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Email is still the ultimate connection point between companies and their customers.
89% of companies say they use email as their primary channel for gaining leads, and 72% of consumers say they prefer to use email as their main avenue of brand communication. Email is also a crucial part of running a successful business, offering an easy way to connect with colleagues, track information and shared files, and even supplementing customer service.
For businesses keen to make an impact online, an email hosting provider is a crucial initial investment. The question is, which hosting provider should you choose?
There are plenty of providers ready to give you your own domain for email communication, access to shared calendars and more. It can be difficult to determine which option is best at first glance.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of some of the best providers in 2021.
Email Hosting Options
The first step in shopping for an email hosting provider, is determining how you’re going to host your email. The top options include:
Shared web and email hosting: Shared web and email hosting means you get your email hosting as part of your web hosting package. The majority of website hosting options available today also offer email hosting as standard.
Self-hosted email: If you have your own servers, you can host your email on those rather than working with a third-party. Although you’ll get more customization and control this way, there are disadvantages too, such having to manage your own server, and preventing your messages from being marked as spam.
Third-party email hosting: if you need more features than a web host can provide, look into third-party hosted email providers. These hosts help with reducing the costs of self-hosting. A subscription to a hosted email service often comes with shared calendars and contacts, built-in team chat, and more.
Crucially, it’s worth noting that an email hosting provider and email client aren’t the same things. An email host allows you to receive and send email messages. An email client (or app) is what you would use to read and write your emails.
What to Look for in an Email Hosting Service
Before you start hunting for the best email hosting provider, you need to decide what kind of features you need moat. Generally, most email hosting options included with web hosting are pretty basic, and if you choose to host your email yourself, you’ll be able to build your own features in (provided you have the developer knowledge). This means the biggest decisions are often made when searching for a third-party hosting provider.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the best email service, but you can usually expect at least some of the following features:
A custom domain: This is an absolute must-have for your email hosting solution. You need a custom domain on your email so you can create a professional image for yourself, or your business. The domain will ensure that instead of sending messages to you at @gmail.com, your customers can contact you @businessname.com.
Support: This is something you can get from an email hosting solution that combines with your web hosting service. However, you’re likely to get a higher level of support from a specialist third-party host. Support will include all kinds of guidance from a team of professionals, including initial set-up directions, and professional technical help if you have a problem with your email performance.
Team features: Many leading email hosting options come with various tools to keep teams connected in the back end of the business. After all, most companies involve more than one person. An email host with team features might offer things like integrated team-chat, conferencing, and shared calendars on the back end of your software.
Bonus tools: Some email hosting providers even offer bonus features to improve your company’s performance. For instance, solutions like G-Suite and Office 365 come with a host of productivity tools to keep your team working at their best. There are also solutions out there offering integrations with the tools your employees use every day, like Microsoft Teams, or Salesforce for CRM management.
Security features: You can route all of your emails through applications which help to protect against things like filters and spam. However, most businesses will prefer to use tools with these features already built in. The right email provider should be able to give you peace of mind that your emails will remain secure. You can also use filtering to ensure you’re less likely to click on an email or download an attachment with a virus.
Storage: Mailbox storage is a commonly sought-after feature of many email hosting providers. If your employees are communicating with clients and customers through email, you’ll need to be able to store some of those messages securely for compliance and auditing purposes. Make sure your hosting provider offers plenty of storage.
Sending limits: Each provider will allow you to send a certain number of files and attachments, according to your individual needs. Many come with file-sharing tools that can also help you out if you want to send much larger documents for any reason.
The Best Email Hosting Providers for 2021
Now we’ve looked at the types of email hosting provider you can choose, and you have a good idea of the kind of features you’ll want to look for, we can begin to examine some of the best hosting providers available in 2021. We’ve chosen these hosting solutions thanks to their wide selection of features, accessibility, and ease of use.
Better-known as G-Suite to many people, Google Workspace is one of the most popular productivity tools in the world. The environment is home to a range of tools intended to make businesses more efficient and productive, including cloud-based documents and spreadsheets, Google Meet for conversations, and even Gmail, for email communication.
The Google Workspace offers a range of fantastic features for companies of all sizes, and it also has the benefit of being a familiar choice for a lot of users. Many people already use Google tools for organizing their daily lives. So, adapting to the Google workspace is a pretty straightforward process. Business email hosting with Google gives you secure, ad-free email management in a clean and effective environment.
You get your own domain so you can brand all your email messages, and there’s a host of robust integrations to explore too, such as Google Chat, or external applications. You can even access smart technology, like AI-infused smart reply and compose features, designed to help you stay on top of your workload. Features include:
99.9% guaranteed uptime
Simple migration services included
Integrations with Outlook, Apple, and Thunderbird
Built-in security and virus protection
Smarts compose and reply suggestions
Integration with the rest of Google Workspace
Shared calendars and secure internal messaging
Custom email addresses
30 GB of cloud storage
Pricing starts at around $6 per user per month for the basic Business Starter plan, and there’s 24/7 support available to help you out whenever you have any issues with deliverability.
Similar to Gmail, Zoho Mail is a component of a wider digital workspace – the Zoho Workspace. This environment may not be quite as well-known as G-Suite, but it’s an excellent tool for smaller businesses. Designed for companies operating on a tight budget, Zoho comes with access to things like free mobile apps, pricing for as little as $1 per month, and a range of productivity options.
Zoho Mail is secure and simple, with a control panel that allows you to manage all of your configuration and customization requirements. You can track all of your communications in the same place and get a fantastic 99.9% uptime guarantee. Zoho also supports excellent security with powerful encryption.
Pricing starts as small as just $1 per user per month if you just want email. If you want access to the full Zoho workspace, you can start with pricing at $3 per user per month. With email recall and archiving features, and access to a range of tools to bring your employees together, Zoho is an affordable and appealing choice for small businesses. Features include:
25MB of email attachments
5GB of storage
Email hosting for various domains
Tasks and bookmarks
Free mobile applications
24/7 technical support
Business calendars and appointment scheduling
Zoho Mail is a good choice if you’re a small business owner, or solo entrepreneur looking for a way to unlock great email features with minimal initial expense.
Just as Google has G-Suite (Google Workspace) to offer the world of productivity and email management, Microsoft has Office 365. Office 365 combines everything you need to keep your business running smoothly, including things like Word, Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint. You’ll also have access to Microsoft collaboration tools like Teams.
The Office 365 hosting solution is “Exchange” or “Exchange Online.” The solution comes with things like email hosting and custom email domain addresses, a 20MB maximum file attachment size, 50GB of storage per user, and automatic syncing across devices. You can even access intelligent email suggestions and other unique features to make your team more productive.
You can access this feature as part of the Microsoft 365 experience, starting at around $12.50 per month, or you can purchase it as a standalone solution, which is ideal if you already have other productivity features to use. Exchange on its own is only $4 per month, but it’s definitely worth looking into the full package if you plan on using other Microsoft tools. Features include:
24/7 phone and web support
1TB of storage on OneDrive
50GB mailbox per user
Data loss prevention
1TB file storage per person
Automatic syncing across all devices
Easy creation and management of email addresses.
If you get the full Microsoft package, you’ll also have access to online and desktop versions of Office applications like Excel, video conferencing, file sharing, and more.
Excellent as part of a comprehensive productivity suite
Ideal if you’re looking for email hosting and nothing else, Rackspace is an affordable email solution offering secured support for a range of business types. One of the biggest benefits of Rackspace is the approach it takes to customer service and support. Support is available 24/7 all throughout the year from Racksapce, and you even get access to easy migrations from older email hosts.
You can use Rackspace alongside Outlook and mobile applications, and it comes with things like premium spam and virus protection to protect you from potential problems. The more you’re willing to spend, the more you can access in terms of archived email storage, Active Sync for when you’re away from the computer, and even push email access.
Racksapce also offers a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange if you want to get the experience of running Exchange on your servers without the headaches of managing the technology yourself. Rackspace pricing starts quite low, at around £2.39 per month, and ranges up to £5.03 per month if you’re looking to add storage for archived email. Features include:
Expert support available year-round for any issues
Free and simple migrations
Outlook and mobile app support
Spam and virus protection
25GB mailbox storage
Unlimited email aliases
30GB of file storage
Shared calendaring and contacts
Microsoft Office integration
Another good thing to note about Rackspace is you don’t have to commit to a long-term contract to get involved. You can start with a fourteen free trial and cancel your subscription whenever you like once you join a paid plan.
Unlike other email hosting providers offering a combination of email and productivity tools, Bluehost is a solution combining web hosting for your site, with email functionality. Bluehost is among the most popular website hosting providers in the world, and it has one of the best file attachment limits for email, too, at around 50MB per email.
Perfect for smaller companies with a limited budget, Bluehost is surprisingly affordable for both web and email hosting. You can get a mailbox and Exchange Online calendar with up to 15GB of storage for only £3.61 per month without VAT. There’s also access to your own domain name for your email address and 24/7 technical support included.
Unlike most email hosting providers, Bluehost also offers the peace of mind that comes with world-class disaster recovery protection and security. The technical support is always on hand to help you if anything goes wrong. More expensive plans come with extra storage and capabilities. Features include:
Mailbox and calendar integration
Up to 50GB mailbox
Outlook web access
Domain nail email
World-class disaster recovery and security
1TB of cloud storage and file-sharing support
Access to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and other Microsoft 365 online or desktop tools, depending on your plan.
Multiple device access options per user
If you’re already using Bluehost as your hosting provider for your website, it definitely makes sense to check out the functionality for your email too. The service is incredible, and you can enjoy some fantastic disaster recovery too.
Intermedia, a leading collaboration and cloud communications company, offers email hosting through a hosted Microsoft Exchange email server. Intermedia stands as the largest independent provider of hosted Microsoft Exchange functionality. Rather than just giving you a convenient email hosting solution, Intermedia offers packages full of useful tools.
Along with an unlimited mailbox storage solution on every plan, you also get leading email protection to defend against phishing and spam, an amazing back-end control panel and active syncing for mobile. Intermedia’s solution also comes with access to video conferencing, email encryption, and a range of other tools too.
Unlike other email hosting solutions which often only offer high-level customer service for more expensive packages, every Intermedia email plan comes with 24/7 phone support and a free expert migration experience. Although pricing can be a little higher than some alternatives, starting at $7.49 per user per month, you do get a lot of functionality. Features include:
Exchange email access
Unlimited mailbox storage
Intermedia email protection
Hostpilot control panel
Active sync for mobile devices
Free expert migration
Intermedia video conferencing
Backup and file sharing
Email encryption and archiving
Optional access to Microsoft 365
Intermedia’s Exchange email solution is ideal of you’re nervous about migrating your existing company email to somewhere new. The product uses Microsoft Exchange, so you can expect excellent core features like shared calendars and contacts, and you get some amazing security built-in too.
Similarly to Bluehost, GoDaddy is a web hosting supplier with an email solution available for a small additional price. If you’re already running your website through GoDaddy, the email hosting solution has many benefits to offer, including high-level security and privacy protection, and an email address that matches your domain.
To compete with other leading email hosting providers, GoDaddy offers up to 50GB of storage per user, giving you enough room to store all of the content you need for your business. There’s also a wonderful search function, which makes it much easier to sort through your emails and find the information you need at speed. You can even buy a version of GoDaddy email hosting which comes with all your favorite Microsoft 365 apps.
Syncing is available to keep your inbox up-to-date wherever you go, and there’s the added benefit of knowing that you get a promise of 99.9% uptime from GoDaddy too. Prices start from as little as £2.49 per user per month, making this service quite an affordable option for smaller brands. You’ll need to commit to a three-year term to get the best savings, however. Features include:
Up to 50GB of storage
Contact and calendar syncing
Domain-based email address
Syncing across all devices
Up to 400 email aliases
Desktop version of Microsoft 365 apps available
Enhanced security and privacy protection
Email backup (as an add-on)
GoDaddy comes with plenty of features to ensure it goes above and beyond the standard email hosting experience. However, those features will be limited to the more expensive plans.
Ultimately, the best email hosting provider is the one you feel comfortable using for your business. The main options available on the market today often fall into one of two categories: email hosting offered as part of a productivity toolkit or hosting offered alongside web hosting services.
If you’re looking for a solution for email and you already have a website, then a solution like Microsoft 365 or G-Suite could give you access to extra productivity tools to boost business efficiency, along with your own email domain.
If you already have a contract with a website hosting organization, like GoDaddy or BlueHost, it’s worth checking out the email offers they have available. Being able to manage your website and email hosting in the same place is often a convenient option for most companies.
Good luck finding the right email hosting service.