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Best paid email services—five providers reviewedNot sure which email provider is worth your money? Check out our reviews of the best paid email services and learn how to choose the best platform.
With so many email providers on the market, committing to one option isn’t easy—especially when you must invest in it. Comparing numerous available services often leads to analysis paralysis, as every provider promises the most value for money.This guide will make your search easier by showing you what to focus on when comparing the best paid email services. You’ll also see the pros and cons of the most popular providers so that you can find an option that meets your needs and gives the best return on your investment.
Ensure the ultimate email privacySkiff Mail's paid plans offer unmatched end-to-end encryption and privacy features
What to look for in paid email providers?When you start browsing email service providers (ESPs), you should explore various options to get a general feel of what to expect. Then, use the following criteria to filter out subpar options and zero in on the best services:
- User experience
Safety firstWhen looking for any product, starting with a feature comparison makes perfect sense. It’s a mistake when comparing email services, though, as there’s a far more important aspect to focus on—security and privacy.If an ESP can’t give you peace of mind while you’re communicating online, no feature can make up for this flaw. Privacy is crucial for individual and business users alike, as you’ll most likely send and receive a great deal of sensitive information and files via email.Free services might get away with not offering robust security, but paid options can’t. To ensure your money is well spent, choose an option with end-to-end encryption (E2EE).As the name implies, E2EE protects your emails and data at every point between you and the recipient. It must ensure two types of security:
- Encryption at rest—protects your data while it’s resting on the server
- Encryption in transit—keeps emails secure while they’re traveling to the recipient
Know what features you needMore isn’t always better when it comes to email features. You must know how to separate useful from unnecessary features to avoid overpaying for a solution full of tools you don’t need.A good example is email automation—it’s crucial for businesses using email marketing, but individual users might never need it. This feature can come at a substantial cost, so only invest in solutions supporting it if it makes financial sense.With this in mind, there are some boxes every email service provider must check:
- Inbox organization features
- Cross-platform support
- Spam filtering
- Contact management
- Ease of use
User experience—an often-overlooked factorMost people don’t prioritize user interface (UI) and design when browsing email providers. While not necessarily a deal-breaker, UI and related features can make a world of difference to your online correspondence.Most email clients look similar at first glance, so the devil is in the details. You must go beyond the desktop version and web app to see how well the email client is optimized for mobile devices, as this is where you’ll notice the most UI differences. Packing features in a smaller footprint while ensuring the platform is easy to navigate requires skill, and only a handful of providers get it right.
Your service provider shouldn’t burn a hole in your pocketWe’re hard-wired to believe that a higher-priced option is typically the superior one. Some providers use this notion to overcharge for features you can get without breaking the bank.It’s best to have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend on an email service before you start your search. Then, compare a few options to see how they differ from your baseline. You would be surprised by the number of useful features you can get for only a few dollars a month, as you’ll see in our reviews below.
Best paid email providers—breaking down the industry’s leading solutionsA quick Google search will reveal plenty of email services, and some names will repeat numerous times. To help you make an informed decision, we will cover the benefits, drawbacks, and pricing of five popular options:
- Zoho Mail
Zoho Mail is a solid option for users on a budget. Barring a few limitations, it offers a rich set of features that should meet an average user’s needs. It’s good for getting started with paid services, though it might not be suitable for advanced or privacy-focused users.
PricingBesides the free plan, Zoho Mail offers three paid tiers:
- Mail Lite—$1 per user/month
- Workplace—$3 per user/month
- Mail Premium—$4 per user/month
Pros and consThe main advantage of Zoho Mail is its value for money. Paid users can get started for as little as a dollar, and they would get access to various handy features, including:
- Domain aliases
- Multi-domain hosting
- Password-secured emails
- Offline access
- Built-in calendar with scheduling and collaboration features
|Feature-rich tiers||Insufficient protection (encryption keys stored on the platform’s servers)|
Besides the well-known free version, Google offers a paid Gmail tier as a part of a Workspace subscription, so it’s mainly aimed at business users. Individuals rarely need the entire product suite and all the features, so the paid plan may not be the most cost-effective solution. It may still be worth subscribing if you need to expand your workflow beyond email correspondence.
PricingGoogle Workspace offers four paid tiers:
- Business Starter—$6 per user/month
- Business Standard—$12 per user/month
- Business Plus—$18 per user/month
- Enterprise—Custom pricing
Pros and consUpgrading to a paid Gmail version eliminates an annoyance many users have criticized Google for—inbox ads. Like many freemium platforms, Gmail only lets paid users enjoy an ad-free experience, so you will have a cleaner-looking inbox.You can also set up a custom domain, which isn’t available with the free option. Gmail lets you add 20 aliases to your account, helping you separate your inboxes and manage them more easily.As for security, Gmail offers spam and phishing protection that Google claims can block over 99.9% of attacks. They also offer a form of E2EE, but it may not be effective enough.Gmail’s version of E2EE is the so-called “client-side encryption.” The feature is in beta as of this writing, and it’s not available with any of the aforementioned tiers—only Workspace Enterprise Plus and Education Standard/Plus users can apply for it.With client-side encryption, your data is scrambled in your browser before reaching Google’s servers, which means the company can’t decrypt it. While this is a step up from Google’s typical practices, it’s still not truly E2EE because there’s no zero-knowledge encryption. Your email’s metadata, subject line, and recipient list won’t be encrypted and will be visible to Google.Gmail supports hosted S/MIME as an alternative, but it suffers from the same issues as Zoho—Google will store your certificate’s private decryption key, so you don’t get full confidentiality.
|No ads||Advanced security only available to high-end tiers|
|Custom domains and aliases||No true E2EE|
Similar to Google, Microsoft doesn’t offer a standalone premium Outlook version—you must upgrade to a paid Microsoft 365 plan. You can unlock numerous tools and features depending on the chosen plan, although there’s not much difference to the email experience except for the security level.
Get the best all-in-one E2EE productivity suiteSkiff provides comprehensive privacy and data ownership features without compromising on the user interface
PricingMicrosoft offers various tiers split into three categories:Home
- Personal—$6.99/month ($69.99/year with annual commitment)
- Family—$9.99/month ($99.99/year with annual commitment)
- Basic—$6/user per month
- Standard—$12.50/user per month
- Premium—$22/user per month
- Microsoft 365 F3—$8/user per month
- Microsoft 365 E3—$36/user per month
- Microsoft 365 E5—$57/user per month
Pros and consOutlook is another provider whose free version implies filling your inbox with ads. Upgrading to Microsoft 365 removes them, which improves loading time and creates a more distraction-free environment.Another benefit of the paid version is storage—you get 50 GB (compared to the 15 GB you have with free Outlook). Microsoft is more generous than Google in this regard, as you get 30 GB with the entry-level Workspace subscription.Microsoft 365 also offers some useful security features:
- Safelinks—Checks all links in a received email to scan for signs of phishing or malware
- Attachment scanning—Paid Microsoft 365 offers more sophisticated malware detection tools than the free version
- Encryption—Microsoft’s version of encryption keeps your emails safe within the platform. If a recipient doesn’t use Outlook, they’ll need a passcode to open the email. You can also restrict forwarding to prevent the email from being shared beyond your intentions
- Microsoft Purview Message Encryption (MPME)—An upgrade to the previously-used Office 365 Message Encryption (OME), MPME offers strong AES-265 encryption, but it’s only included in the highest-priced E3 and E5 tiers
- S/MIME support—Available within lower tiers but limited to the Outlook web app on Windows devices exclusively
|No ads||E2EE isn’t available to many users|
|Generous storage||Slightly outdated user interface|
|Various security features||.|
Tutanota is a privacy-first provider offering various security measures that trump most Big Tech options. It’s affordable and easy to use, but it has a few shortcomings that might make it limited to some users.
PricingBesides the free plan, Tutanota offers separate tiers for private and business users:Private
- Premium—$1.28/month ($12.8/year with the annual plan)
- Teams—$5.13/month ($51.3/year)
- Premium—$2.57/month ($25.7/year)
- Teams—$6.42/month ($64.2/year)
- Pro—$8.98/month ($89.8/year)
Pros and consTutanota’s biggest advantage is strong E2EE. It uses AES-128 encryption, offering solid protection from unauthorized third parties and attackers. Thanks to the platform’s no-logs policy, even Tutanota can’t access your private data like email contents, metadata, or IP address.Pair this with the low cost, and you can see why it’s such a popular choice among privacy-conscious users. It offers great value for money, as you get various handy features like custom domains, email aliases, and offline support.The only feature that the platform cuts back on is storage. The Premium tiers offer only 1 GB to both individual and business users, and the higher-priced plans are capped at 10 GB. Even if you opt for the top-shelf option, you might run out of storage fairly quickly.Another potential drawback is that Tutanota is based in Germany, which is a member of the 14 Eyes alliance, an international partnership of countries that share intelligence among members. This isn’t a massive concern for an average user, though, so you can still expect decent email privacy and security.
|Strong E2EE||Limited storage|
|No-logs policy||Operates in a 14 Eyes country|
Skiff is a comprehensive E2EE email solution and productivity suite offering users everything they need to stay safe online. It combines cutting-edge security measures with a beautifully designed user interface to let individuals and businesses of all skill levels enjoy complete privacy and confidentiality.
PricingSkiff Mail offers a robust free plan alongside three paid tiers:
Pros and consSkiff uses advanced cryptography to safeguard your online communication. It combines two encryption keys to make your correspondence invisible to anyone but the recipient:
- Public key—Shared among users and used to encrypt a message
- Private key—Safely stored on the user’s device and necessary for decrypting the contents
|Advanced E2EE ensuring complete confidentiality||Can’t protect data on a fully compromised device|
|Diverse product offering||.|
Try Skiff for free and fortify your correspondenceYou can test the waters with Skiff’s free plan to decide if it’s worth the investment. All you have to do is:
- Visit the signup page
- Choose your account name and password
- Explore Skiff Mail and other products
- 1 TB of storage and 1 GB per upload limit
- 5 custom domains
- 15 Skiff.com aliases