Finding the best hosting with Microsoft Exchange email services empowers you to leverage powerful communication and collaboration tools without all the cost and headaches of managing the specialized infrastructure.
In 2014, more than 80% of Exchange users deployed the system on in-house infrastructure, with only 17% relying on hosted or cloud-based installations like Microsoft Office 365. Now, however, the tides seem to be turning: Radicati Group recently projected that cloud-based Exchange deployments would rise from $8.7 billion in 2015 to $34.9 billion in 2019.
Microsoft Exchange Server requires a fair amount of computing resources and other configurations not common to most entry-level web hosting plans, so identifying the best options can be somewhat challenging. We’ve scoured the internet for reliable hosting providers that offer Exchange email services as individual mailboxes or as part of the larger Office 365 suite.
Best Hosting With Microsoft Exchange
Originally developed for large, corporate customers, Microsoft Exchange provides increased productivity, communication, and collaboration via enhanced email and calendar platforms, plus contact and task management tools.
Before we dive into the best Exchange email hosts, let’s cover some of the basics to ensure everyone understands what that means. You can find free email hosting as part of most web hosting plans, but providers don’t always support Exchange hosting. (Don’t understand the differences between email hosting and web hosting? Check out this guide comparing the two.)
You’ll commonly see a bunch of acronyms when comparing email hosting packages; Exchange offers all the functionality of IMAP, the modern protocol for accessing your messages from various devices and geographic locations. Although IMAP is free to implement, Exchange is a proprietary system that requires the purchase of licenses — but comes with more business-friendly features.
1. Liquid Web
Now, onto the top hosting providers! Liquid Web tops many of our lists comparing premium hosting options, so there should be no surprise to see them here. Perfectly outfitted for growing businesses and rigorous demands, the company’s email hosting plans are available as add-ons to its cloud and dedicated servers, and cost from $1 to $10 per month per mailbox.
Liquid Web’s Exchange services include 100GB mailboxes, ActiveSync compatibility, premium anti-spam and anti-virus filters, plus Outlook via web access and traditional license. Fascinatingly, because the company’s Exchange email plan is at the higher end of the pricing spectrum, Liquid Web offers a hybrid Exchange email hosting option that combines the high-tier Microsoft services with Liquid Web’s well-equipped (but more affordable) webmail-based email plans.
Monthly Starting Price $15.00
- High-speed hosting that's faster than AWS, Rackspace, and Digital Ocean
- FREE backups, CDN, and DDoS protection
- Up to 16 processors with all-SSD storage
- Choice between cPanel or Plesk Onyx
- Real-time monitoring and 100% uptime guarantee
- Get started on Liquid Web now.
With Exchange being a proprietary Microsoft system, it only runs on Windows-based infrastructure. That’s why it’s interesting that iPage, a Linux-only hosting provider, sets aside a handful of servers for Exchange email inboxes. The host already ranks near the top of our favorite email and domain name hosts, and this premium add-on is one of the many reasons why.
Even though we typically think of iPage as an affordable, beginner-friendly host, the provider offers a lot of hidden value — especially when it comes to business-class email hosting. G Suite is a more prominent add-on at checkout, but customers doing a simple search can find iPage’s Exchange hosting plans that start at $12.95 per month per mailbox. Learn more about iPage by clicking on our review below:
Monthly Starting Price $1.99
- FREE site transfers and 1-year domain registration
- Unlimited domains, storage, and email addresses
- Email forwarding, autoresponders, and webmai
- Market your site with $200 in ad credits
- FREE online store and site-building tools
- Get started on iPage now.
A prominent and affordable Windows hosting option, AccuWebHosting makes it surprisingly hard to add Exchange to your hosting environment — but it can be done. The company offers a free MailEnable email server at checkout, or several SmarterMail Professional packages as paid upgrades. But as a Windows VPS or cloud hosting customer, AccuWebHosting’s knowledge base is quick to direct you to the wide variety of available Exchange licenses.
Exchange Server 2013 is available in Standard, Standard Plus, Enterprise, and Enterprise Plus flavors and is priced between $2.50 and $7.45 per mailbox per month. Each option is sold as a Subscriber Access License instead of a server license, which means it’s required for each user or device accessing the inbox.
Monthly Starting Price $7.99
- Performant Windows VPS with SSDs available
- Choice of Windows Server 2016, 2012, or 2008
- 100% uptime guaranteed with Cloud VPS
- Full admin access and FREE backups
- Option to get a FREE VPS for 1 month!
- Get started on Accuwebhosting now.
4. Fat Cow
A veteran of the hosting industry, Fat Cow’s Exchange hosting services are an exact carbon copy of its sister company iPage: mailboxes ranging from 5GB to 25GB that cost $12.95 and up per month. Once customers buy an Exchange mailbox, they’ll have access to free desktop licenses to load on your organization’s devices.
According to Fat Cow, up to 70% of business data resides in email messages and attachments. The host protects customers’ data by offering daily backups, server monitoring, and regular integrity testing. Server technicians take care of all security patches and routine maintenance of the infrastructure to achieve the utmost availability.
5. Network Solutions
As the world’s first domain registrar, Network Solutions enjoys a legacy that few hosts have. The company started in 1979 as an application development consultant before being awarded the contract from the U.S. Department of Defense to operate the domain name registry in 1991. Given its early expertise, Network Solutions was the sole registrar of .com, .org, and .net domains until 1999.
Pairing a custom domain is a key first step in creating a professional email address, followed shortly by the hosting and software used to send and access your messages. Network Solutions hosted Exchange packages cost either $9.99 or $14.99 per month per mailbox, depending on how much storage you require, and come with built-in business continuity and disaster recovery services to protect your data.
Monthly Starting Price $3.99
- Huge open-source library and language support
- FREE domain registration from a longtime registrar
- Above-average 99.99% uptime guarantee
- 24/7 technical support via phone, chat, and email
- Pay only $3.99 for month-to-month plans
- Get started on Network Solutions.
Best Hosting With Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft began moving its services and software programs from on-premises solutions to the cloud and other hosted infrastructures in the form of Office 365 in 2011. The suite moves users and organizations away from expensive licenses and physical media installations to cloud-based versions of popular programs like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, along with Exchange and the Outlook mail client.
Office 365 quickly gained popularity, especially among businesses and universities, following similar Software-as-a-Service and other cloud adoption trends. By 2017, Office 365 revenue surpassed that generated from traditional licenses; the software suite currently boasts more than 200 million monthly active users.
Many hosts, including the ones we list here, have capitalized on the stellar growth to offer Office 365 either as a paid upgrade or free trial to its customers. Read on for the specific details with each plan.
What better way to run your online business than by pairing one of the best productivity suites with one of the world’s most trusted and largest web hosts? Bluehost is highly regarded for its beginner-friendly services and rich WordPress expertise, so it can be easy to overlook the company’s superb VPS, managed, and dedicated server hosting.
You can combine Office 365 with all those plans at checkout. Bluehost even gives new shared hosting customers a free Office 365 mailbox for 30 days, while the annual plans cost between $2.99 and $9.99 per license per month. The top-tier Business Pro package even comes with Microsoft Access and Publisher desktop licenses, plus tools for overseeing bookings, invoicing, and customer management.
Always one of our favorite hosts to grow with, HostGator enables customers to use either Office 365 or Exchange servers. The Austin-based hosting provider, however, does not make Microsoft Exchange licenses available; you’d have to purchase the program separately and install it yourself on a Windows-based dedicated server. You’d be responsible for the configuration, management, and maintenance of your Exchange server, which is why we are focusing more on the company’s hosted Office 365 experience.
Similar to sister company Bluehost, HostGator’s Office 365 plans cost from $2.99 to $9.99 per user per month for annual plans. In addition to the high-quality email and productivity software, HostGator’s well-equipped plans feature the full slate of drag-and-drop website builder, unlimited bandwidth, advertising credits, and a longer-than-average 45-day money-back guarantee.
Not too long ago, we could include GoDaddy in the other section of this article. The world’s largest domain registrar switched customers from hosted Exchange environments to Office 365 — offering 10 times the email storage and 1TB of space in the Microsoft OneDrive cloud, along with helpful tools like Skype and video conferencing.
GoDaddy’s Office 365 packages range from $7.99 to $17.99 per user per month — and those are just introductory rates. The company has long been knocked for high renewal prices, which in this case scale to between $11 and $26 per license per month. We deeply respect all that GoDaddy has done of late to modernize its infrastructure and improve its U.S.-based support, but don’t be surprised if you’re looking for GoDaddy alternatives in a year or so.
You have to give HostPapa credit: the Canadian hosting provider is eager to serve customers a wide variety of flexible email solutions. HostPapa offers two branded email packages for just $1 or $2 per mailbox per month, G Suite for $6 to $12 per user per month, and Office 365 for $5.99 to $12.99 per user per month. Whichever the platform, we’ve found the company’s support channels to be super helpful and reliable when it comes to setting up accounts and migrating your data.
However, the deals get a little interesting with HostPapa’s earnest focus on small and medium businesses. Each Office 365 plan is capped at 300 users per account. That shouldn’t hinder most users, but larger organizations will have to look elsewhere or start a secondary account with HostPapa — in which case you’re probably ready to move elsewhere.
Monthly Starting Price $3.95
- FREE drag-and-drop HostPapa website builder
- Host unlimited WordPress sites on one account
- 24/7 support via phone, email, and live chat
- FREE domain registration and email accounts
- 99.9% uptime guarantee and unlimited bandwidth
- Get started on HostPapa now.
Who Has the Best Email Hosting Service?
There’s a whole other world out there beyond Microsoft Exchange and Office 365, we promise. If you’re not as attached to Exchange, that opens up many more possibilities. Liquid Web tops our list for web hosting with Exchange email services, but there are many more fish in the sea.
Don’t be afraid to drop a line in the ocean and test the waters. Hosts that don’t offer Office 365 may likely offer Google’s alternative option, G Suite, which closely mirrors the features and available software on Office 365. Instead of Microsoft Word, you have Google Docs. Excel vs. Sheets, PowerPoint vs. Slides, Outlook vs. Gmail… the list goes on. Click here for an in-depth comparison of which might work best for your specific situation.
Plus, believe it or not, many of our favorite web and email hosting providers don’t offer either Office 365 or G Suite. You can always add the services on your own later, so why not give the internal email offerings of hosting providers a chance? Web hosting frequently comes with free unlimited email inboxes, spam filters, and daily backups, plus tons of other options. In fact, our top-ranked email hosting provider overall, which we’ve reviewed below, does all the above and more:
Monthly Starting Price $2.99
- FREE software for webmail, newsletters, contact forms, list management, and spam filtering
- Unlimited inboxes, forwarding & autoresponders
- Secure POP3, IMAP, and SMTP messaging
- Unlimited storage and transfer with FREE SSL
- Get more than 50% off today (was $7.99/month)
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
Monthly Starting Price $2.95
- FREE domain and unlimited emails
- Secure email with 3 webmail solutions
- $200 in advertising credits with Google and Bing
- Google app integration available
- FREE Office 365 mailbox for your first 30 days
- Get started on Bluehost now.
How Much Should Email Hosting Cost?
As you can probably tell from our list, email hosting can vary wildly — it all depends on the type of services you require. Are you a one-man-band operation that just needs a simple firstname.lastname@example.org inbox? Or are you a large online store constantly responding to orders, customer questions, and requests for support? What about businesses that need to schedule meetings, share files, and coordinate on projects?
Opening a generic email address on Gmail, Hotmail, or Yahoo is totally free — however, that usually won’t cut it in the business world. You’ll have to consider at the very least registering a custom domain name, which doesn’t cost much. In fact, like email hosting, a domain name is often included free for at least the first year of web hosting.
When you need to cover more ground with your business email communications, such as adding CRM hosting or email marketing services, you can easily add additional computing power and organizational capacity. Exchange, Office 365, G Suite, and other professional solutions are often available on an individual mailbox basis for roughly $3 to $15 per user per month depending on your needs.
If you’re a larger organization that needs to serve the emailing needs of hundreds of employees, consider upgrading to a VPS or dedicated server with a Microsoft Exchange Server license. An Exchange server will support up to 2,000 users, and the license will cost a few hundred dollars.
What Is the Difference Between Exchange and Office 365?
Simply put, Microsoft Exchange is a software program that manages your emails, calendars, and tasks. It lives on a server that receives and stores your messages and invites from other servers and networks. Exchange centralizes your emails into one database that can be accessed by many devices, in many different geographic areas.
Originally, many businesses would rely on POP3 email, which meant the server hosting your website would collect your messages and distribute them to each individual computer — leaving no backup in case the device fails. Similarly, Office 365 is a collection of software for email, documents, presentations, spreadsheets, and more business applications. Exchange is included in the package alongside familiar programs like Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
Again, Office 365 is hosted on a server and meant to centralize all your documents in the cloud instead of on individual devices. Although you can install the programs directly on your laptop, you can also use the tools online and more easily collaborate with others.
Best Email Hosting Alternatives for Small Business
As we alluded to earlier in the article, Exchange and Office 365 aren’t the only business email options. Don’t hesitate to cast a wider net to see what other fish are in the sea. Once you get away from big corporations like Microsoft and Google, you may be surprised at how similar — and affordable — your email and other systems are to the more well-known standards. We’ll still include G Suite as the obvious alternative to Office 365, but be sure to look at the less-heralded options:
These services cover a wide range of feature sets and price points, and just scratch the surface of what’s out there. Don’t be afraid to shop around for exactly the right tools to boost your productivity and peace of mind!