When Gmail launched in 2004, it didn’t take long for the email solution to overtake Hotmail as the preferred web-based provider for personal email. Easily accessible and free, it’s still humming along, accounting for 27% of the email client market.
Shortly after launching Gmail, Google recognized that its business customers wanted a more professional version of the service, one with a customizable domain address and more power. So, in 2006, Google rolled out G Suite (known then as Google Apps for Your Domain), bundling a ramped-up version of Gmail with a set of its cloud-based productivity and collaboration tools.
While G Suite is undeniably a hit with many users, Google never really addressed the professionalism problem for its email users. Purchasing G Suite is still the only way to get Google’s business email product. Even at the lowest tier, if all you really want is to use your business’s domain on Gmail, you’ll need to spend $72 a year. If you have multiple employees and need more storage, be prepared to spend about a few thousand dollars to use Google’s free email service.
If that sounds a little off, it’s worth taking a closer look at what you’re really paying for with G Suite and to check out some of its more affordable competitors.
Google offers G Suite across three tiers – Basic at $5 a month, Business at $12 a month, and Enterprise at $25 a month. Of course, what you’re willing to pay determines the amount of access you’ll get to storage, support, and the various apps.
At the Basic tier, a user will get “Business Email Through Gmail,” video conferencing, team messaging, and Google Calendar. You also get access to 30GB of storage on Google Cloud, 24/7 support, and various security and admin controls.
For access to all the above, plus the entire suite of Google tools — like Drive, Sheets, Docs, Slides, Calendar, etc. — and more storage and a few other features, users will need to jump to the Business or Enterprise tier. With both plans, based on the number of users you’ll need seats for, you’ll get unlimited cloud storage, access to a development environment, and various enhancements in the security and admin department.
A few problematic user-experience issues have been reported, like the ease with which an email can accidentally be archived or deleted, and frequent roll-outs of upgrades that don’t allow you to revert to the original display.
But the real issue for business users of Google, is that they have to pay for G Suite to use their domain for Gmail. That means a user who bought a domain for $10 a year, can use it for their website free of charge, but if they’d like to send email from it via Gmail, they need to pay Google an additional $70.
If you’re not willing to pony up for G Suite, but also get how bad for business it is to use firstname.lastname@example.org, check out some of the alternatives.
Users looking for an email experience that rivals Gmail but also allows them to use their own domain should try Titan. With Titan, a user can create a custom domain (or port over an existing one) and get up and running on business-class email in a matter of minutes. In fact, with Titan, you can start using your business’s domain before you even build a website.
Titan is available at a fraction of the price of G Suite, starting at $1.49 a month. Each mailbox in the Pro plan comes with 10 GB storage, while the mailboxes in the Premium plan come with 30 GB storage. And both plans give you access to Titan’s calendar and video conferencing tools.
Unlike free email services, like Gmail, Titan is an ad-free email platform. It also provides additional features that you won’t get with a free service, like mailing lists, email aliases, and read receipts.
Protonmail has grown into a popular email solution because of its commitment to advanced encryption and privacy. If confidentiality is a concern, you’ll like this free email service. Some of the benefits of using the Switzerland-based Protonmail are:
On the flip side, users noted that ProtonMail isn’t the most user-friendly product, and features an old design. Also, the toted benefits of increased security can backfire: if you don’t remember your credentials, good luck getting back in.
GMX Mail is a free email service from Germany that launched in 1997 and has about 11 million active users each month. While it lacks an RSS reader, and doesn’t have a conversation view, for a free email service, it’s reliable and offers some solid features:
Zoho’s CRM platform includes an email service that many businesses use to organize their communications. If your company is already using Zoho’s CRM services, taking advantage of Zoho’s Workplace gives you the following extra benefits:
The downside is that users have complained of terrible support channels, a slow, clunky UI, and poor data migration.
Liquid Web offers an email service that integrates with popular email clients, such as Gmail. It comes with the following benefits:
Some users have complained that the website UI isn’t very intuitive. Users have also reported connectivity issues outside of the U.S.
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