Getting an email account is easy. Sign up with an ISP and you have an account to get started. Creating an account with Google and other big names will bring you more. Buy a decent web hosting package and you will likely get enough email addresses to power a large business, all at no additional cost.
Getting the right email account is more difficult, as there is a lot to consider. What do spam filters look like? How easy is it to keep your inbox organized? Can you access the account from other email clients? And what about using the service with a personalized domain and address (email@example.com)?
Keep reading and we will highlight some of the best email providers around. All of them have decent free services, maybe with ads and some limits, but we'll also talk about their user-friendly commercial products that deliver the enterprise-level power, features and extras that demanding users need.
The best email services of 2020 are:
Email emphasizing security and privacy
Strict privacy functions
End-to-end encryption for messages
Only 500 MB of free storage
Signing up with an email provider will often involve some privacy compromises. For example, Yahoo Mail prompts you for your name and mobile number. Gmail and other services can analyze your messages for useful actions (such as adding events to calendars), and just about everyone serves you with announcements.
ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service that focuses on privacy first. You can sign up anonymously, there is no IP address registration and all of your emails are encrypted from start to finish, which means there is no way for ProtonMail (or any other person) to read their content. In addition, address verification (which allows you to ensure that you are communicating securely with the right person) and full support for PGP email encryption are available. In late April 2019, elliptical curve cryptography was introduced, which adds additional security and faster speeds.
There are important limits. The free product has a small storage space of 500 MB, only supports the sending of 150 messages per day and is clearly short in terms of organizational tools (no files, labels 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.
However, it seems a little unfair to complain about a service that is free without any conditions and does not even broadcast advertisements. In reality, ProtonMail is a specialized tool that is intended to be used alongside services like Gmail – so as not to replace them – and overall, it performs its main tasks very well.
If you need more, ProtonMail's $ 5 account (you can choose to pay in USD, Euro and CHF) per month (or $ 48 per year) Plus gives you 5 GB of storage, an allocation of 1000 messages per day, personalized domains (you @ your .com domain) and support for folders, labels, filters as well as certain additional functionalities such as contact groups.
Another professional plan brings more storage, email addresses and a second custom domain, as well as the addition of a catch-all email address and multi-user support. Its price is $ 8 per month per user ($ 75 per year), which is reasonable if you need the security of ProtonMail, although it is also much more expensive than the professional accounts of the competition of the big names. .
Google's webmail juggernaut doesn't need to be showcased
The G Suite option gives you a lot of power
Paid plan isn't as cheap as some
Launched for the first time in 2004, Google's Gmail has become the market leader in free email services with more than one billion users worldwide.
Gmail's simplified web interface is a highlight. Most of the screen is devoted to your inbox, with a minimum of toolbar and other clutter. Messages are carefully organized via conversations for easier viewing, and you can read and reply to emails with ease, even as a new user.
There is a lot of power here. Dynamic messaging makes Gmail more interactive, with the ability to act directly from the email, such as filling out a questionnaire or responding to a Google Docs comment. Messages can be automatically filtered into tabbed categories such as Primary, Social, and Promotions, helping you focus on the content you need. Advanced spam blocking keeps your inbox free from spam, you can manage other accounts from the same interface (Outlook, Yahoo, any other IMAP or POP email), and there are 15 GB storage for your inbox, Drive, and photos.
You can also access Gmail offline, although you need Google Chrome for it to work. In addition, there is a neat repeat feature that allows you to repeat an email for a specified amount of time (it also automatically marks that email as important).
Other features are more questionable. Instead of organizing messages into folders, for example – a simple metaphor that almost all users understand – you need to filter them using a custom labeling system. It works and has some advantages, but is not popular with all users. Still, Gmail is great service overall, and a good first choice for your email provider.
Google offers a paid commercial version of Gmail in the form of its G Suite product.
This more professional product removes ads and allows the use of a personalized email address on your domain (firstname.lastname@example.org). Business-oriented migration tools can import mail from Outlook, Exchange, Lotus, and more. Double storage space at 30 GB on the basic plan, and you get unlimited group email addresses, 99.9% guaranteed availability and 24/7 support.
G Suite is Google’s answer to Microsoft Office, so of course you also have applications for working with documents, spreadsheets and presentations. Shared calendars allow you to better organize, there are videoconferences and voice conferences for online meetings and, again, there is 24/7 support to keep your system running smoothly.
This more office-like power makes a product more expensive than the competition only by email, with prices starting at $ 6 per user for the simplest plan. However, you get a lot for your money, and if you're using the features of G Suite, this could 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
Targeted inbox is a smart feature
Powerful events and calendar-related capabilities
A multitude of application-based integrations
Outlook's web interface follows the same familiar style as its desktop incarnation and most other email clients: folders and organization tools on the left, the contents of the current folder in the center, and a simple preview pane at right (with ads in the case of the free account).
A toolbar gives you quick access to common features, and right clicking on folders or messages shows you just about everything else. If you've ever used another email client, you'll find out the key details in a matter of moments.
Despite the apparent simplicity, there is a lot going on under the hood. The service automatically detects important emails and places them in a targeted inbox, keeping distractions out of sight. Events, including flight and dinner reservations, can be automatically added to your calendar. It is easy to share this calendar with other Outlook.com or Office 365 users, or you can save your events in a family calendar that anyone can access. In addition, there are also some great features, such as the ability to add surveys 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 large 15 GB mailbox can store lots of files from other people.
It all worked very well for us, but if you are not satisfied with the service's default settings, it is possible that they can be changed via the Outlook.com Settings dialog box. It doesn't have as many options as Gmail, but they are well organized and give you a lot of control over layout, attachment rules, message handling, and more.
If that's still not enough, Microsoft offers a bunch of application-based integrations to move the service forward. You get integrated Skype support via beta and apps make it easier for you to access Evernote, PayPal, GIPHY, Yelp, Uber, and more.
Upgrading to Office 365 gives you an ad-free inbox, 50 GB of email storage, and a large 1 TB of OneDrive storage. Extras include offline work, professional message formatting tools, phone or chat support, file recovery from malicious attacks like 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 a personal Office 365 personal or you can pay $ 70 for a year.
4. Yahoo Mail
A powerful offer with surprisingly neat extras
Useful extras like disposable email addresses
1 TB of inbox storage
Not as many low-level options as its rivals
Yahoo Mail doesn't make the headlines these days, but its latest version is a neat, professional service that stands up well to the competition.
Well-designed interface looks like Gmail, at least initially, with a large view of your inbox, one-click filters for common messages and content (Photos, Documents, Travel), and easy navigation for everyone emails in a conversation. But you can also organize emails in custom folders, and the layout can be changed to preview the message with a few clicks. Mobile users have additional features like the ability to unsubscribe from newsletters and the like, without ever leaving the Yahoo Mail inbox.
A powerful underlying engine can integrate with Facebook, supports sending SMS and SMS, 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 gigantic 1 TB of mailbox storage means you can keep just about everything you receive, for a very long time.
Demanding users may find problems over time. Mail organization can't quite match the flexibility of Gmail's labeling scheme, for example, and there aren't as many low-level adjustments, settings, and options as you will often see it elsewhere. But overall, Yahoo Mail is an attractive service that should be on your email list.
As with other providers, Yahoo offers a Business Mail plan with more features. The highlight is an option to use the service with a custom domain (email@example.com), although there are other benefits as well. The service can import contacts from Facebook, Gmail, Outlook and more. You can view all of your mailboxes on one screen, and there are all the usual user-friendly productivity tools (multiple calendars, document management, analytics, and more).
Prices start from $ 3.19 per mailbox per month, billed annually, and go down as you add mailboxes – $ 1.59 for 5, $ 1.19 for 10 and for 20+ , you will need to contact them. In addition, another pricing plan called Yahoo Mail Pro is available at $ 3.49 per month. This gives you an ad-free inbox, priority customer support, and additional functionality.
There's even a free domain name included, not just the initial registration: Yahoo will also renew it as long as your subscription is active.
An email provider that gives you a lot for, well, nothing
Free plan allows up to 25 users
Freebie has functionality normally only in paid plans
Also has office and collaboration tools
Zoho Workplace is a business-oriented email service that integrates an online office suite, document management and a multitude of collaboration tools and other extras.
Zoho's free plan supports up to 25 users, although there are an additional 25 available if you can refer other people to the service (update: Zoho is reshaping the sponsorship program, so it is not available at this time), each with 5 GB of mailbox storage, and can be used with a domain of your choice. These are features that you would normally only find in commercial products, and when you factor in the spreadsheet, word processor, presentation, and other tools, it sounds like a real bargain.
The messaging service is easy to use and provides a decent set of features to help you organize your emails: folders, tags, filters, smart searches, etc. You can also create custom keyboard shortcuts to expand and replace the 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 reply to your emails even when you have an internet connection.
The free plan is still a bit basic. It gives you web-only access, for example, and there is no support for email forwarding.
Fortunately, the Zoho Standard plan corrects this. A simple $ 3 per user (paid annually) gives you access to IMAP and POP, email forwarding, active synchronization, hosting multiple domains, domain aliases, 30 GB of storage, an attachment limit of 30 MB (versus 25 MB with the free plan) and some major improvements elsewhere (the ability to send cloud files to non-Zoho users, for example). You also have a 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.
A number of these features are available elsewhere for free, of course, but businesses or anyone using custom domain support or Office tools will find a lot to like here. This is well worth a closer look.