Microsoft's relationship with email goes back almost thirty years to the time of Microsoft Mail, an email client for Windows NT that was released in 1991.
The internet has changed a lot since then, but Microsoft has kept pace with constant technological innovations. These have helped it to keep Microsoft Exchange one of the most popular business email systems on the market today.
A key advantage of using an Exchange email setup is that you don't have to own the server it's installed on. There are plenty of great third-party services that offer Microsoft hosted Exchange servers. However, transferring your Exchange system between hosts can be a complicated and difficult process.
For that reason, it's important you pick the right option first time. Here are the 5 best Exchange hosting options I found:
- Rackspace: Cheap hybrid Exchange servers
- 1&1 IONOS: Includes free domain registration
- iPage: Reliable Exchange hosted email
- Exchange Online: Exchange hosting from Microsoft itself
- Network Solutions: Very secure email hosting
Prices start at $10.99/month
Recommended for: Affordable hybrid Exchange hosting.
This is a web hosting service dedicated to providing enterprise-oriented cloud solutions. It's been named 'Microsoft Partner of the Year' five separate times, so you can rest assured its Exchange integration works flawlessly.
Rackspace employs over 3,000 engineers, many of whom are Microsoft specialists. These engineers constantly monitor Rackspace's managed email servers to reduce spam and watch for potential virus attacks. In addition, SSL is used to encrypt all emails to ensure your information remains private.
The Rackspace Exchange system comes with an enterprise-level sync option, allowing you to share calendars, events and contact information with employees or clients. Event syncing works with the Outlook Web App, so everyone can stay connected on the move.
Prices begin at $10.99/month per 100GB mailbox. You can actually reduce costs by using Rackspace's 'Exchange Hybrid' package though. This feature lets you host non-Exchange mailboxes on your Exchange server so that money isn't wasted on team members who don't need all the benefits of Exchange. Non-Exchange mailboxes are available from just $2.99/month.
- Multiple 'Microsoft Partner of the Year' winner
- SSL encrypted email
- 100GB mailbox space, 50MB attachment support
- Hybrid server money-saving option
- Relatively expensive
- Only supports up to 100 mailboxes
2. 1&1 IONOS
Prices start at $10/month
Recommended for: Exchange hosted email with a free domain.
The advantage of Exchange or Office 365 email hosting over a standard webmail service such as Gmail is that you get to use a custom email address domain. With most of the hosts in this list, you'll need to pay for domain registration separately.
That's not the case with 1&1 IONOS though. Its Exchange hosting package comes with a free year of domain registration included. This provider's prices are reasonable too, with a single $10/month plan offering 25GB of mailbox storage.
A Microsoft Outlook 2016 license is also included with 1&1 IONOS's email package. That's a more up to date Outlook version than most competing services offer.
1&1 IONOS is an excellent choice if you prioritize data security. It creates regular backups of your email account and stores them in a separate data center. This is great for peace of mind because, in the unlikely event of a catastrophe at your primary data center, your backup would be unaffected.
- Free domain registration
- Outlook 2016 included
- 24/7 Customer Support
- Isolated backup protection
- Only one package available
- Domain registration expires after one year
Prices begin at $12.95/month
Recommended for: Reliable Exchange hosting.
Founded in 1998, iPage is a well-established name in web hosting circles. It's an excellent option to consider for Microsoft Exchange hosting if you want to guarantee a stable connection to your email server. All iPage email servers come with a 99.99% uptime guarantee which we've independently verified during our iPage review.
With iPage, your valuable information will be protected from hardware failure or data corruption thanks to free daily backups. But, if something does go wrong you'll be able to contact iPage support representatives 24/7 by phone or live chat.
iPage Exchange hosting prices begin at $12.95/month for 5GB of email storage. If that's too limiting for you, 10GB and 25GB storage options are also available, though they are significantly more expensive.
If you suffer from junk mail issues, I advise you to consider using iPage's optional Premium Spam Filter service which costs an additional $9.95/year. This advanced tool will help to ensure trusted senders are never blocked and will give you extra control over how your junk mailbox operates.
- Extremely reliable with a 99.99% uptime guarantee
- Addon Premium Spam Filter
- Free daily backups
- Isolated backup protection
- More expensive than other options
- Limited storage capacities
Prices start at $4/month
Recommended for: Exchange hosting from Microsoft itself.
Microsoft Exchange email is commonly hosted on personal or third-party servers, but did you know that Microsoft actually offers Exchange hosting itself? That's right, the Microsoft Exchange Online service is a hosted Exchange email server that you can purchase directly from Microsoft.
When it comes to Exchange email hosting, there are some pretty obvious advantages to going straight to the source. For example, you can rest assured that your server will be the first to receive important security updates or bug fixes.
What's more, you know that any technical support you receive will be from genuine Microsoft experts. However, one downside of Exchange Online worth mentioning is that it isn't as suitable for enterprise use as other hosts in this list, as it's not doesn't have as advanced security features as a lot of the competition.
Surprisingly, Exchange Online was the cheapest host I reviewed. I guess Microsoft can save money because it doesn't have to worry about paying its own licensing fees! A single Mailbox with 50GB storage costs just $4/month. But, if 50GB isn't enough, and you want some extra security, you can all that with unlimited email storage and free voice mail hosting for $8/month.
- Rapid updates
- Expert technical support
- Affordable prices
- Large storage capacities
- Poor enterpise security support
- Less server control
Prices start at $9.99/month
Recommended for: Excellent customer support.
Email is the lifeline of many businesses. Because of that, it's imperative that you pick an Exchange hosting solution that offers high-quality customer support, which is exactly what Network Solutions does. Its representatives are available 24/7 over the phone, and there's actually a dedicated number to call for email assistance.
Because email is so vital, it's also important that you can trust that the messages which arrive in your mailbox aren't infected with viruses. To keep you safe, Network Solutions secures its mailboxes with an aggressive virus filter that can catch 99% of malicious communications.
And, even if a virus does manage to corrupt your hosted Exchange server, you'll still be able to recover important messages because Network Solutions creates daily server backups.
Prices begin at $9.99/month for 1GB of mailbox storage, which is disappointingly small. It is possible to purchase additional storage though. Many users will consider the trade-off in terms of storage a price worth paying for a properly secured email server.
- Dedicated phone line for email customer support
- Thorough virus and spam filter
- Daily server backups
- Extremely small mailbox size
- Outdated Microsoft Outlook version
- Expensive prices
Finding the Right Exchange Hosting Solution for You
Microsoft Exchange email systems appeal to a broad range of people, and these providers are all suited to slightly different use cases. For that reason, I recommend that you consider your personal needs when deciding which of these providers to use:
- Rackspace is a great money saving option
- 1&1 IONOS comes with a free domain
- iPage offers reliable Exchange hosting
- Exchange Online is the best for hosting straight from Microsoft
- Network Solutions offers top-notch security
Think carefully about which provider to use. It's much harder to switch Exchange hosting providers than it is for alternative email systems; take enough time to ensure you make the best choice for your business.
Enough from us! What do you think? If you've got an alternative Exchange hosting service to recommend, I'd love to hear about it, so please do comment below!
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