Email Hosting Provider Recommendations for Small Law Firms

Peter Boyd

July 27, 2017

We are often asked by clients who they should use for an email provider.  We used to manage email for our clients, but eventually realized this was a task better suited to an IT team.  We like to focus on websites, content and marketing.  For email hosting, you need the powerhouse of someone/a team/a company who can quickly setup emails and manage all your devices.

While we may not provide email hosting, we can still advise you on how to best select an email hosting provider.  We recommend three providers, based on your needs.

Soo . . . What Do You Need?

Before choosing an email hosting provider, you need to determine what it is you are looking for.  The key question to ask yourself is “what do I need?”  Do you already have the Office Suite on your computer with Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint?  Do you prefer online collaboration for documents and want to skip physical software?  Do you already have email setup (why are you reading this)?

TL;DR

The Office 365 plan will be great if you need email and the Office Suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.).  If you already have that software in some version and only need email, then Rackspace Email is the cheapest solution at just $2 a month.  If you want online collaboration, email and file storage, then the Google G Suite offering is solid.

We have selected three providers who we are comfortable in working with currently; here are their details in no particular order.  All offer IMAP connections, spam protection, virus protection, migration tools and aliases/forwarding.  Good luck!

Microsoft Office 365 Plans

If you need Word, Excel and email, then Office 365 is your best bet.  You get all the software you need and email from a reliable partner.

  • Pros – Includes copies of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Access for PC; basically everything you need for work. Plus, it includes online cloud storage for files.  You also get Skype for Business.  Pretty cool.
  • Cons – This is the highest priced email offering, but it does include the full Office Suite, which you may or may not need
  • Storage – 50GB of space for email
  • Domain – Your own domain
  • License – Covers five phones, tablets and PCs
  • Storage – 1TB of file storage (in addition to email)
  • Budget – Most of our clients would be fine with the $12.50 per month, per user
  • How to Sign Up – https://products.office.com/en-us/compare-all-microsoft-office-products?&tab=2

Rackspace Email

Just need email?  Then Rackspace is a solid offering.  You will need to get your own copies of the Office Suite to do work (or rely on Google Docs’ free versions), but this can be a cost-effective option.

  • Pros – Simple, easy to use email and webmail. Lowest price for just email.
  • Cons – No Office software or online collaboration software
  • Storage – 25 GB mailboxes
  • Domain – Your own domain
  • License – As many devices as you want to connect
  • Storage – You can add on 30GB of file storage for $1.50 a month
  • Budget – $2 per email account (also offers file storage at $3.50 per month or archiving at $6.50 per month)
  • How to Sign Up – https://www.rackspace.com/en-us/email-hosting/webmail 

Google Suite (G Suite)

If you need online document collaboration and email, then Google Suite is solid.

  • Pros – Great email system from Google. Also includes Google Docs, Sheets, Sheets, Forms, Slides, Keep and Jamboard.  We use Google Docs and Sheets A LOT for collaboration and they are great tools.  It is simply awesome to be able to collaborate online in creating site structures, writing content, project tracking and more.
  • Cons – No physical software; G Suite is all online. But you are already online, so no worries.  Google Docs does accept and convert Word Docs, but you may encounter format changes and track changes issues.  You may need an email software such as Mac Mail or Outlook to connect to Gmail if you want to use it on your computer (without webmail).
  • Storage – 30 GB mailboxes
  • Domain – Your own domain
  • License – As many devices as you want to connect
  • Budget – $5 a user per month (also offer higher level plans for more storage)
  • How to Signup – https://gsuite.google.com/

Next Steps

Run a large firm?  Have a solution alternative?  Post your ideas in the comments.

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