Google Workspace (formerly G Suite, formerly Google Apps) email alternative?

G’day all :slight_smile:

So, after a recent terrible experience trying to get support from Google for an account issue, I am so annoyed and disheartened with them, I now want to move my custom domain’s email hosting to another provider.

Features I require:

5GB+ email storage.
Email address alias support.
Multiple domain support.
Configurable server-side filtering.
Decent spam filtering.

Features I desire:

Included calendar that allows sharing.
Cloud storage access.
IMAP with any client.

Examining my options as I’m aware of them, I came to the following conclusions:

I liked the idea of MS 360 Personal well enough, even though it was pricy, since I get some great apps and 1TB cloud storage. But it turns out the email only works with GoDaddy hosted domains (even if I was happy with GoDaddy’s pricing, they don’t support some of my country’s TLDs that I use), and you cannot use aliases - wow! The 365 Business Basic plan has those features, but is even pricier - not worth it for my modest needs. So, MS is out :frowning:

I then considered ProtonMail. I liked the idea of the privacy features… but at the end of the day, I don’t really need that level of privacy, nor do I want to do without my choice of mobile IMAP client. ProtonMail pricing ramps way up even just to get support for two custom domains. So ProtonMail is an attractive idea, that doesn’t really match up with the reality of how I want to use my email and how much I’m willing to pay for it.

I did see that Zoho looks very cheap (almost… too cheap?), yet seems to have all the features I want. But I’m not familiar with them as an operation to jump.

I quickly discarded various local IMAP provider options, since they’re all pretty weak in terms of features and storage. Most are mere value add-ons for other products like domain registration, yet end up costing more than my next contender.

Fastmail’s Standard plan has all the features I need and desire listed above, for the right price. 30 GB of storage. WebDAV Cloud storage is good enough. And the company has a good reputation, and I’m recommended it many times over the years to clients that want great IMAP. I’m not fond of Australian privacy law, but if that really bothered me, I’d have moved away from Google ages ago as it’s not like the Americans are any better in practise.

So, while Fastmail looks like it’s right for me, I thought I’d check first with you lovely people to see what you think. Are there any other email providers I should seriously consider? Which provider do you use, and why?

TIA! :slight_smile:

I currently have a Microsoft 365 Business Standard account and it works great. Email handled by Exchange Online so there are server side filters; calendars and contacts too. Not IMAP, but a lot of email applications support Exchange.

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Another non-Google option would be Zoho, although it is primarily a business solution. Includes email and web apps as well as storage space. Zoho - Cloud Software Suite and SaaS Applications for Businesses

Microsoft Office 365 does support all of these features and then some. If you find it pricey, you can do what I did, sign up for Exchange Online (Plan 1), that will only cost you $4/month + tax. At least in my jurisdiction (Canada) Microsoft does not distinguish business or personal use and does not change plans or offerings willy nilly that they have been doing with

MS 365 Business plans are very expensive for my modest needs mentioned above. The value isn’t there, IMO.

I pay A$18.75 per month that includes all the applications, 1TB storage and Exchange hosting. For me worked out the same cost as O365 Personal and Fastmail

Well, I guess if you really desire MS’s desktop apps, more cloud storage, and decent custom domain email options, 365 Business plans are not too badly priced :slight_smile: It’s more than I require, however.

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I looked into Compare Microsoft Exchange Online Plans and the cheaper ‘Plan 1’ seems to be priced well enough if I can live with webmail on the desktop. Though I’m not really seeing the advantage over the cheaper Fastmail Standard plan, other than an extra 20GB email storage I don’t need.

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Exchange Online also supports Outlook (MAPI), ActiveSync (for mobile), IMAP, POP and SMTP, although the comparison page also does not mention that part.

I can tell you one advantage in my case which is complete data privacy (independently verified) and built-in security mechanisms including 2FA. Another big one is complete email synchronization with desktop and mobile devices, all of my email, contacts, calendars and notes follow me around on any device I use. I would also point out MAPI/ActiveSync protocols have a huge performance advantage even over lower bandwidth links and scale much better in volume, Gmail could not keep up with those metrics even to this day.

I might see your point of view or perhaps others on this community if the open source argument is used. 365 is obviously a commercial service with proprietary software but obviously better because it is a paid service with no shortcuts.

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Ah. The info MS provides on the Exchange plans is oddly lacking, at insofar as it’s linked too from the plan page. Maybe I’ll contact a rep during office hours, and see if they’re any good at clarifying matters.

Microsoft is generally is good with sales information, I would not hesitate to give them a call. I see you’re also linking from New Zealand but I believe you do get an option to speak with a different office/department if they are not able to assist you locally, one of their more recent support changes.

Do you like Outlook? If so the Office 365 is a fantastic solution. If you don’t I would look recommend Fastmail. Assuming you only care about email and not everything else you get with Office 365

I’m curious what kind of account issue you have experienced that Google wasn’t able to assist with. I have two custom domains that I use. For each user they have an alias under each one. This in addition to the team emails that are set up. I tried to duplicate all this with Microsoft and it just didn’t seem as easy to do so. So I stuck with GSuite.

The account issue was my YouTube account being banned without prior warning, being unable to find out why (I received the most generic canned message possible, that listed half a dozen possible reasons, specifying nothing! :smiley: ), unable to rectify the matter, and having the ban of the YouTube part of Google cripple access to other parts of my Google account such as ‘Manage memberships’ which now never loads (so I had no way to alter my YouTube Premium sub on my own. And when I contacted YouTube Premium support the guy just cancelled my sub without asking, and said I could reactivate it after solving my account issue… which he said he couldn’t help with, and passed me back to Google Workspace support… arrrgh!), downloading a backup of my YouTube data was also crippled by the ban, and leaving YouTube music only working in the mobile app, but non-functional on the desktop (which was damned weird).

In the end all II got was the run around being passed back and forth between different parts of Google support, failure of them to read past messages so I constantly had to repeat issues - thus leading to a cycle of pointless communications where I could never progress to solving the issue at hand, and in the end when I complained to their Twitter-based support they did it to me all over again with seemingly a different person replying every time - who would not read previous tweets and kept suggesting steps that did not match the stated reality of the case.

After being a paying customer of Google of several Google services for a number of years, I discovered that in the end there was no way to actually get effective and competent support when I really needed it.

That helplessness and futility combined with data loss turned me from a happy user of Gmail, Google Apps/G Suite/Workspace, and YouTube Red/Premium - all from year one of their releases, into a bitter person now set on avoiding paying Google for anything I can reasonably do without.

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