Getting an email account is easy. Sign up with an ISP and you have a starter account. Creating an account with Google and other big names will get you more. Buy a decent web hosting package and you will probably get enough email addresses to power a large company, all at no extra cost.
Getting the right email account is more difficult as there is a lot to consider. How are spam filters? How easy is it to keep your inbox organized? Can you access the account of other email clients? And what about using the service with a custom domain and address (firstname.lastname@example.org)?
Keep reading and we’ll highlight some of the best email providers available. They all have decent free services, perhaps with ads and some limits, but we’ll also talk about their business-friendly commercial products that offer the power, functionality and business-grade extras that discerning users need.
The best email services of 2020 are:
Email with emphasis on security and privacy
Restricted privacy features
End-to-end encryption for messages
Only 500 MB of free storage
Signing up for an email provider usually involves some privacy commitments. Yahoo Mail asks for your name and mobile number, for example. Gmail and other services can check your messages for useful actions (such as adding events to calendars), and almost everyone shows you ads.
ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service that focuses on privacy above all. You can sign up anonymously, there is no registration of IP addresses and all your emails are encrypted from end to end, which means that there is no way for ProtonMail (or anyone else) to read your content. In addition, address verification (which allows you to be sure that you are communicating securely with the right person) and full support for PGP email encryption are available. In late April 2019, elliptical curve encryption was introduced, which adds additional security and faster speeds.
There are some significant limits. The free product has a small storage space of 500 MB, supports only 150 messages per day and is very short in terms of organizational tools (without folders, tags or smart filters). Since end-to-end encryption is specific to ProtonMail, it also ensures that you cannot use the service with other email clients.
Still, it seems a little unfair to complain about a service that is free, without links, and that doesn’t even show ads. In reality, ProtonMail is a specialized tool, intended for use in conjunction with services like Gmail – not to replace them – and, in general, performs its main tasks very well.
If you need more, ProtonMail’s $ 5 Plus account (you can choose to pay in USD, Euro and CHF) per month (or $ 48 annually) Plus offers 5 GB of storage, 1,000 messages per day, custom domains (you @yourdomain .com) and support for folders, labels, filters, plus some additional features like contact groups.
An additional professional plan brings more storage, email addresses and a second personalized domain, in addition to adding a comprehensive email address and support for multiple users. The price is $ 8 per month per user ($ 75 per year), which is reasonable if you need the security of ProtonMail, although it is also noticeably more expensive than the competition’s commercial accounts.
Google’s webmail juggernaut needs no introduction
The G Suite option offers a lot of energy
The paid plan is not as cheap as some
First launched in 2004, Google’s Gmail has become the market leader in free email services, with over a billion users worldwide.
Gmail’s streamlined web interface is a highlight. Most of the screen is dedicated to your inbox, with a minimum of toolbars and other options. Messages are organized in an organized way through conversations for easy viewing, and you can easily read and reply to emails, even as a novice user.
There is a lot of power here. Dynamic mail makes Gmail more interactive, with the ability to perform actions directly from within the email, such as filling out a questionnaire or responding to a comment from Google Docs. Messages can be automatically filtered into tabbed categories like Main, Social and Promotions, helping you focus on the content you need. High-end spam blocking keeps your inbox free from junk, you can manage other accounts from the same interface (Outlook, Yahoo, any other IMAP or POP email) and there is 15 GB of storage for your Inbox, Drive and photos .
You can also access Gmail offline, although you need Google Chrome for this to work. In addition, there is a snooze feature that allows you to, well, postpone an email for a specified period of time (it also automatically labels that email as important).
Other features are more questionable. Instead of organizing messages into folders, for example – a simple metaphor that almost every user understands – you should filter them using a custom labeling system. This works and has some advantages, but it is not popular with all users. Still, Gmail is an excellent service in general and a good first choice for your email provider.
Google offers a paid, business-oriented version of Gmail in the form of its G Suite product.
This more professional product discards ads and allows you to use a personalized email address on your domain (email@example.com). Business-oriented migration tools can import emails from Outlook, Exchange, Lotus and more. The storage space doubles to 30 GB in the Basic plan and you get unlimited group email addresses, 99.9% uptime guaranteed and 24/7 support.
G Suite is Google’s answer to Microsoft Office, so of course you also get applications for working with documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Shared calendars keep you more organized, there is video conferencing and voice for online meetings, and again, 24/7 support to keep your system running smoothly.
This power more like Office generates a product more expensive than the competition only by email, with prices starting at US $ 6 per user, for the simplest plan. You’re getting a lot for your money, and if you use the features of G Suite, it can be a smart choice. A 14-day free trial provides an easy way to help you find out.
There’s a lot of power here, especially for Office 365 users
Focused inbox is a smart feature
Powerful events and calendar-related skills
Raft of application-based integrations
The Outlook web interface follows the same familiar style as the desktop incarnation and most other email clients: folders and organizational tools on the left, the contents of the current folder in the center and a simple preview pane on the right (with ads in the case of the free account).
A toolbar provides quick access to common features, and right-clicking folders or messages shows just about everything else. If you’ve used another email client, you’ll discover the main details in a few moments.
Despite the apparent simplicity, there’s a lot going on under the hood. The service automatically detects important emails and places them in a focused Inbox, keeping distractions out of sight. Events, including flight and dinner reservations, can be added automatically to your calendar. It’s easy to share that calendar with another Outlook.com or Office 365 users or you can save your events to a family calendar that everyone can access. In addition, there are also some interesting features, such as the ability to add searches directly to your Outlook emails.
Excellent support for attachments includes the ability to directly share OneDrive files as copies or links. You can also attach files directly from your Google Drive, Dropbox and Box accounts, and a robust 15 GB mailbox lets you store many other people’s files.
All of this worked well for us, but if you are not satisfied with the service standards, they may be changed in the Outlook.com Settings dialog. This doesn’t have as many options as Gmail, but they are well organized and offer a lot of control over layout, attachment rules, message handling and more.
If that still isn’t enough, Microsoft offers several application-based integrations to take the service forward. You receive internal Skype support via beta and apps offer easier access to Evernote, PayPal, GIPHY, Yelp, Uber and more.
The upgrade to Office 365 offers an ad-free inbox, 50 GB mail storage and a vast 1 TB of OneDrive storage. Extras include offline work, professional message formatting tools, phone or chat support, file recovery from malicious attacks such as ransomware and more. Oh, and the latest versions of Word, Excel and PowerPoint. All of this can be yours for the equivalent of $ 7 a month on the Office 365 Personal personal single-user plan, or you can pay $ 70 for a year.
4. Yahoo Mail
A powerful offer with some surprisingly cool extras
Useful extras like disposable email addresses
1 TB of inbox storage
Not as many low-level options as rivals
Yahoo Mail does not make headlines these days, but its latest version is a professional and sophisticated service that stands out from the main competitors.
The well-designed interface looks like Gmail, at least initially, with a wide view of your inbox, one-click filters for common messages and content (photos, documents, travel) and easy navigation through all emails in a conversation . But you can also organize emails in custom folders, and the layout can be adjusted to display a preview of the message in a few clicks. Mobile users have some additional features, such as the option to unsubscribe from newsletters and others, without leaving their Yahoo Mail inbox.
A powerful underlying mechanism can integrate with Facebook, supports sending SMS and text messages, is accessible via the web, POP and (in some situations) IMAP, and can forward emails to another address. Valuable extras include disposable email addresses to protect your privacy, and a massive 1TB of mailbox storage means you can keep almost everything you receive for a long time.
Demanding users may encounter problems over time. The email organization cannot match the flexibility of Gmail’s labeling scheme, for example, and there are not as many adjustments, settings and low-level options as you usually see elsewhere. In general, Yahoo Mail is an attractive service that needs to be on your email list.
Like other providers, Yahoo offers a commercial mail plan with more features. The highlight is an option to use the service with a personalized domain (firstname.lastname@example.org), although there are also other advantages. The service can import contacts from Facebook, Gmail, Outlook and more. You can view all your mailboxes on the same screen and there are all the usual business productivity tools (multiple calendars, document handling, analysis and more).
Prices start at $ 3.19 per mailbox per month, charged annually and fall as you add mailboxes – $ 1.59 for 5, $ 1.19 for 10 and more than 20, contact them. In addition, another pricing plan called Yahoo Mail Pro is available at $ 3.49 per month. This provides an ad-free inbox, priority customer support and additional resources.
There’s even a free domain name included, not just the initial registration: Yahoo will also renew it while your subscription is active.
An email provider that offers a lot, well, nothing
Free plan allows up to 25 users
The freebie usually only features on paid plans
It also has office and collaboration tools
Zoho Workplace is a business-oriented email service that offers an online office suite, document management and a range of collaboration tools and other extras.
The Zoho free plan supports up to 25 users, although there are 25 additional ones available, if you can refer others to the service (update: Zoho is currently redesigning the referral program, so it is not currently available), each with 5 GB of mailbox storage and can be used with its own domain. Typically, these are the features that you find only in commercial products, and when you consider the spreadsheet, word processor, presentation and other tools, it looks like a real bargain.
The email service is easy to use and offers a decent set of features to help organize your emails: folders, tags, filters, smart searches and more. You can also create custom shortcut keys to expand and replace easy abbreviations of your choice with complete words and phrases as you type. Zoho also has an offline mode, which allows you to read and respond to your emails even when your Internet connection fails.
The free plan is still a little basic. It provides web access only, for example, and email forwarding is not supported.
Fortunately, the Zoho Standard plan corrects this. With just $ 3 per user (paid annually), you get IMAP and POP access, email forwarding, active sync, multi-domain hosting, domain aliases, 30 GB storage, a 30 MB attachment limit (over 25 MB with the free plan) and some major improvements elsewhere (the ability to send files in the cloud to non-Zoho users, for example). You also have the Lite plan, which is a cheaper standard plan ($ 1 per user) with fewer features and a Professional plan ($ 6 per user), which adds more features.
Of course, many of these resources are available for free elsewhere, but companies or anyone who will use custom domain support or Office tools will find many things here. It is worth looking more closely.