Nine best email providers for business 2017: Webmail vs desktop email: Google vs Microsoft vs Amazon: What's the best email provider for business?
In a Gartner report published last year, only 13 percent of businesses were using Google and Microsoft cloud email services, with 8.5 percent adopting Microsoft Office 365 (Outlook) and 4.7 percent using Google Apps for Work (Gmail).
Gartner research vice president Jeffrey Mann said: "Among public companies using cloud-based email, Microsoft is more popular with larger organisations and has more than an 80 percent share of companies using cloud email with revenue above $10 billion".
"Google's popularity is better among smaller companies, approaching a 50 percent share of companies with revenue less than $50 million," he added. (Full report here)
So with Microsoft, Google and Amazon Web Services all offering good email solutions, deciding between them and other hosted email providers is a big task. To help, we've compiled a list of the best email providers on the market, some are web-based and others are traditional client email servers.
Here are the best email platforms for business…
1. Webmail vs desktop email: What’s best for your business?
Webmail: Emails are stored on an online server mailbox with access to emails just requiring an internet connection. Some businesses prefer this over on-premise email hosts as it offers flexibility and doesn’t take up any physical storage. So if you travel for work, this is an ideal solution. Webmail usually provides larger amounts of storage and in most cased unlimited storage is still pretty cost effective. Sadly, webmail does fail in some pretty important areas. Not exclusive to all, but most webmail services do not work offline making reliability an issue in some cases.
Desktop email: Emails are stored on-premise meaning you don’t have to login online to access your emails. For some businesses this is a big positive as it means multiple email accounts can be open at one time without signing in and out of accounts. As desktop email doesn’t require an internet connection it won’t fail in times of poor bandwidth, getting a point for reliability. However, if your business does opt for desktop email some problems will arise. Firstly, syncing devices is more time-consuming than webmail, data is stored in one place so is potentially vulnerable and you are linked to an operating system that is restrictive if your business runs both PCs and Macs.
2. Best email providers for business 2017: Gmail and Google Apps
Unsurprisingly Gmail has made it onto our list, and rightly so. Gmail is a webmail service with a minimalist design and a user-friendly interface. If you know how to use the settings correctly, you can easily tailor your Gmail to the needs of your business. Gmail users can create multiple calendars and also share calendars with employees. Gmail offers a plethora of apps, from Google Sheets, Google Docs and Google Drive which can also be used on mobile devices. Gmail business customers will receive unlimited storage and archiving for £3.60 per user per month, with a basics package also available offering 30 GB of storage for £3.30 per user per month.
Interestingly, this week Google announced that Gmail now accepts attachments up to 50 MB, meaning no more bounced emails or sending attachments in separate emails. Although, sending large amounts of data is still best sent using a file sharing service.
3. Best email providers for business 2017: Outlook
Microsoft Outlook has a traditional interface with straightforward practices meaning creating 'rules' is very easy and Outlook does have a few more categories than Gmail for organising the inbox. Plus, Outlook integrates very well with social media channels and provides access to numerous email accounts and has an on-premise option. One downside is Outlook's lack of video chat or IMAP support.
Within its business essentials package (arguably the best one for small businesses), you'll receive a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB of file storage and also access to an offline office. Interestingly, the premium package offers exactly the same amount of mailbox and file storage, so the only benefit you'll receive is total Microsoft apps integration and fully installed Office on PC or Mac, which for some businesses might not be totally necessary. And at £9.40 per user per month, it could save you a bit of money too.
4. Best email providers for business 2017: Rackspace
Rackspace has both webmail and desktop email capabilities and with Rackspace mail users being able to access their emails through Outlook (desktop) and the Rackspace webmail application. Rackspace claims three million people use their email platform over mobile, web and Outlook. Its business email server is ad free and their anti-spam and virus capabilities are very good. Rackspace offers 25GB of mailbox storage and 50MB attachments with mailbox archiving storage for an extra $2 per user/month.
5. Best email providers for business 2017: Rackspace Hosted Exchange
While there are a few good hosted exchanges out there, Rackspace's hosted exchange is one of the most popular. Rackspace provides enterprise-level syncing of Outlook Web Apps and works across mobile and tablet devices. With Rackspace's Hosted Exchange you benefit from integrated Skype which is a massive plus for most businesses. What's more, you’ll receive 100GB mailboxes, resource mailboxes and public folders.
Hosted exchanges use the email technology from Microsoft Exchange Servers. Here, Rackspace has bought a licence and are essentially renting out the technology and adding their own services on top.
6. Best email providers for business 2017: Exchange Online
Like Microsoft Exchange and other hosted exchanges, Exchange Online is an email, calendar and contacts provider which is located in the cloud by Microsoft but is also available on-premise through Microsoft Outlook.
Exchange Online offers three email plans, Exchange Online 1, a standalone email service offering 50 GB of mailbox storage, Exchange Online 2 which provides a hosted voicemail and 100 GB of mailbox storage and finally, a business premium plan that includes full Microsoft office integration and 1 TB of file storage in addition to the everything included in the Exchange Online 1 plan.
7. Best email providers for business 2017: Microsoft Office 365
Office 365 integrates Exchange Online and Outlook while offering great office integrations such as Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, Skype and Microsoft Teams, meaning that setting up an ultra-connected business is pretty simple.
If you opt to go for the full Microsoft Office 365 business premium plan opposed to just the Business Essentials plan, you'll benefit from integrated Office Web Apps, full desktop MS Office and HD video conferencing as well as a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB file storage and an offline office.
For smaller businesses, the Microsoft Office 365 Business Essentials package includes an online version of Microsoft Office 365, a 50 GB mailbox, 1 TB file storage, HD video conferencing and an online office.
8. Best email providers for business 2017: Amazon WorkMail
Amazon WorkMail is a cloud-based webmail service that boasts a managed business email and calendar service while still supporting existing desktop or mobile email platforms. Businesses can gain access to their email via Outlook, iOS or Android email applications or their web browser. WorkMail will provide 50GB of storage per user and security for enterprise-level users.
Amazon also supports Microsoft Outlook and the Microsoft Exchange Server.
9. Best email providers for business 2017: Atmail
Offering both cloud and on-premise mailboxes, by choosing Atmail cloud mail hosting, you will receive 500 GB of storage, maintenance and security updates, built-in antivirus and a custom domain, not to mention a user interface similar to Google Apps.
Atmail offers good customisation features, with custom branding, logos and themes integration coming as standard when opting for its cloud email server.
For those wanting an on-premise email service, you can expect to pay around $480 (£390) per year for 50 users (for Atmail Pro)
10. Best email providers for business 2017: Zoho Mail
Like Google Apps for Work, Zoho Mail comes as part of Zoho Workplace, a range of business-focused apps including Zoho Docs and Office Suite.
Zoho Mail promises an ad-free, simple and reliable mail service with a guaranteed uptime of 99.9 percent. And while it does offer a free package (ideal for startups), its prices are pretty low, with its 'pro' price plan offering 100 GB of combined storage and 40 MB of email attachments. All of this will set you back about £4 per user per month.
All of the Office 365 business and enterprise tiers explained
Free OneDrive capacity is going up from 7GB to 15GB, and skyrocketing to 1TB for Office 365 subscribers
They'll have new features at lower prices