Business email can be one of the most important and essential keys to your business. Having a personalized @domain.com email makes your business look both professional and trustworthy. Regardless if you have one customer or ten thousand, a business email is essential.

Table of Contents:

Commons Issues to Avoid with Business Email

Clear Distinction – Personal Email vs Transactional Email

Top 5 Best Business Email Hosting Providers

Conclusion

Common Issues to Avoid with Business Email

I want to preface this article with a few key things to note and watch out for. If this is your first time looking into a professional business email, you may be trying to understand it all.

Let’s start with some of the most common issues you may run into and want to avoid when looking for a business email. 

One of the largest red flags when looking for email is the word “free” or “included.” If you are in the beginner stages of creating a website, you may wonder why a free email is so bad?

“If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably too good to be true” – my Grandpa. And that statement rings true in the 2020s when it comes to almost anything, especially email. 

If this is your first time creating a website and looking for an email provider, you might see HostGator and GoDaddy ads promising you unlimited bandwidth and unlimited emails. What they neglect to tell you is their email is a whole lot more complicated than a regular old email. And the server where your email is hosted, is being shared by dozens and dozens of other businesses’ emails on the same server.

First, it’s an old freeware webmail interface. You may have encountered a few like SquirrelMail or Roundcube. Shoutout to all freeware developers. However, when trying to become a professional online, these tools add more problems than solutions.

Second, email deliverability. For instance, if you are sharing a server with “Mr. Emails a lot”, and your business runs on the same server, your emails might be going right into your customer’s spam folder, which is unacceptable for a business. What if a customer leaves feedback and thinks you never responded because it went into their spam folder?

Unlimited email is great when it’s your server sending you an auto-generated email. But unlimited email is not great when your server is sending customers their receipt for their purchase, and it’s going into spam because someone else is spamming on a server you’re sharing.

One of the most vital things you need to keep an eye out for is uptime, SLA guaranteed uptime. There may be 525,600 minutes in a year, but if your server or email service is offline for 4 minutes, you could lose a lifetime customer. What if during those 4 minutes, the customer email was not delivered to your inbox, bounced back to the sender, or even worse, just got lost in the black abyss. 

Think of yourself as a customer. You go and buy something, leave feedback and they don’t respond about a problem. We all know how that makes us feel. Now pull out your Uno reverse card and place that feeling onto your customer.

A word of the wise from every webmaster I have met: Separate your email from your server. It benefits security, speed, and stability. There is absolutely no reason you should be sending personal customer emails from the same server you’re hosting your website.

Clear Distinction – Personal Email vs Transactional Email

I do need to make one clear distinction between two problems you may encounter that are mentioned above. Both of these possible problems require two different solutions.

Above, I spoke of an example. First, a customer emails you about a problem they have. You reply back to their email, and it goes into their spam folder.

Now, that’s one problem. That can happen because your server is marked as spam or a litany of other issues. This is solved by signing with a business email provider listed below.

The second issue we spoke of can be just as critical. For example, your customer orders something online, or even worse, forgets their password. Let’s say it is the latter. Now let me explain for a moment that the email that is sent to the customer is generated by your server. They will click the “Forgot Password” link, and your website will automatically do its thing to help the user change their password.

It will then auto-generate an email to send to the user. This will allow them to click the link sent to their email and change their password. These types of auto-generated emails are referred to as Transactional Emails.

Your server generates the email automatically, based on the customer’s action. Another example is someone ordering your product. Naturally, your server will generate a receipt of their purchase and send it to their email. That is an automatic action that your server does, not you.

Transactional emails face the same problem as business emails. They are sent by the server. We are now facing the same problem above but with another part of the email deliverability structure.

This is where you need to find and sign up for a separate transactional email provider. This is, again, another separate and paid service, depending on your volume of emails. If you are looking for these types of emails, we will have a Top 5 Transactional Emails coming soon.

The Top 5 Best Business Email Hosting Providers

After working in the web development industry for over a decade and trying every alternative email hosting solution, I have concluded the best providers.

I have a love for the alternative web culture. I want to step away from the corporation and use tools built by real companies anytime I can. But this is not the case with email. You need to partner with a goliath.

Top 5 Best Business Email Providers:  

  1. Zoho
  2. Google Workspace
  3. Protonmail
  4. Rackspace
  5. Microsoft Outlook

1. Zoho (Best Overall)

First and foremost, my number one favorite business email host is Zoho! This is because they offer both free and paid plans with a number of great features.

Now you might be asking, didn’t your Grandpa say if it’s too good to be true it is.  Yes, why yes he did. But what he did not do, was grow up in the era of Zoho.

Zoho is one of the leading providers in a lot of things, but specifically email. Zoho offers up to 5 free business emails, though the free options come with some caveats. If you wish to use the free email, you have to login through your web browser or use their Zoho mail mobile app. No, you cannot use the default email app on your phone with the free plan. Making it a bit of a pain if you’re always using email on your phone.

What is great is Zoho offers the absolute cheapest paid email in the industry. Now if you want to use your business email just like a normal email, including your favorite mail app, that’s only $12 per year per email. Zoho only offers annual options. But $12 a year is about to be insanely cheap when you see the alternatives coming up.

Zoho has been a great tool for me over the years. When I first started my website, Zoho was amazing. I could use the free plan and look professional by having multiple emails ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected]). Then as I was able to scale, the premium plans scaled with me. 

Zoho is not only great because it’s extremely price-effective, but it’s also a great email provider feature-wise. They have key features like a calendar and email aliasing which is pretty much just unlimited emails for free. They even include catch-all options, so if someone sends an email to your business to an email that does not exist, Zoho will direct it to your mailbox! 

Key free features

  • Free
  • 5GB total account
  • 25MB attachment limit
  • Limited to free Zoho email app

Key Paid Features:

  • $12/year per email
  • Calander 
  • 5GB mailbox per account 
  • Unlimited alias
  • Catch-All options
  • Secure data-center
  • HIPAA compliant

Those are just some of the key features on their cheapest plan. If you need more space, a 10GB mailbox will only cost you $1.25 per month ($15 per year). If you need a 50GB mailbox, your only look at $4 a month ($48 per year).

2. Google Workspace (Best Because Google)

On the list of the best business emails is the goliath, Gmail. We all know Gmail, love them or hate them they are pretty great feature-wise.

Now outside of Gmail, Google has Google Workspace. Which is, you guessed it, Gmail for business. 

Now Gmail for business is actually the best option in my personal opinion, only if you are willing to shell out the cash for it. And don’t mind Google’s constant privacy violations. You literally login to your business email through Gmail. From there, you have your usual Google account. Google drive, docs, keep, calendar, map and everything the great Google provides. And it’s all attached right to your business email.

Not to mention, how many websites can you “Login with Google”, which prevents you from needing to create another account. The same “Login with Google” can be done if you run your business email under Google Workspace, which is very helpful.

Some websites only allow you to login through a Google account, and instead of having to create a separate account for your business email, and then needing another separate Gmail for Google-related things. You can just put it all under one roof.

And if you run a business, it’s 99% probable that you are using some Google service be it Google Analytics, Google Search Console, or even Google data studio. 

Now Google knows how great Gmail is and the price tag reflects that. Google Workspace starts at $6 a month per email. If you don’t watch out, they might even snag you with their $12 a month per user plan. Google offers monthly and annual plans, so you don’t have to break the bank. But two months of Google is the price of Zoho for the year.

So think about how many emails you need. Are you going to use a lot of Google tools? Are you just looking for cheap email? 

Weigh out what you want and what you need. Having everything under one roof can be immensely time-saving if you don’t want the hassle. Paying that extra $72 a year per user for Google can be priceless.

Key Features:

  • Paid plans only (starts $6/mo per user)
  • 30GB storage per user
  • Calander
  • Drive, Docs, Sheets, Meet, etc
  • 99.9% Uptime SLA. 
  • Extreme security (intense spam filter)

3. Protonmail (Best for Privacy)

Coming in at number three on the list is Protonmail. Now some of you may have never heard of Protonmail, and this is what I will call the alternative side of the web.

If you are looking for secure email, and secure in a different sense. Secure as in private and the ability to easily encrypt emails. Secure as in protecting yourself from outside threats. Then Protonmail is for you.

One example may be a journalist handling sensitive information or just not wanting all your personal and private business information handled by Google.

Protonmail is your go-to. I have used over a dozen alternative providers in the past decade and let me tell you, just use Protonmail. Easy setup, no headache. And, relatively, keep that in mind, transparent company. 

I have seen over three dozen alternative email providers shut down over the last decade due to lack of funding and user acquisition. And you know what’s not fun, migrating your entire mailbox to a new service.

However, they do beat all their alternative competitors if you want an actually solid and secure private business email.

  • 5GB space
  • $9/mo per email (volume pricing decreases)
  • Privacy-focused 
  • Calendar 
  • Zero-knowledge/Zero-Access architecture 
  • Catch all
  • HIPPA compliant
  • Self-destructing emails
  • 99.95% SLA uptime

Now if you’ve never used any kind of alternative email provider, Protonmail might seem a little lacking when you first open it. However, I assure you this is one of the easier alternative email clients you can use. It’s smooth and actually works under a heavy business load.

4. Rackspace (Best for Uptime)

Now coming down near the end of our best business email is Rackspace. This company is a rock-solid email provider.

Rackspace has been in the industry longer than I have been alive, and that’s for a good reason. They are a solid business and email that delivers a solid service. Rackspace is most often known for its servers and enterprise-grade technology solutions.

They are a massive corporation and easily hook into other business apps. Rackspace also has stellar support, something you’ll want if and when things go wrong.

If your looking for a fair-priced email provider that even matches all the above criteria, then Rackspace is another great go-to starting as low as $3/mo per email.

  • Paid Plans Only ($3 per month per user)
  • Huge 25GB email Inbox
  • Calander
  • 100% Uptime Guarantee 

5. Microsoft Outlook (Best for Microsoft-heavy Businesses)

Last but not least is another massive provider we all know, Microsoft. Microsoft offers a business email arm that runs under Outlook.

Microsoft email is not my favorite provider, but they do offer a solid email service.

The only time I would personally recommend Microsoft is if you are using tons of Microsoft products. Are you using Microsoft word, powerpoint, onedrive, and other Microsoft-based applications? All the email providers above serve different industries.

So if you need all the Word, PowerPoint, etc addons, Microsoft is your go-to. Microsoft is very big in the education industry. I personally am not a big fan of their interface, it seems clunky and extremely difficult to use.

Microsoft knows they are offering you a solid, so they stick that price tag at $6 a month per user.

Key Features:

  • Paid plans only ($6 a month per user)
  • Calendar
  • 50GB mailbox
  • 99.9% uptime SLA

Microsoft is just Microsoft. They are solid, but only use them if you have to.

Conclusion

 That wraps up our Top 5 best business email hosting providers. I gave you a wide range of options to choose from with a number of use cases. From free to cheap to super secure. 

When it comes to business tools, it is all about finding what’s right for you and what fits your needs. Don’t be afraid to explore new options when it comes to the digital side of your business.

Does all of this sound complicated? Know what email provider you want but don’t know how to set it all up? VIPOutsource is here to help. We are a full-service marketing and technology agency ready to help you start, grow or scale your business. Reach out to us and let us know what you’re looking for! We are here for you, even for business your email!