When shopping for email hosting, the first decision you need to make is how you will host your email. You have three main options:
Shared Web and Email Hosting: Most web hosting providers also offer email hosting. For example, if you host your website through a provider like InMotion, you can host your email there as well. Often, email hosting is included with your web hosting subscription for free.
Self-Hosted Email: If you have your own servers, you can host your own email instead of going through a third-party provider. While self-hosting provides more control and customizability, it has its disadvantages. The added costs of servers and systems admins to maintain them, along with the challenge of keeping your email from being marked as spam, often makes third-party hosting the better option.
Third-Party Email Hosting: If you need more features than what your web host provides, look into hosted email providers. A third-party email host lets you avoid the costs of self-hosting. Plus, a subscription to a hosted email service often comes with other tools you need to run your business: shared contacts and calendars, built-in video conferencing, team chat, and more.
Finally, it’s important to understand the difference between an email hosting provider and an email client. An email host is what lets you send and receive email across networks. An email client (or email app) is the application you use to write and read emails. Your email host and client do not have to be the same. For example, you can send and receive emails hosted through G Suite on a desktop or mobile Microsoft Outlook app.
Features of E-Mail Hosting Services
So rather than looking at every possible feature of email hosting providers, we looked at the features that apply to most business types:
- Custom Domains: All of the email hosts featured below let you create email accounts using your company website domain address.
- 24/7 Support: If you do not already have a systems administrator on staff, you should not need to hire one just to manage your email. We selected tools that offer around-the-clock support, so there is always someone to help when you have questions or issues.
- Security Features: You could route all email through a third-party application to get features like spam- and virus-filtering, but most businesses are better off using a host that has those features built-in.
- Mailbox Storage: If your employees make business decisions or communicate with clients/customers by email, they will need plenty of storage room for archiving old emails. The providers we selected offer a minimum of 2GB of storage per user.
- Sending Size Limits: Each featured provider lets you send emails and attachments that are at least 25MB in size. Many also offer file-sharing or FTP tools that let you send larger files.
- Using these criteria, we selected the following eight hosted email providers. Read on to learn more about each option, or view our comparison chart at the end of this piece to find the one that is best for your business’s unique needs.