Email is probably the only thing that has not changed much since the beginning of information age. Today, email is still an easy way to communicate with others. It is important for almost every business. An mailbox stores your conversations, critical information and shared documents.
3 main types of email hosting
- Shared web hosting with email account — this is the email account you get (usually free) when you subscribe to a shared hosting account.
- Third-party email hosting — Professional email hosting service that is separated from your web hosting account. Usually not free but you get a reliable email service and expert support.
- Self-hosted email server — Save money on email service subscription and build your own email server.
In this article, we will share with you the best third-party email hosting and self-hosted email server for small business. We do not recommend cheap shared web hosting’s email account because it is less secure and less reliable.
RunCloud User Choice: Email Hosting Services
- G suite — Gmail is popular choice for free & paid email hosting because it is fast and reliable.
- Zoho mail — Previously offer free email hosting for custom domain name. Still a cheaper alternative to G suite with cloud-based office apps
- MXroute — Affordable email hosting for unlimited users & domains using cPanel
- Rackspace Email — Simple and reliable email hosting
10 Best Third-party Email Hosting
Email is important for your daily business. You need a reliable email hosting provider which is reliable, secure, and good support.
When choosing a third-party email hosting provider, you need to evaluate some important email features: support custom domain name, 24/7 customer support, anti-spam & anti-virus, mailbox storage, email attachment limit, ease of use, supported email protocols, and email migration tool.
The following are the 10 best third-party email hosting services (not in any order). Don’t forget to check out the comparison table at the end of the list too!
1. G Suite Gmail
G Suite (was known as Google Apps) is a set of Google cloud-based tools for work, including Gmail, Calendar, Hangout, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, and more.
Gmail is probably the most popular email service nowadays with over a billion active users worldwide. Gmail supports many third-party app add-ons to power up your inbox and improve your productivity.
Unlike free Gmail account, G Suite email does not contain ads nor read your email messages.
Each G Suite user has 30GB storage space shared across Google apps (Gmail, Drive, Photos, Docs). G Suite Enterprise, Business, or Education editions offers unlimited storage for 5 or more users, or 1TB of storage for 4 or fewer users.
G Suite offer email addresses with your custom domain name (@yourcomapny.com). You can add up to 30 email alias for a Gmail account. Google provides 24/7 phone and email supports to G Suite customers. Refer to the migration guide to import your email messages, contacts, calendars into G Suite.
G Suite Price: Start from $6 USD per user per month for Basic plan with 30GB storage per user; $12 USD per user per month with unlimited storage (1TB if fewer than 5 users)
2. Zoho Mail
Zoho Workplace is an alternative of G Suite and Microsoft Office 365 Business. It also includes hosted email, office suite, and other tools for work.
Zoho Mail free account was a popular choice for custom domain email hosting. It was like a free G Suite account! Later, Zoho removed most of the email features of free plan. The free Zoho Mail account is now web-based only. It does not support POP/IMAP/email forwarding. Means, you cannot check your email using a 3rd party app.
Anyway, Zoho Mail still is an affordable choice of custom domain email hosting starts from only $12 per year with 5GB email storage. High plan gives you 30GB storage per user, Zoho Docs (cloud storage), and Zoho Office Suite.
Zoho Mail have detailed instructions to migrate email from other providers.
Zoho Mail price: $1/user/month for Mail Lite with 5GB storage. $4/user/month for Zoho Mail Standard with 30GB per user. $6/user/month for Zoho Mail Professional with 100GB per user.
MXroute is cPanel based email hosting with unlimited domains and unlimited email accounts, start from only $30 per year.
This is an attractive feature. You can use only one account to create email accounts for multiple websites. Most of the other email hosting providers are charging by the number of email accounts.
MXroute account is only limited by the storage space. The largest plan only offer 50GB storage. You need to subscribe more accounts if you need more email storage. It has attractive promotions from time to time that will announced on its blog. Make sure you grab them before sold out!
Though MXroute uses cPanel for email hosting but do not mistaken it to be yet another oversold shared hosting server. They have an comprehensive email infrastructure to serve your email accounts. Email is automatically forwarded to another mail replay if it is rejected due to IP reputation.
MXroute supports all basic email protocols (SMTP, IMAP, POP3, mail forwarding, email alias). The servers are backup regularly. They only provides limited support and it is transitioning to a public support forum. MXroute does not provide a mail migration tool.
MXroute price: $30/year for Small plan with 10GB storage; $40/year for Medium plan with 25GB storage; $50/year for Large plan with 50GB storage
4. Rackspace Email
Rackspace is a managed cloud computing company founded in 1998. You can trust their expertise in web and email hosting.
If all you need is a reliable email hosting account with your company’s domain name then Rackspace Email may be ideal. It has 100% uptime guarantee. Their email filtering will keeps your inbox free of spam and viruses. Rackspace promises never read, sell or scan your email message.
Rackspace provides an easy-to-use email migration tool to move your existing email accounts and messages to Rackspace Email. Rackspace support is available 24/7 via chat, tickets or phone.
All Rackspace Email plans have the same 25GB email storage. It supports email attachment up to 50MB. The plans starts from $2.99 per user per month. Requires minimum of 4 email accounts.
Rackspace Email price: $2.99/user/month (minimum 4 accounts) for Rackspace Email Basic plan with 25GB storage. $3.99/user/month Plus plan adds 30GB online file storage per user, office apps, and ActiveSync. Plus plan with unlimited storage for archived email is $6.99/user/month.
5. Office 365 Outlook
If your business is rely on Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) to do work then Office 365 Business Premium is a no-brainer for your email hosting account for custom domain name.
Office 365 Business Premium offers email hosting with 50GB space and use custom domain name for email address. It includes desktop versions of Microsoft Office applications: Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote (plus Access and Publisher for PC only).
You also get 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage to store your files. Each license allows each user to install Office apps on up to 5 phones, 5 tables, 5 PC/Mac. Microsoft offer 24/7 phone and web support for Office 365 Business users.
If you are living on the cloud and do not need Desktop version of Microsoft Office suite, then you can save a lot by subscribing Office 365 Business Essentials plan. It still gives you 50GB email hosting space and custom email domain address, as well as 1TB OneDrive storage space. But you only get the web version of Microsoft Office. You can uses 1 license to access Office apps on up to 5 phones and 5 tablets.
You can migrate email and contacts from Gmail or other providers to Office 365. Please note that Office 365 Business is not compatible with Linux operating system.
Office 365 Business Price: $6/user/month for Office 365 Business Essentials plan with 50GB email storage and 1TB cloud storage per user; $15/user/month for Office 365 Business Premium plan with desktop versions of Office applications and all the features of Essentials plan.
6. Yandex Mail for Domain
Yandex is a Russia company launched in 1997 as an internet search engine company. Today, the company has 18 offices worldwide and provides over 70 services in total, including Yandex Mail.
You should check out Yandex Mail If you do not mind a Russia company hosting your email account. It is probably the only one free email hosting for custom domain name today.
For each domain name, you can register up 1,000 free mailboxes! Each mailbox has unlimited storage! Yandex Mail also includes Yandex.Connect, a set of collaboration tools (track issues, wiki, calendar, forms, messenger, cloud disk). Each user has 10GB online storage per year.
Yandex Mail has anti-virus and anti-spam technologies to protect your mailbox. It also supports two-factor authentication (2FA) for stronger login security and migration tool to import your existing email messages.
Yandex Mail for Domain price: FREE!
MailCheap is another email hosting provider in this list that offer unlimited mailboxes & domains per account at affordable pricing.
It offers many different type of email hosting, from shared to reseller to dedicated email server. Here we only focus on the shared email server plans, which start from $2/month with 10GB email quota up to $20/month with 100GB email quota. All plans support unlimited domains, unlimited users.
If you need a plan larger than 100GB mail storage, they also offer dedicated email servers or custom plan up to 320TB storage.
MailCheap supports common email protocols (IMAP, SMTP, POP), web mail, CalDAV & CardDAV, ActiveSync, and more. Anti-spam and anti-virus protections too. It offers mail migration tool to import your existing email accounts to MailCheap.
Please note that MailCheap shared email server plan does not support custom branding (100% white-label). You cannot use your own hostname (example: mail.yourdomain.com) and no personalized branding for admin panel.
MailCheap price: Start from $2/month with 10GB storage to $20/month with 100GB storage for unlimited domains unlimited users; Dedicated email servers are available too.
FastMail might not be as popular as other big players in the industry but it has been in email hosting business for over 15 years. It promises a private (no tracking), secure, ad-free email hosting.
FastMail supports standard protocols – including IMAP, SMTP, CardDAV and CalDAV. Its web-based email interface is fast and flexible. It also includes calendar and contacts that auto sync on your phone, tablet or PC.
FastMail provides email import tool to import some or all of your email from any email provider that support IMAP protocol.
Have multiple email accounts? You can setup FastMail to send & receive messages from other email accounts you own to manage all your emails in one place.
In case you want to migrate away from FastMail or make backup of your data, you can download all your data on FastMail.
FastMail provides 24/7 support via email. It does not have a customer service phone number.
FastMail price: $5/user/month ($50/year) with 25GB storage; $9/user/month ($90/year) with 100GB storage and unlimited archiving space. Storage upgrade is available.
ProtonMail is a open-source email service that sends and receives encrypted email messages.
It is founded in 2013 by a group of scientists who met at CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research and share a vision of a more secure and private internet.
ProtonMail founds and runs all server infrastructure exclusively in Switzerland. Therefore, the service and your confidential data are protected by Swiss privacy laws, which are among the strongest in the world.
Beside the ProtonMail encrypted communication, you can send a self-destruct email message with an expiration time. Email receiver cannot read your message after it has expired. This is convenient to send one time secret message.
However, due to the service’s privacy and security, you cannot access your own old messages after an account password reset.
ProtonMail is the world’s largest secure email service. It is an open source software funded by the community. It does not show ads or tracking your data. Revenue from paid accounts is used to develop ProtonMail and support free users, including democracy activists and dissidents.
The ProtonMail support is 24 hours a day, 6 days a week via email and forum.
ProtonMail price: $5/user/month ($48/year) with 5GB storage, 1 custom domain; $8/user/month ($75/year) with 5GB storage, 2 custom domains; $30/user/month ($288/year) with 20GB storage, 10 custom domains, ProtonVPN
10. Namecheap Private Email
Namecheap is a popular domain name registrar. They also offer other online services, such as web hosting, SSL, VPN, etc. Namecheap Private Email Hosting is the company’s webmail service for custom domain name.
Though Namecheap is a domain registrar, but you do not need to migrate your domain name to Namecheap in order to use its email hosting service. The email service is powered by Open-Exchange (OX). It is an affordable custom domain email hosting for less than $10 per year.
Namecheap Private Email price: $9.88/user/year with 3GB email storage, 1GB file storage, $28.88/user/year with 10GB email storage, 10GB file storage, 10 email alias; $49.88/user/year with 10GB email storage, 15GB file storage, 10 email alias
Compare Email Hosting Services
The following table compare the each email hosting provider features: (click to enlarge)
5 Best Self Hosting Email Server
You may have self-host web server, then you probably considering to self-host email server, too.
Self-hosting email server is a service you run on your own and it works with other email services. It prevent 3rd party to read your messages without permission, and also save on per user email subscriptions.
However, self-hosting your email is not easy (more difficult than web hosting). Mitchell Anicas, Digital Ocean software engineer, warns that “setting up and maintaining your own mail server is complicated and time-consuming, and there are several affordable alternatives—most people will get more value, in the form of saved time, out of using a paid mail service.“
Mail server is way more complex than web server. A typical mail server consists of several required software components, Mail Transfer Agent (MTA), Mail Delivery Agent (MDA), IMAP/POP. You may also want to add other components, such as spam filter, anti-virus, and webmail.
Good news is that we have many ready-made mail server package that make it easier to install all the mail components. Here are several popular choice of self-host mail server packages: (not in any order)
MailCow is open-source docker based email server suite. It is a collection of containers linked in one bridged network. Each container represent a single application, such as Dovecot, Memcached, MySQL, PHP, Postfix, Nginx, etc. MailCow provides a web user interface to manage the mail server and email accounts.
- SOGo web based email
- SMTP and IMAP
- Easy mail client configuration
- Two facto authentication and brute force protection
- Email whitelist/blacklist and spam thresholds
- Process isolation via docker containers
- Web administration
MailCow system requirements: 1GHz CPU, 2GB RAM + Swap, and 5GB storage for the suite.
Poste.io is open-source docker based mail server that you can setup in 5 minutes. The database is stored in file-based SQLite database. Update, backup, and migration is easy.
- Native implementation of SPF, DKIM, DMARC, SRS
- Antivirus engine (ClamAV)
- Spam filter (RSPAMD)
- Email redirection, autoreply, and filters
- Quota limit for mailbox space or email count
- Web administration
- Autodiscovery for email client software
- Server diagnostics
- Process isolation via docker containers
MailCow system requirements: Poste.io does not have a specified system requirements. All you need is a 64-bit Linux distribution, enough CPU and free RAM to run Spamassassin and Clamav, Docker engine running.
Mail-in-a-Box is an open source software bundle that make it easy to turn a cloud server into your own email server for multiple domains.
- SMTP and IMAP
- CardDAV/CalDAV through Nextcloud
- Exchange ActiveSync
- Roundcube webmail
- DNS server auto configure SPF, DKIM, DMARC
- Backup to Amazon S3 cloud storage
- Static website hosting via NGINX
- Free TLS(SSL) certificates from Let’s Encrypt
- Web administration
- Spam filtering, greylisting
- Host email for multiple users and multiple domain names
Mail-in-a-Box system requirements: Ubuntu 18.04 64-bit, 512MB RAM (recommend 1GB RAM)
iRedMail is an open source mail server since 2007. It works on most Linux/BSD distributions. It offer paid version ($499/year) with professional support.
- Web admin panel (paid professional version available)
- Support different backend storages: OpenLDAP, MySQL, MariaDB, PostgreSQL
- Works on main stream Linux/BSD: Red Hat, CentOS, Debian, Ubuntu, FreeBSD, OpenBSD.
- SpamAssassin, ClamAV, SPF, DKIM, greylisting, whitelisting, blacklisting
- Roundcube webmail or SOGo groupware
- CalDAV, CardDAV and ActieSync
- Unlimited mail accounts, domains, users, mailing lists, admins
- Paid professional support available
iRedMail system requirements: Fresh Linux/BSD server, 2GB RAM
Modoboa is a free and open source email hosting and management platform that support SMTP, IMAP/POP. It is written in Python and released under ISC license.
- Web admin panel to manage domains, mailboxes, aliases and more
- Support MySQL/MariaDB, PostgreSQL database
- Email blacklists monitoring and DMARC report generation
- Mail server monitoring
- Own web mail client
- Anti-spam and anti-virus via Amavis
- Calendar and address book
- Free SSL/TLS certificates by Let’s Encrypt
- Paid professional support available
Modoboa system requirements: 2 CPU, 2GB RAM, 10GB disk storage (exclude emails)
BONUS: Free Email Forwarding Service for Custom Domain
Don’t feel like to pay for email hosting and do not want to take the hassle to setup own mail server? You only need to forward custom domain emails to another mailbox, such as Gmail free account?
Try ForwardEmail, a free, encrypted, open-source email forwarding service for custom domain name.
All you need to do is only adding DNS records to your custom domain name, then all emails to your domain will be forwarded to the email address you specified. It also supports Gmail’s “Send Mail As” feature, so that you can reply emails from your custom domain in Gmail.
Now you know the 15 best email hosting services and self-host mail servers, which one is your choice? Why? Have we miss out any good email service/server? Please tell us in the comment.