Best free email services: a comparison
For most business, having a slick email setup is important. However for some, it’s enough to just be able to send and recieve emails wherever you are.
There are plenty of free email providers out there that help you do just that. All of them have web-based interfaces, too, so you can pick emails up anywhere there’s an internet enabled device.
Since the emergence of the Android mobile operating system, Gmail has quickly overtaken Hotmail and Yahoo as the free email provider of choice. The interface is constantly being innovated and you get very decent allowance of email storage.
The fact is – despite Google’s attempts to streamline its email client – the real benefit of Gmail is that it’s nicely integrated with all of Google’s other services, such as Drive, YouTube, Docs and more.
The negative, though, is that you can feel as though you’re signing away your privacy when signing up to Gmail. The way Gmail scans your emails to target ads is a problem for some – even though Google does insist no human ever reads your messages but you.
|Clean, usable interface||Scans your email for keywords to target ads|
|15 GB of storage space for emails and files||Ties you into Google’s ecosystem|
|Gives access to a range of Google services|
Remeber Hotmail? Outlook.com is the most recent incarnation.
The old name was dropped a few years ago as Microsoft tried to tighten up their branding. All Hotmail, Live and MSN addresses still work with Outlook.com, though.
The UI is very nice – essentially made as close to the desktop client as possible. So if you’re used to that, then Outlook.com seems a natural choice for a free email provider. International users may also benefit – Outlook.com supports 106 different langauges.
|Very familiar for users of the Outlook desktop software||Interface is a little cluttered by modern standards|
|‘Quick view’ functions let you see all messages of a certain type at once||5 GB storage limit is lower than many others|
|Available in 106 languages||Web interface can be a little slow at times|
If you’ve got an Apple device, then you can get and iCloud email address easily. Apple’s guide to doing so is the most simple.
Once you’ve set it up, you’ll be able to log in at iCloud.com.
The interface is very similar to that of the iOS Mail app. It’s not as complex as Gmail or Outlook.com. If you like a simple, polished feel to your email client, then iCloud might be the way forward.
This is most popular with die-hard Apple fans.
|A very familiar interface for iOS users||The minimal design lacks extra features|
|No ads at all||Signing up is a bit of a hassle|
|Comes with that intangible Apple cool||Only available for iOS and OS X users|
Unlike most email services, Yandex offers its users unlimited storage space. After registration, you get an initial 10 GB – as soon as it runs out, you automatically get an additional 1 GB, and so on.
There is a maximum file size for sending attachments (30 MB) but if your file size exceeds that limit Yandex automatically uploads the file on Yandex.Disk (the equivalent to Google Drive) and your recipient will receive a download link.
The email service comes with the promise of being ‘SPAM-free’. This isn’t strictly true, although it does come with built-in antivirus software. This blocks virus-infected emails. Yandex is also advertisement-free.
As with Gmail, it’s also nicely integrated with some of Yandex’s other services; Yandex Disk (cloud storage), Yandex.Fotki (free photo hosting), Yandex Metrics (Website Analytics) and Yandex.Music (music streaming) being the pick of the bunch.
|Schedule mail & get reminders||Can’t access IMAP accounts like desktop email clients|
|POP & IMAP allow for flexible access||Lacks filters and text snippets that learn by example|
|Online storage is unlimited|
Yahoo has suffered a touch of the ‘Nokias’ over the recent years – losing nearly all of their market share. No longer though of as one of the best free emails services, it’s easy to forget about our old friends.
Whilst they’ve struggled to keep up with Google in recent years, the free email service they offer does include everything you’d need from a modern email service. It also offers 1TB of storage – this is likely more than the average user will need.
The design is ruined by an advert and you have to pay £30 a year to remove the ads. The spam filter could also be more precise. It’s difficult to say it’s better than the others on the list, in honesty.
|Tabs make multitasking easier||Slightly old-fashioned appearance|
|A highly generous terabyte of storage space||Large adverts are somewhat obtrusive|
|Deserves a medal for being nearly two decades old||It’s probably time you moved on…|