The best email hosting alternatives to Gmail
In terms of cost and flexibility, the best email host for individuals, families, or small businesses goes to Migadu. For one yearly payment, not monthly, but a full year…the cost is only $19 for their Micro plan. It is one of the least expensive email hosting options available.
You can create unlimited email addresses for as many domains as you own. It comes out to about $1.58/month. This is a seriously good deal for those that do not need to send or receive hundreds of emails a day.
A lot of friends who collect domain names and build a lot of hobby sites have abandoned their Google accounts in favor of Migadu’s good pricing and reliable hosting.
If you need to send or receive more emails in a day, Migadu has higher tier plans. If you have more than 5 employees who each need email addresses, the Migadu Standard Plan ($29/month) will still be cheaper than a Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite). Google charges $6 per user per month for their lowest tier plan.
In fact, most other email providers tend to charge per user. That cost quickly adds up. Having the ability to add unlimited users in Migadu is a huge cost saver for any company that is quickly growing.
Migadu is also a great option for a web design agency or freelancer that provide email addresses for their client’s own domains. They also have discounts for students and non-profits who need email hosting.
If you use an email client (or app) like Outlook or Apple’s Mail app, Migadu is great. However, if you primarily check your mail through the web, you may not like the barebones interface. There may be some better options for you.
Other cheap options
Here are some other affordable email hosting options to compare:
- MXroute ($40/year – unlimited domains and accounts)
- Namecheap Mail ($0.89/month – 1 mailbox included, $0.41/month for each additional mailbox)
- Zoho Mail ($1/month/user)
- Fastmail ($3/month/user)
- Rackspace Email ($2.99/month/user – their fine print states “Account minimum monthly charges apply to Cloud Office Products”. You will be charged a minimum of $10/month.)
- IceWarp ($2.50/month/user – requires purchasing a minimum of 10 users)
Email hosting feature criteria
Most web hosting providers offer barebones email hosting that is included with a hosting plan, however, they tend to have low storage quotas. Other times, you may be using hosting that doesn’t include an email option. For instance, if you are looking to create an email for your Shopify site, you’ll need to look into a third-party email host like the ones listed above.
As you do research into the best email host for you, there here are some things to consider when shopping around:
- Ability to use your own custom domain
- Mailbox storage capacity – most come with around 20 GB or more standard
- Deliverability – make sure the emails you send don’t end up in people’s spam folders. Your host’s sever reputation can have an affect on this.
- Support hours and responsiveness
- Ability to use IMAP, POP, or web interface to access your emails.
- Good spam filters
- Security, like end to end encryption and 2-factor-authentication
- Email storage. The providers mentioned have 2 GB of storage or more.
How to get a cheap business email address
There are three main ways to get email hosting. You can use the email hosting included in your web hosting plan. If your web host does not include email, you can sign up to a third-party email host, or run your own mail server.
Running your own mail server generally tends to be more of a pain than it is worth. You’ll need a bit of technical expertise as mail servers are quite complex. Maintenance and mail deliverability issues will be your main obstacles, you can read about self-hosting issues in this article or give Mail-in-a-Box a try to see if it is something you may want to venture into.
With self-hosting your own mail server being difficult and the email service included in web hosting is generally less full featured. The preferred method these days is to use a third-party email hosting as listed above.
To get started with getting an email address with a custom domain name you’ll need to:
- Buy a domain name. My favorite places to buy domains are from either Cloudflare or Namecheap. Both of these domain registrars offer good pricing and are reliable.
- Choose an email host. As mentioned above, I prefer Migadu, but there are others that may fit your budget or needs better.
- Set up your Mail Exchange (MX) records. This step involves adding specific text to the MX records to your domain registrar. Each email host will have its own instructions. They are provided to you once you sign up to a hosting service.
- Be sure you add DKIM, SPF, and DMARC records. Your email hosting service will provide these. These records help ensure that your email doesn’t get forged by spammers.
Once you have that set up, all you’ll have to do is to configure your email clients with the appropriate IMAP or POP servers.
It only takes a few minutes to set everything up, and depending on the speed of the MX server population, you should be able to have your custom email ready to use in a matter of hours.