Last updated on March 21st, 2020 by Jeremy Hillpot

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.

G Suite Review

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.

The best features of G Suite Basic include:

  • Professional business email addresses: Get business email addresses using your company’s domain name (you@yourbusiness.com).
  • Video and voice conferencing: Connect with people in your organization via video and voice conferencing.
  • Team messaging: Send one-to-one and group messages across your organization.
  • Shared calendars: Quickly access individual and shared calendars through Google Calendar.
  • Unlimited cloud storage access: Use Google Drive, which offers unlimited cloud storage to business accounts with more than five users.
  • Gmail accessibility: Access your email through the web and third-party programs, clients for iOS and Android devices.
  • Other Gmail features: Unsend messages, get security with two-step verification, and use the offline mode.

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.

G Suite Alternatives

If you’re not willing to pony up for G Suite, but also get how bad for business it is to use mybusiness123@gmail.com, check out some of the alternatives.

1. Titan

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.

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The best features of Titan include:

  • Customizable domain: Get yourname@yourcompany.com, so you don’t have to send business email from @gmail.com or @yahoo.com.
  • Advanced features: Read receipts, conversation threads, reminders, and integrated video calling.
  • Advanced anti-spam: Inbound email is filtered before reaching your inbox, dramatically reducing junk mail and vulnerability to viruses.
  • Password encryption: SSL/TLS is enabled on all services, including MX records, SMTP, and webmail. Emails are also stored encrypted on disk.
  • Easy accessibility: Access your email on the go by downloading the Titan for iOS the App Store or Titan for Android in the Google Play store.
  • Migration: Depending on your existing email service provider, Titan support may be able to migrate your contacts and calendar.
  • Personalized support: The Titan Customer Care Team is available 24/7 via email or live chat.

2. Protonmail

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:

  • It’s free: The free tier of Protonmail gives you 500GB of storage and a limit of 150 messages per day, but paid versions are available to provide more storage, receive additional emails, and have multiple addresses.
  • A commitment to privacy: Unlike Gmail, Protonmail doesn’t read your emails to send you targeted content.
  • Swiss data protection laws: Your information on Protonmail benefits from the Swiss data protection laws, which are some of the strictest privacy standards in the world.
  • Client-side encryption: Protonmail doesn’t have the capacity to access your data because it’s encrypted on your end.
  • Easy setup: Protonmail asks for very little information when creating an account.

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.

3. GMX Mail

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:

  • It’s free: GMX is completely free.
  • Large attachments: Send attachments up to 50MB in size.
  • Storage: Enjoy 65GB of email storage.
  • Intuitive interface: GMX users are fond of the ease of use of its email interface.

4. Zoho Workplace

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:

  • Cheap base tier: Email accounts start at $1 per month for each user for 5GB of storage and 25MB attachments.  
  • Upgraded packages: For $3 per month, upgrade to a 30GB storage capacity and 30MB attachments.
  • A variety of business tools: Collaborative calendars, note-taking functions, document collaboration, task management, and team chat are included.

The downside is that users have complained of terrible support channels, a slow, clunky UI, and poor data migration.

5. Liquid Web

Liquid Web offers an email service that integrates with popular email clients, such as Gmail. It comes with the following benefits:

  • Cheap base tier: Like Zoho, Liquid Web starts at $1 per month, but you get more storage with a 25GB mailbox.
  • Upgrade plans available: For $10 a month, you’ll receive 100GB of storage, shared custom calendars, and more.
  • Webmail chat: Chat with your team with Liquid Web’s webmail-based chat client.

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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  • G Suite
Originally published 27th December 2019 08:00:29am, last updated on March 21st, 2020

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