What are the Top Options for Email Hosting Service for Small Businesses?

The first thing a business needs when going digital is an official email. In addition to it being the professional identity, email remains one of the most effective marketing tools for any business. Banks, paid advertising platforms, and social-media user verification all require valid email addresses. However, agencies often serve as email hosting providers for small businesses. An email hosting service runs on the host’s server, and a local business can get a service by simply signing on to it. All that is required is a domain name.

In this blog we look at the types of email hosting service that exist in the market, and some of the top providers along with their pricing details that small businesses should consider while setting up their digital presence.

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What are the various types of email hosting service?

At the onset, a business owner needs to decide on how they want their email to be hosted. There are three options when it comes to email servers:

Self-hosted email: As the name suggests, the business self hosts the email server. Large businesses usually have in-house email servers,providing more control and customization options. However, for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) self-hosted email can be costly and troublesome since they have to specially recruit systems admins to maintain the servers. Additionally, there are security issues too which a small business may not be equipped to handle.

Shared web and email hosting: Most web hosting providers also offer email hosting, and this is included with the web hosting subscription for free. While this is a cost-effective option, it doesn’t come with many choices or customizations.

Third-party email hosting: A business can consider third-party hosting if it’s looking for more features and tools than the standard web hosting service. Digital agencies or managed service providers (MSP) also provide third-party email hosting service, which considerably cuts down the costs. Further, a hosted email subscription usually comes bundled with tools such as team chat option, shared contacts and calendars, built-in video conferencing etc., that small businesses find handy.

What to look for in email hosting service?

As explained earlier, shared web and email hosting don’t offer many choices, and one gets whatever features the web host is offering. When self hosting emails, a business can completely customize. There are many options to choose from, including tools to manage and customize it.

The real decision-making comes when a business decides to opt for a third-party email hosting service. There are a ton of features and tools to choose from that come as part of the package and what's important varies from business to business. However, here are some critical universally applicable features that businesses must consider while going for third-party email hosting:

  • 24/7 support: Check if the third-party host is providing round the clock customer support. Since small businesses don’t usually have system admins, this is important.
  • Security: Third-party hosts offer built-in features like spam-and virus-filtering, and this is crucial for running a business email.
  • Storage: It’s always advisable to check the storage space the third-party host is offering. Business email accounts need more storage – minimum 2GB storage per user – than a consumer email account  since they need room for archiving old emails.

Attachment size: Business emails often need to include attachments, such as JPG or large-size PDF files. So it’s important to look for an option that allows at least a 25MB attachment size per email.

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Best email hosting services for small businesses

Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) email hosting

Google Workspace probably is the best email hosting option because of the standard Gmail simplicity along with other features it brings in. The Gmail Business Email comes with minimum 30GB storage space per user and everything is stored on the cloud. The best part is it lets a user integrate the personal Gmail calendar with Workspace mail without leaving the Gmail inbox. It also combines email hosting with Google’s own communication and collaboration apps such as Meet for video and voice conferencing; Google Docs and Sheets (for writing and tabulating); Drive (secure cloud storage); Chat (team messaging).

Google Workspace email hosting pricing

Business Starter: Comes for $6 per user per month; and offers in addition to custom and secure business email offers 100 participant video meetings and 30GB cloud storage per user.

Business Standard: $12 per user per month; and offers 150 participant video meetings plus recording, 2TB cloud storage per user and security and management controls.

Business Plus: $18 per user per month; and offers 250 participant video meetings plus recording and attendance tracking; 5TB cloud storage per user; enhanced security and management controls including Vault and advanced endpoint management; standard support. And then there is the option for paid upgrade to enhanced support.

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Microsoft Office 365 email hosting

Microsoft Office 365 is often the automatic choice for long-time avid Microsoft users. Office 365 service offers a bundle of necessary tools for work and collaboration such as Outlook, MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Exchange and One Drive. Then there are PC-only tools like Publisher, Access Teams and SharePoint 365.

Microsoft Office 365 email hosting pricing

Business Basic: Costs $5 per user per month (annual commitment). This is best for businesses that need easy remote solutions and offers with Microsoft Teams, secure cloud storage, and Office Online (desktop versions not included).

Business Standard: Comes for $12.50 per user per month with an annual commitment. It is best for businesses that need full remote work and collaboration tools, including email hosting with 50GB mailbox, Microsoft Teams, secure cloud storage, and premium Office applications across devices.

365 Business Premium: Costs $20 per user per month with an annual commitment. This premium subscription comes with all that is included in Business Standard, plus advanced cyberthreat protection and device management.

For all the plans, there is a one-month free trial period.

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Zoho email hosting

Zoho is fit for businesses on a tight budget. In addition to standard email hosting for multiple domains, Zoho allows huge attachments up to 500MB, and email recall. It also supports POP/IMAP/email forwarding service, unlimited searchable messages and 100GB of file storage.

Tools include the complete Zoho Office Suite:

  • Zoho Writer (for documents), Zoho Sheet (for spreadsheets) and Zoho Show (for presentations)
  • Zoho Cliq
  • Google/Google Apps sign-on
  • Zoho Meeting: video conferencing and screen share up to 10 participants
  • Cloud storage for up to 10 recordings
  • Zoho WorkDrive: 1GB File upload limit

Zoho Email Hosting Pricing

Zoho Standard: Costs $3 per user per month billed annually, and gives 30GB mail storage per user and 10GB WorkDrive storage per user (shared); 100GB team storage allocated for 3-10 users; additional shared storage of 10GB for every new user.

Zoho Professional: Comes for $6 per user per month billed annually. The plan offers all that is included Zoho Standard plus attachments up to 1GB; archival and eDiscovery; white labeling; video conferencing and screen share up to 100 participants; unlimited groups and forums on Zoho Connect; unlimited custom applications; external users access; remote session up to 10 attendees Zoho ShowTime; instant polls; and detailed engagement analytics.

GoDaddy email hosting

GoDaddy offers basic business email with calendar, notes, and tasks. However, there is no team collaboration, archival, instant messaging, email and folder sharing or groups. GoDaddy emails are also not operational on iOS, android, and desktop apps, but a user can get access to Microsoft Office apps toolkit with the premium version.

GoDaddy email hosting pricing

Email Essentials: Comes for $1.99 per user per month and includes 10GB email storage; shared online calendars; and up to 400 email aliases.

Email Plus: Costs $3.99 per user per month and offers 50GB email storage; shared online calendars; and up to 400 email aliases.

Business Premium: Costs $8.99 per user per month, and includes 50GB email storage plus Microsoft Office Apps. Microsoft Outlook allows users to do more with their email. It includes the desktop version of the Office apps on up to five computers while Microsoft Teams gives the ability to host web conferences. Users also get Microsoft OneDrive for Business; and online versions of Office apps such as Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Excel.

Greatmail email hosting

Greatmail is a good option for businesses that have very low budgets, but then it offers minimum features. It starts at as low as $1 per user per month with 10GB storage per user, and also offers hosted Exchange service that gives users all the features of Microsoft Exchange, but eliminates the costly expenses of licensing and maintenance.

Greatmail email hosting pricing

Reseller Email: Comes for $1 per user per month with 10GB storage/mailbox.

Exchange Hosting: Costs $10 per user per month and comes with 100GB per mailbox along with all the benefits of Microsoft Exchange.

Rackspace email hosting

Rackspace could be the choice for businesses that need only email hosting and don’t want to pay for additional tools and services. Like Greatmail, Rackspace also offers Hosted Exchange for an additional cost. The core hosted email service provides the basics a business needs to manage the team’s email, calendars, and contacts. For more advanced email features including push email, shared calendars and contacts, and archival tools, Rackspace offers the hosted version of Microsoft Exchange.

Rackspace email hosting pricing

Rackspace Email: Comes for $1.99 per user per month and offers 25GB mailboxes; and unlimited email aliases.

Rackspace Email Plus: Costs $3.99 per user per month, and includes 30GB file storage; mobile sync; shared calendaring; Microsoft Office-compatible apps; instant messaging; and email archiving.

Hosted Exchange: Costs $7.99 per user per month and integrates with Microsoft’s popular Outlook platform. A subscriber gets 100GB mailboxes; Outlook desktop, mobile, and webmail access; real-time Outlook, Outlook Web App (OWA) and Mobile Synchronization; admin control panel; scheduling assistant; and distribution lists.

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Amazon WorkMail email hosting

Not many know, but Amazon also offers hosted email service. Launched in 2015 to primarily take on Microsoft in the office space, Amazon WorkMail offers a secure, managed business email and calendar service with the support for existing desktop and mobile email client applications. Users get seamless access to their emails, contacts and calendars using the client application of their choice, including Microsoft Outlook, native iOS and Android email applications, any client application supporting the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) protocol, or directly through a web browser.

Amazon WorkMail can be integrated with existing corporate directories of businesses, use email journaling to meet compliance requirements, and control both the keys that encrypt user data and the location where this data is stored. A subscriber also has the option of setting up interoperability with the Microsoft Exchange Server, and programmatically manage users, groups, and resources using the Amazon WorkMail software development kit (SDK). 

Amazon WorkMail email hosting pricing

Amazon WorkMail: Costs $4.00 per user per month and includes 50-GB of mailbox storage for each user. There are no upfront fees, and no required minimum commitments or no long-term contracts, and a user can get started with a 30-day free trial for up to 25 users.

If a user account is created after the first of a month, then the monthly fee for that mailbox will be adjusted on a pro-rata basis from the first day it was activated to the end of that month. If a user is terminated or deleted before the end of a month, then the monthly fee for that user will still apply through the end of the month.

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About the Author

Anusuya is a content specialist at Vendasta. A career journalist, she has spent the past decade writing about data and digitalization, and how new innovative technologies are redefining businesses and our everyday lives today. During the course, she has interacted with some of the top CEOs and policymakers, spoken at global conferences and delivered guest lectures at universities. Earlier, she worked with some of the best-known business media brands in India and learned to read stock markets and corporate balance sheets. A writer by choice, an editor by profession, and a tech commentator by chance, Anusuya is passionate about news and numbers, but it’s the intersection of technology with sustainability and social causes that excites her most.

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