Moving your company’s email to the cloud can make managing email simpler while also saving you money on server maintenance and IT staff.
However, finding the right cloud-based email service to match your business can be difficult and time-consuming.
And so to help you, I’ve spent the past several months testing out cloud email services to find out which ones are worth making the switch. In this list, I’ll share my results with you - these are the best cloud email services:
- Rackspace (low-priced 25 GB mailboxes)
- Zoho Mail (collaborative email for close-knit teams)
- Google G Suite (full office suite with excellent email security)
- IceWarp Cloud (combine cloud email and file backup)
- Intermedia Exchange (white-glove service and security at a premium)
From $2.00 /user/month
Recommended for users who need great reliability.Rackspace sets itself apart from the competition immediately by offering a 100% guarantee against downtime. That means the company will reimburse you for any time your email isn’t working.
You’ll also be able to report outages immediately thanks to Rackspace’s 24/7 customer support.
Furthermore, Rackspace integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Office and uses Microsoft Outlook Web Access as its front-end email client. The client is clunky and plain compared to the modern and sleek look of Google’s G Suite, but you can also use Microsoft Outlook on your desktop or any other email client that supports POP or IMAP.
While the web client is largely easy to use, it sometimes lets itself down with an intermittently slowed response time and inability to perform task-based text searches.
In addition, managing multiple domains requires contacting Rackspace directly for support.
What isn't an issue in Rackspace, however, is security. Although the company is secretive about the combination of tools it uses, spam and virus protection filters are both very reliable. The only thing to watch out for is that potential phishing messages aren’t flagged with a warning if they squeak past the filters.
When it comes to email storage, Rackpace delivers – all plans come with massive 25 GB mailboxes. Plus, premium plans (starting at $3.50/user/month) offer an additional 30 GB of file storage.
- All plans come with 25GB mailboxes
- Seamless Microsoft Office integration
- Premium plans come with 30 GB of file storage
- Downtime guarantee and 24/7 support
- Web client is clunky and intermittently slow
- Difficult to manage multiple domains
2. Zoho Mail
From $1.00 /user/month
Recommended for small businesses who want to take advantage of its 25-user free planZoho focuses their feature-heavy email client on collaboration, making it a great choice for small businesses with teams that need to stay in close email contact.
Zoho’s mail client is straightforward to use and includes innovative features like Streams and Mentions. These unique mail filters allow users to selectively copy team members on emails without overwhelming the entire office with CCs.
Calendars, notes, and tasks are also built into the email client to facilitate collaboration. But don’t expect too much here – notes are limited to plain text. And although upgraded plans offer Zoho Docs and Zoho Office Suite, these collaboration tools are lacking many of the text and spreadsheet editing capabilities of a full-fledged office software suite.
Zoho does have one more trick up its sleeve to facilitate team collaboration – all plans come with Cliq, the platform’s team chat app.
As for pricing, Zoho starts out free for business with less than 25 users. However, many teams will find themselves upgrading to get more storage space. The basic Mail Lite plan offers just 5 GB of email storage per user and limits attachments to 25 MB, while more expensive plans offer 30 or 100 GB of storage and support for larger attachments.
- Streams and Mentions allow selective emailing to team members
- All Zoho plans come with Cliq chat app
- Free for businesses with less than 25 users
- Basic plan is low on storage space
- Notes are limited to plain text
- Zoho Office Suite is lacking as a standalone office suite
3. G Suite
From $5.00 /user/month
Recommended for users who want the benefits of an all in one office suiteG Suite is not only a cloud-based email service but a full-fledged office suite for your business.
The email client for G Suite will be familiar to any users who have used Gmail for personal use in the past. The interface is straightforward and integrates seamlessly with calendar, note, task, and document editing tools. G Suite also includes a built-in chat app – Hangouts – that offers both text and video calling.
Another advantage to G Suite is that it comes with exceptional security. The service boasts highly accurate spam filters and prominent warnings to prevent users from accidentally clicking on potential phishing emails. Plus, users won’t be able to download attachments when a virus is detected by the built-in scanner.
The only place G Suite falls short? There is no way to encrypt emails for outgoing security. This may cause problems for business working on sensitive projects or government contracts with strict security requirements.
G Suite plans start at $5/user/month for 30 GB of storage or $10/user/month for unlimited storage.
- Full-fledged collaborative office suite
- Hangouts include chat and video calling
- Excellent security features
- Basic plan is expensive
- No way to encrypt emails
From $2.50 /user/month
Recommended for users who want plenty of mailbox and file storage at a cheap priceIceWarp is a competitively priced cloud email service that offers a combination of email storage and file backups with all of its plans. The company offers 100GB mailboxes and 1 TB of file storage for every user for just $3.90/user/month.
That attractive price does come with some drawbacks, however.
IceWarp’s email client looks similar to Microsoft’s Outlook Web Access client upon first look, but it lacks the same depth of features. In particular, syncing calendars between users can be surprisingly difficult and requires a third-party plug-in.
In addition, businesses that rely on third-party integrations will be sorely disappointed with the lack of apps available for IceWarp compared to Microsoft or Google email clients.
That said, IceWarp plans include a full office software office suite that lives up to the well-known offerings from G Suite and Microsoft Office 365. The built-in chat, phone, and video calling application is highly developed and easy to use, while the file-sharing app is comparable to Dropbox’s desktop client.
- Attractive pricing for mailbox and file storage
- Full office suite and chat app
- Web client offers a straightforward layout
- Highly effective security filters
- Syncing calendars is difficult
- Few third-party integrations available
From $7.49 /user/month
Recommended for users who are looking for high-end securityDon’t let the high base price of Intermedia Exchange’s cloud email service scare you away. That price tag comes with unlimited mailbox storage for every user and top-of-the-line support.
That support begins as soon as you sign up with Intermedia Exchange. You’ll be assigned a setup team that will walk you through the process of migrating your email domain and stored emails.
Once your email is up and running, managing the cloud email system is easy from the control panel. The panel includes shortcuts to frequent tasks, like setting up new users and establishing security protocols.
You also get a basic cloud file storage package with each mailbox – 2 GB per user for basic plans or 10 GB per user for premium plans. File backups are managed through the SecuriSync Backup app, which is comparable to backup apps from dedicated cloud storage services like Dropbox.
Where Intermedia Exchange really shines, though, is in securing your inbox. The default filters are highly effective at eliminating spam and phishing emails. Advanced users can also tweak the security filter thresholds from the control panel.
- Unlimited mailbox storage on all plans
- Included file backups to the cloud
- Excellent customer support
- Highly effective security filters
- Basic plans are expensive
Choosing the Best Cloud Email Service for You
Picking the best cloud email service for your business comes down to the features that are important to you. Here’s how the services stack up:
- Rackspace is suitable for businesses that need large 25GB mailboxes and a downtime guarantee
- Zoho Mail is a great fit for collaborative teams that can take advantage of innovative inbox management
- Google G Suite is ideal for businesses that want an all-in-one office suite and cloud email solution
- IceWarp Cloud suits businesses that need both cloud email and file backup at a modest price
- Intermedia Exchange is recommended for businesses that are willing to pay a premium for attentive service and highly secure email
Are there other cloud email services that you think are the top option for your business and that I haven’t mentioned here? Please feel free to let me know in the comments below!