This article is part of a larger series on Business Email.
Every business owner needs a credible email address for professional use, and small businesses and startups often need it to be as cheap as possible. To help, we rounded up nine legitimate ways to get a free business email address. Some are completely free, while others include free email accounts with other products your business uses or needs, such as office software and web hosting.
Free Business Email Options at a Glance
Starting Cost per Month
Getting up to 5 free email addresses on your existing domain
Businesses that need a free yet credible outlook.com email with business-class security
Businesses that need a free email address with more security and credibility than most generic providers (e.g., Hotmail)
Businesses that need free email with top-notch security and privacy
Free email account with paid domain
$1 the first year, then $15-$20/year
Businesses looking for a free email account with domain purchase
Free email address with paid web hosting
Businesses that want to bundle from 5 to unlimited email addresses, custom domain, and web hosting
Google Workspace productivity and collaboration software
$6 per user*
Businesses with collaborative teams
Microsoft 365 productivity and collaboration software
$6 per user*
Growing teams wanting advanced features and automation to improve productivity
All-in-one website builder
Businesses looking for a site builder that bundles domain and a free email address
*Requires separate purchase of a domain
**With annual billing, renews at a higher rate after the first year
***With annual billing; monthly billing is also available at a higher cost
Take our quiz to find out which way to get a free business email address is best for you.
Which way to get a free business email address is best for you?
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Zoho Mail: Best for Free Email Addresses on Your Domain
Zoho is a leading cloud-based software provider with a suite of small business budget-friendly marketing, sales, support, human resources, and bookkeeping tools. Zoho Mail users can get up to five free email accounts on their business’ domain.
What’s unique about free professional email through Zoho Mail is that you can easily integrate with other Zoho apps, like Zoho CRM, to view and record customer activity on the go. However, Zoho Mail plans don’t come with a domain name, so you’ll have to purchase one separately to use Zoho Mail for free.
So while Zoho Mail gives you up to five free email addresses, you’ll need to spend about $12 to $15 per year on a custom domain, like @yourbusiness.com, to give your email address a more professional appearance. If you don’t have a domain name yet, check out our list of the overall best domain name registrars for small businesses.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With Zoho
Here’s how to set up your free email address for business use through Zoho Mail in four easy steps:
- Register a domain name (if you haven’t already)
- Go to Zoho.com/mail/ and click on “Pricing” from the top menu
- Scroll down to find the “Free Forever” plan and click “Sign Up Now”
- Follow the prompts to create your free business email account
In the free plan, you can create up to five business email addresses. For more information, visit our guide to getting business email with Zoho.
Outlook: Best Credible Free Email Address Without a Custom Domain
If you aren’t ready to purchase and connect a custom domain for email (e.g., firstname.lastname@example.org), go with Outlook. It’s one of the most professional-looking free email account options for businesses. Unlike free email providers, such as hotmail.com, Outlook appears more credible, is more secure, and is one of the market’s most reliable free email services.
Aside from being completely free, Outlook also integrates seamlessly with Microsoft 365’s web and mobile tools (PowerPoint, Word, Excel, Skype, and so on). To get the desktop versions, you’ll have to upgrade your account to at least the second-tier premium plan—called Microsoft 365 Apps for Business—at $8.25 a month, or pay $12.50 per user each month for desktop and web versions that also include Microsoft’s collaboration tools.
And of course, when you’re ready to upgrade your email to a custom domain, you’ll have to purchase a Microsoft 365 business plan for at least $6. Still, it’s worth considering starting in the Microsoft ecosystem, as Microsoft 365 offers advanced business productivity tools, and Outlook is the best business email provider for businesses sending or receiving large attachments.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With Outlook
Here’s how to get a free Outlook.com business email address:
- Go to outlook.live.com and click on the “Create Free Account” button
- Create your email address name (e.g., email@example.com)
- Create a password
- Input your first and last name
- Provide your country and birth date
- Confirm you’re not a robot
- You will then be redirected to your new business email inbox
Gmail: Best Free Email Provider With a Simple, Intuitive Interface
Like Outlook, Gmail is another way to get a completely free, high-quality email account if you’re willing to forgo the brand credibility of creating an email address on your own domain. However, unlike with Outlook, you can also connect an email address you already own to Gmail account. This means you can access your business email through the Gmail interface you know and love if you already have a business email address.
All you need to do is manually connect your domain name to Gmail so that you can use your custom email address through the Gmail interface. While this is a completely free professional email option, it’s not the easiest to configure. So it’s best for those with some technical expertise or the patience to learn.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With Gmail
Here’s how to create a free Gmail.com business email address:
- Create a free Google account at accounts.google.com/signup
- Enter your first and last name, user name, and create and confirm your password, or input an existing email address to connect to Gmail by clicking on “Use my current email address instead” (see Optional instruction below)
- Enter a phone number where Google can text you a verification code, and then enter the code when prompted
- Enter your birth date and gender (optional)
- Accept the terms and conditions and start using Gmail
Add an existing email (optional): Update settings in Gmail to “Add another email address.” Go to Gmail > Settings > Accounts > Add another email address > Treat as an alias > Update credentials (e.g., STMP server).
ProtonMail: Best Security & Privacy in a Free Business Email Solution
ProtonMail is Proton’s answer to a secure email service—and they take security very seriously. They’re headquartered in Switzerland, meaning your account is protected by Swiss privacy and neutrality laws. They guarantee end-to-end and zero-access encryption, not just in your mail, but in your Proton Contacts and Calendar as well. Proton also encrypts mail sent to your recipients (even those not on Proton) with their password-protected email feature.
Aside from encryption, ProtonMail allows self-destructing messages to be sent to any contact, even those not in the Proton system. Proton also automatically blocks tracking pixels and hides your IP, so your mail can’t be used to generate ads.
To get all of these features, simply create a free ProtonMail account. With this account, you’ll also get limited access to Proton’s Calendar, VPN, and Drive. To upgrade your features, like access to a custom domain for your emails, purchase a Business account starting at $3.99 a month. You’ll also get up to 10 email addresses, 15GB of storage, and unlimited messages.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With ProtonMail
Here are the steps to get a free business email address with ProtonMail:
- Go to https://Proton.me/mail and click “Create a free account”
- Click “Get Proton for free” on the next page
- Fill out your account information and create an account
- Verify your account
- Choose a display name
After creating your free email account on Proton, you can also import your existing email to Proton’s servers using “Easy Switch.” Easy Switch is a one-step email import solution located on the menu to the left.
IONOS: Best for Businesses Wanting Email on a Custom Domain
IONOS (formerly 1&1 by IONOS) isn’t yet a household name for domain registration and web hosting in the U.S., but is one of the top providers in Europe. It’s also one of the cheapest business email providers.
IONOS’ email hosting plans start as low as $1 per month and come with a free email domain. However, you can also get a free email account through IONOS by purchasing a business domain name for $1 the first year ($20 per year thereafter).
If you need a website, you can also get a free business email address in IONOS’ all-in-one website builder plans, starting at $1 per month or $5 monthly the first year, including for ecommerce sites. You can learn more about IONOS’ site builder in our list of the best cheap website builders for small businesses.
With your free professional email address from IONOS, you can get your mail via any browser on IONOS’ proprietary email interface. It’s intuitive and easy to use, with additional perks, including a calendar, address book, and tasks.
You can also import multiple email accounts to see all your emails in one place. It’s also easy to set up your new email account in Outlook or Gmail through IMAP or POP and other settings, so you can use your free business email through any business email app you prefer. If you need help, you can quickly connect with an IONOS technician via web chat or call-back for one-on-one support.
Getting your email free through IONOS starts with choosing a domain name. If you need help, read our article on how to choose a domain name for your business.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With IONOS
You can get a free email account in IONOS’ website builder plans, web hosting plans, or with purchase of a domain. Here are the steps for getting your email when buying a domain on IONOS:
- Go to IONOS/domains/domain-names and search for your desired domain
- Follow the steps to purchase the domain and create your IONOS account
- In your IONOS dashboard, navigate to email addresses and create a new email address
- (Optional) Add your new email to Outlook or Gmail (and other business email apps) following instructions available to you in IONOS knowledge base
Bluehost: Best for Businesses in Need of Multiple Email Accounts
Bluehost is a top web hosting provider that includes free business email with its web hosting plans. It’s best for those who plan to build a website with WordPress and need a domain name (e.g., yourbusiness.com) and web hosting. Bluehost also comes with one of the best WordPress page builders.
For as little as $2.95 per month, businesses get a free domain name, a free SSL certificate, and web hosting plus five free business emails. For unlimited email addresses, upgrade to at least the $9.95 per month Business plan. See how to create a custom email address with examples from Bluehost.
How to Get Free Business Email Addresses With Bluehost
It’s easy to get a free professional email address through Bluehost, which you can connect to Gmail or Outlook or access via any web browser through Bluehost webmail. Here’s how to get a free custom email address through Bluehost:
- Go to Bluehost and purchase a web hosting plan
- Choose a domain name
- Navigate to the Email Manager and create one or more business email addresses
- Connect your Bluehost email address to Gmail or Outlook
Google Workspace: Best Email & Productivity Suite for Collaborative Teams
Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is a complete suite of productivity and collaboration tools, such as a word processor (Google Docs), spreadsheet (Google Sheets), presentation software (Google Slides), video conferencing (Google Hangouts), calendar, and, of course, business email via Gmail. In short, Google Workspace is Google’s version of the Microsoft 365 suite, and they are the top two contenders in the U.S. and worldwide.
If you know you and your staff will need an office productivity suite in addition to an email client like Gmail or Outlook, knowing which to choose can be difficult. We’ve tried to make this easier by comparing them head to head, and invite you to read our Google Workspace vs Microsoft 365 review to learn more.
One clear advantage Google Workspace offers over Microsoft 365 is for collaborative teams. Microsoft users can share documents back and forth, but team members can’t work on them simultaneously, whereas they can with Workspace apps.
Also, Google Workspace apps are cloud-based, so all features are available to users via desktop and mobile devices starting in the base tier. Microsoft 365 users must upgrade to the Apps plan (doesn’t include Teams) or the second-tier Standard plan to get desktop apps.
If you’re a small business hesitant to spend yet still want the Google experience, getting a free email account through Gmail may still be the best option for you. If your team needs office software, getting free email accounts as part of your productivity suite will save you money over separate email hosting.
If you don’t yet have a domain name, Google Workspace makes it easy to register for one during the sign-up process. You can purchase a domain during the account creation process, which will automatically connect to your new custom email account, eliminating the headache of manually configuring domains and mail exchange (MX) records.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With Google Workspace
Unlike the first four options on this list, there is some cost involved in getting your email account through Google Workspace, including purchase of a domain and a Google Workspace plan. Here’s how to set up your free email address when using Google Workspace:
- Get a domain name from a top business domain registrar (or purchase one when signing up for Google Workspace)
- Go to Google Workspace and purchase a plan
- Set up your administrative console from the Google Workspace homepage
- Verify your domain
- Create your business email address
Microsoft 365: Best Email & Productivity Suite for Advanced Features & Automations
Similar to Gmail and Google Workspace, getting Outlook email through Microsoft 365 provides a full collaboration and productivity suite for your organization. This includes the well-known Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams, which made our list of the best video conferencing software for small businesses.
While Microsoft and Google have similar tools for productivity and collaboration, Microsoft’s cheapest plan allows up to 300 video conferencing members, while Google has a cap of 100 (for the same price). Similarly, Microsoft 365 wins in lower tiers for storage per user, granting 1TB vs 30GB with Google Workspace’s base plan.
In addition, Microsoft 365’s software is generally more advanced (but therefore also more complex, making it somewhat less intuitive) than Google Workspace. This applies to Outlook business email as well, and you can see the differences in how Gmail vs Outlook stacks up by reading our head-to-head comparison.
Something unique to Microsoft 365 is that it has a Power Automate feature that automates day-to-day tasks within the Microsoft ecosystem. This low-code feature has a drag-and-drop tool, making it easy for businesses to work more efficiently through artificial intelligence.
In addition, many third-party integrations come Outlook-ready. Also, within the email interface, you’ll find many ways to automate the way your email is sorted and how to customize your interface view. For more details, read our list of 10 Outlook features that can improve your team’s productivity and efficiency.
How to Get a Free Business Email Address With Microsoft 365
Like Google Workspace, Microsoft 365 doesn’t come with a free domain name, so you’ll want to buy a business domain name before signing up. Here’s how to connect an existing domain to set up your Microsoft 365 (and Outlook business email) account:
- Get a domain name
- Head to Microsoft 365, select a plan, and add your contact information, set a user name, and add your payment information
- Go to https://admin.microsoft.com/ (and log in, if you aren’t already)
- Then, choose “Go to setup”
- Add your domain in the appropriate step
- Follow the rest of the setup wizard’s instructions
- Create a business email address
For more detailed guidance, read our step-by-step instructions for how to set up Microsoft Outlook business email.
Squarespace: Best for Businesses Needing a Full Web Presence
Squarespace is a top website builder for small businesses, offering a way to easily build a website and grow their business online. Squarespace’s Business plan provides a one-year free subscription to Google Workspace, including a free Gmail business email account on your domain (also included with annually billed plans).
While this seems pricey ($23 per month, billed annually), keep in mind all that it includes. This plan comes with a free domain ($12 to $15 value), website hosting with unlimited storage and bandwidth, a drag-and-drop site builder, more than 100 free Squarespace templates to get you started, and the productivity suite, which would cost you from $6 to $18 a month otherwise.
Still, this isn’t the most cost-effective solution unless you haven’t built a small business website yet and plan to do so. If you already have an existing website and domain, Zoho Mail would be a far cheaper option. You can set up as many as five email accounts completely free or get Zoho’s productivity and collaboration software in plans that start at $3 per user.
Do you like the idea of getting web hosting and a free domain and business email account for one year in a site builder plan but prefer Microsoft 365? Opt for a GoDaddy website builder plan starting from $9.99 the first year instead.
How to Access Google Workspace Through Squarespace
To start, go to Squarespace and sign up for an account. You’ll be prompted to choose a theme, and then you will be brought to the user-friendly site editor, where you can build your site. To publish your site, you’ll need to update to a paid plan. After doing so, you can choose a domain and access your free Google Workspace account, which includes business email.
- Go to Squarespace and create an account
- Choose a template and build your site
- Purchase a business plan
- Set up your free Gmail for business email address in the user dashboard
Pro tip: To create a professional email address for maximum brand credibility, it’s best to get a custom domain to use for your website and business email. Check out the list of ways to register a business domain name, including options that offer a free domain and email hosting alongside other business tools you’ll need, such as WordPress web hosting or a site builder.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How can I get a free business email without a domain?
If you don’t want to purchase a custom domain to use for email, we recommend Outlook. You can create a free email address for your business that leverages the credibility of the Microsoft reputation with an Outlook extension, such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Then, when you’re ready, purchase a domain and set up a Microsoft business email to build your brand’s presence and reputation.
What are the best business email providers?
The best business email providers are reliable, easy to use, and affordable, with platforms that are feature-rich with ample storage. We recommend Bluehost for those who need web hosting and Google Workspace or Microsoft 365 for those who already have a website but need business email. However, if budget is your top concern, check out our list of the best cheap email hosting providers for small businesses.
Which is better for business email: Outlook or Gmail?
Your choice of email client between Outlook vs Gmail comes down to the features you want as well as which productivity suite (Google Workspace or Microsoft 365) you prefer. If you’ve already committed to productivity software, use the corresponding email app. If not, Gmail is the better option for collaborative teams (as is Google Workspace). Small businesses looking for advanced features and security will find that Outlook (and Microsoft 365) is best.
Business email can quickly add up for those who need multiple email addresses, given that there’s no legit way to get a number of free email addresses for businesses. The best way to get a high volume of email addresses is through a web hosting provider, such as Bluehost, which includes many free business emails, a free domain name, and web hosting for your WordPress site for as little as $2.95 per month.