14 Best Free Email Service Providers for 2021

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Here you sit in front of your computer (or on your mobile) facing the daunting task of finding the best free email service provider for your business.

And you have no idea where to start.

First, take a moment to consider what you’ll need from your email service provider.

How much storage do you need? Do you need multiple email addresses? How important are security and privacy?

Don’t worry you’ve come to the right place to get answers to your burning questions.

Let’s learn some basics about email accounts, and then we’ll review the best free email service providers so you can choose the best one for your business.

Email Service Providers

The 2 Types of Email Accounts

Email is sent and received through two types of accounts: email clients and webmail. While webmail appears to be more common, there are benefits to using email clients as well. You’ll need to decide which type is best for you.

1. Email clients

An email client is a software program installed on your computer to access and manage an email account. The email client connects to the internet and interacts with the provider’s email server to send and receive messages.

Email clients can be beneficial for businesses. They often offer more advanced mailbox management functionality than webmail, and they may integrate more efficiently with other software the company uses.

Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail are examples of popular email clients.

2. Webmail

A webmail account is created online, and messages are sent and received via the internet through a web browser instead of installed software.

Webmail allows you to directly access your email from the provider’s server by signing in to the website that connects to your email account.

Opening a webmail account is generally free, and webmail can be accessed from any location with an internet connection.

Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and AOL are examples of popular webmail providers.

Regardless of which type of email account you use, tools and protocols are available that also let you check messages from your phone and other devices.

Let’s learn about three standard email protocols.

Three Standard Email Protocols

What exactly are email protocols? Simply stated, an email protocol is a method or system to retrieve or access email.

For example, if you have a webmail account you access from your computer, you’d probably also like to manage your email from an app on your phone.

The webmail provider uses one of these protocols to make that happen.

We’ll briefly discuss POP3, IMAP, and Exchange protocols.

1. POP3

POP3 (Post Office Protocol Version 3) retrieves your email from the provider’s server and downloads it onto your computer, allowing you to view email while offline.

Email messages are then deleted from the server and can only be accessed from that same computer.

This protocol works best for people with one email account and one computer.

2. IMAP

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) has advantages over POP3 because it stores your email data instead of deleting it on the provider’s server.

Rather than downloading email messages directly onto your computer, IMAP lets you access and manage your email from any device and any location by logging in to your account online.

This protocol is best for people with different email accounts who wish to access them from multiple devices.

3. Exchange

Exchange is a Microsoft protocol similar to IMAP. It utilizes a server where email accounts are configured, allows you to sync email messages across multiple devices, and lets you access your email account via the internet.

Exchange also enables you to sync calendars, tasks, and contacts with co-workers, making this protocol especially beneficial for businesses and institutions.

Now that the basics are covered let’s move on to the providers.

Best Free Email Service Providers

Which is the best email service provider for your business? That’s what we’re here to find out. Below is a brief review of each of the email providers that offer free email service. (Some also offer paid upgrades.)

1. Gmail

Email Service Providers - Gmail

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers, small to large businesses

Google’s Gmail is a free email service built into its suite of applications, including Docs (word processing), Sheets (spreadsheets), Slides (presentations), and Calendar.

Gmail is accessible from any device and lets you chat and join meetings right from your inbox!

Free accounts include:

  • 15 GB of storage (shared between Gmail, Drive, and Photos)
  • Smart Compose to help you write and respond to email faster
  • View attachments
  • RSVP to events
  • Snooze messages without opening email
  • Receive nudges to follow up or respond to email
  • Undo option to retract email shortly after being sent
  • Filters to sort messages
  • Spam filters
  • Schedule messages for later delivery
  • Search options

Paid accounts include:

  • Custom business email
  • Ad-free interface
  • Chat team messaging
  • Shared calendars
  • Additional storage

For these advanced features, Gmail offers paid business plans, starting at $6/month.

Sign up for Gmail here.

2. AOL

Email Service Providers - AOL

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers, small businesses

AOL Mail is a classic, free email service that includes a news hub on its homepage and provides the simple functionality of sending and receiving email.

AOL has a user-friendly platform that allows you to personalize and organize your inbox.

AOL offers spam filters, virus protection, spell-checker, sorting filters, folders, calendar, and a to-do feature.

You can also choose themes, create and manage folders, customize panels, and change the way messages are displayed.

Android and iOS apps are available, POP/IMAP protocols are supported, and contacts can be imported from CSV, TXT, or LDIF files.

Free accounts include:

  • Unlimited storage
  • Send email attachments up to 25 MB
  • Keyboard shortcuts to quickly perform simple tasks
  • Reading pane to preview message without opening email
  • Unlimited customer service

AOL also offers AOL Desktop Gold for Windows, starting at $4.99/month.

Sign up for AOL here.

3. Outlook

Email Service Providers - Outlook

Type of email account: Email client

Best suited for: small to large businesses

Outlook (formerly Hotmail) is the free web version of email client Microsoft Outlook that provides email service, calendar, contact and task management, and search bar.

Outlook is part of Microsoft’s suite of Office applications, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

Free accounts include:

  • 15 GB of mailbox storage
  • 5 GB of file storage in OneDrive
  • View multiple email messages on separate tabs
  • Immersive Reader helps you focus and concentrate on one specific email
  • Integrated photo viewer
  • Security and spam filters
  • Web version of Office
  • Android and iOS apps
  • Clean interface with folders and filters for sorting

Paid accounts include:

  • Ad-free interface
  • Custom domain names
  • Enhanced security protection
  • Desktop version of Office, and 1 TB of storage

For these advanced features, Microsoft offers paid plans, starting at $5/user/month.

Sign up for Outlook here.

4. Zoho

Email Service Providers - Zoho

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: startups, small businesses

Zoho believes in solving business problems and offers a professional email service that’s ad-free, secure, and private.

Zoho’s inbox is bundled within a suite of other services that let you manage your calendar, tasks, notes, and contacts.

Free accounts include:

  • 5 GB of storage per user
  • Five user accounts
  • Send email attachments up to 25 MB
  • Email hosting for a single domain
  • Two-factor authentication to secure account
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Suite of services
  • Organizational folders
  • Tags, filters, and advanced searches

Paid accounts include:

  • Hosting of multiple domains
  • Shared calendars, email, and folders
  • Streams collaboration tool
  • Offline access
  • Android and iOS apps
  • IMAP/POP access for email clients

For these advanced features, Zoho offers paid plans, starting at $1/month/user.

Sign up for Zoho here.

5. Mail.com

Email Service Providers - Mail.com

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers/self-employed, small and medium-sized businesses

Mail.com offers free email service with a twist they want you to express yourself! With more than 200 domain names to choose from, why be tied to using “@mail.com” when you can attach your username to domains like brew-master.com, consultant.com, or songwriter.net?

Free accounts include:

  • 2 GB of file storage
  • Send large email attachments up to 30 GB
  • Mobile service to access your email and calendar from anywhere
  • Mail Collector to combine and manage multiple email accounts from one platform
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Intuitive interface
  • Choice of custom domain names
  • Calendar
  • Email filters
  • Archiving options
  • Antivirus protection
  • Spam filters
  • Android and iOS apps

Paid accounts include:

  • Ad-free interface
  • Read receipt functions
  • Automatic email forwarding
  • Telephone support
  • Additional storage
  • POP3/IMAP settings

For advanced features, log in to your Mail.com account and upgrade to the Premium plan.

Sign up for Mail.com here.

6. Yahoo! Mail

Email Service Providers - Yahoo

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers/self-employed, small businesses

Yahoo! Inc. is a global internet service provider that offers a free plan featuring a search engine, news, finance, sports, and entertainment.

Yahoo! Mail includes spam filters, POP3/IMAP settings, mobile apps, and integration to add other email accounts.

Free accounts include:

  • 1 TB of storage
  • View option to quickly find photos, documents, receipts, and travel information
  • Filters to sort and organize incoming mail into specific folders
  • Archive email you’d rather not delete
  • Search options to find messages, photos, documents, or people
  • Easy-to-use interface
  • Themes
  • Calendar
  • Customizable message layout
  • Filters
  • Folders
  • Search options
  • Contact management

Paid accounts include:

  • Use with custom domain names
  • Automatic mail forwarding
  • Multiple calendars
  • Ad-free inbox
  • Priority customer service

For these advanced features, Yahoo! Mail offers paid plans, starting at $1.19/month.

Sign up for Yahoo! Mail here.

7. ProtonMail

Email Service Providers - ProtonMail

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers/self-employed, small to large businesses

Proton Technologies is a global leader in online security, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, that provides a secure, open-source, private email service with end-to-end encryption.

No personal information is required to open an anonymous email account.

ProtonMail is easy to use, can be used on any device, and is optimized for productivity and organization.

Free accounts include:

  • 500 MB of storage
  • One email address
  • Send up to 150 messages per day
  • Three folders/labels
  • Limited support

Paid accounts include:

  • Multiple email addresses
  • Custom domains
  • Unlimited folders and labels
  • Powerful filters
  • Priority customer service
  • ProtonMailBridge application enables integration with popular email clients, like Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird.

For these advanced features, ProtonMail offers paid plans, starting at approximately $6/month.

Sign up for ProtonMail here.

8. iCloud Mail

Email Service Providers - iCloud

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers/self-employed, small businesses

iCloud Mail is free to anyone with an Apple ID through the Apple Mail app and can be accessed on Apple mobile devices, Mac computers, or Microsoft Outlook on a Windows computer.

iCloud Mail has a clean, ad-free interface that allows you to modify its appearance, easy-to-use search functionality, automatic and manual spam filters to block unwanted messages.

Default mail folders for Inbox, VIP, Drafts, Sent, Archive, Trash, and Junk are included, and additional folders can be created.

Filters sort messages and flag important contacts, and color-coded labels categorize messages.

Free accounts include:

  • 5 GB of storage (shared between all apps and devices)
  • Create up to three active email aliases
  • Keyboard shortcuts for more efficient emailing
  • Easily unsubscribe from email lists
  • Mail Drop sends large attachments from iCloud

Additional iCloud storage can be purchased, starting at $0.99/month.

Sign up for iCloud Mail here.

9. GMX Mail

Email Service Providers - GMX Mail

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers, small and medium-sized businesses

GMX (Global Mail eXchange) Mail offers a lot for a free email service provider.

Once you open a free email account, you’ll also have access to a calendar, address book, Online Office (word processing), Search for Windows (web search), and cloud storage.

Android and iOS apps are available for mobile use, and email accounts include advanced security features, like encrypted emails, antivirus software, and spam filter.

You’ll also have options to choose free and customized email apps, use Mail Collector to combine all your email accounts in one place and use filter rules to organize and manage your inbox.

Free accounts include:

  • 65 GB of storage
  • Send large email attachments up to 50 MB
  • Create up to 10 alias email addresses
  • MailCheck browser extension so you never miss important new email
  • Helpful support services

Sign up for GMX Mail here.

10. Mozilla Thunderbird

Email Service Providers - Mozilla Thunderbird

Type of email account: Email client

Best suited for: freelancers/self-employed, small businesses

Thunderbird is a free, secure, open-source email application by Mozilla that’s easy to use and highly customizable, loaded with features and add-ons to personalize and design your email experience.

Thunderbird offers a Mail Account Setup Wizard, an automated version update system, tabbed email to browse multiple messages for easy reference, and intuitive spam filters.

Customize the appearance of Thunderbird with themes and utilize advanced search tools and filters.

Manage large files by uploading documents to an online storage provider and sharing links instead of sending files and archive messages you want to keep.

Free accounts include:

  • Quick Filter Toolbar to filter email faster
  • Smart Folders to manage multiple email accounts in one inbox
  • Add-ons Manager helps you find and install add-ons right from Thunderbird
  • One-click Address Book makes adding contacts quick and easy
  • Attachment Reminder reminds you to add attachments before sending mail

Sign up for Mozilla Thunderbird here.

11. Yandex Mail

Email Service Providers - Yandex

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers/self-employed, small businesses

Yandex is a Russian technology company that offers internet-related products and services, including free email accounts.

When you register for a free account, you’ll also have access to useful services that search the web, save and share files, get directions, and more. Mobile apps are available.

Free accounts include:

  • 10 GB of storage
  • Customizable interface to personalize the appearance of your inbox
  • Timer to schedule email messages to be delivered at a later date
  • Simple password recovery so you don’t get locked out of your device
  • Multiple Yandex inboxes under one account
  • Built-in antivirus protection
  • Spam filters
  • Secure log-in to the app with fingerprint or PIN
  • Email sorting filters

Paid plans are not available in all countries. For additional information, contact business@support.yandex.ru.

Sign up for Yandex Mail here.

12. HubSpot

Email Service Providers - HubSpot

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: startups, small and medium-sized businesses

HubSpot is a popular inbound marketing platform that offers a free email tool within their free CRM platform, which also includes marketing, sales, content management, and customer service tools.

Free accounts (with CRM) include:

  • CRM stores unlimited data
  • Customizable, ready-to-use email templates
  • Drag-and-drop editor to personalize messages, insert images, and add calls-to-action
  • Valuable contact insights stored in CRM help tailor messages to boost engagement
  • Schedule email to be delivered at a later time
  • Organize contacts
  • Send 2,000 messages per month
  • Post-send analysis
  • Excellent email deliverability
  • Privacy and data protection

Paid marketing features include:

  • Automation
  • List segmentation
  • Form follow-up email
  • Reporting dashboard
  • A/B testing
  • Smart content

For these advanced features, HubSpot offers paid marketing plans, starting at $45/month.

Sign up for HubSpot here.

13. Tutanota

Email Service Providers - Tutanota

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: freelancers, small to large businesses

Tutanota is based in Hanover, Germany, and believes in your right to privacy.

Tutanota provides an ad-free, easy-to-use, secure, open-source email service that encrypts your entire mailbox, calendar, and address book.

No personal information is required to open an anonymous email account, and apps for iOS, Android, and desktops are available.

Free accounts include:

  • 1 GB of storage
  • One user
  • Tutanota domains
  • Limited search
  • Calendar
  • Secure emails
  • Ad-free
  • For private use only (but can easily be upgraded)
  • Emails, calendar, and contacts are encrypted for privacy

Paid accounts include:

  • Multiple custom domains
  • Unlimited search
  • Multiple calendars
  • Five email aliases
  • Inbox rules
  • Email support
  • Out-of-office notifications

Tutanota offers paid plans for these advanced features, starting at approximately $1.45/user/month.

Sign up for Tutanota here.

14. Sendinblue

Email Service Providers - SendinBlue

Type of email account: Webmail

Best suited for: startups, small and medium-sized businesses

Sendinblue originated as a digital agency and now offers an all-in-one platform for powerful, budget-friendly digital marketing tools.

Email, SMS, Facebook, Chat, and CRM are just a few ways Sendinblue helps you build better customer relationships.

Free accounts include:

  • Unlimited storage for contacts
  • Send up to 300 messages per day (email templates can be customized)
  • Email marketing automation workflows for up to 2,000 subscribers
  • API and Plugins (basic integrations, like RSS, Google Contacts, WordPress)
  • Sales CRM
  • Email marketing features
  • Contact management
  • Transactional email
  • Automation
  • Reporting
  • Support
  • Integration

Paid marketing features include:

  • Multiple inboxes
  • Marketing automation
  • No daily sending limits
  • A/B testing
  • Multi-user access.

For these advanced features, Sendinblue offers paid marketing plans, starting at $25/month.

Sign up for Sendinblue here.

So, Which Is the Best Free Email Provider for You?

There you have it. We’ve narrowed your search down to 14 of the best, most popular email providers.

And the best part is, they’re free! And you can upgrade to top-notch features for an affordable price.

Now it’s time to take action and answer the question:

Which email service provider will best suit your business needs?

Now, go ahead and sign up for that free account.