Custom domain emails, like @yourcustomdomain.com, add a layer of personality and professionalism to your emails. While you might hear some people talk about running their own email server, you really should not. Running your own email server creates huge problems with security and even not receiving all emails sent to you. The best way to run custom domain emails is to subscribe to a service that runs the mail servers for you. Two of the best services are Google G Suite and Zoho. I have used both Zoho and G Suite and I will try to help you decide which one you should use for your own custom domain.
The TLDR is that Zoho comes out ahead of G Suite when it comes to cost because Zoho has a free option. If you need more features, however, the price of each is very similar. Here’s the pricing for each:
|Lowest Price Plan (with SMTP)||Free||$5/month|
|Monthly Plan With IMAP/POP Access||$4/month||$5/month|
|Annual Plan With IMAP/POP Access||$3/month||$5/month|
|Monthly Plan With Professional Features||$7/month||$10/month|
|Annual Plan With Professional Features||$6/month||$10/month|
As you can see from the comparison, Zoho is cheaper at each tier and is the only option that has a free plan. Of course, if you opt for a monthly plan instead of an annual plan with Zoho, the price difference shrinks to a difference of only $12 per year for the standard plan that allows you to enable IMAP or POP access, the feature required to attach your email to Apple Mail or Microsoft Outlook.
The Feature Comparison
When comparing all features between Zoho and G Suite, G Suite tends to come out ahead. That said, many of the extra features included in G Suite may be things that you will never use even though they do help compensate for the higher price of the G Suite offering. Here is a list of features found on the standard versions of both Zoho and G Suite.
|Features||Zoho Free||Zoho||G Suite|
|IMAP and Pop Access||No||Yes||Yes|
|Amount of Storage||5 GB||30 GB||30GB|
|Office Suite Included||Yes, by Zoho||Yes, by Zoho||Yes, by Google|
|SPF and DKIM||Yes||Yes||Yes|
*SMTP set up for G Suite is much more complicated than for Zoho. I do not recommend using G Suite if your sole use is SMTP. SMTP is commonly used for sending emails from another platform, like a wordpress blog.
SPF and DKIM are security features that you can set up to reduce the chance that someone could maliciously take over your email.
Undoubtedly, Google’s office suite is better than that offered by Zoho. It is also used by more people than any other online office suite, making it the go to if you are planning to collaborate online with other people. That said, if you already have a free gmail account, you probably don’t need to pay for G Suite just for this feature. Of course, the more premium tier G Suite and the more expensive Zoho plan come with additional features that a business owner may want, such as support for ediscovery and file recovery which could make the additional cost worth it.
Personally, I only care about IMAP and SMTP access meaning that any of the paid plans are all that I need. In my case, the $3/month Zoho plan is the one that makes the most sense when considering the features that I use.
Zoho is Incredibly Easy to Set Up
Zoho is incredibly easy to set up. Simply point your DNS server at the Zoho mail servers and follow the Zoho tutorial and it should work right out of the box. G Suite also has a tutorial that makes it quite easy to set up. I preferred the setup from Zoho, but both are quite simple even if you have never done this before.
Setting up SPF and DKIM on Zoho is easier, and you really should set it up as a security measure. Also, if you use SMTP, Google G Suite makes it quite difficult to set up when compared to Zoho which works right out of the box without playing in the APIs (who wants to do that anyways?). Because I need SMTP, Zoho made much more sense to me than the service through G Suite.
Zoho Has a More User Friendly Product For Most People, and at a Better Price
The TLDR is pick Zoho for low cost or free plans which pack all the features most people will ever need and pick G Suite if you really like Google or if you need the Google specific tools such as Google Documents or Google Sheets. While the Zoho branded tools do work, most people are going to be using the Google platform.
While not important to some people, Google reads all of your email in order to pitch you advertising while Zoho does not. This does not really bother me, but I do like that Zoho does not use your data in that way.
Since I decided to use Zoho I haven’t looked back. I like the service and it has been very stable. However, I still use my free gmail account whenever I need to access Google Documents and collaborate on a project.
Author: Kelton Johnson