If you need a fresh start, this is where to begin.
Email. You can’t live with it, and you can’t live without it. Dozens of apps have tried to dethrone email with a promise to revolutionize how we communicate with each other. Yet, here we are, decades later, and we do appear to be stuck with it.
What you are not stuck with, is the email provider that you use. So, if you’re searching for alternatives to Gmail, there are several options available that offer different features and capabilities.
What’s Wrong With Gmail?
There is nothing inherently wrong with Gmail, but plenty of people use it because they have to, not because they want to.
Most people know that Google has questionable privacy practices. It’s a company that makes most of its money gathering data from users and turning that into targeted online ads. In return, you get a variety of free, online productivity apps…that Google can use to collect more date on you.
Some people are fine with that transaction. Others find it more problematic. Me? I’m firmly in the latter category.
Then there is the issue of email addresses. I once heard someone say that the most difficult challenge our children will face growing up is getting the username they want. It was a tongue-in-cheek remark, but it’s not without a grain of truth.
Gmail has over a billion users. If you didn’t join Gmail when it first launched, try getting [email protected], and you will see what I mean. It’s not going to happen.
Finally, if you have been with Gmail for a while, your email address has probably been stolen, leaked, or sold dozens of times. That’s not Gmail’s fault, but it means your spam is overflowing, and your identity is at risk.
So, if you are ready to take a look at the competition, here’s where to start.
Outlook.com is Microsoft’s version of Gmail. It has email, calendar, contacts, and tasks all in one place. If you had a Hotmail account back in the day, this is the service that replaced it.
You can access outlook.com on any device via the web or a mobile app for iOS and Android. You can also take advantage of unique features like multiple aliases. Your aliases share a single password, and you can send and receive mail with each one.
The free account comes with 15 GB of storage which is superior to Gmail because Google gives you 15 GB to share among Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Slides and more. Premium features like an ad-free web interface and 50 GB of storage come bundled with a Microsoft 365 subscription.
➡️ Learn more: Outlook.com
Another option is Fastmail, which is known for its privacy and security features. It was founded in 1999, and offers end-to-end encryption as well as two-factor authentication to keep your emails and data safe.
Fastmail allows users to import their existing email accounts and contacts from Gmail, making the transition to a new email service easy. It has no ads, no tracking, and it lets you use your own domain. You can also have 600 aliases to help protect your main email address.
Fastmail is not free, but it also doesn’t sell your data to pay for its service. Plans start at just $3 per month, and paying for a year up front gets you two months free on every plan. You can also earn credit to pay for your account by sharing your referral link with friends.
➡️ Learn more: Fastmail.com
3. Proton Mail
ProtonMail is another alternative that emphasizes privacy and security. In fact, their tagline is, “Privacy by default.” It offers end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and is based in Switzerland, which has strong data protection laws. In short, it’s a lot different from Gmail.
The free account gives you 1 GB of storage, three folders, three labels and all the privacy and encryption that you could ask for. You can access Proton on the web for free or on the mobile apps for iOS and Android.
It also comes with a calendar, cloud storage, and a VPN connection, and, like Fastmail, it has an Easy Switch import assistant that will let you transfer all your emails and contacts from Gmail.
Upgrading to a paid plan garners you more storage, desktop client support for Outlook and Apple Mail, up to 15 different email addresses, and support for custom email domains. Prices start at $3.99 a month.
➡️ Learn more: Proton Mail
Tutanota is a German-based email service that focuses on security and privacy. It offers end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and open-source software. It also has a free version with limited storage, and paid plans for more advanced features.
Tutanota claims to be the world’s most secure email service. It is easy to use and private by design. You get fully encrypted calendars and contacts with all personal and business email accounts. The company is also run on 100% green energy.
The free plan is generous, and lets you take advantage of some à la carte add-ons like paying for extra storage, email aliases or white-label branding. This means you don’t have to purchase a paid plan if you won’t use all the features it offers.
Tutanota has apps for the web as well as Windows, macOS, Linus, Android, and iOS so your email can be anywhere that you need it. It’s not as high profile as Proton, but it offers almost as much and remains a compelling alternative to Gmail.
➡️ Learn more: Tutanota
5. iCloud Mail
iCloud Mail might not be an option for everyone, but if you spend most of your time on Apple devices, iCloud Mail is worth a look. Best of all, if you have an Apple ID, you probably already have an iCloud email account set up and ready to use.
You can access iCloud Mail at icloud.com or by using the Apple Mail app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. And if you use a Windows computer instead of a Mac, you can set up iCloud email on a Windows PC without much effort.
However, iCloud Mail lacks some of the more advanced email features you will find in other email providers. There are no filters or aliases, and the rules are fairly rudimentary.
That said, it does come with Mail Privacy Protection, a service that hides your IP address and stops embedded email trackers from reporting information about you.
You get 5 GB of storage for free, but, like Gmail, that storage is shared among other Apple services like Photos, iCloud Drive, and more. However, if you have iCloud+, you get more storage, and the ability to use a custom email domain. You can also take advantage of Hide My Email. This allows you to create unique, random email addresses that forward to your personal inbox.
➡️ Learn more: iCloud.com
Ultimately, the best alternative to Gmail for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Each of these options offers a slightly different set of features and capabilities, so it’s worth taking the time to explore them to find the one that’s right for you.
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