When it comes to your website or email marketing efforts, you really want the best service available. What might be the best hosting or email service? Well, that depends on what type of site you are wanting to create. Find out which companies and services I recommend using.
I’m going to get straight to the point. All of the hosting and email providers I talk about below are well worth their price tag. But what if you want to know about a couple of other companies that are worth mentioning? Here are my top 4.
Email Hosting Options
The first step in shopping for an email hosting provider, is determining how you’re going to host your email. The top options include:
- Shared web and email hosting: Shared web and email hosting means you get your email hosting as part of your web hosting package. The majority of website hosting options available today also offer email hosting as standard.
- Self-hosted email: If you have your own servers, you can host your email on those rather than working with a third-party. Although you’ll get more customization and control this way, there are disadvantages too, such having to manage your own server, and preventing your messages from being marked as spam.
- Third-party email hosting: if you need more features than a web host can provide, look into third-party hosted email providers. These hosts help with reducing the costs of self-hosting. A subscription to a hosted email service often comes with shared calendars and contacts, built-in team chat, and more.
Crucially, it’s worth noting that an email hosting provider and email client aren’t the same things. An email host allows you to receive and send email messages. An email client (or app) is what you would use to read and write your emails.
What to Look for in an Email Hosting Service
Before you start hunting for the best email hosting provider, you need to decide what kind of features you need moat. Generally, most email hosting options included with web hosting are pretty basic, and if you choose to host your email yourself, you’ll be able to build your own features in (provided you have the developer knowledge). This means the biggest decisions are often made when searching for a third-party hosting provider.
There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the best email service, but you can usually expect at least some of the following features:
- A custom domain: This is an absolute must-have for your email hosting solution. You need a custom domain on your email so you can create a professional image for yourself, or your business. The domain will ensure that instead of sending messages to you at @gmail.com, your customers can contact you @businessname.com.
- Support: This is something you can get from an email hosting solution that combines with your web hosting service. However, you’re likely to get a higher level of support from a specialist third-party host. Support will include all kinds of guidance from a team of professionals, including initial set-up directions, and professional technical help if you have a problem with your email performance.
- Team features: Many leading email hosting options come with various tools to keep teams connected in the back end of the business. After all, most companies involve more than one person. An email host with team features might offer things like integrated team-chat, conferencing, and shared calendars on the back end of your software.
- Bonus tools: Some email hosting providers even offer bonus features to improve your company’s performance. For instance, solutions like G-Suite and Office 365 come with a host of productivity tools to keep your team working at their best. There are also solutions out there offering integrations with the tools your employees use every day, like Microsoft Teams, or Salesforce for CRM management.
- Security features: You can route all of your emails through applications which help to protect against things like filters and spam. However, most businesses will prefer to use tools with these features already built in. The right email provider should be able to give you peace of mind that your emails will remain secure. You can also use filtering to ensure you’re less likely to click on an email or download an attachment with a virus.
- Storage: Mailbox storage is a commonly sought-after feature of many email hosting providers. If your employees are communicating with clients and customers through email, you’ll need to be able to store some of those messages securely for compliance and auditing purposes. Make sure your hosting provider offers plenty of storage.
- Sending limits: Each provider will allow you to send a certain number of files and attachments, according to your individual needs. Many come with file-sharing tools that can also help you out if you want to send much larger documents for any reason.
If your employees rely on Microsoft Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint to do their work, the best option for your email hosting is probably Microsoft 365’s Business Standard plan. This plan was recently rebranded from Office 365, and you still might see that branding around in some places online, so keep that in mind to avoid confusion.
Microsoft 365 Business Standard bundles all of the features you need from a hosted email service—email sending and receiving, custom domain addresses, and spam and data loss prevention—along with the Office apps your employees use daily at work. With a single subscription, you get hosted email and web, desktop, and mobile access to Microsoft’s Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, Skype, and OneNote apps. If you only want the web version of apps like Word or Excel, you can also try the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan and save around $7.50 per user per month.
In addition to the standard Office apps, Microsoft 365 Business Standard also gives your employees access to some of Microsoft’s newer workplace tools, including Microsoft Teams, the company’s competitor to team chat app Slack. And with Microsoft 365’s Zapier integrations, you can automate all those tools as well.
Email hosting with a Microsoft 365 subscription is provided through Microsoft Exchange, which is also available as a standalone subscription if you don’t need all of the add-on apps. And both the lowest-price standalone Exchange plan and Microsoft 365 Business Standard give each of your users up to 50GB of mailbox storage, though the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan also includes 1TB of OneDrive storage, which can be used to share large file attachments.
- Microsoft 365 tools: Email, calendar, contacts, file storage and sharing, file editing and collaboration, voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, team chat, internal social network, intranet, and tasks
- Microsoft 365 price: From $5/user/month for the Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan that includes hosted email for up to 300 accounts, 50GB storage per account, and access to all apps listed above; from $4/user/month for the Exchange Online Plan 1 that includes email hosting, shared calendars, and a global address list
If your organization prefers using cloud-based tools, Google Workspace is your best bet for email hosting.
Google Workspace is Google’s alternative to Microsoft 365, combining email hosting with the company’s own communication and collaboration apps. With a Google Workspace subscription, you get a minimum of 30GB of cloud storage space per user—though Enterprise-tier plans provide as much storage as you need—as well as shared contacts and calendars.
You also get access to Google’s entire set of workplace communication and collaboration tools, including Chat for messaging and Meet for voice/video conferencing, Google Drive for cloud file storage, Keep for note-taking, and access to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides—some of the most accessible file editing and real-time collaboration tools available. If you use Google’s suite of apps, you can also automate them with Zapier.
Google’s administration tools are simple to use as well, and increasingly have the advanced features businesses need, such as Vault for compliance archival. And since it’s still the Gmail your team already knows how to use, onboarding will be easy.
- Google Workspace tools: Email, calendar, contacts, file storage and sharing, file editing and collaboration, voice and video conferencing, instant messaging, team chat, internal social network, intranet, and tasks
- Google Workspace price: From $6/user/month for the Business Starter plan that includes core Google apps and 30GB storage per user; from $18/user/month for the Business Plus plan that includes 5TB storage per user, Vault, and enhanced security and management tools
Zoho Workplace is Zoho’s version of Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace, offering hosted email, calendars, and contacts, as well as Zoho’s own communication and collaboration apps: WorkDrive (for cloud storage), Office Suite (for creating and collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations), and Cliq (for team chat). You can automate Zoho Workplace with Zapier integrations for Zoho Mail, Zoho Cliq, Zoho Writer, and Zoho Connect.
It’s worth talking about the email app here too: Zoho Mail is a modern take on email with social networking-style features. Instead of sending a long message with a subject and signature every time, you can send a quick stream message to colleagues—or share an email from a client that you need to collaborate on. It includes shared email inboxes as well, so everyone on your marketing team can share the same partner and press emails, searching through them all along with their personal emails. And it’s a tabbed app, so you can switch between your inbox, calendar, and a draft email in a tap.
Zoho’s admin panel for email administration is a bit less intuitive than those of some of the other hosting services, but it makes up for it with extremely detailed step-by-step instructions for how to do just about anything you need to do on its platform. And if you have five or fewer employees, you can get email hosting for your business domain and Zoho’s ad-free email client for absolutely free. When you add your sixth user, you can get just Zoho Mail for as little as $1/user/month.
- Zoho Workplace tools: Email, calendar, contacts, file storage and sharing, file editing and collaboration, instant messaging, and team chat (Basic plan); voice and video conferencing and internal social network (Professional plan)
- Zoho Workplace price: Free for up to five users, email hosting for a single domain, and 5GB storage per user; from $3/user/month for the Standard plan that includes email hosting for multiple domains, 30GB storage per user, and access to Zoho Office Suite, Docs, and Cliq; from $6/user/month for the Professional plan that includes 100GB storage per user and access to Zoho Connect
- All-in one website and email hosting
- Excellent integrations with Microsoft
- Plenty of storage and attachment space
- Domain name email
- Available technical support
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- Can be a bit more expensive when combined with web hosting
- Some limitations on cheaper plans
Unlike other email hosting providers offering a combination of email and productivity tools, Bluehost is a solution combining web hosting for your site, with email functionality. Bluehost is among the most popular website hosting providers in the world, and it has one of the best file attachment limits for email, too, at around 50MB per email.
Unlike most email hosting providers, Bluehost also offers the peace of mind that comes with world-class disaster recovery protection and security. The technical support is always on hand to help you if anything goes wrong. More expensive plans come with extra storage and capabilities.
If you’re already using Bluehost as your hosting provider for your website, it definitely makes sense to check out the functionality for your email too. The service is incredible, and you can enjoy some fantastic disaster recovery too.
- Mailbox and calendar integration
- Up to 50GB mailbox
- Outlook web access
- Domain nail email
- World-class disaster recovery and security
- 1TB of cloud storage and file-sharing support
- Access to Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and other Microsoft 365 online or desktop tools, depending on your plan.
- Appointment bookings
- Multiple device access options per user
Bluehost Email Hosting Pricing
Perfect for smaller companies with a limited budget, Bluehost is surprisingly affordable for both web and email hosting. You can get a mailbox and Exchange Online calendar with up to 15GB of storage for only $4.99 per month. There’s also access to your own domain name for your email address and 24/7 technical support included.
- User-friendly design
- Powerful marketing and sales features
- Leading customer support and 24/7 phone support with paid plans
- Shared inbox
- Meeting scheduling
- Expensive paid plans
- Steep initial learning curve
HubSpot Email Hosting is a tool within its Marketing Hub software. Email hosting makes it easy for teams to manage contacts, nurture leads using insight from CRM data, and create highly personalized emails, all for free.
The platform is great for small teams as it offers several time-saving features. The drag-and-drop editor lets you quickly build professional-looking emails, while advanced data collection simplifies the personalization of each communication by audience segment.
Connected to the rest of HubSpot’s marketing software, the email hosting uses CRM data to segment, personalize, and track every single email campaign for a more effective email management strategy.
- Drag-and-drop editing
- Ready-made templates
- Email segmentation and tracking
- Integration with Salesforce
- Live Chat
- Incorporation of CRM data
- Personalization tokens
- Email open, click, and click-through rate tracking
- 2,000 free emails per month, with options for more with paid plans
HubSpot email hosting is a good choice if your sales or marketing team wants email hosting for lead nurturing and customer relationship management.
HubSpot’s email hosting is part of HubSpot’s Marketing Hub toolset, which provides features like landing pages and social ads management. You can avail of those features for free and send 2000 free emails per month if you’re on a budget and have limited requirements.
For those who want to take full advantage of the features in HubSpot Marketing, the paid Starter tier is $45 a month, while at the high end, the Enterprise tier is offered at $3,200 a month. With the latter, you get many powerful marketing features like multi-touch revenue attribution or SEO tools.
Choosing the best email service provider can be challenging. You’ve got to look at security and ease of use. You want them to be reliable, with continuous support. Would you like webmail, or do you prefer clients? Support for mobile devices? All these things vary from provider to provider in what you choose for your email solution.