11 Best Free Email Hosting Providers for Small Businesses (Comparison)

February 22, 2024
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12 Minutes Read
Modified on:
February 22, 2024
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Written by:
Manali Kulkarni
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Did you know that we send over 347 billion emails every day worldwide? That's an astounding number, and it's clear that emails have become an essential communication tool in the modern business world.

With that sheer volume, it's crucial to keep your emails in check and ensure they are delivered and received efficiently. This is where email hosting comes in, providing businesses with the necessary infrastructure and tools to manage their email communication effectively.

However, not all email hosting services are created equal. From free email hosting providers to shared hosting and dedicated servers, there are many different options, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

In this ultimate guide to email hosting, we'll cover everything you need to know, including its benefits, types, and how to choose the best email hosting provider for your business needs.

So, buckle up and prepare to take your email communication to the next level. 

11 Best Free Email Hosting Providers

1. Neo

Neo is a professional email service that is created specifically for solopreneurs, freelancers and entrepreneurs. It lets you function efficiently through various features that are geared to drive productivity. Neo also offers a free domain along with a one-page site (link-in-bio) that helps with branding. Aside from having a professional email that matches your brand, Neo offers a user-friendly interface and powerful tools like Read Receipts, Follow-up Reminders, and Priority Inbox to make your email experience smooth and hassle-free. 

2. Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail is an email hosting provider that offers custom domain tools to help small businesses stay connected. It provides a variety of features that can save time and improve productivity, such as hassle-free emailing with ample storage space, powerful search, an intuitive interface and easy to download for email set up.

3. Dreamhost

This small business email service and domain service protects your inbox from phishing and malware attacks with its unique inbound spam filter. This filter is like a watchdog for online threats and instantly blocks suspicious emails.

4. Bluehost

Bluehost is a web hosting company that offers email services as part of its hosting packages. They offer several features that can be useful for small businesses such as Email forwarding, 24*7 customer support and and spam filtering.

5. Google workspace

Formerly known as G Suite, the search giant’s new Google Workspace offers a comprehensive selection of business tools, including email services. It’s excellent for small businesses that need access to powerful collaboration and productivity tools.

6. Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is a comprehensive productivity and email suite, offering access to the popular applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more. It's an excellent choice for businesses that already use or plan to use these tools extensively.

7. Fastmail

FastMail is a robust and secure email hosting provider that offers advanced features such as the ability to use it with your domain. It is known for its privacy-focused features and ad-free interface.

8. Rackspace

Rackspace offers dedicated email hosting services, with robust support and guaranteed uptime. It provides both Rackspace Email for basic needs and Microsoft Exchange for businesses requiring more advanced features.

9. ProtonMail

ProtonMail is a Swiss-based email service provider known for its focus on privacy and security. It offers end-to-end encryption, ensuring that only you can read your emails.

10. IceWarp

IceWarp is a comprehensive office suite solution with a robust email hosting service. It supports Microsoft's ActiveSync, and it can also integrate with SMS, voice messages, and more.

11. Godaddy Email

GoDaddy Email offers business email hosting with domain matching, ample scalable storage, and integrated calendars and contacts for streamlined scheduling and communication, bolstered by robust security and user-friendly features.

Key Features to Look for in an Email Host

You should look for several key features when choosing an email host to get the most out of it.

  • Security and encryption: One of the most critical features to look for in an email host is the protection they offer. Security measures like SSL encryption, two-factor authentication, and virus scanning help protect your sensitive information and prevent unauthorized access to your email account.
  • Storage and attachment size: Another important consideration is the amount of storage space provided by the email host and the maximum attachment size allowed. This can be especially important if you frequently send and receive large files.
  • Spam filtering: Around 14.5 billion spam messages are sent every day worldwide. Spam is a significant issue for most users, and a good host should have effective spam filtering in place to reduce unwanted emails you receive.
  • Custom domains: If you have a business or personal brand, having a custom domain name for your email address can be an important way to establish a professional image. Choose an email host that lets you use your own domain.
  • Integration with other tools: Consider whether the email host integrates with your other tools, such as your calendar or a task management system. This helps streamline your workflow and makes managing all your tasks and communications easier from one central location.

Picking the right email host is essential, whether for your business or personal use. You want to make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck, so to speak, and that means looking out for certain features. 

How to Choose an Email Host

Choosing the right email host is crucial for your business, but it can be overwhelming with so many options available. Consider these tips to help you choose the best email host. 

Identify your needs and budget

Making the most of your money is the goal. Depending on your business, some features may be irrelevant, while others are non-negotiable. 

Determine what features you need and how much you can afford to pay for them. Do you need custom domains, large storage space, or integration with other tools? Consider your budget and prioritize what's most important to you.

Compare features and prices

Once you know your needs and budget, compare different email hosts based on their features and prices. Look for features such as security and encryption, spam filtering, and storage space. Some email hosts may offer additional features like integration with other tools, which could be valuable.

Read reviews and get recommendations

Before making a decision, check user reviews to get an idea of the reliability and quality of the email host. You can also ask colleagues, friends, or other business owners for recommendations. Choose an email host known for good customer service and a reliable track record.

With these tips, you can narrow your options and choose an email host that meets your needs and budget. Remember to prioritize what's most relevant to your business, and don't be afraid to ask for recommendations or support from others in the industry.

11 Best Free Email Hosting Providers - Comparison

Email Provider Free Trial Price / month / user Storage / user
Neo Yes, 30-day $2.00 30 GB
Zoho Mail Yes, 15-day $1.25 5 GB
Dreamhost No $1.67 25 GB
Bluehost Yes, 14-day $7.80 30 GB
Google Workspace Yes, 14-day $7.80 30 GB
Microsoft 365 Yes, 1 month $5 to $20 50GB
FastMail Yes, 30-day $3 to $9 2GB to 100GB
Rackspace No $2.99 25GB to 100GB
ProtonMail Yes €30 20GB
IceWarp Yes, 14-day $3.50 Based On Plan
Godaddy Email Yes, 30-days $1.99 Based On Plan

What is Email Hosting?

Email hosting is a service that provides businesses with the necessary tools for email management. In other words, it's a way to host your email accounts on a server rather than relying on a free email service provider like Gmail or Yahoo.

So, how does email hosting work? When you sign up for an email hosting service, you'll typically receive access to a server where your emails are stored and managed. This server can be shared with other customers or dedicated solely to your business.

Email hosting offers several benefits over free email services. For one, an email hosting provider gives businesses a professional email address that includes their company name in the domain (e.g., john@companyname.com). This creates trust and legitimacy for customers and clients.

Also, email hosting helps businesses manage their emails more efficiently with valuable features like spam filtering, email forwarding, and autoresponders. It also offers a high level of security to protect sensitive information. 

Providers often use advanced encryption and authentication methods to prevent unauthorized access to email accounts, ensuring confidential and secure communication. This added security helps businesses comply with data privacy regulations and gives them peace of mind.

Types of Email Hosting

You can choose from several different types of email hosting. Each type offers pros and cons, and the right option for your business depends on your specific needs and budget.

Free email hosting services

You can easily set up and use free email hosting services; their main perk is what their name implies – they're free.

Still, free email hosting services come with some downsides. Your email address will include the provider's domain name, which may look unprofessional to clients and customers. These services also often come with limited storage space and limited features.

If you're looking to start an email without any commitment and seamlessly switch providers whenever you want, a free email hosting provider may be the right choice.

Among the best free email hosting providers are Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook.

Shared hosting

The idea of shared hosting is that multiple customers share the same server. This is an affordable option, as it divides the cost of the server among the customers. 

However, since multiple companies share a single server, its resources can become strained, leading to slower performance. Aside from that, if one customer's account is compromised, it can potentially affect the security of all the others on the server.

That being said, shared hosting provides an affordable solution to email hosting for small businesses, especially those just starting online.

The best email web hosting services to choose from are Bluehost, HostGator and DreamHost.

Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS hosting is an email hosting where multiple customers share a single physical server, but each customer gets their dedicated portion of the server's resources. 

This provides more control and flexibility over shared hosting while still being more cost-effective than dedicated hosting. Too many customers can, however, slow down VPS hosting's performance.

When it comes to customization and control, VPS hosting is the better alternative to shared hosting.

There are several good options for VPS hosting, including Liquid Web, InMotion Hosting and A2 Hosting.

Dedicated hosting

Dedicated hosting might be your best option if you have a large website that receives high traffic or operate a big e-commerce store. 

With dedicated hosting, the server is specifically designed to handle multiple requests simultaneously, even with a high influx of visitors. This guarantees you'll have a consistently speedy hosting performance without dealing with slow loading times or other performance issues.

Several good dedicated hosting options exist, including Rackspace, Amazon Web Services (AWS) and DigitalOcean.

Choosing the correct type of email hosting requires careful consideration of your needs and budget. Free email hosting services are an ideal option for startups with limited budgets, while shared hosting, VPS hosting, and dedicated hosting offer more control, flexibility, and performance at higher price points.

Looking to create a professional email right off the bat but are finding it difficult to choose a business-friendly provider? You should consider Neo, the business email platform built with entrepreneurs in mind. 

Neo's business email services are focused on helping customers enhance their brands and expand their businesses. Neo also offers a free .co.site domain for businesses that don't have a domain yet. Plus, its quick mobile apps for Android and iOS make managing multiple email accounts easier.

Setting up and Configuring Your Email Hosting Account

Setting up and configuring your email hosting account may seem overwhelming. But, with the proper instructions, it can be reasonably simple. To get your email account up and running, follow these steps:

  1. Choose your hosting provider: Select one that meets your needs and budget. Once you've signed up for an account, you'll receive instructions for setting up your email account.
  2. Create your email address: Next, create your email address. This typically involves choosing a username and password and selecting a domain name for your email address. Some hosting providers offer a free domain name, while others may require you to purchase one separately.
  3. Set up your email client: This could be from an app like Outlook or a web-based email client like Gmail. Follow the instructions provided by your hosting provider to configure your email client settings, including incoming and outgoing server information, port numbers, and security settings.
  4. Configure your email settings: Once you've set up your email client, adjust your settings for optimal performance. This could include enabling spam filters, setting up email signatures, and creating email rules for your business.
  5. Test your email: Before you start using your email account, be sure to test it to ensure everything works correctly. Send test emails to yourself and others, and make sure that you can receive and send emails without any issues.

A good email client should also be configured to perform optimally. Here are some best practices to help you configure your email client:

  • Set up email filters to organize incoming messages.
  • Archive or delete old emails to free up storage space.
  • Avoid using your email client as a to-do list. Use a separate task management tool instead.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for added security.
  • Customize your email signature to include important contact information or links to your website and social media accounts.
  • Check for updates to ensure the latest features and security patches.
  • Regularly back up your email data to prevent loss in system failures or crashes.

Following these steps, you can set up and configure your email hosting account and client for optimal performance and security. 

Advanced Email Hosting Topics

Businesses get more complex as they grow, requiring more complex email hosting services. 

Email marketing automation and integration

With email marketing automation, businesses can send targeted and personalized emails to their subscribers based on their preferences and behaviors. This helps increase engagement and conversions.

Email marketing automation tools can also integrate with other business systems, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software, social media platforms, and landing page builders,, to create a seamless marketing ecosystem.

Email archiving and backup

Email archiving is the process of preserving and protecting email data for long-term storage and future reference. Businesses must prepare for this to comply with legal or regulatory requirements for data retention.

Email backup, on the other hand, is creating a copy of all email data for disaster recovery purposes. This ensures that businesses can quickly recover from a data loss event such as a server crash or accidental deletion.

Migration to a new email hosting provider

As businesses grow and their email hosting needs change, they may need to switch to a different email hosting provider. Even though it can be a complex process, with proper planning and execution, it can be completed without causing much disruption to email communications.

A successful migration involves backing up all email data, selecting a new hosting provider, and migrating email data to the new provider while minimizing downtime and ensuring data integrity.

Conclusion 

Email hosting is a critical aspect of modern business communication, and selecting the best email host can significantly impact your business's success. 

By following the guidelines we've covered, you can ensure your business email is secure, reliable, and optimized for performance.

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