Email isn't going away any time soon. Despite a rise in adoption of collaboration-based communication platforms such as Microsoft Teams or Slack, 86 percent of professionals prefer to use email for business purposes. How companies host, store, and distribute their email—that's the area that has undergone a massive transformation. Businesses are veering away from costly onsite email servers running products such as Microsoft Small Business Server and looking instead to the cloud with hosted email solutions. Businesses of all sizes have realized the wisdom of going with a scalable and secure hosted Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution with guaranteed uptime that breaks down pricing into flexible, per-user charges.
We use a website monitoring tool to track our test sites' uptime over a two-week period. Every 15 minutes, the tool pings our websites and sends an email if it is unable to contact any sites for at least one minute. The data revealed that our test site didn't go down once during the observation period. You can count on GoDaddy to act as a rock-solid hosting foundation.
While most businesses will have such suites in place, it often falls to the email service to provide an additional layer of anti-phishing and anti-malware protection. Our reviews found a surprising variance in this department, however, ranging from very robust to completely non-existent, so be careful. Since it's such a huge liability for business owners, this could be one of the most important factors in terms of background features. At the very least, it's better than filing an insurance claim or outright losing funds due to simple social engineering tactics.
They’re always ready to answer your questions and fix any technical issues at any given time of day or night. According to most users, GoDaddy’s customer service and technical support are excellent. The support staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and prompt with fast response times ranging from less than a minute to up to 10 minutes. And as is the norm with most web hosts today, GoDaddy has a massive knowledgebase where you can find most of the answers to your support questions.
The biggest drawbacks: scrubbing your records is not fast enough because the emails are retained for 14 days, and system logs up to 180 days. Also, compared to Rackspace, Zoho and G Suite, Fastmail has less storage space for a basic plan: only 2 GB for $3/user/month. Still, we’re giving it the highest rating, 5 for Value, on account of the sheer number of supported features. 

Our surprise find, Migadu is a little-known Swiss email hosting provider which delivers unbelievable price/performance value along with top-notch security. It lacks fancy features but does the job of email hosting with guaranteed privacy at the cheapest plan of $4/user/month. One may also go for Runbox and Amazon Work Mail, but it was outside the scope of this article.

By creating a website, you are creating an online presence. This allows you to connect with people that you might not otherwise be able to reach. Whether you’re making a basic website with contact information for your small business or medical practice, creating a landing page for your freelance work, a multi-page experience for your wedding photography business or you just want a place to blog about your thoughts on food, having a website will give you a dynamic advantage.
A lengthy list of tutorials that is on all customers’ expert service menu. Separate from the company’s support services, these tutorials teach beginners and the technically ungifted how to perform various website creation and management tasks. This is a highly beneficial bonus as it prevents you from having to run to the customer support representatives with every question you have.
Post initial setup, a primary concern will be the log-on issue. If your organization is fine with a separate log-on for your email provider, then this step will be quick. However, that's not typically what businesses want or users expect. In general, users expect to sign onto their desktops and have their email and file sharing sign-ons happen as part of that one-step process. Not surprisingly, this is called Single Sign-On (SSO) and it's enabled in one of three ways: through the use of a back-end directory service like Microsoft Active Directory (AD); an identity management service, like Okta (one of our Editors' Choice winners in that category); or several compatible web services that include SSO along with other apps and email services, like Google G Suite Business and Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium (two of the top providers reviewed here). Which method you choose depends on how your business is configured today and your long-term cloud services strategy. It's definitely a conversation you'll need to have either with your in-house IT staff or your outside IT consultant.
GoDaddy offers its own Website Security, a product that includes automatic malware scanning, continuous security monitoring, Web Application Firewall (WAF), and Content Delivery Network (CDN). Website Security proactively blocks malware and malicious traffic from reaching your site. It also safeguards against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Zero Day attacks.
If you want the security and privacy features of the above solutions while not paying too much, Rackspace offers the best alternative. In fact, they claim “256-bit Encryption in transit and at rest.” Rackspace offers a basic plan at $2/user/month, with huge 25 GB mailboxes, 30 GB cloud storage and unlimited email aliases. You can run your emails from Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird and Microsoft Outlook.
GoDaddy’s shared pricing plans range from $2.99/month to $12.99/month. Each plan builds on the previous set of features, working up to the most powerful ‘Maximum’ plan, which has four times the processing power and memory of the Deluxe and Economy plans (plus an SSL certificate for the full term). It claims to support ‘multiple complex sites with high-res photos and videos’, but we’d still recommend a VPS for such sites.
In terms of security for its hosted email services, you'll find this is all hosted in Microsoft's data centers. That means you'll have all the same security benefits as those provided to other Microsoft Office 365 users. Your email data will be encrypted in transit and at rest using SSL and Bitlocker technology. Per Microsoft's publicly available terms of service, Microsoft employees only have highly limited access to your data and only under specific, audited circumstances.
To test this critical aspect of hosting, we include uptime monitoring as part of our review process, and the results show that most web hosts do an excellent job of keeping sites up and running. Sites with uptime problems aren't eligible for high scores, no matter how good the rest of their offering may be. All services suffer ups and downs, sometimes for reasons beyond their control. Those sites that fail to quickly address the problem are penalized accordingly.

All the aforementioned features are valuable parts of the web hosting experience, but none matches the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, new clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. As if that weren't bad enough, regular customers may lose confidence in your service if they can't reach your site. Or they may simply need access to a service or widget today, which means they might go to a competitor to get the job done—and they might never come back. Anyone who's ever tried to build customer loyalty understands what a catastrophe this is.


GoDaddy's Economy plan is presented as though you can't sign up for a month-to-month payment plan (the lowest price displayed is for a three-month minimum sign up period), but once you add the plan to the cart, the one-month plan appears. We're glad the option exists, but we do wish it were easier to find. We couldn't find it until a GoDaddy pointed it out after we complained that the option didn't exist in a previous version of this review.

The flip side of that coin is specialization. Many operators believe that hosted email services are useful mainly to companies interested only in general-purpose email use and that any specialized application requires an in-house deployment. This might be true depending on the app but it might not depending on the capabilities offered by the hosted email provider. Email marketing is a great example. Some hosted email providers have special service suites aimed specifically at email marketers, many of whom can send out thousands of emails per month, focused not so much on communication as they are on marketing. These service providers deliver more than just volume, too, as they also offer custom email creation tools and sophisticated marketing and tracking metrics.
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.
It is also necessary to study email alternatives as part of your email service setup plan. Email is the standard way to communicate and it is familiar to most users, but it isn't always the most effective or expedient method. Email can be slow, result in delayed responses, and messages are rarely read to completion. Because of this, many businesses require additional "collaboration" tools, that various email services also include, in order to fill the communication gap more effectively.
Room to grow. Even though most small businesses will probably want to launch just one website, it’s worth having the possibility for the client’s portfolio to grow and expand to a couple more websites. Even though most hosts will allow that, some of them might charge more than what can be considered reasonable. Also, rolling out new sites should be easy to do – without the need to reconfigure or move the original site.
All the aforementioned features are valuable parts of the web hosting experience, but none matches the importance of site uptime. If your site is down, new clients or customers will be unable to find you or access your products or services. As if that weren't bad enough, regular customers may lose confidence in your service if they can't reach your site. Or they may simply need access to a service or widget today, which means they might go to a competitor to get the job done—and they might never come back. Anyone who's ever tried to build customer loyalty understands what a catastrophe this is.
Yes. Wix offers a few different ways to create your own free website, so you can choose the creation process that works best for you. Need to get online fast? Answer a few simple questions and Wix ADI (Artificial Design Intelligence) will build a professional website for you in under 10 minutes. If you want 100% design freedom, start from scratch and drag and drop the website design features you need in the Wix Editor.
Hostwinds may be the PCMag Editors' Choice for VPS hosting, but that doesn't mean that GoDaddy doesn't have quality virtual private server packages. GoDaddy's VPS plans (which start at a $19.99 per month, renews at $29.99 per month) offer Linux- or Windows-based servers, as well as unlimited domains and monthly data transfers. The specs top out at 8GB of RAM, 240GB of storage, and a free SSL for one year. That's good stuff, especially if you sign up for a multi-month plan. The Economy Virtual Private Server plan, for example, drops to just $9.99 per month if you agree to a two-year deal. That's 50 percent off. As with the shared plans, these VPS plans use Office 365 Starter Email.
GoDaddy’s shared pricing plans range from $2.99/month to $12.99/month. Each plan builds on the previous set of features, working up to the most powerful ‘Maximum’ plan, which has four times the processing power and memory of the Deluxe and Economy plans (plus an SSL certificate for the full term). It claims to support ‘multiple complex sites with high-res photos and videos’, but we’d still recommend a VPS for such sites.
Along with the slew of desktop apps, you also get access to Microsoft Outlook Web Access (OWA), a sleek and modern web adaptation of the Outlook email client. It offers a familiar layout for calendars, contacts, and tasks, and a new "focused inbox"—all available in your browser. What Microsoft means by a "focused inbox" is that, rather than just being a dumping ground for all incoming email, it defaults to a dynamic view that's constantly being updated. This tech is based on a machine learning (ML) algorithm that attempts to figure out which email is most important to you; everything else goes to the regular inbox. As you sort emails between the focused inbox and the regular inbox, the algorithm gradually gets better, helping you to concentrate on email that matters most. You'll also be able to use mentions. When creating a new email, if you prepend someone's name with the @ sign, then it will automatically Cc that individual. You can also apply a filter that will show you emails in which you were directly mentioned.
We found it a simple endeavor to set up our GoDaddy email, as the web host prompted us to create one during the sign-up process. We simply selected the domain to which the email address would be associated, and then entered an email handle and a password. In general, Microsoft Office 365 is fairly straightforward to configure, but GoDaddy has really taken the guesswork out.

Reliable. Reliability is always a big question mark. Stuff can always happen unpredictably, and even the best servers can go offline from time to time. However, it’s still worth keeping in mind that if anything should go bad at any point in time, the client is still going to come to you for answers (and probably blame you a little as well). For that reason, working with web hosting for small business that has a good track record is crucial, as it will limit the times you’ll have to explain why this or that is not working.
To guide you with a better choice in 2019, we bring a selected list of the best email hosting providers. High email deliverability and positive sender reputation were major criteria which eliminated fancy, cheap email hosts. In fact, high bounce rate and potential blacklisting are big reasons why you may want to go with a brand name rather than hosting your own email server.
PCMag, PCMag.com and PC Magazine are among the federally registered trademarks of Ziff Davis, LLC and may not be used by third parties without explicit permission. The display of third-party trademarks and trade names on this site does not necessarily indicate any affiliation or the endorsement of PCMag. If you click an affiliate link and buy a product or service, we may be paid a fee by that merchant.
The biggest drawbacks: scrubbing your records is not fast enough because the emails are retained for 14 days, and system logs up to 180 days. Also, compared to Rackspace, Zoho and G Suite, Fastmail has less storage space for a basic plan: only 2 GB for $3/user/month. Still, we’re giving it the highest rating, 5 for Value, on account of the sheer number of supported features.
Something you’ve probably noticed is that I didn’t feature WP Engine on this list. This is no mistake (or at least I hope). As awesome as WP Engine can be, it’s just too expensive of a product to recommend to most small business websites. If you’re lucky, the price tag will be $19.33 / month = $232 / year, and potentially a lot more. This is just not the kind of investment that most small business owners will be eager to make.
Our surprise find, Migadu is a little-known Swiss email hosting provider which delivers unbelievable price/performance value along with top-notch security. It lacks fancy features but does the job of email hosting with guaranteed privacy at the cheapest plan of $4/user/month. One may also go for Runbox and Amazon Work Mail, but it was outside the scope of this article.
They provide Microsoft exchange email 2020 hosting services. When it comes to email, nothing can beat Microsoft exchange. It is the most professional email service out there. They offer three kinds of packages including Basic exchange from $3.95 per month, Advanced exchange from $5.95 per month, Premium exchange from $10.95 per month. With the premium exchange subscription, you can enjoy access to email calendar and contact list sync services.
GoDaddy has many business- and consumer-friendly options, a reliable Microsoft-based hosted email service, and quality 24/7 customer service. Note, however, that GoDaddy lacks cloud hosting plans, and has a skimpy number of default email accounts. Still, if you're looking to quickly set up a website, GoDaddy has the tools you'll need for a successful launch.
Room to grow. Even though most small businesses will probably want to launch just one website, it’s worth having the possibility for the client’s portfolio to grow and expand to a couple more websites. Even though most hosts will allow that, some of them might charge more than what can be considered reasonable. Also, rolling out new sites should be easy to do – without the need to reconfigure or move the original site.
The cloud certainly makes delivering email to your users easier but, for the vast majority of organizations, there's still going to be some setup required beyond simply activating the service. At a minimum, a domain must be purchased and configured to point to the new email host. The service provider can make this process very simple or they can make quite hard; this is something you should watch for in the provider's customer support forums as well as in our reviews. In most cases, there is a validation phase that will require some technical familiarity, though a few providers go so far as to walk even neophyte users through it step by step. Other solid services bolster excellent support with tutorial articles and videos that also walk you through the process. The worst will leave you to figure it out on your own.
Bluehost uses cPanel as its site management system. The Utah-based company has done an excellent job adding simple, but useful customizations to the cPanel layout. Sections are very clearly laid out and the process is simple to follow. It strikes a great balance between simplicity for beginners, and having the functions needed for more advanced users.
If privacy is your number one concern, perhaps you should go with Protonmail. You can upgrade to an email with your domain easily on a web interface under “Protonmail Plus” or “Protonmail Visionary” plans. However, the plans can be rather expensive, as getting only 20 GB storage space could cost you at least €24/user/month/yearly. Most email hosting providers retain your emails for months even after you delete your account. This Swiss email provider will destroy all your data when you delete your account.
×