The 9 Best Email Hosting Services for Business
As far as business communication is concerned, email is the gold standard. Both internally and externally, it is the easiest way to communicate. Your most important notifications come in the mail. And it gives you a place to archive important pieces of information.
You might be tempted to choose an email provider whose brand you’re most familiar with, but a better approach will be to review all your options before committing to one. This is especially important as email is likely to be your team’s most-used service.
The best email hosting providers will be reliable, letting you send and receive emails from your domain at any time. But they will also provide additional tools such as shared calendars and contacts.
In this guide, we’ll be exploring the 9 best email hosting services for your business. We’ll cover what each one does best and give you options for hosting an email server.
Main Options for Email Hosting
In your search for email hosting, the first of several decisions you’ll have to make is how you’ll host your email. And here, you have three main options.
Shared Email Hosting
Most web hosting services also provide email hosting. For example, when you purchase hosting from a service like SiteGround, you get hosting for unlimited email accounts as well. More often than not, this is included in your web hosting subscription for free.
This option is great if you already run your servers. Instead of going with a third-party provider, you can host your email. But for its many advantages — such as greater control and customization — it also comes with drawbacks.
For one, hosting a private mail server is hard. There’s the added cost of servers and IT staff to maintain the servers. You’ll also have to deal with the challenge of preventing your emails from being marked as spam. And these are just a few of the drawbacks.
These issues make third-party hosting a better option for most organizations.
Third-Party Email Hosting
You may need more features than your web hosting provider can offer. If this is the case, then you could look into third-party email hosting. Hosted email providers allow you to avoid the cost of self-hosting.
Furthermore, a subscription to a third-party email hosting service often comes with added tools and features that you may find useful for running your business such as shared contacts and calendars, team chat, video conferencing, and many more.
It is important to clarify the distinction between an email client and an email hosting provider at this juncture. An email client is the email app you use to read and write emails on your phone or computer. An email host is a service that lets you send and receive emails over the web.
Your email host and client do not have to be the same. You can send and receive Google-hosted emails on Microsoft Outlook for desktop or mobile.
What Features to Look for in an Email Hosting Service
Using the email service provided by your web host may leave you wanting several desirable features. And if you choose to self-host, you’ll have to build your features.
But when shopping for a third-party solution, there are tons and tons of features to consider and evaluate, and this can make the selection process quite tedious. How do you know what features are most important and which aren’t?
Because what’s important varies from business to business — compliance is more important for healthcare and banking businesses than for advertising agencies, for example — we’ll be focusing on features that are relevant to most business types rather than every possible feature out there.
Security is the first and most important feature to consider when it comes to choosing an email hosting service. Without it, your content and data will be vulnerable to potential malicious attacks. Whatever service you choose, make sure that it offers advanced tools such as anti-malware, anti-spam filtering, and other features for data loss prevention.
You’ll also want a service that adheres to certain rules and regulations and shores up your security with relevant certificates. For example, if you’re in the healthcare sector, you’ll want something that’s HIPAA-certified. Or if you’re in the public sector, you’ll want something with FISMA certification.
Your chosen provider should also offer data backups so that your data can easily be retrieved in the event of a sudden attack that causes data loss.
Flexibility is not a feature per se, but your chosen email hosting provider must integrate well with the web and mobile apps you frequently use and offer compatibility with devices of all types. Integration is a feature you should never underestimate, no matter how big or small your business is.
Since most businesses won’t be using all the tools and features offered by most providers, having the flexibility to pick and pay for only the features you need is a nice perk, too. But since not all providers allow this, you must pay close attention to what features they do offer before choosing a provider.
3. Support and Simplicity
Your email host should give you granular control over your email settings. But it should also be simple to use and offer superb support when you most need it. The best providers will offer 24/7 support via several channels such as live chat, email, and phone.
If you’re like most people, you don’t use email solely for communication. You also use it for storage and collaboration. This is why you need a provider that offers plenty of storage. On average, you should try to get at least 2GB per user.
It also makes sense to go for a provider that allows you to archive emails. This way, you can archive important emails and keep your inbox uncluttered by leaving only current conversations there. Archived emails should be regularly and automatically backed up to your host.
5. Availability and Uptime
These days, downtime of any kind is something you can’t afford because your customers, clients, and employees expect you to always be running. Downtime has a significant impact on your bottom line — just ask the 80% of businesses that lose at least $20,000 for every hour of downtime they experience.
Given how important email is to your business, you’ll want an email host that guarantees 99.9% uptime.
Best Email Hosting Services for Business
Best Value Email Hosting Service.
Namecheap might be better known as a domain name registrar, but it also offers what might be the best value when it comes to email hosting. Its email hosting service is called Private Email and it offers the cheapest plans on this list.
While you get a basic feature set on Private Email’s cheapest tier, you do get everything you need to have a custom email address, including 2 GB of storage for files, 5 GB of storage for email, POP3/IMAP access (which means that you can connect to any email client you want, like Gmail), Webmail access, two-factor authentication, and so on.
You get free unlimited email aliases, reliability is rock-solid — just as pricing is — and setup is easy and simple, especially if your domain is registered at Namecheap.
Namecheap’s email client, Open-Xchange, is a well-designed and intuitive platform for reading and crafting your email masterpieces. It works well on both desktop and mobile, but you might be better off using some other email client as its features are basic at best.
All that said, Private Email may not be a good fit for larger organizations that need more than the 3 GB of storage offered on the smallest plan. Costs start to add up quickly if you opt for the more expensive plans.
Namecheap’s Starter plan costs $0.99/month (or $9.88/year) for your first mailbox and $0.41/month for every mailbox after that.
With more advanced features (such as shared emails, documents, appointments, spreadsheets, etc) and more storage, the Pro and Ultimate plans Office cost $2.82/month for three mailboxes and $4.66/month for five mailboxes respectively.
All the plans come with a 60-day free trial.
- Best value; the cheapest provider on this list
- Setup is easy and simple
- The two-month free trial is generous
- Storage quota is high for the price
- Offers email sharing for organizations at higher price points
- The email client is basic
- Not a great option for enterprise users
2. Office 365
Best Email Hosting Service for the Microsoft Ecosystem.
For companies and organizations that are invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, Office 365’s Business Premium Plan is most likely the best option for them when it comes to email hosting.
With Office 365 Business Premium, you get all the features you need for hosted email — such as custom domains, email sending and receiving, spam protection, and data loss prevention — plus the Office apps you use routinely.
In other words, a single subscription gets you web, mobile, and desktop access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, OneNote, and Skype, plus hosted email.
In addition to these standard apps, Office 365 Business Premium also gives you access to some of the newer workplace tools from Microsoft, including Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Microsoft Planner.
Office 365 provides email hosting via Microsoft Exchange. Microsoft Exchange is also available as a standalone subscription; so, if you don’t need all the add-on apps, you can still use Microsoft’s email hosting. And both the lowest-price Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 Business Premium plans give each user up to 50 GB of mailbox storage.
Other tools provided by Office 365 include calendar, file storage and sharing, voice and video conferencing, file editing and collaboration, Intranet, and task management.
Pricing for Office 365 Business Premium starts at $12.50/user per month and includes email hosting for up to 300 accounts, 50 GB of storage per account, and access to most Microsoft apps.
The Exchange Online Plan 1 costs $4/user/month and includes email hosting, a global address list, and shared calendars.
- Lots of storage per account
- Comes bundled with plenty of other very useful tools
- Email hosting is available as a standalone subscription
- Might be pricey for smaller teams
Best Email Hosting Service for Cloud Integration and Simplicity.
Organizations that prefer to work entirely in the cloud will find Google Workspace to be the perfect email hosting option for them. Google’s answer to Microsoft’s Office 365, Google Workspace combines email hosting with Google’s collaboration and communication tools.
A Google Workspace subscription gets you shared contacts and calendars, as well as a minimum of 30 GB of storage per user with higher-tier plans offering unlimited storage. With the recent redesign of Gmail, you can view your calendar without leaving your inbox.
Google also gives you access to some of the simplest and best file-editing and real-time collaboration tools around, including Google Hangouts for messaging and voice/video conferencing, Team Drives for shared cloud file storage, Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, and Keep for note-taking.
Google workspace’s administration tools are easy to use and keep on adding advanced features that businesses need — such as Google’s compliance archival tool, Google Vault. And given everyone’s existing familiarity with Gmail, onboarding will be a breeze.
Pricing starts at $5/user/month for the Basic Plan which includes 30 GB of storage per user and the core Google apps. The Business plan includes unlimited storage (provided you have at least five users), Google Vault, and audit reports.
- Easy onboarding
- Access to some of the best communication and collaboration tools around
- Unlimited storage on the Business plan
- Google Meet can be a bit clumsy
Best Email Hosting Service for Zoho Users.
Zoho Workplace is Zoho’s alternative to Google Workspace and Office 365. In addition to hosted emails, it offers calendars, contacts, and Zoho’s suite of collaboration and communication apps. These include Docs (cloud storage), Office Suite (documents, spreadsheets, and presentations), and Cliq (team chat).
Zoho Mail brings email to the modern age with a social networking-style twist. For example, while traditional email typically involves sending a long message with a signature and subject line every time, Zoho Mail allows you to send a quick stream message to team members or share an email from a client with them.
Zoho Mail also includes shared inboxes and a tabbed interface that allows you to switch between your calendar, inbox, and a draft email with a single click of the mouse or tap of your screen.
While Zoho’s administrative panel is a bit less intuitive than some other providers’, it makes up for this with detailed step-by-step tutorials for getting just about everything done on the platform.
And for companies with fewer than five employees, Zoho offers email hosting and its ad-free email client for free.
Zoho Workplace is free for up to five users, offering email hosting for a single domain and 5 GB of storage per user.
The Basic plan costs $3/user/month and includes 30 GB of storage per user, email hosting for multiple domains, and access to Zoho’s suite of communication and collaboration tools excluding Zoho ShowTime, Meeting, and Connect.
For $6/user/month, the Professional plan includes 100 GB of storage per user and access to Zoho Connect, Meeting, and ShowTime.
- Free plan includes enough features for most small businesses
- Cheaper pricing
- Ample tutorials for users
- Administrative panel is a bit less intuitive than the competition
Best Email Hosting Provider for Pure Play Email Hosting.
Providers like Google Workspace and Office 365 make the most sense when you need a combination of email hosting and communication and collaboration apps. By going with such a solution, you get all the tools you need in a single package for one simple monthly payment.
But if you only need email hosting, paying extra for all of those add-ons doesn’t make much sense. It is in such a scenario that Rackspace comes in.
Rackspace comes with two options for your consideration: Hosted Exchange or Email Hosting.
Rackspace’s core email hosting gives you all the basic tools you need to manage your team’s email, contacts, and calendars. You can choose to access all three tools on the webmail application or through your preferred desktop or mobile email client.
While the lower-tier plan only gives you the basic features, you can get more advanced features like cloud storage and instant messaging by upgrading to the higher-tier packages.
The Hosted Exchange offering is a hosted version of Microsoft Exchange that provides more advanced email features such as shared calendars and contacts, push email, and archival tools.
This offering is a cost-effective way to get the benefits of running Exchange on your servers without the cost and hassle that come with installing and maintaining them yourself.
One great thing is that Rackspace allows you to use both email hosting and Hosted Exchange together; so, you can opt for lower-cost email accounts for some team members and shell out for Exchange for only those team members who truly need the extra features.
Rackspace Basic hosted email starts at $2.99/user/month. It includes 25 GB of storage per user and webmail access. At $3.99/user/month, the Plus plan throws 30 GB of storage and instant messaging into the mix. And for $6.99, you get archiving on top of the other features.
- Secure environment
- Provides access to Microsoft Office
- 100% uptime guarantee
- Admin interface design is outdated
- Domains may prove difficult to manage
Best Email Hosting Provider for Onboarding.
If you don’t want to deal with the process of migrating to a new email hosting provider yourself, you may like Intermedia Exchange Email. When you sign up with Intermedia, they migrate all your data and set the system up for you at zero added cost.
Intermedia’s Exchange Email package uses Microsoft Exchange. So, it comes packed with all the core email hosting features such as shared contacts and calendars.
One wonderful thing about this provider is that even on the lowest-tier plan, you get unlimited storage. This is good news for companies that use email heavily and send lots of attachments.
With every Exchange Email package, you get access to AnyMeeting — which is Intermedia’s voice and video conferencing platform — and at least 2 GB of storage in SecuriSync — which is their cloud storage and file backup service.
And if your email needs are basic, you can go with the POP Business Email plan, which gives you 1 GB of mailbox storage per user.
Pricing starts at $7.49/user/month for the Exchange Email plan.
- Done-for-you migration
- Full integration with Microsoft Office suite
Best Email Hosting Service for White Labelling.
If your work requires that you open and manage email accounts for multiple clients — say, you’re a web development company or email marketing agency — IceWarp may very well be the email hosting service to go with.
IceWarp gives you all the tools you need to manage email accounts on several domains at once. It supports white-labeling; so, you can add your company’s branding to the Webmail dashboard of accounts you create for clients or customize the dashboard to reflect your clients’ branding.
As part of your subscription, you get the standard shared calendars and contacts, as well as access to IceWarp’s suite of collaboration tools. These include team chat, voice and video conferencing, and custom spreadsheet, document, and presentation editors.
And for Windows users, there’s a desktop office app on which you can access all of IceWarp’s tools.
Pricing starts at $2.50/user/month for the Lite plan and goes up to $7/user/month for the Professional plan.
- Intuitive design
- Plentiful collaboration tools
- Full office suite
- Invasive outlook plugin
A Powerful Email Hosting Provider That Allows You to Customize Storage Plans to Manage Costs.
For a tool that focuses almost exclusively on the essentials of email (messages, contacts, and calendar), FastMail is a great email hosting option for any type of business. It is powerful and fast, and its web and mobile apps make it easy to keep track of who said what in every conversation.
FastMail allows you to add multiple domains and subdomains to your account so that each team member can get an email address that matches their department. You can add quick filters or program advanced filters to sort through your emails and organize your inbox.
While FastMail focuses on delivering the core email experience, it also offers business-focused team features. You can share contacts and calendars, white-label the app and login screen to reflect your company's branding, and add a company footer to every email sent from your company’s domains.
There are also some extra features such as the ability to store files and email attachments and access them via FTP. You can also publish a simple personal website hosted on your FastMail storage.
In all, what makes FastMail stand out is that you can customize storage options according to the specific needs of different users. So, if most of your employees need only 5 GB of storage but one of them needs much more, you can pay extra to increase storage for only that person that needs it.
This means that you won’t have to opt for a higher tier plan just to accommodate the unique needs of just a few employees.
Pricing starts at $3/user/month for the Basic plan and goes up to $9/user/month for the Professional plan. Each plan comes with a 30-day free trial.
- No ads
- Efficient and highly customizable spam filters
- Extensive notification settings
- Support for PGP and IMAP
- No end-to-end encryption
Low-cost Email Hosting Service with Minimal Features.
Greatmail is a very basic offering that offers minimal features with two plans.
The Standard plan, which costs just $1/month/mailbox (with a 15-mailbox minimum), gives you 1o GB of storage per mailbox. On this bare-bones plan, you get spam protection, access to the webmail client, and the ability to connect to an email client.
The Groupware plan offers a few more features, adding shared contacts and calendars, and 25 GB of storage per mailbox. There’s support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) and you can access your email, calendar, and contacts from your preferred desktop or mobile client.
This option makes perfect sense if you only need basic email features. And the absence of add-ons makes it one of the cheapest options on this list.
There are two plans. The Standard Edition plan (which includes 10 GB of storage) costs $1/mailbox/month while the Groupware Edition plan (which includes 25GB storage and shared contact and calendar) costs $2/mailbox/month.
- Basic features may not be for everyone
Host Your Own Email Server
In the earliest days of email, the only way to get email if you wanted it was to host an email server. It pretty much stayed this way until the mid-2000s; getting an email on your company’s domain required you to host an email server.
Things are better now as there’s a wide variety of services that will host your email at low monthly prices. But there’s still a host of great tools to host your own email if that’s what you’d like to do. And many of them are free.
One great thing about email is that, unlike most other communication services, you can run it on your own and it would automatically work with every other email service.
Whether you have Microsoft Exchange set up in a private VPS, are using Google Workspace, or run your Postfix on a private server, you can email anybody anywhere and rest assured that they’ll receive the message, no matter if they use a different service than yours.
Why Host Your Own Email Server?
There are many reasons you may want to host your email server privately. Whatever your reasons are, they most likely fall under one of these three broad reasons: privacy, security, and reliability.
With a dedicated email server, you know that you will be the only mailbox on that server sending email. This means that you can rest assured that your privacy is certain.
Managing email privately on your servers allows you to maintain the highest level of security possible. When you share a server with other users, you can never know what security policies they may be violating or compromising.
Running private email servers guarantees reliability and great uptime. When you share a server with others, you may have to worry about other users sending spam or other forms of abusive mail on the server, which could lead to bad deliverability for your messages.
This would never happen on a private server. If it does, at least you’ll know that you were at fault, not someone else. And with this knowledge, you’ll be able to take the right steps to fix the problem.
But self-hosting email is far from easy. If it was, everyone would be doing it, especially spammers. As technology consultant Jeff Reifman says, “while the tools and capabilities have improved in the past decade, the truth is that you have to be a highly skilled system administrator to properly manage your email in a secure manner.”
There are also several other reasons not to host your own email. Again Jeff Reifman weighs in, “What if you’re traveling, the power goes out and your server won’t come back up? What if someone breaks into your home – is your disk encrypted? How secure is your home WiFi network during everyday use?”
But if you still decide that you want to go this route, we have a few suggestions.
Postfix, which is the core terminal tool you’ll need to run an email server, comes built into Linux and macOS. On Windows, you get a built-in SMTP server that gives you a basic email experience. Both of these are what are known as mail transfer agents that can send and receive emails for you. You can set them up with basic email features.
If you want webmail and more advanced features like those you may get with an actual email service, then you should consider the following:
- You could use the self-hosted version of Zimbra (which is free) or open-source tools like Roundcube and Horde to add webmail and management tools to your basic email.
- macOS Server, which is an add-on for macOS that includes an easy-to-setup email, contact, and calendar sync server that you can use with native email apps, is available at $19.99.
- You could also go with pre-made VPS tools like Mail-in-a-box (another free tool) that can be set up on a hosting service in a few clicks.
- For a more comprehensive feature set, you could license Microsoft Exchange Server for email and Office Online apps installed on your private server.
With these options, you’ll be getting the best of both worlds: a custom email experience coupled with the security of private servers, at the expense of maintenance time and software licenses.
Email Hosting Services FAQ
Email hosting is a service in which hosting providers rent out email servers to users. Even though there are many free options available, it makes sense to pay for professional hosting services that offer greater flexibility and power.
The cost of email hosting packages varies widely. What you will end up paying depends largely on what you want. There are services that charge as low as $1/month/user. If you want a managed service, you can expect to pay much more.
You might feel enticed by a cheap provider offering some too-good-to-be-true price and as with most things of that nature, it is most likely too good to be true. You might be sacrificing security and reliability for such low prices.
Ideally, you should avoid most shared services as you might end up sharing an IP address with spammers, and this will affect your deliverability rates.
There are many advantages to email hosting. For example, you get granular control over how your emails behave. There might be compliance regulations that require you to store your emails in specific locations (like data localization regulations). You can only do this with hosted email.
Which Email Hosting Provider is Right for my Business?
We’ve explored email hosting in detail and explained its benefits to your business. We’ve also considered the three hosting options that are available to you, as well as the nine best email hosting providers for your business. So which should you pick?
- For the cost-conscious, Namecheap offers the most bang per buck.
- For users deeply invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, Microsoft’s Office 365 is likely the best bet.
- If cloud integration and simplicity are paramount to you, then it doesn’t get better than Google Workspace.
- If you’re nervous about migrating all your data from one provider to another, Intermedia Exchange Email will handle the entire onboarding and data migration process for you.
- And if you need white-labeling, look no further than IceWarp.