The Best Free Email Provider

Looking for the best free email provider for small business owners? Most small businesses have limited budgets and a small or non-existent IT team, so finding the best free e-mail accounts is a big priority. How can you get free e-mail management and still look professional to your customers? It's all about appearances.

Why Is E-mail Important?
First, let's talk about the dangers of using free e-mail. If you're running a business with an online presence, your e-mail address is part of your marketing program. An AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo e-mail address just doesn't look as good as one that has a private domain name. If you're running an e-commerce business, using an obvious free e-mail account could leave your customers thinking that you don't know what you're doing, which will make them think twice about giving you their credit card information.

Your Web site should have a unique domain name, especially if it's an e-commerce site. To complete the professional look, your e-mail address for all correspondence should include that domain name.

Choose a Web Host with Free E-mail
You'll find Web hosts for a variety of budgets, depending on the features you need. Some Web hosts are completely free, but require you to pay a small annual fee to register your domain, while others have a low monthly cost but sometimes include the domain registration for free. Regardless of which type of Web host you use, you'll need to pay either an annual fee for domain registration or a monthly fee for account hosting that includes a domain.

Once you've got a Web host set up, most accounts permit you to create anywhere from three to more than 1,000 e-mail addresses at no additional cost. These are definitely the best free e-mail accounts, because they're managed directly through your Web host and feature your very own domain name in the e-mail address. These are the best free e-mail accounts for your company image, as you look more professional with your own domain name in the email address, instead of a well-known free email provider.

Use a Lesser-Known Provider
If you're trying to avoid the perception that you use free e-mail addresses, consider using a lesser-known e-mail service. Everybody knows Yahoo!, Hotmail and Gmail, but you can find plenty of other e-mail providers to host your small business e-mail account. A couple of the best free email providers for your small business that aren't as well known as the big guys include GMX and Zenbe. Both GMX and Zenbe offer reasonable storage space, decent features and free accounts. Customers looking at e-mail addresses @GMX.com or @zenbe.com won't immediately associate the names with free e-mail providers, giving you the perception of professionalism.

Accounts Are Free; Domains Aren't
While choosing a lesser-known free e-mail host can help improve the professional appearance of your company, using an e-mail at your own domain name is the best way to prove to your customers that you're serious about your business. You can find free web host providers that offer email addresses; in this case, the only cost is the domain name itself. At a rate of less than $10 per year, registering your own domain name really provides the best free e-mail accounts for your small business. Customers don't need to know you've spent less than $10 per year on your Web site and e-mail hosting, and the tiny investment can drastically impact your sales as you present a consistent, high level of professionalism to your customers.

Once the domain's registered, you'll still need a server to host your site for the world. There are many companies that will host your site, including e-mail, for a monthly fee. What you pay depends on the amount of bandwidth and technical support you require, but plans can cost as little as $9.95 per month.

You can also use a mail relay service. This will take mail from your free account, add your domain name and send it off to your customers. You're still working through Yahoo! or Gmail, but your customers see mail from your registered domain. These services cost as little as $10 per month, but there are strict limits on the number of e-mails you can send and receive. 

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With the number of free e-mail providers currently available, users have a lot of choices to make when it comes to picking the right one. You can narrow your choices by comparing storage and spam filtering, then look for specific features that you need.

Whether you're a member of multiple social-networking websites, or simply have a lot of friends and family to keep in touch with, you'll need one of the best free e-mail accounts with awesome features, plenty of storage and easy organization. While you can find many free e-mail services out there, be sure to compare email accounts because only a few incorporate the features of organization and social networking to make your life easier and make managing your groups a breeze.

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Free email accounts offer a number of benefits, including easy accessibility from other computers and the ability to keep your email address when changing to a new internet service provider. However, free email account providers vary in features, quality, and reliability, so some thought should be given to the particular service you are going to use.

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