Updated November 3, 2022

Best Small Business Email Providers

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The best email hosting platforms offer more than just a domain name. They also help your business thrive. Find the right one here.

As a small business owner, you're going to rely on emails a lot. You need them to touch base with customers, stand out from competitors, and manage operations. Using the best email service is necessary to drive up productivity and revenue.

But finding the right platform can be hard. Especially if you don't know what you need yet.

You can find your perfect match on this narrow list. Learn how to spot good deals and find desirable features in a product. And don't worry. There is an option for every budget.

What is Email Hosting & Why You Should Get It

Business owners know that a consistent brand boosts reliability. And that's why most enterprises invest in their web and email hosting providers. To have disciplined branding.

Email hosting provides you with a business email that matches your domain name (name@yourbusiness.com). It also gives you:

  • A professional business email
  • Secure emails, messages, and other company data
  • Receive technical support from service providers
  • Large and sometimes expandable storage space
  • Collaborative tools that make work easier

It's simple. People are more likely to choose services from a professional-looking email. If you were a customer, which one would you trust more:

  • cs.amandacookies@gmail.com
  • customerservice@amandacookies.com

Most people would go for the second option. It's distinct and blunt. And anyone who sees that address will instantly know what it is for.

Getting a domain name isn't just for the aesthetic—it's purely business. It shows how much you're willing to go for your brand. It's your proof that you care, even for the tiniest details.

Here's where to put your money.

Top picks for the best email hosting services platforms

Best Email Hosting Platforms for Small Businesses

Finding the right email hosting platform doesn't have to be a lengthy and tiring process. But sometimes it's hard in a sea full of similar options.

Here's a handy list to save you hours of research.

Google Workspace: Overall best for collaboration and large teams

Google Workspace is best for large teams from different expertise levels. And with its easy-to-use design, anyone can easily onboard and navigate the platform.

It is one of the few service providers that offer comprehensive workspace tools for big teams.

Key Features
Here you get great inbox systems with filtering, labels, and grammar tools.

You also get to work with extensive productivity tools like Sheets, Keep, Slides, Calendar, and more. Plus, with Gmail, you can integrate apps like Notion and Asana into your inbox. And get updates directly into your mail.

Plus, the Workspace is highly intuitive so even beginners can navigate the platform. This will come in handy whether you're working with managers who struggle to comprehend new tech. They also have monthly payments that you can cancel anytime.

But there's a caveat. Workspace has limited storage plans and low attachment limits. Big files are converted into Google Drive links, which can be a hassle to open. Users also get ads in their emails.

Finally, you would also have to pay extra to get increments of storage space. The domain is also a separate purchase from the email hosting.

FeaturesLimitations
Easy setup and beginner-friendly user designDomain must be bought separately from plans
Video conferencing tool for up to 500 participants in their premium planOnly 25MB maximum attachment limit[1]
Comes with business productivity tools from the Google WorkspaceHas only 30GB of storage, need extra payment to expand
Built-in spam and phishing protection

Best For
It may be a great option for big businesses, but there are cheaper options for startups and one-man teams. If you aren't going to take advantage of their integrations and tools, you are better off with other options.

Google Workspace Pricing[2]

  • Business Starter plan: $6/month
  • Business Standard plan: $12/month
  • Business Plus plan: $18/month

Google Workspace offers a free 14-day trial.

Microsoft 365: Best advanced features and is ideal for large files

The Microsoft 365 system is great to track and organize workflows within a company. Ideally, it's best for businesses that work with large format documents like video renders and music videos.

Key Features
When it comes to managing emails, assigning tasks, and creating appointments, Microsoft is a notch better than Google. Apart from the usual services of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, it also hosts Teams, Skype, and MileIQ to track mileage.

Through Bookings, you can even set meetings on your team's calendar. Plus, their video conferencing feature can also host up to 500 attendees. So there's no shortage of advanced features here. But it can get pricey.

If you want email hosting services that only have core features, it's best to opt for cheaper or more user-friendly alternatives like IONOS or Zoho Mail. Both provide basic security needs and email hosting services just fine. Microsoft Outlook is a bit on the higher end, so unless you can use all their features, it's not a great choice.

FeaturesLimitations
Most storage space of a low-tier plan at 1TBEntry-level plan doesn't come in a desktop version
150MB attachment limits[3]No free domain
Comes with the collaboration and productivity toolsAnnual commitment is required
Synchronizes data across Microsoft apps

Best For
Microsoft 365 is best for companies that need advanced administrative features to organize big teams. It has a base limit of 1TB of cloud storage, the most storage of any entry-level plan, so it's great for most industries.

The platform has a generally low learning curve, so it's great for big teams that have diverse age groups.

Microsoft 365 Pricing[4]

  • Business Basic plan: $6 a month
  • Business Standard: $12.50 a month
  • Business Premium plan: $22 a month

Which is better for business: Gmail or Outlook?
They may have similar features, but these two have small differences here and there. Their prices are around the same ballpark and their security features are at par with each other. But here's where they differ.

Gmail's strongest suit isn't its email service. It's the expansive wealth of productivity tools they have for collaboration. You can get tons of integrations and updates—all to your inbox. Plus, you don't need to be committed to their plans, as they charge monthly.

But if you want to use advanced email tools and have better storage, Outlook is the way to go. It also has a low learning curve and has been used by most businesses for far longer.

Their email system lets you organize your inbox and create meetings smoothly. It's great if you don't mind an annual commitment. Apart from that, it also has advanced admin and security support.

Zoho Mail: Best for companies on a budget

Zoho is a Google Workspace alternative that users can get online. It is a great option for businesses who are looking to have free email hosting and buy other low-cost plans. Their premium plan only costs $6, the same as Gmail's entry-level plan.

Key Features
Zoho Mail is an ideal option if you are involved in the digital marketing industry because of its high attachment limits. It can send up to 1GB for outgoing emails.[5] Plus, in paid plans, they provide free SSL/TLS certificates to strengthen security.

With the Workplace plans, users get access to shared calendars, video conferencing tools, and shared documents and sheets. Similar to Outlook and Gmail.

Unfortunately, Zoho doesn't offer free domain names in any of its plans. This is inconvenient and might even be a dealbreaker for other businesses who don't want to pay extra fees. For an all-in-one platform, check Bluehost instead.

FeaturesLimitations
Integrates with Zoho's own productivity tools for Workplace planAdmin panel is hard to use for new users
Email system has a lot more options for integrationDoesn't come with a free domain
Discovery feature allows for email retention policiesLow storage limits across all plans
High attachment limits ideal for videos and hi-res photos

Best For
Overall, Zoho Mail might be appealing to businesses who want to make use of their Forever Free Plan. It provides basic security, storage space, and email hosting for up to five email accounts.

While it has very limited features, it's a quick and cheap way to get email hosting from a reliable source. And their paid plans offer great tools as well.

Zoho Mail Pricing[6]

  • Forever Free Plan: $0
  • Mail Lite: $1 a month
  • Zoho Workplace: $3 a month
  • Mail Premium: $4 a month
  • Workplace Professional: $6 a month

Bluehost: Best for new companies

Bluehost is best for businesses who want to get a working site and email as soon as possible. It's a leading provider that has it all: web hosting, free domains, SSL certificates, and more. Because of this, Bluehost is great for startups that want to get a strong online following quickly. And at a low cost.

Key Features
The best part about Bluehost is that you can get WordPress-backed website builders. So, you don't need to have a lot of experience to get your site up and running.

Though with Bluehost, you can't get the email hosting service without getting the web hosting feature. Depending on your needs, this may be dismissible or a dealbreaker.

While plan prices are ideal, renewal of the contract after the first year costs a lot more. More than double, in fact. Storage is also on the lower end of the spectrum.

FeaturesLimitations
Free domain name included in all plansUsers must get the web hosting with the email hosting feature
Offers both web and email hosting for only $2.95 a monthFree domain only lasts for a year, followed by a high price increase the next
Unlimited accounts and sites for users for their Plus, Choice Plus, and Pro plans
Offers SSL/TLS security certificates and domain privacy policies

Best For
If your business can make use of unlimited sites, email accounts, and storage per account, it's a good investment.

This service is best for people who don't want to spend too much learning the ropes behind email hosting. It's also great for large teams, because of Bluehost's unlimited account policy.

Bluehost Pricing[7]

  • Basic: Starts at $2.95 a month and costs $9.99 to renew
  • Plus: Starts at $5.45 a month and costs $14.99 to renew
  • Choice Plus: Starts at $5.45 and costs $18.99 to renew
  • Pro: Starts at $13.95 and costs $28.99 to renew

Rackspace: Best for companies that want email hosting only

Rackspace doesn't have a lot of work tools like most providers. It only provides email hosting, which is great if you want to cut down on costs. Aside from that, you also get anti-virus protection and a no-ad experience. You can also access Rackspace using Outlook.

Key Features
Rackspace does not offer many features, but what it does have is worth every buck. It has decent file storage at 25GB, strong privacy rules, and a customizable business plan.

They also have communication tools to help streamline work. Here, you can attach files from Dropbox, use a chat feature, and list tasks and notes. You can also add options like email archiving.

But some email providers have better deals for cheap. And some user reviews say that Rackspace used to have some problems notifying clients when systems are down. Unlike other services, it also doesn't have a free plan, which can hurt businesses on a budget.

FeaturesLimitations
Great user privacy policiesCustomer service could be better
Decent 50MB attachments[8] and 30GB file storageDoesn't offer free trials
Plans are customizable, with lots of add-onsSeamless migration from other platforms
Offers fully managed hosting services

Best For
If you're only looking for an email hosting service and don't need tons of tools, this is ideal for you. This is especially great for small teams who don't need advanced workspace tools and only want the domain and the email hosting.

Overall, it's a good option if you want to touch base with your team for daily tasks.

Rackspace Pricing[9]

  • Rackspace Email: $2.99 per user a month
  • Rackspace Email Plus: $3.99 per user a month

IONOS: Best advanced features and ideal for large files

IONOS is best for sole proprietors who want a free domain name on a budget. It's one of the cheapest service providers in the market but still comes with a free domain in all their plans.

Key Features
IONOS provides SSL certificates and TLS data encryption for better security. It even has anti-virus and anti-phishing protection for its emails. On top of that, they also give users an option to integrate with Outlook and Gmail.

Though their plans are solid, don't expect advanced features from this service. If you have a big team and need to manage emails, workflow, and production, you won't be able to create appointments and assign tasks here. Storage space for entry-level plans is also low; they only offer 2GB of space for their base plan.

FeaturesLimitations
All plans include a free domain nameOnly has advanced features like collaboration tools for the premium plan
Free SSL/TLS encryption certificates and anti-spam filtersNo video conferencing options
High attachment limit for sending and receiving filesLow storage space for entry-level plans
Attractive price points for all plans

Best For
IONOS is perfect for freelancers and other creatives who want a custom email address for cheap. It's great if you're working with heavy data files like videos, renders, and even audio mixes.

Businesses on a tight budget can save a lot of money with their free domain names. You won't get advanced features here, but it's a safe option if you just want a custom domain.

IONOS Pricing[10]

  • Mail Basic 1: $1 a month
  • Mail Basic 1+: $4 a month
  • Mail Business: $5 a month

ProtonMail: Best for security and privacy

Proton is best for individuals who want a tight level of security in their email exchanges. It is an open-source service and uses end-to-end encryption, so no one will be able to tap into your emails.

Key Features
Users can sign up anonymously, thanks to the company's strict no-log-in policy. On top of that, you can schedule emails to self-destruct. You can also create multiple addresses and link them to one account to send emails anonymously.

Proton has a free version where users can get 1GB of storage and send less than 150 emails a day. But, apart from that, Proton only has limited storage space and no access to workspace tools. However, you do get priority support and a custom email domain if you get their paid plans.

FeaturesLimitations
Privacy and security-focused. Securely store your contacts' detailsOnly 25MB maximum attachment limit[11]
Unlimited messages per dayBulk promotional or programmatic email sending is not supported
Quickly transfer your emails, calendars, or contacts from any providerLow storage space for entry-level plan
ProtonMail and other third parties won't be able to access your messages

Best For
Proton is not ideal for most businesses that prioritize storage and collaborative features.

It has one of the lowest total storage spaces for any service provider. And you won't get access to any collaborative tools But, its advanced security features are top-notch and extremely reliable.

If you're looking to use it for everyday communications, it would be a great choice. Proton is billed monthly, but you would save more money by choosing their 12-month plan.

Proton Pricing (Proton for Business)[12]

  • Proton Mail Essentials: $7.99/month
  • Proton Business: $12.99/month
  • Proton Enterprise: (Custom based on your needs)

Amazon WorkMail: Best for niche retailers

If you want to sell online, Amazon WorkMail can boost your know-how in operating a niche e-commerce brand. It is ideal for businesses that already have technical experience with email hosting. The best part is that here, you won't need to pay for features you aren't going to use.

Key Features
They only offer one base plan at $4. This comes with SSL/TLS certificates, a 50GB email storage, and a 25MB attachment limit.[13]

Its add-on service options can address the needs of small businesses. Amazon Web Services has over 200 services in 100 categories from different kinds of niches: beauty, health, medicine, and more.

But unless you add the AWS integrations, the base package is bland and lacking compared to other hosting services. There are no collaborative tools you can work with and no way to increase storage. Plus, the cost of the integration and customizations can really drive up the price of your plan.

FeaturesLimitations
Comes with SSL/TLS certification for better securityLow attachment limits at only 25MB for sending and receiving files
Email storage space per user is at 50GBAdding integrations can get pricey
Users can customize their own Amazon integrations from 100 business categoriesStorage is not unlimited
Offers email integration with Outlook

Best For
In short, Amazon WorkMail is best for a specific kind of business. Specifically, if you're into eCommerce and need the numbers, analytics, and knowledge to scale. But most especially if you're already using AWS.

If you're a beginner, it might be best to wean off this service. The integrations can get a bit technical.

Amazon WorkMail Pricing[14]

  • Amazon WorkMail: $4 a month

What Features To Look When Choosing Email for Small Business

Don't see anything that you like from our list? That's fine. There are still plenty of options out there. Here are some ways to identify if a service provider is worth investing in or not.

  • Customer support: Mail servers are the cornerstone of your team. When storage and mail services are down, it can cause delays in operations. It's best to find a web host that has 24/7 chat or mail support. Or at least, has a history of resolving problems quickly.

  • Security features: Don't scrimp when it comes to securing your data. Look into the service's anti-phishing policies. Do they have anti-spam bots and warnings for possible scam emails? A two-factor authentication system and SSL/TLS certificates are also good indicators of their security policy.

  • Custom domains: The most important aspect of an email hosting platform is whether or not they let you choose your own domain name. Some give you free domain names, but others don't. Find out how much this matters to you.

  • Storage space: You should also check how much email and cloud space these services provide. If you're working with large files, you need to look into how expandable their offers are. And how they are priced. Some providers charge per increase, but some offer unlimited storage after a base payment.

  • Attachment limits: Low attachment and sending limits suck. It's a hassle to send files and open them. With poor attachment limits, communication takes longer than it should. This isn't really a dealbreaker, but it can make a difference to people who need to send large format files quickly.

Depending on what you need, you will rank some features higher than the rest. The key is to take in other factors like subscription rate, plan inclusions, and usability.

How To Name A Good Professional Email

The best way to come up with a professional image is to use your first and last name. For instance, johnsmith@mycookies.com works. But what happens when that's not available?

Here are other acceptable variations.

  • john@mycookies.com
  • johns@mycookies.com
  • sjohn@mycookies.com
  • smithjohn@mycookies.com
  • john.smith@mycookies.com
  • john_smith@mycookies.com
  • john-smith@mycookies.com
  • jsmith@mycookies.com

You can play around with where you place your first and last name. You can even use a nickname. But it's a rule of thumb to avoid numbers and unnecessary punctuation marks.

Remember: Simplicity is key. It should be easy for people to copy or type your email address.

If you are planning to grant an email address for a specific business purpose, stick to one word. This email will most likely be where your partners and customers talk to you the most. You want to make it approachable and blunt.

  • support@mycookies.com
  • inquiries@mycookies.com
  • finance@mycookies.com

Professional emails should be self-explanatory. Don't make people think hard about who they're talking to. And be consistent. When you have decided on a format, make sure that your team follows suit. Having different styles can create confusion. Both for your team and your audience.

How The Platforms Were Chosen

There are tons of email hosting servers out there. So how did this list get so narrow?

Here are the used metrics.

Budget-FriendlyMust have fair pricing plans in different price points
Security BenefitsMust have strong anti-phishing programs and user privacy policies
Storage FlexibilityMust have fair storage spaces; expandable storage is a plus
Custom Domain NameMust have custom domain names available in their plans
Email and Web HostingMust provide at least one or both hosting services
Attachment LimitBigger attachment limits are preferred
Ease of UseIntuitive designs are preferred
Workspace ToolsAccess to productivity and management tools are a plus
Customer SupportMust have reliable customer support that responds to emails, chats, etc.

Not every service platform will check all the boxes. But the best platforms provide most or at least one specialized feature that stands out. So, if a service lacks one feature, it's a dealbreaker.

You can find services at different price points and certain services depending on your needs. There's Proton for security, Bluehost for its all-in-one features, and IONOS for budget-friendly businesses.

So no matter what you're looking for, there's a platform for your business.

FAQs

How to create a custom email address for business?
You have to secure a domain name first through places like Google or GoDaddy. Then you pay for the email hosting service separately. Make sure to keep your email name professional and simple.

And if you can, secure a domain name as soon as possible. Many other businesses are competing with you for your domain. You wouldn't want to find out that someone has already bought your name. So as soon as you've made up your mind, secure your domain name.

Can you host an email and website domain separately?
Generally, it's recommended that you find a platform that can do both. Especially if you're a small company that's just starting out. It can be hard to learn the ropes with all the technical work involved. In most cases, service providers provide both.

Should I get a free email hosting provider?
There are a lot of free email hosting services online. But usually, you won't be able to get a personalized domain name. It's not recommended to use free services from sketchy brands. They usually have weak security measures and poor customer support.

A good free plan is Zoho Mail's forever free plan. It hosts up to five email accounts for free, though it has limited features. If you are a small team, you might be tempted to just use your personal email for business. That's fine too. But if you want to improve customer rapport, it's best to invest in an email hosting service.

Bottom Line

Email hosting platforms are not going to be your priority purchase when starting a business. But it should be one of your goals to get one in the long run. Like a website, it won't seem like an important investment, but it serves a critical role in connecting with your market.

And, if you're not sure if it's worth it, you can always try their free or practice trials.

Overall, the best email hosting service in 2022 is still Google Workspace. Despite its higher-end price point, the collaborative tools and productivity features it offers are hard to beat. It also has a great user design.

That being said, if you're already using Microsoft tools, Microsoft 365 is pretty hard to beat. Especially if you want advanced email management for large groups.

But Google and Microsoft are pretty pricey options. For companies that have a smaller budget, IONOS is the top pick. That, or Zoho's Forever Free Plan. Meanwhile, Bluehost is another all-in-one service that's beginner-friendly and also offers a free domain name.

Choose what fits your business. Depending on what the work is, your budget, priority features, and tools you need can differ.

References

  1. ^ Google Workspace. Gmail receiving limits in Google Workspace, Retrieved 8/28/22
  2. ^ Google Workspace. Pricing Plan, Retrieved 8/28/22
  3. ^ Microsoft. Message limits, Retrieved 8/28/2022
  4. ^ Microsoft. Microsoft 365 for business, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  5. ^ Zoho. Huge Attachments, Retrieved 8/28/2022
  6. ^ Zoho. Mail Pricing, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  7. ^ Bluehost. Shared Hosting, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  8. ^ Rackspace. Email FAQ: What is the maximum size for an attachment?, Retrieved 8/28/22
  9. ^ Rackspace. Rackspace Email Pricing, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  10. ^ IONOS. Plans, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  11. ^ Proton. Attachment and email size limits, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  12. ^ Proton. Proton for Business, Retrieved 6/24/2022
  13. ^ Amazon Web Services. Working with attachments, Retrieved 8/28/22
  14. ^ Amazon Web Services. Amazon WorkMail Pricing, Retrieved 6/24/2022

Write to Sabrina Go at feedback@creditdonkey.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

Note: This website is made possible through financial relationships with some of the products and services mentioned on this site. We may receive compensation if you shop through links in our content. You do not have to use our links, but you help support CreditDonkey if you do.

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