I have recently moved to Zoho Mail.
As you may be aware Google Apps is no longer free for new users – if not you can read about it here: No More Free Google Apps
As part of our journey to encounter alternatives, our choice for mail was Zoho Mail.
What I like most about Zoho Mail was that:
- It has a free option
- It promised no ads and no keyword scanning
- It provided an extremely simple set up (I found it was easier than Google Apps)
- It is part of a suite of business apps, similar to Google Apps
This is how your inbox looks with Zoho Mail
On first load Zoho mail was a pleasant experience. It is the first time after a very long time that I was able to access webmail without being overwhelmed by ads, or creeped out by the fact that Google understands the content of my email better than my recipients.
Intergrating with my mobile phone worked without a hitch – additionally, Zoho provides m.zoho.com which are all their apps, optimized for mobile. This will allow you to side step all the usual set up requirements when having to access mail on the phone, while still enjoying a mobile optimized experience.
Zoho Mail, just like Google Mail has an “IM” feature. However, there is something good and something bad about that – what’s good is that if your organization is on Zoho Mail you will be happy to know that you can only chat between Zoho Accounts; a soft way of preventing idle chatter during work hours. On the other hand, you will not be able to chat with all your gmail contacts.
There are some clear disadvantages: no voice calls, no video chat. While these are tremendous features I’ve rarely used them – Google Hangouts are better and services such Oovoo provide conferencing for organizations – which is much more relevant for multiple users. And most of my voice calls are still made with my cellphone (especially, since Google Voice phone numbers are only available in the U.S.).
The look and feel is a little “old”. It looks a lot like a gray version of Yahoo’s old inbox (I mean the old one without Ajax – pre 2007). When it comes to functionality and response it is clearly not in the past, but the look and feel is definitely behind Yahoo, Hotmail (Outlook Online) and Gmail.
Encryption is currently not available – Zoho itself serves its websites on https, but it does not currently encrypt user data. However, they promise that this will be a service that will soon be available.
Time will tell if uptime, responsiveness and spam filters work well. We will update this post with that information as it becomes available.
While there are some clear drawbacks to switching to Zoho, if free, clean, ad-free, private email is important to your business, than Zoho Mail beats all the commonly available alternatives.
Their FAQ states the following:
“Zoho is a division of ZOHO Corporation A US-based company that has been creating and selling cutting edge software solutions since 1996. The company has tens of thousands of customers worldwide, is privately held and profitable.”
Configuring for POP: https://zohomail.wiki.zoho.com/for-Outlook.html
Configuring for Outlook as IMAP: https://zohomail.wiki.zoho.com/IMAP-Access-1.html