Email services for businesses—let your operations run smoothly

Check out an in-depth analysis of the best and not-so-good email services for businesses to choose the most reliable and suitable ESP for your organization.
Most providers advertise their email services for businesses as safe, quick, and affordable, but the hard truth is that they’re often none of those.The following article will help you find the best ESP for your organization, so you can concentrate on running and expanding your business.
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How to choose the best email solutions for business

Setting up an email service for your organization won’t be a problem if you opt for a suitable provider. It’s easier said than done with numerous ESPs offering their services, but focusing on a few critical factors will narrow the list significantly.Here’s what to pay attention to:
  1. Privacy and data protection
  2. User interface
  3. User experience
  4. Storage options
  5. The availability of custom domains
  6. Affordability

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Privacy first

The internet is not a safe place, so keeping your info private (preferably anonymous) is essential. Your provider must guarantee that it can keep confidential business data safe from third parties. If you’re dealing with cryptocurrency or NFTs, online security is fundamental.Prying eyes are everywhere online, so a reliable ESP must offer end-to-end encryption to keep your information out of hackers’ hands. Your employees and collaborators are also your responsibility, and working with the right provider will help you keep them safe and productive.

User interface

Your ESP must be user-friendly—even for those members of your team who are not particularly tech-savvy. Clean lines, minimalistic design, and accessibility of all essential features and tools allow your comms to run smoothly.Online communication with your team and clients should be effortless and organized. All tools and features need to be easy to use and readily available.Check whether you can format and label your messages easily and without wasting time searching for those basic options. You should also be able to organize your emails in specific folders and search your inbox efficiently to find the message you need instantly.

User experience

Login, logoff, and response time of your business email service should be as short as possible. Even if your work does not require immediate responses to emails, staring at the screen waiting for a message to open is a waste of time and implies that the platform is not business-oriented.If you and your team spend a lot of time glued to your screens, the visuals shouldn't be intrusive or tiring for the eyes. Opt for software with soothing colors to avoid overstimulating your eyes and losing your focus. Ads and other flashy, non-business commercial content are highly distracting, so pick a provider or plan with no ads.You should also check the mobile version of the app because you will often access your inbox from your phone or tablet.Don’t forget about customer support. Even the best providers can experience challenges with their services, so getting prompt updates or assistance is crucial if something goes wrong.

Storage options

As your business expands and clients keep flocking, your organization will need decent storage to archive emails. Essential info is stored in business email correspondence, and you’ll often need to dig up old messages to find it.It would be ideal to find an ESP that offers generous inbox and cloud space so your archive is available and safe.

Custom domains

Starting with [email protected] is what most businesses start with, but as the organization grows, a custom domain is necessary for efficiency and the company image. Your business ESP should allow a custom domain regardless of where you purchased it.

The price

Cutting costs on a reliable ESP is not a good idea since data leaks, inefficient communication, and potential financial hazards can be devastating for your business. Depending on the size of your organization, the prices can become steep, but they will pay off with numerous benefits.Keep in mind that the most expensive options are not always the best. The following expert analysis of the most popular email services will help you find the best value-for-money provider.

The best email services for businesses

In the ESP world, the most famous name does not imply the best solution for your business. Industry giants like Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo are typically the go-to choices, but upcoming providers, such as Zoho, Proton, or Skiff, tend to offer more to their clients.Based on the explained factors, here’s a list of popular email providers to consider:
  1. Outlook Office 365
  2. Google Workspace
  3. Yahoo Mail
  4. Zoho Workplace
  5. ProtonMail
  6. Skiff

Is Outlook the best email service for small businesses?

When most people think of business email, Outlook is the first that comes to mind. The favorite of many successful organizations, Outlook is considered the staple of corporate communication. This pioneering Microsoft product dominated the market for a long time and established a strong brand, which most users might choose by default—but it is not an ideal provider.

Pros and cons

Outlook set the style for an organized inbox. The folders are on the right, the current folder dominates the screen, and previews are on the left. Most email clients adopted this structure because it proved to be user-friendly. The toolbar is concise and self-explanatory, with recognizable icons.As a business user, you must upgrade to Office 365 Business Standard Plan to unlock all the necessary tools. You’ll immediately go up from 15 to 50 GB of storage space with 1 TB on OneDrive.The latest versions of Excel, Word, SharePoint, OneNote, and PowerPoint will be at your disposal. You can benefit from additional handy features, including the offline mode, advanced formatting, file recovery in the case of cyber attacks, and chat and phone support. Protection from spam and data loss comes in the package, as do custom domains.Hybrid working tools, such as Microsoft Teams, are helpful if you want to avoid chat apps like Slack, allowing you to use voice and video conferences, instant messages, file sharing, and group chats.Office 365 is decent for keeping your online and offline events organized in your calendar and setting reminders for yourself and other team members. Personalization is not the strongest feature, especially compared to Google Workspace.Where Outlook fails to deliver is privacy. Even though you get decent protection from third parties, the messages and attachments you send are still visible to Microsoft, and specific personal info is mandatory upon registration. With the 2021 attacks staining its reputation, the provider still needs to work on adequate safety protocols.


You will have to pay $12.5 a month per user for the Standard Business plan, but if you opt for web-only versions of the apps, you can subscribe to the Business Basic plan for $6 per user monthly and save up. Microsoft Exchange allows you to use Outlook’s practical features for $4 but without most add-ons.

Can Google Workspace be a small business email solution?

Google Workspace signup.
Google Workspace
It seems that Gmail rules the world when it comes to regular email users, but what do they have to offer to businesses? The company went into direct competition with Microsoft with their Google Workspace product designed to end Outlook’s dominance.

Pros and cons

There are no ads in Google Workspace, and the interface is clean and simple. Your inbox takes most of the screen, so you and your staff won’t face annoying distractions. Built-in migration tools help you import messages from Outlook or other apps, so switching to Google Workspace is seemingly effortless.You can use various equivalents to Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, which function decently. Video and audio conferencing are available together with shared calendars to keep your events and tasks in check. Google’s communication and collaboration apps, like Meet and Chat, are efficient and interactive, so you can conduct your comms on one platform. Google Workspace also offers custom domains to business users.The storage options are decent, with 30 GB available on Google Drive per user. You can archive your emails and files in Vault and recover them relatively quickly when needed. 24/7 support is ready to jump in if you need help and assist in running your operations smoothly.Customization options are among the primary selling points—and they are pretty advanced. The provider replaced the typical folder organization with in-house designed labeling schemes, which might seem confusing to first-time users.Like other tech giants, Google is not a leader in privacy and security. Despite systems designed to protect you from prying eyes and malware, your sensitive info can be scanned by the provider. As the online world is evolving towards anonymity and complete data protection, Google leaves much to be desired in these terms. Keeping your business details intact can be crucial for success, so Google and Microsoft must step up and abandon their data-trading models.


You can access Google Workspace for $6 monthly and unlock basic features and 30 GB of storage per user with the Business Starter plan. To unlock advanced tools (like Vault) and 5 TB per user, you will have to pay $18 monthly for every team member.

Yahoo Mail—what small businesses can expect

Yahoo had lost its momentum but made a comeback (at least, it’s trying to) in recent years. Even though the latest version stands tall among primary competitors, like Google and Microsoft, it remains to be seen whether the company will manage to attract many business users because the service is far from perfect.Yahoo Mail is also known for having some of the weakest privacy protections among email providers.

Pros and cons

Yahoo Mail’s new iteration resembles Gmail a lot, so the provider is following a tested recipe. The inbox dominates the screen, and you can access folders easily. Searching through email chains is not complicated—a plus for business users.You can tweak your inbox by organizing emails into custom folders and setting up message previews—a handy option if you receive a lot of emails. Another upside is that you get 1 TB of storage, so you won’t use it up quickly. Integration with Facebook is available, and you can also send text messages.Business users unlock additional tools and features, such as importing contacts from Facebook, Outlook, or Gmail. You can view all inboxes on one screen, which is practical for improving response time. Customer support is at hand, but their response time depends on your subscription plan. Yahoo Mail allows custom domains and offers standard productivity tools, including:
  • Documents
  • Calendars
  • Analytics
Don’t expect the options to be vast and advanced, as in Outlook Office 365 and Google Workspace. Interactive functionalities and communication apps are something Yahoo will have to work on.The company expectedly does not excel in privacy protection. You can create disposable email addresses, but such a feature is not particularly relevant to business users. Similar to Google and Microsoft, Yahoo has encryption protocols for messages and engages in anti-malware and -spyware practices. Still, it follows in its more successful competitors’ footsteps with a data-gathering business model. Personal info is required upon registration, and the data-sharing policies are not transparent enough.


Yahoo Business Mail will cost you $3.19 for the initial mailbox per month. As you add mailboxes, the prices will drop:
Mailbox optionsPrice
5 mailboxes$1.59
10 mailboxes$1.19
For more than 20, you should contact Yahoo Team to get a quote. Yahoo Pro Mail is the best available option for $3.49 monthly. You can expect an ad-free experience and priority support.

Zoho as an email service for small business

Zoho offers an alternative to well-known ESPs with practical features, advanced security, and effective service. With an online product suite, various communication and collaboration tools, and a document-management kit, the company is business-oriented and reliable.

Pros and cons

The Zoho Workplace free plan is enough to get started, allowing 5 users and one custom domain. Each user gets 5 GB of storage and access to Zoho’s version of spreadsheets, presentations, and a word processor.Inbox organization is straightforward, with filters, folders, tags, and smart search. You can use the offline mode for reading and replying to emails, but the service is still web-based.To get the most out of Zoho Workplace, you should consider the Standard or Professional plan. You can unlock numerous tools, including:
  • Zoho Mail
  • Zoho Cliq
  • Zoho WorkDrive
  • Zoho Meeting
  • Zoho Office Suite (Show, Writer, Sheet)
  • Zoho Connect
The tabbed app is well structured with instant messaging, shared inboxes, and other functionalities, making internal communication swift and reliable. The design needs some improvement because it looks amateurish.Depending on the plan, you can have 30 to 100 GB of storage space. Video conference calls and an internal social network are included in the Professional plan.Email administration is somewhat confusing, even though you get detailed instructions on how to operate the platform. Zoho takes your data protection seriously and uses end-to-end encryption to keep you safe.


Zoho mail pricing.
The provider seems to target small and upcoming businesses with their affordable services. The Standard plan is $3 per user a month but billed annually. The Professional plan is $6 for each user per month, also billed annually. If you opt for email service only without the add-ons, you will pay $1 per user.

ProtonMail—decent email solution for small businesses

Unlike Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, ProtonMail is heavily focused on privacy. It belongs to a growing group of ESPs that abandoned the data-collecting business model to offer advanced online security to regular and professional users. Although not without flaws, this provider made a step in the right direction regarding information safety.

Pros and cons

Signing up for ProtonMail is possible without personal details, so your identity remains hidden. The same goes for your employees and collaborators. The IP address is also invisible, which adds another layer of protection.The provider enables email address verification to ensure your correspondents are who they claim they are. ProtonMail significantly improved the speed and user experience by introducing elliptic curve cryptography in 2019, even though the service is not as quick as it should be. You can use a neat Undo feature and an export-import app to migrate emails and download messages to your devices (available to paid users only).The service is not without limits, so you get 500 MB of storage space and can send up to 150 messages daily for free. To use ProtonMail as a business solution, you must upgrade to Proton Plus or Proton Professional.Paid plans allow you to use custom domains, 5 GB storage (or more with Professional), 1,000 messages daily, folders, filters, and contact groups. Customer support is available for paying clients.The design is not fantastic, but there are no annoying ads. The biggest problem is that ProtonMail cannot work as a replacement for Google or Microsoft but as an additional service for conveying sensitive information. If that’s what you need, this ESP will do the trick.
Proton homepage.
Source: ProtonMail


ProtonMail Plus is $5 per user monthly or $48 for the entire year, while ProtonMail Professional costs $8 monthly for a single user or $72 when paid annually. Since you don’t get too many advanced tools and features, the price is high, especially because you would have to subscribe to other service providers to maintain efficient communication and productivity.

Skiff is the best email service provider for a small business

Skiff leads the way in offering an alternative yet functional solution to tech barons who dominate the market. With a minimalist design, intuitive interface, handy features, and affordable prices, it can be the best solution for a small or big organization needing a reliable ESP.
Skiff site homepage.
Source: Skiff

Pros and cons

Like Zoho and ProtonMail, Skiff is all about privacy and data protection. The provider uses top-notch hybrid cryptography for its end-to-end encryption, so your messages are safe from third parties, as well as the Skiff team.The interface is modern and almost inconspicuous, allowing users to focus on the work without suffering from screen fatigue and dry eyes. You can test this ESP by registering for a free plan. No personal info is required, so you can remain anonymous while benefiting from 10 GB of storage space, four email aliases, an email search function, auto-reply and signature options, and more.What sets this company apart is the complete product suite, as good as the ones offered by Google Workplace or Office 365. If you sign up for Skiff, you can use:These handy tools enable you to exchange secure and private messages, plan tasks and events, or share and collaborate on documents in a safe and productive environment.Switching to paid plans will unlock additional features to make your communication and day-to-day ops easier and quicker. Pro and Business plans will give you 100 GB and 1 TB of storage space, respectively. You will also get custom domains, up to 15 aliases, and unlimited messages, folders, and labels. Skiff integrates with IPFS, so you can store your files on the most secure decentralized network.Finding your way through the inbox is easy with an advanced search option, and customer support is available to help you resolve any issue quickly.


Skiff is not the cheapest option, but the value-for-money ratio is absolutely in favor of this provider, especially because it allows you to migrate from or avoid Google or Microsoft. Check out the paid plans in the following table.
Skiff Essential$3 per user/per month
Skiff Pro$8 per user/per month
Skiff Business$12 per user/per month

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