Running in-house email servers does provide more control and wider customization as well as tracking and compliance for small to midsize businesses (SMB). But they require specialized on-site IT staff as well as the need to manually manage and support both hardware and software. A third-party hosted email service matches many of the advantages of in-house email without the expensive initial investment. The ability to manage the number of users, access the latest security protocols, and enjoy ease of connectivity and deployment of hosted solutions makes it a viable and competitive option.
Things are probably more complicated than that, though. As a recent survey conducted by market research firm Statista clearly shows, email is one of the most popular apps for mobile devices across most organizations and even consumers. Given how many workflows, business processes, and just plain important communications take place over email, this is one area where you likely shouldn't skimp.
For email, security starts with spam, otherwise known as unsolicited email. This is often the bane of not only those who live in their email inboxes,but also of the IT administrators who manage email services. The good news is that spam filters are getting better every day and email providers tend to deploy the very latest and greatest for their customers. The bad news is that these filters still aren't perfect, which means they can catch a lot of "good" email but often vary significantly in effectiveness. Today's spam filters are based largely on machine learning (ML) as the primary method of determining what's bound for the trash bin. Given that ML gets more effective over time, it is no surprise that the services that have been around the longest tend to have better spam detection.
Even businesses with dedicated on-site IT staff have seen the wisdom of moving their email service. The advantages include per-person cost averages, cutting-edge security, cheap email storage, and simple ease of connectivity and deployment. While these advantages hold true for most organizations, there are not only exceptions but also hidden "gotchas" you should look for before selecting a cloud-hosted email provider.
A dedicated server is a single physical computer engineered to support multiple users, run a large number of different services and applications, and manage, store, send and process data 24-hours a day. A dedicated server allows for all the resources of the physical computer to be "dedicated" to one client and the hardware resources are not shared with any other clients. This is in contrast to shared servers and cloud servers where the resources of the physical computer system are shared amongst many clients.
Squarespace is a website builder and hosting provider that offers a free domain with hosting plans. Its $12/month Personal plan comes with unlimited storage and a drag-and-drop builder. Its $18/month Business plan further offers email, analytics, and payment processing with a 3% transaction fee. Its industry-specific templates make it best for time-strapped companies that need to choose a template quickly, and then add information for a professional design.
DreamHost offers a free .com domain in its annual hosting plans. The $2.59 annual Shared Starter plan covers one website and unlimited bandwidth and offers one-click WordPress installations. The $5.95 per month Shared Unlimited plan further covers unlimited email and websites and has WordPress preinstalled. DreamHost is best for companies needing a free domain name with affordable hosting alongside a drag-and-drop builder to design very basic websites.
The Weebly free plan offers a subdomain―yoursite.weebly.com―500MB of storage, and a footer link ad for Weebly. By upgrading to the paid $5 per month plan, you get a free domain name (yoursite.com), 500MB of storage, and no footer link ad inviting visitors to sign up for Weebly. For information on setting up your site, read our free guide on how to create a website with Weebly.
Knowing the communications-specific features to keep an eye out for, and the hosts that offer them for a reasonable price, you’re all set to get started with the best email hosting service for you. Whether you’re planning the launch of Dan Jones Independent Design or setting up accounts for your 10-year-old established practice, the top email hosts empower you to communicate professionally, personally, and cost-effectively. Best of all: You can be signed up (with your free domain!) in mere minutes.