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Email alternatives to Google Workspace and Outlook

Most of the big email names we think of as being ‘free’ offer a premium service for businesses — from Google Workspace to Microsoft Outlook, there’s almost certainly a paid upgrade. But why would you pay for something you can get for free?

As you might expect, the answer is that they usually offer something you can’t get for free — but could you still be overpaying? And are there alternatives that would save you a substantial amount of money while maintaining the same important features?

email at your personal domain

Why should I pay for an email account?

The greatest benefits to paying for email are usually felt by businesses of all sizes. 

Firstly, most premium email plans mean you’re able to use your own domain name in your email addresses (name@yoursite.com). Your domain might be a brand name, side hustle, or even your own name for a site that showcases your personal portfolio. Communicating from an email with your own domain name (rather than an email that contains an email provider’s name, such as @hotmail.com) inspires more trust in the recipient and helps with brand recognition. Other features include levels of security and flexibility that might be required as a result of being in business. For example, a business is entrusted with customer data — meaning its systems, including email, must be robust. Most businesses also have multiple members of staff that also need access to an email account, so plans that offer easy, low-cost growth are also a consideration.

We can boil the main offerings boasted by premium email providers down to the following five areas:

  1. Reliability: Premium email accounts usually ensure emails are delivered promptly and without interruption. This is important for both personal and business use.
  2. Security: With the increasing number of cyber attacks, it’s important to have an email provider that prioritizes security to protect your information. Paid plans tend to have more robust security features and are less likely to sell your data in order to deliver custom ads.
  3. Customization: As we mentioned, premium providers will usually allow you to customize your email experience with your own domain name. This can be important for business use, as it gives a more professional and personalized look to your email.
  4. Storage: Premium email accounts often offer more storage space than others, which can be important for those who receive and send many emails or emails with large attachments frequently.
  5. Features: Premium providers tend to offer collaboration tools, calendar functions, and other advanced tools.
image suggesting cost comparison

How to choose your plan

It’s worth comparing your needs to the offerings from different providers. Lists of the top ten email service providers will help you get a feel for the marketplace, but in this article, we will mainly be looking at what independent email providers, like Namecheap’s Private Email, offer compared with the bigger players you might be more familiar with.

Bigger providers

Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) includes Gmail for email, Google Drive for storage and file sharing, Google Calendar for scheduling, and Google Docs for document editing and collaboration. It’s important to remember some tools are the same as the ones you can get for free anyway (e.g. Google Docs). What Workspace also includes is the ability to use a custom domain, much more storage for each user, a much higher number of participants in Google Meet (up to 100), and longer call duration (up to 24 hours). These, it could be said, are advanced options for demanding enterprises. 

Microsoft 365 is an incredibly popular platform for traditional businesses, whereas Google tends to be the preferred choice of companies with remote workers. Microsoft 365 also includes a range of advanced features with their paid plans — like chats, calls and meetings, and opportunities to manage projects. In addition, it provides 1 TB of cloud storage per user.

While on the surface, both Microsoft and Google seem like good offerings, their main drawback is the price. The starting price for Microsoft 365 can vary depending on the edition and the plan you choose. The Office 365 Personal plan, which includes access to the latest desktop versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, starts at $69.99 per year or $6.99 per month, and the business plan is even more expensive. 

Meanwhile, Google Workspace has a starting price of $6 per user per month for the Basic plan. This plan includes access to Gmail, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets, and Slides. The Business plan, which includes additional features such as advanced security options, starts at $12 per user per month. The Enterprise plan, which includes more advanced features such as Vault and Cloud Search, starts at $25 per user per month.

While these prices may seem reasonable for what you get, do you really need these features when you’re starting out? For most small businesses (with the exception of the custom email URL), throwing a meeting for over 100 people is never a thing, and a whole terabyte of cloud space is excessive. When you’re starting out, every penny counts, and you really need to consider whether you’re making use of what you pay for. 

Let’s compare the above to Namecheap’s Private Email — where you only pay for what you really need.

An alternative that offers true value

Namecheap’s Private Email plans start at just $1.24 per month. These are individual plans, but with all plans, an additional inbox can be added from just $0.74 a month extra. This pricing model enables gradual expansion, which is ideal for small businesses without the costs associated with other plans.

Private Email is a powerful and secure email hosting solution that offers a range of features to enhance your online presence as a business while securing your external communications. You can create custom email addresses using your own domain name in exactly the same way as you can with Google and Microsoft’s options.

All Private Email plans include calendar features, storage space for files, and a unified email account (having several email accounts within one webmail interface). Our Ultimate plan also includes collaboration software so you and your colleagues can work on shared documents, sheets, tasks, and more. This is a useful solution for both mature teams and teams that are growing. For example, at Namecheap, we’re using the Private Email Ultimate plan to keep our 2000+ staff across 23 countries and three continents effectively connected. 

In addition to its customization options, all Private Email plans also come with robust security features to keep your email safe from cyber threats. The service includes spam and virus filtering to protect your communications from hackers, scammers, and other malicious actors, two-factor authentication, and the possibility of blocking IMAP/SMTP connections for enhanced protection.

Easy to set up

Private Email is also easy to set up and use, with a user-friendly interface that allows you to manage your email, contacts, and calendar with ease. You can also access your email from any device via a web browser, making it easy to check your email from your desktop, laptop, or mobile device, so you can stay productive on the go. Private Email accounts can be added to your favorite email clients as well if you find this more convenient.

Another advantage of using Private Email is the customer support provided. Whether you’re a customer on a free trial, or on our most premium plan, you are entitled to the same excellent level of support with real experts, 24/7. 

Better security with Private Email

Namecheap’s Private Email offers advanced security features to help protect your email from cyber threats and to keep your communications safe and secure. 

  • Robust anti-spam protection – Our unique and fully-customizable anti-spam filter will help you limit the emails you receive to only important ones.
  • Two-factor authentication – Authenticating all logins with a secondary device means it’s much harder for remote hackers to access your account.
  • IMAP/SMTP block – Stops your account being set up in third-party apps in ways that allow two-factor authentication to be bypassed. 
  • Helpful application passwords – These are passwords set up especially for use by an application, restricting the information the app in question is allowed access to. For example, you may want to link your favorite calendar app to sync with your email calendar without allowing it access to any other information. With Namecheap’s Private Email, we have this covered. Security doesn’t vary from plan to plan because we understand our customers need the highest level of protection on every account level.
price tag hanging from envelope

Save with Namecheap’s Private Email

All in all, Namecheap’s pricing makes it a great choice for any business or individual looking to get more for their money. Where other providers may charge you for excessive, unnecessary features that you don’t really need, Private Email’s lean approach means you only pay for things you’ll absolutely want from your email service. The low cost of Private Email, and your ability to expand your team one mailbox at a time for just $0.74 a month is a great cost-saver for growing teams. 

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James Long avatar

James Long

Jamie is a writer and composer based in London, England. He has been Creative Lab Copywriter for Namecheap since July 2017. Before that, he was a professional copywriter for Freeview, Eventim, and Emotech. When he’s not coming up with snappy taglines and irresistible call-to-actions, Jamie writes comedy and musical theatre. More articles written by James.

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