Zoho Mail review: great-value business email
Zoho Mail is a leading professional email provider that boasts an excellent range of security features and customisation tools that are ideal for work emails. Even the free version comes with some impressive features, and the very reasonably priced Premium and Business options offer some really high-end features for an affordable price.
But how much are these plans? What do you get for them? And how does Zoho Mail compare to other secure business email services out there? Read on to find out everything you need to know in our Zoho Mail review.
Zoho Mail: main pros and cons
- Fantastic value options
- Great collaboration tools
- Really easy to use
- Calendar and notes
- Custom domains
- Free version
- Migration capabilities
- POP and IMAP support
- The free version doesn’t have much storage
- While it’s great for businesses, it’s not the best solution for personal use
Zoho Mail security and privacy
Security features are one of the essential things in your email provider. Likely, your most important documents will come through email, so you want to ensure that the message contents will stay safe.
Security features are one of the essential things in your email provider. Likely, your most important documents will come through email, so you want to ensure that the message contents will stay safe. Here's what Zoho Mail has under the hood to make sure that your private data isn't out in the open:
- OAuth 2.0
- Suspicious activity report
- Appropriate security certificates
- Discrete data centers
Here's how each feature helps you.
Email encryption in rest and in transit
Zoho Mail stores your emails on its servers in an encrypted format. This is done by splitting your data into fragments and encrypting these fragments to keep them safe. This is end-to-end encryption we're talking about, which means that with Zoho Mail, your communications are private even from the company itself.
Secure Socket Layer (TLS/SSL) connections encrypt email traffic between your inbox and the server. So you can rest assured that your emails are safe in your inbox and when they’re travelling.
Two factor authentication
Zoho Mail makes it really easy to add two factor authentication (2FA) to your account. You can use TouchID, a push notification, a QR code, or Zoho’s OneAuth app to add an additional layer of security when you sign into your Zoho Mail account. So even if your password is stolen, your emails will still be safe.
On top of all this, Zoho Mail also supports OAuth 2.0, an authentication process that lets you access Zoho Mail from other third-party apps without you having to enter your password. So that means you don’t need to worry about inputting your password into more apps than you have to.
Unusual activity report
Zoho Mail is always on the lookout for unusual activity in your account. Anytime there’s a login from a new location or on a new device, you and your administrators will be notified.
Certificates and compliance
As you’d expect, Zoho Mail is completely GDPR compliant. Any personal data you input when signing up as well as all the information in your emails is protected under the European Data Protection Regulation enforced by the EU Commission. This means that your personal data will never be sold to third parties so they can send you targeted ads.
Aside from this, Zoho Mail is proud to boast that it routinely undergoes third party audits that look at quality assurance in email security.
Zoho Mail stores all its encrypted data in secure centres built to hold large volumes of sensitive data. The data servers are located in undisclosed locations across Europe, China, India and the US. Zoho Mail promises round-the-clock surveillance sealed with biometric authentication.
Is Zoho Mail safe?
With a selection of excellent security features in Zoho Mail, your emails are safe and secure both in your inbox and while they’re in transit. Zoho Mail also makes it easy to add 2FA without having to download an authenticator app. Although the physical security isn’t quite as next-level as the nuclear bunker used by ProtonMail, it still feels a lot safer than email servers that store data in the cloud.
Zoho Mail features
One of the things I liked most about Zoho Mail is that it lets you do far more than just check your emails. It comes with a whole range of tools to make our working day a lot easier. But what are they? We’ll break it down for you:
- Email suite
- Migration tools
- Zoho streams
- Control panel
- Custom domains
Here’s what each of them does and how they work.
Zoho Mail email suite
Zoho Mail has some useful features to make it really easy to organise your work emails, such as:
- The Tasks module, which lets you break down your work and create manageable task schedules.
- The Notes module, which allows you to add virtual sticky notes in the color of your choice.
- The Calendar module, which helps you keep track of all your upcoming meetings and events.
- The Contacts module, which lets you keep your contacts organised in one easy-to-use address book.
Although these aren’t exactly revolutionary, they’re all incredibly easy to use and definitely help you to be efficient and organized throughout the working day.
Easy migration to Zoho Mail
This is definitely something you shouldn’t take for granted with an email provider. More often than not, it’s a real hassle to migrate all your stuff across and you can sometimes even end up losing important documents, emails and contacts.
Luckily, Zoho Mail promises to make this process really simple, easy and straightforward. In fact, it offers a blissfully easy one-click migration from the most popular email providers, such as G Suite and Office 365.
All you need to do is authenticate your existing email account and then Zoho Mail will migrate everything across, including your emails, contacts and calendar.
Zoho Mail’s new Streams tool helps you communicate with your team in an easier and more efficient way by replacing endless email threads with social media-esque conversations.
It does this with four features:
- Collaborate with your colleagues without long email chains. All you need to do is share an email by ‘@’ mentioning the people or team you want to involve in the conversation. You can even share your drafts with teammates to get their feedback before you click send.
- Socialise with a wall for each team. These walls are a personal space for teams to hang out, post messages and have discussions.
- Integrate emails with your chats so you can keep track of everything really easily.
- Everywhere you go, you can keep in contact with your colleagues by using Streams on the Zoho Mail app. More on that in a bit.
Zoho Mail control panel
The control panel gives you everything you might need to organise emails, manage users and apply filters.
It comes with:
- Dashboard and domain details, which lets you control all the settings for your organisation’s domain.
- User management, which has all the tools to control every user account and set up user-related data.
- Group management, which allows you to create group email addresses for specific channels with relevant policies and permissions.
- Spam policy, which filters out any junk emails, so you can find your genuine correspondence easily.
- Administrator privileges, which gives administrators full power over all the accounts within the organisation.
Zoho Mail requires you to add a custom domain before you even get started, which makes it ideal for businesses but not the best choice for a personal account, unless you already have your own website.
If you don’t already own a domain, you can purchase one with Zoho Mail. So whether you’re head of an established company or you’re just getting started with your first online business, Zoho Mail makes it really easy to set up your domain name.
Zoho Mail plans and pricing
So how much does all this cost? Well, Zoho Mail offers a range of plans, from a free version to premium plans and business accounts that are still very reasonably priced.
But how much do they cost and which should you go for? We’ll break it down for you.
Zoho Forever Free
Zoho Mail’s Forever Free plan is ideal for small businesses and individuals. You can choose your own domain name and the plan can have up to five users. You also get 5GB of storage per user, which is reasonable for a free service but probably not enough for a lot of businesses. And there’s a 25MB attachment limit, which is more than sufficient for sending most everyday files.
However, IMAP, POP and Active Sync are not included in the free plan, which is a bit of a shame.
Zoho Mail Lite
Once you look at the Zoho Mail paid options, you’ll see a massive jump in the number of features you get. Even with the Zoho Mail Lite plan, which starts at just $1 a month, you get a lot more than you do with the free option.
For one thing, you can host multiple domains. And you can send attachments that are ten times bigger than you can with the Free Forever plan, with the Lite option allowing you to send files of up to 250MB.
You also get access to a lot of Zoho Mail’s extras, including its collaboration tool, folder sharing and email recall, which is incredibly useful if you’re prone to sending emails to the wrong person.
And more importantly, it comes with IMAP and POP, which gives you lots more flexibility, particularly if you use your emails on the go.
To sum up, the Zoho Mail Lite plan comes with:
- Email hosting for multiple domains
- Domain aliases
- Email routing
- Email and folder sharing
- Streams collaboration tool
- Offline access
- Email recall
- eWidget and Developer Space
- Tasks, notes and bookmarks
- IMAP/ POP access in email clients
- Attachments up to 250 MB
- Mobile apps for iOS and Android
It also gives you access to all its calendar tools, including:
- Shared calendars
- Group calendars
- Appointment scheduling
- Calendar sync
- Calendar on mobile
Zoho Mail Premium
If you want to customize your emails and send massive attachments, it might be worth considering an upgrade to Zoho Mail’s Premium plan. In addition to all the features included in the Lite plan, you can send huge attachments of up to 1GB. Perhaps more impressively though, you can rebrand the email platform with your logo and custom login URL. Which is ideal if you’re setting up a business account that you’ll want to customize.
You also have the option to back up deleted emails from user accounts and retrieve them whenever you need to. And you can set retention policies to archive emails.
So, as well as all the features included in the Lite plan, the Zoho Mail Premium plan comes with:
- Upload attachments upto 1GB
- Archival and eDiscovery
- Email backup and restoration
- White labeling
It also gives you all the calendar features included in Mail Lite, along with resource booking, which enables you to book meeting rooms with whatever facilities you need.
Zoho Mail Workplace
Zoho Mail Workplace looks to be one of the most impressive business email services we’ve come across, particularly for this price. It comes with a complete communication suite and online office apps and it offers a level of security and customisation that’s ideal for work accounts.
Zoho Mail’s Workplace plan includes:
- Secure business email
- Online file manager
- Online word processor
- Online spreadsheet
- Presentation software
- Instant chat communication
- Online meeting software
- Intranet and collaboration
- Online training software
Ease of use and setup
Once you’ve got your domain sorted, it’s actually really easy to use. Naturally, you have to verify that you own the domain but once that’s done, you can set about adding users and migrating your emails. It’s really user-friendly and has a responsive, streamlined interface that’s one of the nicest we’ve tested.
Zoho Mail performance
In our testing, we found that Zoho Mail performs really well. Emails arrive instantly, attachments upload and download very quickly and it manages to be both secure and user-friendly, which isn’t always the easiest balance to strike.
Zoho Mail app
We tested the Zoho Mail app on iPhone and it worked seamlessly. It’s got an even more simplistic feel than the desktop version and it’s really easy to flip between between them so you can carry on replying to your emails while you nip out for lunch.
If you’re signed up to a Lite, Premium or Workplace paid plan, you’ll have access to Zoho Mail’s 24/7 phone support in 11 countries worldwide. And even those on a free plan can access it for eight hours a day, five days a week.
You can also submit a ticket or send an email to the customer services team. In our experience, they responded quickly and answered all our questions.
Zoho Mail alternatives
Of course, Zoho Mail isn’t the only secure email service out there for businesses. So how does it compare? Let’s take a closer look.
Zoho Mail vs ProtonMail
ProtonMail is one of our favourite secure email providers. It offers some of the most sophisticated email security features we’ve ever tested. And it’s also very user-friendly and easy to get to grips with. But if top-level security isn’t your biggest priority, Zoho Mail might well be the better choice for your business.
It’s really easy to use and comes with a whole suite of business tools to help you organise your business, add users and collaborate with colleagues.
Want to find out more? Read our Protonmail review.
Zoho Mail vs Gmail
Zoho Mail has a lot to offer, but when it comes to choosing an email service for your business, Gmail just edges it for us. Its stellar reputation and extensive suite of apps, tools and features make it the obvious choice.
Having said that, Zoho Mail is a lot more secure and cheaper than Gmail and it has a lot of reasonable payment plans. But, while either is a strong email product for any business, having Gmail as part of G Suite is worth the higher subscription fee.
Zoho Mail vs Office 365
On paper, Zoho Mail is much better value than Office 365. The Zoho Workplace plan gives you a lot more flexibility and it costs around half the price of an Office 365 Premium Business account.
But you shouldn’t discount Office 365. It’s one of the most popular business email providers in the world and there’s a reason for that. It offers a great suite of tools after all, including Outlook and Microsoft Teams. But if you’re looking for something that gives you a lot of great features for half the price, Zoho Mail is the clear winner.
Zoho Mail: the bottom line
Zoho Mail is one of the best business email services we’ve tested. It uses sophisticated security features and offers a great free option and even better paid-for versions. But its collaboration tools are where Zoho Mail really stands out. Its Streams tool makes it really easy to work with colleagues without creating an endless trail of emails. And it’s so user-friendly, all your team will be able to get to grips with it on desktop and mobile.
Want to find out how Zoho Mail stacks up? Read our guide to secure email providers.
More secure email provider reviews
ProtonMail review: secure email provider #1 in 2021
Fastmail review: is it worth your attention?
Tutanota review: what is great about this service?
Is Zoho Mail good?
Yes. Zoho Mail is one of the best business email solutions we’ve come across. Its collaboration tools are really useful and it’s really easy to use. The free version is great and the paid-for versions are even better. It’s a really good, affordable option for any business looking to set up, upgrade or migrate email accounts.
Is Zoho Mail free?
Yes, Zoho Mail does offer a free version. The Forever Free plan lets you add as many as five users, with up to 5GB of storage per user. Although it doesn’t have all of the frills and features included in the paid-for plans, Zoho Mail’s free option still has a lot to offer for small businesses.
Is Zoho Mail better than Gmail?
Zoho Mail is a little bit better than Gmail. First of all, it doesn't have ads, and it doesn't track as aggressively. Finally, Zoho relies on a standard protocol, rather than Google's proprietary protocols. It means that using Zoho, you should be browsing more privately.
Was Zoho hacked?
Zoho wasn’t hacked. However, it popped up in the public attention because some hacker used its email address to receive credentials recorded via a keylogger. However, other email services were affected. This issue wasn’t limited to Zoho only.