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The Top 4 Perfect Email Hosting Services for Your SMBs

Despite for the birth of convenient collaboration platforms, email has been evolving with a high speed, especially email hosting services. Since there is an enormous number of them currently available, it is necessary to make a careful consideration before taking a plunge.
By Devon Vo | EnvZone Staff
on October 02, 2019 | 9 min read
Image Credit: GetApp

Despite for the birth of convenient collaboration platforms like Slack, flog or Microsoft Teams, email has been evolving with a high speed over the past recent years. The rationale behind this progression relies on its cloud. As the cloud has moved email’s primary implementation from cumbersome on-premises servers to more agile hosted services that charge on a per-user basis.

General knowledge about hosted email service

What are Hosted Email Services?

Based on the definition found on Techopedia, email hosting is a Web or Internet hosting service which rents out and operates email servers.

Compared to other typical free webmail sites like Yahoo and Google, email hosting services are regarded to be a premium version. These hosting providers are able to satisfy the demand of even the most fastidious customer like high-email-traffic small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who require their own domain name in order to distinguish them more.

Typically, the format of employee’s name@company’s name.com is used as the hosted business email address. However, for big firms and larger enterprises, they tend to forgo email hosting services and host their own email servers.

How do they work?

In fact, most web hosting companies also provide email hosting. However, similar to free webmail solution, email hosting services are evaluated to be more advanced, as those email hosting services provided by web hosting companies for to most part only supplies Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) email and the basics in spam/ virus protection, and other simple features.

On the other hand, email hosting services can bring you a great deal of benefit. Providers are in charge of users; domain name management, including security email authentication schemes like filtering, replication and rerouting. These hosting services offer their customers with customized open-source applications.

One thing that should be taken into account is that different service providers offer different technology and services according to the demographic they are targeting. Some are more geared towards security while others are more geared towards email management and filtering.

Types of email hosting

Since there is an enormous number of email hosting services that are currently available, it is necessary of you to make a careful consideration before taking a plunge.

There are several things that you need to take into account before deciding which service you will use. Usability is one of the priorities, especially when you have a large amount of staff transitioning onto the new platform. Furthermore, it is also important to understand the package that you have chosen. There are many providers that will not only simply provide email, but they also offer document editing suites, advanced email security and business add-ons such as accounts and invoicing management.

Those features are mentioned for a reason. If there is no need for additional tools, it’d better to save money by going for a standalone email.

Webmail

Cited from Computerworld, webmail is a type of hosting when email are stored on an online server mailbox, meaning an internet connection is required to access.

Thanks to its flexibility and tiny physical storage, these email hosts are preferred by some business. Webmail usually provides greater storage space, and, in most cases, unlimited storage is still pretty cost effective. However, due to its activities online, reliability can be sometimes a concern.

Desktop email

For this type of provider, emails are stored on-premise, meaning you don’t need an internet connection to access your emails.

Standing from a viewpoint of business, this is a big plus, since multiple email accounts can be open at the same time without signing in and out of accounts. However, syncing devices is more time-consuming than webmail. Plus, data is stored in one place, which is potentially vulnerable, and it also requires maintenance.

Features in Email Hosting Service’s Evaluation

Following are criteria used in evaluating each of these business email providers:

  • Price
  • Ease of use
  • Available storage
  • Security & accessibility
  • Spam & virus protection
  • Access to apps
  • System integration
  • Scalability
  • Customer support

4 Best Email Hosting Service Providers

#1. G Suite

G Suite is the parent group of Google’s email service, also known as Gmail. Starting at $5 per user, per month, G Suite features tools like email delegation designed around supporting business communication and collaboration. G Suite is the best email provider for businesses that need an email provider with easy access to great apps like Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides.

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Price

Starting at $5/user per month for its basic plan and $10 per user, per month for its business plan. There is also an enterprise level plan including advanced customization and pricing, which is tailored to a business’s specific needs.

G Suite doesn’t cover web hosting services.

Ease of use

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Image Credit: Usefyi

Basic

G Suite’s Basic plan costs $5 per user, per month and gives users access to email via the Gmail browser tool, which includes email delegation, email recovery, spam protection, offline access, and attachment previews.

G Suite also provides access to the business suite of Google Docs, works with third-party apps, includes 30GB of document storage and offers a guaranteed uptime of 99.9% with best-in-class security certifications.

However, the Basic plan does not come with a vault for eDiscovery and archiving of documents saved in Google Drive. Therefore, G Suite is the best business email provider for teams that want a highly reliable email solution as well as access to Google’s suite of productivity tools.

Business

The Business plan costs $10 per user, per month and offers all the same email benefits as the Basic plan. Like the entry-level plan, users have the option of setting up an approved sender list, allow a co-worker’s email using the same email domain to bypass the spam check or to increase the stringency of Google’s default spam filtering.

However, unlike the Basic plan, this tier gives users a vault for eDiscovery of documents as well as archiving.

The Business plan removes the limit on document storage if there are five or more users on the plan. Therefore, it is best for teams that need email and want the ability to create more documents or collaborate more easily and securely in the cloud.

Enterprise

The Enterprise plan costs $25 and includes all the same functionality as found in the Business plan as well as additional features like data loss protection and access to third-party archiving tools. It also offers more robust eDiscovery and security tools than the Business plan.

The Enterprise plan offers many additional integrations with third-party applications, such as Microsoft’s desktop Office products as well as the cloud-based integration. Therefore, it’s best for teams that want the security and flexibility of Gmail but will be using desktop office tools.

Minus point

The Gmail browser-based client within G Suite does not include bulk clean-up tools. It also does not support multiple email signatures or email templates unless you install third-party add-ins or integrate your email with a desktop client. Therefore, the browser client works best for those who either don’t need this functionality or plan to utilize third-party tools.

#2. Zoho Workplace

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Image Credit: Zoho WorkPlace

Zoho Workplace is a business email provider that offers a suite of personal productivity tools, advanced analytics, and integration with third-party apps that businesses can start using for free. Zoho is best if you’re looking for a free email address as part of a larger office productivity service featuring reporting and the ability to scale without changing providers.

Price

Zoho Workplace is the only solution on our list to offer a free plan that supports up to five users. Paid plans range in price from $1/user per month (billed annually) to $8/user per month and include additional features like multiple domain hosting, email forwarding, and system integration.

Ease of use

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Image Credit: Zoho

Free

Zoho Workplace’s Free plan includes webmail-based email and single domain hosting for up to five users. While the plan includes 5GB of storage, free email addresses, and attachments up to 25MB, it doesn’t include the advanced email functionality found with Zoho’s paid plans such as internet message access protocol (IMAP) and post office protocol (POP) support, or integration with other tools like Zoho’s in-house document writer, chat, and video conferencing.

The Free plan is best for “solopreneurs” or teams of less than five who want a no-frills email service that’s set up and use, regardless of the customer’s technical abilities. It is also good for those who only need webmail-based email and don’t require access to additional tools like document writer, website builder, or Zoho chat.

Mail Lite

Zoho Workplace’s Mail Lite plan includes features like IMAP and POP support letting you work with your email in your favorite native email client and costs $1 per user, per month, billed annually. The Mail Lite plan also comes with multiple domain hosting, meaning you can manage more than a single site from your account as well as domain aliases and 25GB of data storage.

However, unlike the Standard plan, the Mail Lite plan does not include more advanced features with their other business productivity tools like group sharing of documents. Therefore, it is best for small teams that do not require group sharing and those that don’t need more than 25GB of data storage.

Standard

The Standard plan allows users to customize the look of their user interface with their company logo and costs $4 per user, per month. It also gives users 30GB of data, and the attachment limit remains 30MB. However, the Standard plan doesn’t include Zoho’s eDiscovery functionality, which helps you find any file across the organization. Unlike close competitor G Suite, it also features advanced document analytics.

Teams using the Standard plan may have to send more emails to teammates with links to a file’s location but still makes it a good option for those expected to exchange large files over email, such as designers or salespeople with graphics-heavy presentations. The Standard plan is also a good choice for organizations that want to emphasize the importance of their brand by making it appear in every aspect of their business.

Professional

The Professional plan costs $7 per user, per month and increases the combined storage to 100MB of data while the attachment limit is increased to 40MB. In addition, the Professional plan provides video conferencing for up to 100 participants and cloud storage for up to 25 recordings.

For these reasons, the Professional plan is a good choice for teams who want to reduce their reliance on email for internal communication and collaboration. It is also a good option for teams that need to use significantly more storage data per user.

Minus point

Zoho Workspace can integrate with many third-party applications including Google Apps, but currently lacks G Suite’s brand awareness and ability to sign into other products using your Gmail login. This means you may have to maintain separate logins for those additional services.

#3. Bluehost

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Bluehost is a website hosting provider that also offers email hosting as a value-added service with pricing starting from $3.95 per month. It provides email with IMAP and POP support and website hosting plans, making it a good choice for startups that need email services along with web hosting for a new business website.

Price

Bluehost offers hosting on a shared server, which ranges from $3.95 to $13.95 at its introductory price, and cloud hosting, which can range between $6.95 and $15.95 monthly. Either option includes a free domain and email, which makes it within a similar price range as Zoho for email with domain hosting.

Ease of use

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Basic

Bluehost Basic shared-hosting plan includes email with features like IMAP and POP support, three different webmail solutions to choose from and email forwarding for up to five email addresses with a 99.99% uptime measured during the past year. Users get 50GB of storage, which is significantly less than G Suite’s entry-level plan with 30GB. It also includes subdomains and parked domains and costs $3.95 a month to get started.

Bluehost is also one of WordPress’ premier recommended partners based on its technical support and its ability to integrate plug-ins that are available through its Mojo Marketplace.

Therefore, Bluehost is an excellent choice for startups that are looking for an email hosting service as well as a website hosting partner with WordPress or WooCommerce plug-in support.

Plus

Bluehost’s Plus plan includes all the same email functionality as found in the Basic plan but removes the limit on email storage, number of parked domains and number of email accounts. In addition, the Plus plan includes access to a feature not offered by G Suite or Zoho Bluehost called SpamExperts with an introductory cost of $4.95 per month.

SpamExperts is the name of Bluehost’s spam management and advanced email administer tool. With it, email users can view a quarantined message, manage personal email settings, whitelists and blacklists and specify an incoming delivery queue as a way of reviewing and controlling incoming spam. The Plus plan is best for teams looking for email hosting services as well as a website hosting partner and more robust spam control.

Choice Plus

The Choice Plus plan offers the same email functionality as the plus plan along with access to SpamExperts but also includes domain privacy. The plan has an introductory cost of $5.95 per month — matching that of the Plus plan — and a regular price of $14.99 per month. Bluehost gives users secure socket layer (SSL) security for transactions on your website, but some third-party plug-ins can affect the security of your data.

Domain privacy can help shield your data from external threats on the shared server. Therefore, the Choice Plus plan is best for businesses wanting additional security on their email as well as more robust spam control and a website hosting partner that can support plug-ins.

Go Pro

The Go Pro plan is nearly identical to the Choice Plus plan, but your business email and website are hosted on a high-performance server at starts at a cost of $13.95 per month. The high-performance server gives you faster access to your email while also resulting in a faster website, a feature not found with Mail.com or G Suite.

The Go Pro plan is, therefore, best for teams in need of email and a website hosting partner that can support plug-ins and want the best possible user experience. However, none of the shared hosting plans include automatic site backups or system restores.

Minus point

Bluehost is designed to help you make the most of your professional website. Unlike Zoho, G Suite, or Office 365, it does not offer bundled office productivity tools. Therefore, it is best for companies that need a professional website and email addresses but does not need those additional tools.

#4. Office 365

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Office 365 is a business email provider with a suite of productivity tools, including word processing and spreadsheets, built around Microsoft Office products. Plans start at $15 monthly and are packed with features that may be more robust than smaller businesses need, so Office 365 is best for larger teams already familiar with Office products.

Price

The Office 365 Business Premium is $12.5 per month with annual commitment and $15 per month with monthly commitment. It also features desktop and web-based versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Office 365’s pricing is among the highest on our list, but access to the Microsoft Office suite makes it a good value for the money.

Ease to use

Office 365 Business Essentials

Office 365 Business Essentials offers business email with 50 GB mailbox storage, custom email domain and web versions of essential Office 365 applications like Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Here are the detail specs when you buy a Business Essentials license:

  • Price: $5/user/month (1-year agreement) or $6/user/month (1-month agreement
  • For companies with fewer than 300 users that don’t rely heavily on Office 365 applications, online storage or need desktop applications
  • Email with 50 GB mailbox
  • Custom email domain addresses
  • Web versions of Office 2016 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • SharePoint (company-wide intranet and team sites to connect people to content, expertise and processes.)
  • Skype for Business: Unlimited HD video conferencing for up to 250 people.
  • Microsoft Teams chat-based workspace
  • Microsoft Planner to manage tasks and teamwork
  • Yammer to collaborate across departments and locations
  • FastTrack deployment support (when purchasing 50+ seats)
  • 24/7 phone and web support

Office 365 Business

Next is the Office 365 Business plan. Here are the price and specs for this license option:

  • Price: $8.25/user/month (1-year agreement) or $10/user/month (1-month agreement)
  • For businesses with fewer than 300 users that only need Office applications, cloud file storage and sharing (email hosting not included)
  • Desktop versions of Office 2016 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote
  • Office Online: Web versions of the Office 2016 applications Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint
  • OneDrive and 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • FastTrack deployment support (for purchases of 50+ seats)
  • 24/7 phone and web support

Office 365 Business Premium

Office 365’s Business Premium plan includes business-class email, differentiating it from Office 365’s standard Business plan which does not. The Premium plan also features a custom email domain address, 24/7 phone and web support, and Microsoft’s chat-based workspace, Teams.

Here are the price and specs for this license option:

  • Price: $12.50/user/month (1-year agreement) or $15/user/month (1-month agreement)
  • For businesses with fewer than 300 users that need the latest desktop versions of Office applications, cloud services and email hosting.
  • Email with 50 GB mailbox
  • Custom email domain addresses
  • Desktop versions of Office 2016 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote
  • Web versions of Office 2016 applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • 1 TB of OneDrive storage
  • SharePoint (company-wide intranet and team sites to connect people to content, expertise and processes)
  • Skype for Business: Unlimited HD video conferencing for up to 250 people
  • Microsoft Teams chat-based workspace
  • Microsoft Bookings to enable customers to schedule appointments
  • Microsoft Planner to manage tasks and teamwork
  • Yammer to collaborate across departments and locations
  • FastTrack deployment support (with purchase of 50+ seats)
  • 24/7 phone and web support

Minus point

While Office 365 is a terrific option for teams and businesses that are already familiar with tools like Word and Excel, it does integrate with as many newer business tools emerging in the market designed to help automate business processes as G Suite does. For this reason, it’s best for teams whose primary businesses needs are met with Microsoft products alone.

Bottom lines

Email hosting providers come with a variety of services and prices. Thus, it takes a lot of effort to decide which one that suites your needs as well as your budget the best.

Besides the technical aspect, owing a professional email address also gives customers, clients, press, and B2B connection a good first impression to trust and interact with your brand.

This article is also credited to FitSmallBusiness, Computerworld

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