Internet Productivity

6 Most Popular Email Providers Better Than Gmail and Yahoo Mail

Dan Price Updated 09-12-2019

In 2012, Gmail overtook Hotmail to become the most popular email provider in the world. Since claiming the crown, it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Today, the service boasts more than one billion users.


The other go-to free email provider is Yahoo Mail. Sure, its user numbers pale into insignificance compared with Gmail (it had around 255 million at the start of 2018), but it’s still one of the most recognizable global email brands.

But what other free email providers are out there? If you don’t want a Gmail or Yahoo account, here is a list of the best email services you can choose from.

1. Microsoft Outlook

Outlook web app homepage

Outlook terminology is confusing Hotmail Is Dead! Microsoft Outlook Email Services Explained Stop searching for Hotmail! Microsoft Outlook email services are confusing. Here are Outlook web app, Outlook Online, and others explained. Read More . Microsoft has done a poor job of differentiating between its free email accounts, its free modern Windows app, and its Office 365 app. Luckily, if you just want a free email account, you don’t need to get bogged down in the details; just head to and sign up for an email address.

The service has surpassed Yahoo to become the second most popular free email provider The Best Free Email Accounts You Need to Consider Everyone knows about Gmail. If you think that's the best free email account out there, you're underestimating all the other services. You have options and we have the details. Read More in the world. In mid-2016, Microsoft reported it had more than 450 million active users.


Using an Outlook account comes with significant benefits. Because it’s operated by Microsoft, it’s heavily integrated into the Windows 10 operating system. It also works seamlessly with the Outlook Office 365 app.

If you decide to use either the web client or the desktop client, you’re in good company. 16 percent of all email sent is opened on one of the two apps.

2. GMX Mail

GMX mail features

GMX Mail is a subsidiary of United Internet, one of Germany’s largest internet service providers. The free mail service has been gaining in popularity over the last few years, but it’s been around since 1997.


Despite only having 11 million active monthly users, it still comfortably makes the top ten of free email providers in terms of user numbers. It’s a surprising statistic and one which reveals the almost unassailable popularity of services like Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.

Feature-wise, you can expect 1 GB of file storage, a 50 MB attachment limit, and support for both IMAP and POP IMAP vs. POP3: What Is It and Which One Should You Use? If you have ever set up an email client or app, you will have certainly come across the terms POP and IMAP. Do you remember which one you chose and why? If you are not... Read More . Most interestingly, it offers 65 GB of email storage which is enough to never run out of space again. Unfortunately, it lacks an RSS reader and a conversation view.

3. Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail is one of the newest providers on the list. It’s only been in existence since October 2008.

In its short life, the service has quickly developed into one of the best free email providers outside the Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook troika. Driven by an ad-free web client (even for free users), it’s grown to more than 10 million active users in just nine years.


The app offers everything you’d expect from a free email provider, including multi-level folders, conversation views, drag-and-drop inbox organizing, and filters. Zoho Mail also lets you set up email at your domain for free! One omission is an integrated video chat tool.

Zoho Mail is part of a larger office productivity suite. The service is tightly integrated with Zoho Docs—a Microsoft Office alternative The 7 Best Free Microsoft Office Alternatives Microsoft Office is the king of office suites, but that doesn't mean it's the right one for you. Here are some other office suites you might like better! Read More that lets you create, edit, and collaborate on text, presentation, and spreadsheet documents.

4. iCloud

icloud login

iCloud represents Apple’s venture into free email. Most Mac, iPad, and iPhone users have an account. iCloud itself is a holistic cloud service. It underpins other Apple services such as Find My iPhone, Photo Stream, Keychain, and iCloud Drive. Mail is just one facet of the app.


The app boasts 720 million users, but it’s not clear how many of them are using an email address.

Like and Microsoft, iCloud integrates seamlessly with the default Apple mail client on both Mac and iOS. On mobile, you can add any number of email providers to the app. On the web client, you can only access your address.

All iCloud users get 5 GB of storage for free. In addition to documents, photos, and other data, any emails you receive count against the limit. As such, you might need to pay for more storage if iCloud is your provider of choice.

Note: There are plenty of other great cloud services for Apple users Better Than iCloud? 6 Superior Cloud Services for Apple Users In some ways, the things that make Apple such a great hardware and software company make it bad at the cloud. Read More .

5. AOL Mail

AOL Email

AOL Mail is the granddad of free email services. It went live in March 1993, making it three years older than Hotmail, four years older than Yahoo Mail, and almost ten years older than Gmail.

Because of its age, it has a huge user base. Nevertheless, the numbers have been decreasing in recent years. In 2006, it had 50 million active monthly users, and as recently as 2010 it was the third-largest email provider in the world. Today, the number of active users is down to 25 million.

Just because AOL Mail is a recognizable brand name with millions of users, you shouldn’t necessarily rush to sign up. In recent years, several pieces of research have hinted at “email bias”. Potential employers are less likely to hire you if you have an AOL or Hotmail address; it suggests you’re stuck in 1996.

6. ProtonMail

Although ProtonMail is still a relative newcomer to the world of email, it has quickly grown to become a popular provider thanks to its strong focus on confidentiality. The company was founded at CERN in Switzerland in 2014 and is still incorporated in the country. As such, it benefits from Switerzland’s Federal Data Protection Act and Federal Data Protection Ordinance—both of which provide some of the strongest privacy protections in the world.

More importantly, however, ProtonMail uses client-side encryption to protect the contents of a message before it hits the company’s own servers. Indeed, the way ProtonMail has designed its systems means the company does not have the technical capability to access your messages. That removes the risk that it’ll be forced to hand over the contents of an email to a third-party. It’s a very different approach to the one taken by more mainstream providers like Gmail and Outlook.

Other features include minimal information required at sign-up, no tracking or logging of your sessions, and self-destructing messages. Take a look at other secure email services The 5 Most Secure and Encrypted Email Providers Fed up with government and third-party surveillance of your emails? Protect your messages with a secure encrypted email service. Read More if you like the sound of this.

Which Email Provider Do You Prefer?

We’ve introduced you to six of the most popular email providers other than Gmail and Yahoo. Each has different benefits, but they all have the common theme of being highly popular among certain subsets of users.

If you’d like to learn more about different email providers, check out the best email services for a clutter-free inbox The 5 Best Email Apps That Promise a Clutter-Free Inbox If you're tired of email overload, crowded interfaces, and bloated features, then one of these clutter-free email inbox apps may be perfect for you. Read More . Once you’ve found the perfect email client, look into writing better emails 5 Ways to Write Professional Emails That Save Time and Effort It's a skill to know how to write professional emails that save time and get replies. Let these emails templates help you out. Read More .

Related topics: Email Apps, Email Tips, Gmail, iCloud, POP, Yahoo Mail.

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  1. Peter Grant
    July 8, 2020 at 3:51 am

    I will never use Gmail or any Google product again. I had an e-mail account with them which i only used as storage for important messages. I tried to log in and they said they couldn't find it. How can a company i trusted with important documents lose the account? There is no way to contact them by e-mail and they have offered no apology or explanation. I tried to make a new account with the same name and they say it already exists. They should be thrown off the internet.

  2. Steven Lynch
    November 30, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    Fastmail should be included in this list. In over 11 and a half years of using the service, when I've had internet access there has only been 5 times or less that the site has been inaccessible, and only for a short while. Prices are very reasonable and features are rich. And because you are a customer not a product, values your privacy and your time, unlike the big "free" providers. This is revealed in this interview with Fastmail CEO Bron Gondwana amongst other things:

    "Free" is not free. You are selling your information for a price so low that "bargain basement" doesn't even come close to how little value you get compared to how much value they get. And you can see how little Google cares for service continuity if they are not making a killing on it. If you pay no cost, make no bones about it, you are the product, to be bought and sold as they see fit.

  3. Guillermo Torres
    November 28, 2019 at 11:53 am

    You left out awesome emails apps like Spark Email (my favorite) and by far the best free email app of 2019. Then there's also Edison Mail which is great to unsubscribe from annoying emails that advertised companies sent.

  4. x64.bits
    November 25, 2019 at 9:19 pm

    For those who mentioned "Yahoo" Think again...
    Yahoo account can be easily be Hacked and i wouldn't call it the safest.
    "In September 2016, Yahoo revealed a hack that compromised 500 million user accounts."

  5. Neehar
    August 28, 2019 at 5:57 pm

    How is Spark not mentioned??

  6. Dimitris Giannidakis
    August 26, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Proton is free?
    Why then do I have to pay $4 per month?

    • Nathan Filz
      October 5, 2019 at 8:01 am

      Because you have a Plus account...
      From their main page
      "ProtonMail is a free email service for the public good. You can help support online privacy by selecting a paid account. Your contribution helps us support more users and continue to develop ProtonMail as free and open source software."

  7. Loreto
    August 24, 2019 at 2:26 pm

    Fastmail is also excellent.

  8. Pierre
    August 15, 2019 at 10:44 am

    YUP - - Yahoo Mail is Still the One - - after all these years, too.

  9. Sean
    July 21, 2019 at 5:13 pm

    ProtonMail is the most secure free email service in the world. Big statement, I know

    • JonZone
      November 27, 2019 at 12:37 am

      "ProtonMail is the most secure free email service in the world. Big statement, I know"
      The statement is too big, exaggerated, and 100% incorrect.
      Without a doubt you have never tried every e'mail service available.
      Gmail, GMX, and others are extremely secure.

      • Peter Grant
        July 8, 2020 at 3:53 am

        Gmail is rubbish. They somehow lost my account.

  10. Gülbahar
    May 20, 2019 at 7:49 pm

    As a Chromebook user, I have a Gmail e-mailadress. Then, I have another one from my internet provider, which I never use.

    Gmail has gotten better over the years and I am not planning on switching. What I like about it is, it has all the apps you use for your Google account added altogether. You log in to your Gmail adress and there is everything you need. What I dislike about it is that, you get advertisements based on your browser activities and no matter what you turn off, ads will never go away. You can't sign up with dots or underscores.

    Over the years I have had different types of e-mailadresses from countless free e-mailservices, the best ones I had used so far were, Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook and Zoho.

    • hotdoge3
      August 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

      You say ads go in and turn off, I see no Ads [advertisements based on your browser activities]

      • Eric
        September 7, 2019 at 9:44 am

        Well lucky you... I most certainly fecking do. I can click on a link which may in fact (often is) deceptive, land on a page I'm not interested in, back out and inside of 60 seconds I'll get emails and/or links due to having expressed interest in (hah!) whatever it was that was being plugged on that prior landing page. Anything from Book Depository, Massively overendowed (supposedly) hot chicks who can't get enough of me (got news for them, y'aint gettin' nuffin' of me...AT ALL) and on... and on...and on........

        • Kaye Roberts
          November 27, 2019 at 11:53 am

          Hi Eric use an Ad Blocker I'm using Adblocker Genius Plus on Chrome I use Gmail for both work and personal emails and nada advertising on both.
          Hope this helps.

        • Kaye Roberts
          November 27, 2019 at 11:55 am

          Hi Eric I'm using Ad Blocker Plus on Chrome as an extension. I also use Gmail for work and personal never seen any advertising since started using Ad Blocker Plus. Hope this helps.

    • Talan's Mom
      July 31, 2020 at 2:19 pm

      I used dots on my e-mail address from gmail - before i vetoed them.
      I had no problem putting a period between my sons name & my name for an e-mail address for family & friends to use for sending things for him & i to see together & so he could use the gmail chat with them as well. I didn't want my child to have his own e-mail at 6 years old. But anyway - periods work fine on gmail, & I think they look better than underscores.

  11. tanzib
    April 28, 2019 at 6:44 am

    thanks informative

  12. Kit Kimes
    March 13, 2019 at 6:57 am

    As a Comcast (Xfinity) internet subscriber, I have access to 7 email addresses. I like the way that their email works and it has certain advantages over gmail in my opinion. What I like the most is the fact that if I ever decide to leave Xfinity, I can keep my email addresses as long as I like as long as I use them at least once every 3 months.

  13. Catalin
    December 27, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    Is yahoo still popular? What year is this?

    • oki
      April 15, 2019 at 10:06 am

      If you do not insist that you need your own domain e-mail address, YAHOO is the most reliable.

      I am using Yahoo since the mid 90tes and it let me never down.
      it just works, without any problem!

      • Neal Fildes
        August 17, 2019 at 1:00 am

        well, wasn't there some data breach?

        • Eric
          September 7, 2019 at 9:45 am

          There's never been a data breach at Gmail.... yeah right!

      • JonZone
        November 27, 2019 at 12:38 am

        Are you one of the hundreds whose account was hacked?

      • JonZone
        November 27, 2019 at 12:45 am

        The good, the bad or the ugly e'mail services.
        How many people have sees, or use Outlook Express Classic, a clone of the Windows XP Outlook Express with many added refinements, including the ability to collect mail from my Hotmail, Outlook, GMX and Gmail.
        Yes Dan Price, my email continues to be operational.