Small businesses don’t want to spend a great deal of money on their email hosting. They don’t need thousands of email addresses, and they simply don’t want to spend hundreds on hosting their emails alone.
If you are looking for a reliable email hosting provider that’s ideal for small businesses, you can’t go wrong with Cloudways Rackspace. Prices start from $1 per user per month, and it ticks all the right boxes.
But, there are other options available in the market as well, including big names like Google Workspace and Zoho Mail.
What Is Email Hosting and Why Use It?
An email hosting service is the one that runs an email server. You can get an email hosting server by signing up to the email hosting service. All you need is a domain name to use an email service.
You can use an email hosting server to manage, send, and maintain your email accounts. Most of the large ecommerce stores have in-house email servers to ensure that the emails reach the recipients on time.
However, small businesses use email hosting solutions provided by companies like Google, Zoho, Rackspace, and many others.
Recently, most website hosting services have started offering email hosting servers as an add-on with their regular services such as shared, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Cloudways is one of them. It offers managed cloud hosting services with an email hosting solution by Rackspace.
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Types of Email Hosting for Small Business
There are many different types of email hosting solutions, each serving a different purpose. Let’s check out what type of email hosting service will work best for your business.
1. Shared Web Hosting With Email Service
This type of email service is available with a shared hosting service. You can’t use it for sending/receiving bulk emails due to limitations on the email server.
2. Third-Party Email Hosting
Most digital businesses prefer to use third-party email hosting solutions. These are scalable, easy-to-use email servers that provide excellent support. Do remember that you will have to pay separately for email hosting service.
Therefore, the cost will be more than what you will pay if you get shared web hosting with email service.
3. Self-Hosted Email Servers
These are complex email servers that are robust, and require technical expertise on part of the team operating these servers. These servers are reliable, and you can send, receive, and maintain emails with ease.
Which Business Email Hosting Provider Is Best? Features, Prices, & Limitations
Check out the following comparison table for email hosting for small scale business.
*All of these providers offer 24/7 support, spam filtering, and custom domains.
Why a UK Based Digital Agency Trust Cloudways for their Client Web Hosting
Why Should You Host Email on a Separate Server
Many experts recommend that the email should not be hosted on the same server that hosts the web files (and the database) of your business websites. This is easy to make mistake as many businesses see a separate email server as an “avoidable” business expense and thus host the email on the same server.
When disaster strikes and the server goes down for any reason, the business couldn’t even email the providers because the email system also went offline.
From a technical perspective, hosting the email is a bad idea. web hosting and email hosting are two very different components with different resource requirements.
Hosting them on the same server could cause competition over the resources that could potentially drag down the application performance.
Finally, there is the tricky question of support. While the support team of the provider might be very well versed in dealing with teh web hosting issues, their grasp on troubleshooting email hosting could be sketchy.
IMAP vs. POP3 vs. SMTP – Comparing Email Protocols
Let’s learn the difference between different email sending protocols. Here is the list of protocols that you will need to send emails.
It is called the Internet Access Message Protocol. It deals with retrieving email messages and managing them on the server. You can’t use the IMAP protocol to send emails. Instead, you can use it to receive email messages and keep them on the server.
The SMTP protocol stands for (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol). It is the industry-standard protocol for sending emails. SMTP allows you to send email messages, relay them, or forward them to other mail clients such as from Microsoft Outlook to Gmail.
When you send emails, you can use the SMTP server to carry out the transmission process.
POP3 is an email protocol that lets you receive email messages and downloads them to your server. It has the same functionality as IMAP protocol but it doesn’t keep these email messages on the server.
Instead, it downloads them from the email server to the user’s computer and deletes the server copy.
On the other hand, IMAP protocol stores the email message on the email server and synchronizes the email across multiple devices.
Q. Should You Use POP3 or IMAP?
It depends on how you want to receive the emails.
Most email service providers usually offer both functionalities. However, it is better if you choose IMAP protocol because your emails will stay on the server and you can access them anytime.
If you use the POP3 email protocol, all emails will be downloaded to your personal computer and you won’t be able to use them. Don’t forget to secure your email domain name with security protocols like DMARC, DKIM and SPF.
Cloudways User Choice: Email Hosting Services [POLL]
We had conducted a poll to find out what type of email hosting service works best for businesses around the globe. The results weren’t what we had predicted.
Source: Cloudways Users Group
How Cloudways Helps you Set Up Email Hosting?
Cloudways offers an email hosting and management add-on. With this addon, you get your email inboxes from the Rackspace email hosting solution. It covers everything you need to create your email server for any website.
The service is swift, offers robust support, and is available 24×7. With Cloudways Rackspace email hosting service add-on you get both SMTP and IMAP protocols.
You can also use Gmail SMTP add-on with Cloudways to send 99 emails each day with automated SMTP delivery.
The service allows you to add your multiple SMTP accounts, i.e. Mandrill account, Mailgun account, AuthSMTP account, or other Custom SMTPs.
If you want to get the Gmail SMTP service, you can read about the activation process. It is completely hassle-free.
As Cloudways is an efficient and fast hosting provider, with both of the email hosting add-ons you get:
- Guaranteed Uptime
- Privacy & Protection
- Easy Installation
- Round the Clock Support
- Fully Secured Environment
Best Email Hosting Services for Small Business
Check out the list of best email hosting for small business you can use to boost your email campaigns.
1. Google Workspace
First on our list is Google Workspace. We all know how Gmail works. Think of Google Workspace as an advanced, more sophisticated, and a feature-rich version of Gmail. Google Workspace is a set of Google cloud-based applications that allow you to simplify many of your tasks.
It includes Calendar, Chat, Drive, Docs, Sheets, Slides, Sites, Meet, and more.
It is one of the most popular email services available with over a billion active users.
Moreover, you can use multiple third-party applications on Google Workspace to enhance your productivity for no extra charge.
Do remember that Google Workspace is not free and you will have to pay a nominal fee for using Google Workspace applications.
The prices start from as low as $6 per user per month for the Business Starter plan, and can go as high as $18 per user per month for the Business Plus version.
With Google Workspace, each user gets 30GB storage space shared across Google apps including Gmail, Drive, Photos, and Docs with the Business Starter plan. There’s a 14 day free trial available too.
2. Cloudways Rackspace Email Hosting
Rackspace offers business-class email hosting service for small businesses. It is perfect for users who are looking for reliable email servers that can handle their email campaigns. Rackspace uses Outlook and Rackspace email service for email hosting.
The prices of both services may vary.
The best thing about Rackspace is that you can use it as an add-on with your Cloudways managed hosting service. With Rackspace, you get email filtering options to keep your inbox spam and junk-free.
Moreover, Rackspace guarantees that it won’t sell user data. It complies with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). With Rackspace, you get 24/7/365 chat service, ticketing system, and in-phone support.
You also get 25GB email storage with all Rackspace email plans. The basic plan starts with $1 per user per month.
Here’s How to Setup Rackspace Email Add-on
Titan is specially designed to enable solopreneurs, freelancers and small business professionals to build meaningful relationships with their customers. It is the highest-rated email product on G2 with a rating of 4.8 and ranks among the top 5 platforms for business email.
With useful built-in features such as Schedule Send, Email Templates, Follow-up Reminders, Priority Inbox and more, Titan offers the tools required to help small businesses in their growth.
Titan’s calendar, contacts, and storage offer efficiency from right within the inbox. Through various Titan partners, Titan offers a free trial and has two pricing plans:
- Titan Business Pro at $2 per month
- Titan Business Premium at $2.45 per month
- Titan’s email storage is 50GB
- Titan consist of free trial.
- Titan’s starting price is from $2
- Attachment limit is 30MB
- You can have maximum number of accounts
4. Zoho Mail
Zoho mail service is an alternative to Google Workspace and Microsoft Office 365 business email. It offers almost the same features including hosted emails, office suite, and other tools for work.
Zoho offers a free and a paid version of the mail service. The free service offers basic features such as a web-based client to send and receive emails. With the free version, you can neither set up a business account, nor can you get a custom domain service.
On the other hand, with the paid version of the Zoho mail service, you can easily set up a custom domain name for your emails.
It also supports POP/IMAP/email forwarding service. You can check your email using a third-party app. Zoho Mail is an affordable option for new businesses as its Mail Lite starts with a $12 per year price tag, with 5GB email storage.
Higher plans of Zoho mail offer 30GB storage per user, and features like Zoho Docs cloud storage, and Zoho Office Suite.
Here’s a Guide on Setting up Zoho Mail
5. Office 365 Outlook
If you are a Microsoft user, the Microsoft Office Suite 365 is the best option available to you. The Office 365 service offers a bundle of all necessary tools including Outlook, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
You will also get the Office 365 Business Premium for your email hosting account. The service is available with a custom domain name. The Office 365 Business Premium service offers 50GB space and uses the custom domain name for an email address.
With the Office 365 Outlook version, you will get Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access, and Publisher (for PC only) applications to enhance your productivity. Moreover, you will get a 1TB OneDrive cloud storage to store your files. Office 365 Outlook costs $72 per year.
6. Yandex Mail
Yandex is a Russian search engine that also provides an email hosting service. It is perfect for all those who want to set up an email hosting server with a custom domain name.
It is not only fast, and flexible but also cheaper than other service providers available. You will get a paid account for as low as $3.14 per month. For a website, you can have three email users; however, if you are signing up as an organization, you can get 1,000 free accounts.
Yandex offers free unlimited storage for all email accounts. Moreover, you can connect with Yandex Mail and Yandex. You will also get collaboration tools, including track issues, wiki, calendar, forms, messenger, and cloud disk.
With Yandex, each user has 10GB of online storage space per year. It has anti-virus and anti-spam technologies to protect your mailbox and comes with two-factor authentication (2FA) for stronger login security and migration.
Mailgun is an SMTP email provider created primarily for software developers. It’s quite popular amongst Cloudways users because it allows them to send bulk emails with ease, and also dramatically increases engagement.
That said, Mailgun is not an email marketing tool; it’s simply a mail API.
This is a transactional email service that can be used to send, receive, or track emails. It does have a burst sending option, and it uses secure protocols so your emails are always kept safe.
It also features an excellent performance prediction tool that gives you a heads-up about what folder your email is likely to land in when it arrives in your recipient’s inbox.
Mailgun is not a free tool; their lowest plan is the Flex tier, which offers you three months of free emails. After that initial period has elapsed, you will be charged depending on the amounts of emails you send afterwards.
There is a free Trial plan that lets you send 5,000 emails per month. After that, you’ll pay for what you use, with prices starting from as low as $0.8/1000 emails.
SendGrid is another robust cloud-based SMTP provider that lets users easily send emails without creating or maintaining email servers.
It’s another preferred choice for many Cloudways users because it takes care of all technical issues, from handling the infrastructure to scaling your email needs.
It even offers real-time analytical data and has built-in reputation monitoring tools as well. With more than 45,000 paying customers and 1 trillion emails sent, SendGrid is a highly reliable and trusted choice.
If you are looking for a no-frills, easy-to-use email hosting service for your small business, MXRoute is a great choice. It’s also incredibly cheap, costing a mere $45 per year or just $3.75 in a month for unlimited email addresses and domains. For this price, you are allocated a 10 GB server.
It also comes with Webmail, IMAP, SMTP, and POP3 services for easier access.
Plus, there’s built-in support for filtering out spam emails. For each email you create, MXRoute provides access to NextCloud, which offers calendars, file storage, contact management, project management solutions, and even photo galleries.
PostMark is another popular email service provider among developers.
It is primarily focused on transactional emails, and since it doesn’t feature bulk promotional email sending, it has managed to create a strong reputation for itself.
This no-fuss email service provider offers metrics for performance and email tracking, and its email automation feature makes it an excellent tool for businesses on a budget Pricing for PostMark starts from $10 in a month, which is a bit expensive when compared with other service providers.
For $10, you get 10,000 emails. The pricing scales depending upon the number of emails, going as high as $1,200 for 5 million emails in a month. You can even get a dedicated IP if you want.
One of the oldest email service providers in the industry, FastMail is a great option for those of you looking for a premium service that costs as much as a basic email service provider.
It supports IMAP and PGP, but doesn’t offer end to end encryption, so it’s not as advanced security-wise as others in the same niche. However, FastMail does provide two factor authentication and spam filtering to keep your emails safe.
The pricing starts from $3 per user, per month. Each plan also starts with a 30-day free trial. They have several tiers you can choose from.
12. Amazon SES
The Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) is an affordable and highly flexible email service that can scale along with your business needs. Amazon is no stranger to cloud-based services, and the SES integrates quickly and efficiently into their business.
Amazon SES has a reputation dashboard that you can use to track performance of your email campaigns, and get more spam feedback to maximize the performance of your emails.
It has a host of built-in security options, like the Sender Policy Framework and the DomainKeys Identified Mail that authenticate emails on both ends.
This brings us to the end of this article. That’s all you need to know about the best email hosting for small business & medium sized businesses.
Email marketing has now become an integral part of every digital business. If you want to scale your business, this is the right time to get an email hosting service for your business. A good email hosting service will help you scale, enhance support, and get more customers through new marketing channels.
Q1. Should You Use a Separate Server for Email Hosting?
It depends. If you are using a service that offers email hosting servers, then that is an advantage for you. Cloudways offers an email hosting service as an add-on, so you don’t have to use another service.
All the charges will be deducted from your Cloudways hosting account. On the other hand, if you are using a hosting server that doesn’t offer email hosting, then you will need a separate hosting server for sending and receiving emails. You can use Google Workspace or Microsoft Office 365, depending on your requirements.
Q2. What bandwidth server to get for small business email hosting?
For sending emails, you are renting out space from email servers on which SMTP and IMAP email interfaces are installed. The email hosting servers manage incoming and outgoing emails.
Though bandwidth doesn’t usually matter when buying email hosting space unless you are sending emails in bulk. If you are sending less than 10,000 emails per day, then the Cloudways Rackspace email hosting, Google Workspace, and Microsoft Office 365 service will serve you well.
Q3. What’s the essential software for email hosting service?
You will need to have SMTP, IMAP, and POP3 protocols available on your email hosting server so that you can send and receive emails easily.
Most email hosting providers like Cloudways Rackspace email hosting, Google Workspace, and Office 365 offer many other features such as slides, docs, sheets, hangouts, and presentations.
Q4. What is the best email host for small businesses?
While there’s no “best” email host, there are several email hosting services that are quite popular. These include:
- Google Workspace
- Cloudways Rackspace
- Zoho Mail
- Office 365 Outlook
Q5. How much should email hosting cost?
Email hosting is generally very cost-effective. However, when evaluating email hosting providers, note that if the price is low, remember to check out the features because the providers could skip essential features such as security and space.
Q6. Why do small businesses need email hosting?
It is always a good practice to separate web hosting and email hosting because, in case of any unfortunate incident involving an attack on your web host, you would still retain access to your emails.
In addition, email hosting has different requirements and a single server might not be able to cater to both.
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Sajjad is an Ecommerce Community Manager at Cloudways. He loves helping out Ecommerce store owners, merchants and marketers in establishing their businesses and startups. Sajjad enjoys playing table tennis and cricket over the weekend.