includes all the same email features as the Business plan but also includes desktop versions of Office productivity tools like Outlook, Word and Excel. The plan also comes with Microsoft Outlook Customer manager, which is a low-featured, basic customer relationship management (CRM) tool.
The Business Premium plan is a good option for mid to large teams who want email and plan to make use of full-featured Office products. It is also a good option for teams that want an email provider and email client with additional customer insights.
What Office 365 Is Missing
While Office 365 is a terrific option for teams and businesses that are already familiar with tools like Word and Excel, it does integrate with as many newer business tools emerging in the market designed to help automate business processes like G Suite does. For this reason, it’s best for teams whose primary businesses needs are met with Microsoft products alone.
What Users Think About Office 365
Users who have transitioned from the desktop version of Microsoft Business to Office 365 love not having to worry about backing up data on their servers, however, have reported some compatibility issues between the two products. Email users also complain about the difficulty to delete more than five messages at a time using the web app. You can read more about what other users are saying about Office 365 on our Office 365 Review page.
Where to Find Office 365
Microsoft Windows as a whole is in the process of transitioning into a cloud-based model, and so chances are you already have Office 365 tools installed on your machine as part of a Windows upgrade. Therefore, getting started using Office 365 is as easy as clicking on an icon and walking through sign-up using one of their setup wizards. Visit Office 365’s website to learn more.
Best Low-cost Small Business Email Provider: Rackspace
Rackspace is a business email provider with IMAP support for desktop access and Microsoft Word and Excel for $2 per email address with the best money-back guarantee for service uptime. It also offers additional features such domain hosting and ecommerce support as secondary services. This makes it ideal for those looking for a no-frills, low-cost email provider that might be more inexpensive for teams greater than 25 when compared to Zoho.
Rackspace Email costs $2 per user per month and gives you access to email using your company’s professional domain, making it a less-expensive business email provider compared to G Suite or Office 365. Like Bluehost, Rackspace also offers domain and ecommerce hosting via the cloud, although both of those services come at an additional fee.
Rackspace Email includes features such as IMAP support, mobile sync, domain aliases, spam and virus protection and email forwarding. In addition, it also allows you to retrieve deleted emails, gives you 30GB storage data, provides instant messaging, cloud-based storage, advanced auto message-filtering and supports shared calendars.
Rackspace offers cloud storage up to 30GB for your email as well as your documents. This is less storage than is provided by G Suite but on par with Zoho’s Standard pricing plan.
Security and Accessibility
Rackspace has a 100 percent uptime guarantee, which is greater than the guarantees offered by other services. Emails are accessible as long as there is an internet connection via their webmail app. Rackspace emails can also be forwarded to other email application such as a native desktop email client that can offer additional functionality.
Spam and Virus Protection
Rackspace’s spam and virus protection blocks emails coming from well-known spam producers and compromised servers automatically. In addition, Rackspace provides content filtering that uses industry standard techniques like analyzing an email’s structure and contact or looking for key patterns that identify a message as being high risk.
Rackspace Email is fully compatible with Microsoft Outlook and any other desktop email client, both on Windows and Macs. It also can be used on tablets and mobile devices. It also provides access to an online editor for Word and Excel. While neither of these online versions are as robust as the desktop version, this offering is a value for the price of email.
What Rackspace Is Missing
Rackspace offers email, calendars, instant messaging, tasks and some light word processing and spreadsheet manipulation, however, lacks the suite of more robust office productivity and collaboration tools offered by either G Suite, Zoho Workspace or Office 365.
What Users Think About Rackspace
Rackspace users like the simplicity of the product. It offers the key functionality they need without any of the extra features they don’t use, however, do wish the tool allowed them to mark tasks as complete. There are complaints about the lack of documentation addressing technical support questions, but users say this isn’t a huge problem due to Rackspace’s live technical support.
Where to Find Rackspace
Rackspace prides itself on its technical expertise and boasts more than 1,000 Amazon Web Services technical, Microsoft and VMWare certifications as well as more than a billion OpenStack managed server hours. This technical expertise combined with Rackspace’s low-cost entry point makes it a bargain for micro startups or those who only need the most basic email functionality as well as a custom domain. You can learn more by visiting Rackspace.
Best Small Business Email Provider for a Single Address: Mail.com
Mail.com is a low-cost email provider that offers a free plan designed to give users a professional looking email address with mobile access but without the cost of a separate web hosting service or custom domain like qualityservice.com. As a result, Mail.com is best for freelancers, contractors or individuals in need of a more professional looking email address and those who don’t yet have a web presence.
Mail.com offers a completely free plan that lets you pick a professional looking email address using one of their more than 200 email domains like accountant.com. Mail.com also offers a premium version for $19.95 per year which gives you the additional features such as message recall, mailbox personalization and POP and IMAP support.
Mail.com’s Tiered Features
|POP3 / IMAP Support|
The Freemail plan is Mail.com basic email plan and includes email, calendars, spam and virus protection, with attachment limits matching G Suite. You can choose from one more than two hundred email domains such as solution4.u.com or instructor.net, saving you the cost of a web domain. The free service includes email support and mobile access via webmail but does not include features like POP or IMAP support and users may see a number of ads.
The Freemail plan is best for people who are in need of a more professional looking email address than something like gmail.com or yahoo.com and don’t mind ads on their webmail user interface. You can read more about why a professional domain builds trust in our article on The 3 Rules to Choosing a Professional Email Address.
The Premium plan costs $19.95 for the entire year and gives you the ability to forward your emails to another address automatically, personalize your webmail user interface, removes the ads and gives you POP and IMAP support. It also gives you the ability to recall unread messages, and you have the option to call and speak to someone over the phone when you are in need of technical support.
Therefore, the Premium plan is a better option for an individual in need of a professional looking email address who wants the ability to manage their email using a desktop email client. It is also a good option for individuals who want an ad-free experience.
What Mail.com Is Missing
Mail.com does not include any office productivity applications and does not integrate with desktop email clients unless you pay for the Premium service. Mail.com is strictly an email provider. For this reason, it is best for individuals who only need an email address for basic communication.
What Users Think About Mail.com
Users of Mail.com report that the service provides all the basic email services they would expect from a free email provider and like the number of choices offered for email domains. They believe it makes their email more personal as well as professional without requiring a web hosting agreement.
Where to Find Mail.com
Mail.com knows that having a professional looking email domain is one of the best ways to instill trust when starting your business, which is why they offer so many different choices for a domain when you sign up for a business email address. You can sign up today for your free email account by visiting their website.
Tips on Maximizing Your Business Email Provider from the Pros
The Bottom Line
Email is one of the most critical tools for modern business. While there are many providers to choose from we believe that G Suite offers the best value for the price due to its overall reliability, available productivity tools, best in class security practices and ease of integration with other products. However, to take advantage of all its features and benefits, you must first secure a professional email domain.
If you are still in the early process of establishing your business’ online presence or looking to make a change, check out Bluehost. Bluehost includes a free email domain and can power WordPress or WooCommerce sites with one-click install. You can take advantage of their limited time $2.95 introductory offer by signing up today at its website.