What’s the best email provider for your business – free or paid?

One of the key decisions you need to make when starting, or even scaling, a business is which email provider to use. Choosing the best email provider will not only ensure streamlined and efficient internal communication, but also allow you to easily communicate with your customers.

There are many business email plans out there, but the first decision you need to make is whether or not you should pay for the service.

In this article, we’ll go over a selection of paid and free plans from the major email providers Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail, and ProtonMail, giving you all the information you need to decide whether or not that extra expense could benefit your business. business. As we compare the free and paid plans, we’ve combined the pricing and features sections for this article.

email provider

Google’s Gmail is an industry leader (Image credit: Google)


Gmail’s free service is the industry leader, and for good reason. Not only does it come with healthy 15GB storage, but you can also manage other email accounts from your Gmail interface and easily filter messages into categories for reference.

Gmail’s paid option, G Suite, starts at $ 6.00 per user, and in addition to 30GB of space on the most basic plan, it includes a guaranteed 99.9% uptime, an e- personalized mail, a shared calendar, Google applications, etc. G Suite is a great option for businesses wanting to keep all documentation and correspondence in one place.

Although now eclipsed by Gmail, Outlook has been a major email provider for decades. Its free service includes 15 GB of mailbox storage, automatic recognition of important emails, and apps for useful services like Yelp, Evernote, and PayPal.

Office 365, Outlook’s paid service, starts at $ 7 per month and includes ad removal, a massive 50GB inbox which could come in handy as your business grows, 1TB of OneDrive storage, offline work and the Microsoft Office suite.

It may have been forgotten somewhat, but Yahoo Mail still offers users a full free email service that can compete with other top providers. Yahoo Mail’s free plan includes massive 1TB of storage, privacy-focused single-use email addresses, Facebook, SMS, POP, and IMAP integration, and more.

Like other providers, Yahoo Mail lets you connect a personalized email address to your work domain and includes a shared calendar and other user-friendly features. You don’t get the smart office tools that Gmail and Outlook offer, but plans start at just $ 3.19 per user per month when billed annually.

Although the free plans described above are relatively generous, if they lack company specific features, the free version of Proton Mail has a storage limit of only 500MB, which is insufficient even for the smallest. start-up. This small allocation, coupled with a limit of 150 messages per day, reflects the fact that ProtonMail is not presented as a large-scale provider but as a service dedicated to user security.

To get something close to the paid plans offered by its competitors, you have to go for ProtonMail’s professional plan at a hefty price of $ 8 per month per user. It includes advanced security features such as end-to-end encryption, self-destructing messages, full anonymity, and a secure SSL connection. However, we would only recommend this plan to users who are particularly concerned about email security.

email provider

Yahoo Mail has been around since 1997 (Image credit: Yahoo)


When it comes to the interface, organizational tabs and tools, and compatibility with other email providers or third-party apps, there was little difference between the free and paid services of our providers. Gmail and Outlook, in particular, have a well-organized and easy-to-navigate email interface that makes it easy for business owners to run and manage emails.

However, the additional features offered with paid plans from all providers give business owners much more power and performance.

Gmail and Outlook are part of Gsuite and Office 365 respectively, and both of these software packages include very useful office tools with applications throughout your business.

However, neither Yahoo Mail nor ProtonMail comes with a suite of office tools. That said, Yahoo Mail’s paid plans allow you to manage all of your mailboxes on one screen and access analytics tools so you can better understand and optimize the role of email in your business.

When it comes to performance, ProtonMail is best viewed as an add-on to your existing email provider and can be integrated with a third-party client that supports IMAP and SMTP, like Outlook. It provides additional security for sensitive correspondence using end-to-end encryption and other advanced techniques.

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ProtonMail is all about security (Image credit: ProtonMail)


Generally, support is much better with paid email plans. Gmail promises 24/7 phone support to its G Suite customers. However, free Gmail users are required to visit the Help Center or Community Channel.

Outlook provides telephone support or instant chat support to its paid email users, while Yahoo Mail’s help desk services are prioritized for paid customers.

Meanwhile, ProtonMail offers multi-user support to subscribers of its professional plan. Otherwise, there is a basic FAQ section on its website.

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Microsoft Outlook is easy to navigate (Image credit: Microsoft)


While the best free email service providers offer more than enough storage, compatibility, and organizing tools for a personal email account, they’re not designed for multiple users.

For minimal cost, paid email providers can seriously help organize your team’s correspondence and allow you to easily share documents. Additionally, the ability to connect personalized email addresses to your domain gives your business increased professionalism and, especially during an awareness campaign, can be the difference between a sale or a failure.

What is ARC and why is it important to DMARC?

By: Peter Goldstein, CTO and Co-Founder, Valimail

Domain-based message authentication, reporting, and compliance (DMARC) is considered the gold standard for protecting against domain spoofing (aka exact domain spoofing). However, there is a small percentage of messages (less than 1%) that due to the way they are routed through intermediaries such as mailing lists, mail gateways, and other message modification filters, can cause problems for DMARC. This is where ARC comes in.

SPF (Sender Policy Framework) and DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail) are the authentication protocols that underpin DMARC. For a message to pass DMARC validation, it must first authenticate through SPF or DKIM. Messages pass SPF checks when they arrive from a server listed as authorized by the domain owner. For DKIM, the message must arrive unaltered after having been cryptographically signed by the domain taking responsibility for the message.

SPF and DKIM are designed to work best for direct mail streams, where messages pass from the originating host to the destination host with no hopping in between. Both are subject to frequent disruption when going through intermediate hosts, such as forwarders, mailing list servers, or secure email gateways.

SPF failures in these cases typically occur because the intermediate server is not listed as authorized by the domain owner. With DKIM, failures are most often caused when the intermediary modifies the message, such as when a forwarder adds a footer to each message. These failures present challenges for domain owners who publish DMARC records. Fortunately, Authenticated Receive String (ARC) emerged to meet these challenges.

ARC provides an authenticated “chain of custody” for a message, allowing each entity handling the message to see who has already processed it, what the authentication rating was at each stage of mail processing, and add your own processing and evaluation information to a message. With the CRA in place, email recipients like Gmail or Yahoo Mail can make more informed delivery decisions about email that has taken an indirect route to its destination. More importantly, since ARC support comes from recipients and mail handlers, domain owners deploying DMARC during application will experience the benefits of ARC without any further action being required. from them.

The bottom line: DMARC and ARC together provide the most comprehensive solution for protecting domains against impersonation and ensuring that trusted messages are delivered.

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June J. Lopez

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