As a business
owner, your email is important. It's how you communicate with clients and
vendors. It may even be how you communicate with your employees. You want to
make sure that you choose the best email service provider for your needs.
At Envato Tuts+ we understand the importance of email to the small business owner. That's why we created a series to focus on one of the most popular and best email providers out there. Learn what you need to know to use Gmail for your small business in our comprehensive, multipart series: How to Use Gmail (Ultimate Beginner Guide).
We also provide
helpful email advice for those who choose not to use Gmail. For example, you
can write more effective business emails after studying the tutorial (regardless of which email service provider you use):
In this tutorial, learn how to start and end a professional business email:
You can also download our new email strategies eBook: The Ultimate Guide to Inbox Zero Mastery. (It's available for FREE with the Tuts+ Business Newsletter.)
To continue with more useful email advice, in this article we've curate a collection of ten of the best, free business email service providers. Let's start by looking at some of the features to look for in a good business email provider, so you know how to better compare the options available.
9 Top Features to Look for in a Great Business Email Provider
Because your business email is so important, deciding on the best email provider for your needs can be a bit demanding. Every business will have its own specific needs, but there are some basic features that a good business email should offer, and is a good starting.
Here are nine features to look for when you select your business email service:
- Spam Filter - Spam messages are a huge time waster. You don't want to spend your valuable time reading them. That's why you want an email service that has a system in place to detect and filter out inbox spam.
- Reliability - Your business email provider needs to be up and running when you need it. Your email should always be available. Email downtime could result in lost or unhappy customers.
- Integration - Some email services work well with other business tools such as calendars, and productivity suites. If your business relies heavily on such tools, consider an email package that integrates with the other tools you already use.
- Security - With email hacks being a regular news item, you want your business email provider to offer strong measures to keep your accounts secure. You need to keep your messages safe and don't want any unauthorized use of your email account.
- Ease of Use - As your business grows, more of your staff members need to create and use email accounts. Reduce staff training time by selecting an email service provider that's easy to use.
- Archive Capabilities - The best business email providers provide a way for you to save, store, and organize your email messages and drafts. For many businesses, keeping an accurate and well-organized record of business communication is vital.
- Advanced Features - When running a small business, advanced email features such as the ability to recall sent messages or schedule tasks within email can be important. Which advanced features are most important depends on your unique business needs.
- Reputation - Your business email service provider needs to have a good reputation. Remember, your email address is one of the first pieces of information prospective clients see.
- Storage - When selecting an email service provider, keep in mind the amount of storage space included with your account. You don't want to run out of space.
If possible, have everyone in your small business use the same email service provider for business purposes. The main reason for this is consistency. If each member of your business team uses a different email service, it can confuse customers and prospective customers.
Plus, using different email services makes it difficult for your business to train employees and set in place procedures for handling business messages. Since various providers offer different features, not all employees will be able to handle messages in the same way if they use different email services.
It's important to pick the right email service provider for your business. The best place to start is to compare the top free and low cost options.
10 Best, Free Business Email Service Providers
Now that we've discussed what you should look for in a business email service provider, let's look at a few notable features of some of the most popular and best free email systems.
Note: Some of these email systems also offer a premium version with more features, capabilities, and the ability to scale with the growth of your business. Be aware though that many free email services use advertisements to pay for the service.
1. Gmail - Best Free Email Service Provider
One of the most popular and best email service providers, Gmail is used for personal and business communications alike. According to statistics reported by TechCrunch in 2016, over a billion people use Gmail.
Gmail has a good reputation and includes many advanced features such as the Undo Send feature and Email Forwarding. Since this service is owned by search engine giant, Google, naturally it includes a powerful search utility and filter system.
Google has also added strengthened security measures such as two-step verification and powerful spam filters to make it less likely that your account is hacked or that you receive junk messages. Finally, it integrates cleanly with popular productivity tools including Google Calendar and Google Docs.
Learn more about how to work with Gmail in our comprehensive series: How to Use Gmail (Ultimate Beginner Guide). And, if you'd like to get started on Gmail right away, then learn how to create an account fast, or jump into some quick tips:
- GmailHow to Create a New Gmail Account (Quick Start Guide)Laura Spencer
- Gmail27+ Quick Gmail Tips, Tricks, and Important SecretsLaura Spencer
2. Outlook.com - Another Top, Free Email Provider
Microsoft's Outlook.com email provider is a strong option if you're looking for the best email provider. Statistics from Microsoft show that Outlook had over 400 million users in 2016.
This popular email package has the support and resources of tech giant Microsoft behind it. Outlook.com offers advanced features such as Clutter, which finds emails that are likely of low priority and separates them from your inbox. Another advanced Outlook.com feature is the ability to Undelete, or recover an email after you've accidentally discarded a message. Outlook integrates well with popular software including other Microsoft products.
Outlook.com also uses two-step verification, meaning you must provide two forms of identification to log in. This makes it harder for hackers to access your account. If you use Outlook.com and would like to organize your inbox better, then read-through this Envato Tuts+ tutorial:
3. iCloud Mail - Popular Email Service Provider for Apple Users
You may not realize it, but if you've ever created an Apple ID you can also claim an iCloud email address to associate with your Apple ID.
iCloud email is a possible email choice if you frequently access your email package from your Apple mobile device. Apple employs several security features to make sure that your iCloud account is not compromised including two-step verification or two-factor authentication. There's also a spam filter.
iCloud email includes some advanced email features including an auto responder and some basic filters. It's part of a larger suite of cloud-based tools that include a contact list, calendar, and a utility for keeping notes and reminders.
If you use iCloud email, review this Tuts+ tutorial to learn more:
4. Yahoo! Mail - Professional, Free Email Service Provider
Yahoo! was one of the early Internet companies, dating back to 1994. Yahoo! Mail is popular with many users. In 2016, it was announced that the company was acquired by Verizon.
Despite the recent changes to Yahoo! ownership, you can still sign up for a Yahoo! Mail account. Some Yahoo! Mail features you can benefit from if you choose it as your email provider include:
- Auto deletion of Trash messages after 90 days
- Huge storage capacity (1 TB)
- Built-in web search tool, calendar, and notepad
- Spam filters and SSL encryption
Signing up for a Yahoo! Mail account also gives you access to other Yahoo! services including their news feed, Yahoo! Messenger, and a calendar utility.
5. AOL Mail - Free Email Service With Unlimited Storage
AOL is another early Internet company. In the 1980s the company was known as America Online. It was purchased by Verizon in 2015. The email component of the organization remains a popular and strong service that has earned its place on this list of the best email services.
Key AOL Mail features include advanced spam filters and virus protection. It's also known for the ability to personalize your email address with the MyAddress feature that lets you select your own email domain name.
One of the most attractive AOL Mail feature is unlimited storage space for its users. If your business stores lots of messages, you don't need to worry about running out of space.
6. Zoho Mail - Best Ad-Free Email Service Provider
Although Zoho Mail has several premium levels available, there is also a free level available that allows you to have up to 25 users. For many small businesses, this will be enough—so we have included the email service on our list of the best free email providers.
With the free level of Zoho Mail, you are limited to 5 GB of storage per user. It does include antivirus protection and spam filtering. This email service integrates with other Zoho productivity tools such as calendar, tasks, and notes.
It's worth mentioning that even at the free level, Zoho Mail does not run advertisements (which is not true of many other free email services). If your small business already uses Zoho productivity software, Zoho Mail may be the natural email service provider for you.
7. GMX Email - Get a Good Free Email Account
GMX Mail offers a good, basic free email account. This is another email service that offers free unlimited email storage. It's known for its popular mobile interface. Also, use it to get email from other email services.
There is a spam protection feature to help keep your inbox spam-free as well as a virus protection feature. Use the GMX Organizer to manage your appointments.
An interesting feature allows you to define how long your email messages are stored. For example, if you want each message in your Trash folder to stay there only two days, define two days as the storage time for messages in that folder.
8. Yandex Mail - Free, Powerful Email Service With Translations
Yandex operates Russia's largest search engine. Their free email provider service includes spam and virus protection. They also offer unlimited storage—they start you with a 10 GB email box and add to the storage each time you have less than 200 MB free.
Make your email experience easier using labels, personal buttons, and hot keys. Also, view email attachments such as media files and images from within a message.
One interesting feature is a built-in translator for incoming and outgoing messages. Yandex email also includes a Tasks service that allows you to create tasks and task lists.
9. Mail.com - Free Email Account With Domain Extension
Mail.com is a free email service provider that offers several interesting features for small businesses. Choose from 200 different domains when selecting an email address. For example, if you are a graphic-designer, you could set up an email address with the @graphic-designer.com extension.
Your free email account from Mail.com includes virus protection and a spam blocker. The Mail Collector feature allows you to keep up with messages you may receive from other email providers through Mail.com's forwarding feature.
You'll also find that Mail.com includes an online
calendar. Use it to schedule appointments and even send invitations.
10. Lycos.com - Classic Free Email Service Provider
Lycos is another free email service provider with a rich Internet history. The company was launched in the early 1990s as an Internet search engine and web portal. While it still operates as a search engine and web portal, the company also offers a free email service.
The free version of Lycos email includes 500 MB of storage. It also includes spam filtering and virus checking features. Also, you can block specific domain names and email addresses.
Choose the Best Email Service Provider for Your Business
Your email service is important. Choosing the right email service provider for your needs can be confusing. This curated list of the best free email service providers can help you make the best choice.
If you or your small business is looking for a free email service, first decide which features are most important for your needs. Next, look for an email service provider that offers those features for free or at an affordable price. With the right information, you can find the best email service provider for your small business.
Email Strategies (Free) Ebook to Help You Manage Your Inbox Better
After getting setup with an email service provider, it's important to manage your email professionally, respond in timely manner to all your critical contacts, best organize your email inbox, and optimize your approach to email management.
Sign up for the Tuts+ Business Newsletter and get the FREE Inbox Zero eBook now. Learn the email management techniques that will keep you organized and processing your emails like a pro.
How do you stay on top of all your business email? Let us know which email service provider is your favorite in the comments below. And how you optimize it to run professionally.