The 9 best free email accounts and service providers of 2020

You’ll need it for networking, hiring jobs, downloading resources, transferring files, setting reminders, meeting with coworkers, and more.

Even with the advent of office chat platforms, you still rely on email for a surprising number of things. Unfortunately, not all email services are completely free. And even the free ones might not be that easy to use or have all of the features you need.

Finding an email service provider for free that balances the right features with ease of use can be a challenge. To make your search easier, we’ve compiled a list of the different types of email accounts you can set up, followed by the top nine email service providers that currently allow you to host your account for free.

Types of email accounts

There are two main types of email service providers to choose from: email clients and webmail. If you use your provider to access your e-mail online from another device or location, you can do so using one of the three main e-mail protocols: POP3, IMAP, and Exchange.

Let’s briefly look at these different types of providers and protocols.

Email clients

E-mail clients are software applications that you install on your computer to manage the e-mail that you send and receive. To access this e-mail, the client interacts with a remote e-mail server.

Some of the email clients you’ve probably heard of include Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Apple Mail.

If you want to access this type of email through the web rather than the client’s computer application, the email client uses one of the email protocols described below. Although you may have Outlook installed on your computer, you can also sign in to your email account through Outlook.com using a specific email protocol.

Webmail

Webmail is a form of email that you can only access via the Internet. It therefore exists mainly in the cloud and not on your computer. Instead of having an installed application check your e-mail, you manage your inbox directly from your Internet browser.

Some of the webmail providers you’ve probably heard of include Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and AOL (all made our list of the best free email accounts below).

If you want to access your webmail through an email app on your mobile device rather than your desktop web browser, your webmail provider can use one of the email protocols described below.

Before we dive into the best free email accounts, let’s dig into these email protocols.

Email Logs

Email logs are the systems that actually pull your emails for you. They can be used to get email client accounts on the internet and webmail accounts in a mobile app. Here are the three main types of email protocol your account can use.

POP3

POP stands for Post Office Protocol and is best for people who only have one email account and one email client. POP3 is the latest version of this email protocol and enables offline access to emails. It therefore requires less internet bandwidth.

IMAP

IMAP stands for “Internet Mail Access Protocol” and is one of the older email protocols available today. IMAP4 is considered to be the latest version. Unlike the POP protocol, you don’t download your email to your offline email client. Instead, all of your email stays online while you access and manage it.

IMAP is particularly useful for people who have more than one email account and access them from multiple devices or locations.

exchange

Exchange is a Microsoft email protocol and is very similar to the IMAP protocol discussed above. With this protocol, not only can you access your e-mail from multiple devices over the Internet, but also tasks, calendar and contact information tied to this e-mail address. Because of this, it is particularly useful for organizations whose employees share many types of information and collaborate remotely.

Now, check out seven of the best free email service providers that you can get your hands on today – both webmail and email clients. For each email service provider, we highlighted a unique feature that will help you find the best solution.

Best free email accounts

  1. Gmail
  2. AOL
  3. outlook
  4. Zoho
  5. Mail.com
  6. Yahoo! Mail
  7. ProtonMail
  8. iCloud Mail
  9. GMX Mail
  10. Mozilla Thunderbird
  11. Yandex Mail

1. Gmail

Unique feature: Native File Collaboration

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: Anyone who already uses and loves the rest of Google’s products.

It might seem like an obvious top pick, but Gmail is just too versatile not to give away the first slot. According to Litmus Labs, Gmail has the second highest market share among email providers (after Apple iPhone’s native email app). Ironically, one of the reasons Gmail has become so popular is the fact that all communication options in your inbox don’t include email.

Gmail is your everyday email inbox that you can sign up for by signing up for a Google Account. However, it’s built into Google Suite, a group of free apps that you can use to chat, video conference, and share files with the people on your contact list.

With Google Hangouts, available in the left sidebar of your inbox (or the right one – you can customize how your inbox looks), you can text and video chat with other Gmail users about things that might not Justify email message. Like most other email accounts today, Gmail also has an intuitive calendar that you can use to schedule meetings and reminders.

Pro tip: You can also use a free product like HubSpot Meetings to easily schedule meetings without the back and forth of emails.

In contrast to other e-mail accounts, you can log in to your Gmail address and manage your YouTube account, as well as edit shared documents and spreadsheets directly from a cloud-based Google Drive.

Gmail offers a generous 15GB of free email storage and does everything possible to make your inbox less cluttered. This includes advanced filters that automatically move emails to separate folders when they arrive. And none of these features cost a dime.

2. AOL

Unique feature: Unlimited storage space

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: People who use email for most of their communications.

America Online (I feel nostalgic for just writing these words) has kept up with today’s standards for good user experience. Classic AOL is once again one of the best free email accounts available.

AOL was bought by Verizon in 2015 and delivers email to you from its classic news-based homepage. It also has the modern spam filters and antivirus that you would expect from your email provider. You can also send text and instant messages from specific windows in your email inbox.

However, AOL has one thing about Gmail: unlimited storage. In addition, you can import email contacts from a CSV, TXT, or LDIF file so that you don’t have to create your “buddy list” from scratch.

3. Outlook

Unique feature: Multiple app integrations

Sign in here.

Type of email: Email client

Who should use it: People who use many different platforms to connect with others.

If you’ve ever huddled up at a “Hotmail.com” email address, thank Outlook for this outdated domain name. But there’s good news: Microsoft has reinvented its longstanding email service, and there are plenty of advanced features waiting for you on your free Outlook.com email address.

While Outlook advertises a calendar and message filter similar to Gmail, it also integrates with a number of other popular communication apps. You can connect Skype, Facebook, PowerPoint, PayPal, and even task management software like Trello. This makes it easy to reach out to and work with non-Outlook users without leaving your inbox.

Outlook offers 15 GB of free space for each user and a super clean interface.

4. Zoho

Unique function: 25 business addresses

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: Startups and Small Businesses.

This is the first of the lesser-known free email accounts to make our list, but it has great business potential.

The first thing you’ll notice about Zoho is its ease of use. From integrating with Google Drive, Box, and other cloud-based file managers, to having a built-in task manager, this email service offers an easy way to get all of your daily chores done.

The real difference, however, is the ability to customize the domain name for up to 25 connected email addresses. Would you like to replace “@ zoho.com” with the name of your company’s website? You can do this on Zoho Lite, which gives you 5GB for free – all at username@yourdomainname.com.

5. Mail.com

Unique feature: 200 custom domain names

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: small businesses, freelancers and self-employed.

It couldn’t be more self-explanatory than “Mail.com”, right? This email provider knows their audience – or should I say the audience.

Right off the bat, you’ll likely find that Mail.com doesn’t offer great storage compared to the options above: just 2GB. But what this webmail service lacks in gigabytes, it makes up for with… drumroll… 200 free custom domain names. You can replace “@ mail.com” at the end of your username with almost anything that describes you. Here are a few options Mail.com selected:

  • Bartender.net
  • Musician.org
  • Columnist.com
  • Engineer.com
  • Accountant.com
  • Toothfairy.com (who knew she was online?)

Mail.com isn’t resting on its 200 laurels, however, as the email provider also provides a calendar for creating and tracking your events weekly.

6. Yahoo! Mail

Unique feature: media and attachment history

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: Creatives and those who email and receive attachments frequently.

Yahoo! Mail, another well-known platform, sits right behind AOL in storage at a whopping 1TB (that’s a terabyte) for free, along with some major social media integrations.

In addition to custom background themes and the ability to find important information from your inbox, Yahoo! Email also makes it easy to find every photo, video, and document you’ve ever attached or emailed in their own tabs in the sidebar of your inbox. This makes the platform especially attractive to those who regularly share documents or who simply want an album of every photo they have ever shared.

7. ProtonMail

Unique feature: encrypted email

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: People who send and receive sensitive information.

ProtonMail only offers 500MB of free space, but for a worthy trade in encrypted email, you can send messages no one else can see and disappear after a month.

What’s the catch? Is the service difficult to use? As with most webmail platforms, ProtonMail is easy to use on any device without the need for software to encrypt your email. The inbox interface is as easy to understand at a glance as the other email services on this list, and offers quick color-coded labels to help you better organize which emails deserve the most care and protection.

8. iCloud Mail

Unique feature: mark senders as VIPs

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: People who use Mac and want everything on one system.

If you are a Mac user, you should use iCloud Mail as your email provider. The free email account has 5 GB of storage space that you can use to sync your photos, files or emails. It’s important to note that storage is shared between all of your apps and devices. So if you take a lot of photos on your iPhone, it could be using up your email storage space for the month. Updated plans start at $ 0.99 / month and go up to $ 9.99 / month.

One of the biggest advantages of using iCloud over the other email providers on this list is its ease of integration. Apple develops its desktop and iPhone mail apps for all email clients. However, special attention is paid to making the experience comfortable for iCloud users.

Some of the benefits of iCloud Mail include easy-to-use search, easy-to-use rules, and the ability to mark senders as VIP. When a contact is marked as VIP, new messages are automatically filtered to a separate tab on the left, saving you time and energy.

9. GMX Mail

Unique feature: alias email addresses

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: People who need multiple emails with one central inbox.

You may not have heard of GMX Mail, but it has been around for quite a while (since 1997) – and there are a number of features that are worth considering. First of all, GMX offers 65 GB of storage space. That’s a lot of storage space for a free email service. In fact, they claim you can keep almost half a million messages in your inbox!

Another feature worth mentioning is the ability to send large attachments. While many services have upper limits for your email attachments, GMX Mail allows you to send files up to 50 GB. This is great if you share a lot of photos, presentations, or other large files from your account.

The specialty of GMX Mail, however, is the ability to set up up to 10 alias email addresses within one account. This can be useful in many situations – both personal and professional. In person, you can use an alias for all of your online purchases and signups to separate marketing emails from your personal messages. From a business perspective, having multiple email addresses can be useful for managing role-based emails like support@yourdomain.com or sales@yourdomain.com.

10. Mozilla Thunderbird

Unique feature: customization functions and the ability to open multiple emails in tabs

Sign in here.

Type of email: Email clients

Who should use it: Anyone looking for a simple but customizable email inbox.

Thunderbird, a free e-mail application from Mozilla known for Firefox, offers quick e-mail inbox setup and a simple, easy-to-use interface.

The app offers customizable features like theme settings and app extensions that can enhance your email experience. The Email app also lets you open multiple tabbed emails, much like you would open multiple web pages in Firefox browsers.

11. Yandex Mail

Unique feature: 10 GB of free cloud storage

Sign in here.

Type of email: Webmail

Who should use it: Anyone looking for a free email with extra storage features.

Yandex is a Russian web company that offers a global email tool. The tool lets you sign up for a free account, link it to your Facebook, Twitter, or Gmail accounts, and personalize your email inbox.

Yandex free email account inbox

Source: LifeWire

As with many of the other providers on this list, Yandex’s email inbox can be set to filter or prioritize email so you can see messages from real people. It can also recognize keywords in messages and subject lines, and organize emails in categorized inboxes. In addition, users who sign up for Yandex Mail receive 10 GB of free cloud storage.

Make the most of your email

This gives you some of the best free email account options this year. But who knows? Your next email address can be completely different and give you exactly what you need to be successful.

Once you’ve chosen an email provider and started a new email address specifically for your marketing needs, you should also use apps, external software, and APIs to expand your email strategy.

One powerful tool to keep in mind is HubSpot’s free email tool. The tool allows you to link your email address with the HubSpot CRM and at the same time create email templates and send messages directly from the HubSpot software. Even more advantageous? The software even lets you track basic analytics and collect email subscriber contacts in your CRM, which can then be added to your email marketing lists.

To learn more about our free email tool, click here.

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