There are lots of email clients that will allow you to access your business emails. But the best ones are free, work on multiple operating systems, offer extra functionality like storage and the ability to handle large file attachments and can handle multiple email accounts.
Many also offer their own free email addresses. However, as a business, you’ll probably want to buy your own domain name, so you’ll need an email client that allows you to send and receive emails as your own name rather than @gmail.com or similar. If this doesn’t matter to you, then visit our suggestions for the best free email services, all of which include a free email address. For cost effective ways to register your own domain, visit our Web name registration page.
All of the following free email applications offer the ability to read and send emails from your own business web address (your domain name such as @yourbusiness.com).
The big 2 free email clients
Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook.com are hybrid solutions as they offer email clients as an app on many platforms as well as access through a web browser. Their free versions allow use of an @gmail.com or @outlook.com email address but also support your own domain name. They’re both great for ease of use, integration with many operating systems and devices, security and price, as well as integration with other online tools such as cloud storage.
Other free email clients
Mozilla Thunderbird is installed onto your computer and includes all the features you’ll need to send and receive emails for your business. It’s free, is available in over 50 languages and works for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows.
If you’d like to run multiple email accounts from one client and have a single, simple interface, Inky is a popular free email client. It’s available for Windows and Mac and an Android version will be out soon.
If you’re after an Outlook-esque email client, then eM Client is a powerful, simple email application that offers easy importing of data from Outlook and has the expected range of contacts, calendar and to do lists. It’s available for Windows only.
We’re going to (slightly) separate out free email services from email clients/applications here.
Standalone email client applications, for our purposes, is software that you install onto your device to download and read emails. Click here for standalone email clients.
On this page, you’ll find details of the best places to go for a free email address along with a free, often online, way to download your emails.
Gmail is the free email service offered by Google. All their emails end in the .gmail.com suffix so it might not represent your business quite how you want. However, it’s free and you can set up an account with a firstname.lastname@example.org address. You can also access emails across devices.
Microsoft offer a similar email service – but it keeps changing its name. From Hotmail to Live and now known as Outlook.com, microsoft’s email service is reliable and free and integrates with Microsoft’s other online services such as One Drive cloud storage. There are also supporting apps on most major mobile platforms.
If you don’t want to go with the big two, then you might try GMX. This is another free email service which will give you an email address with the email@example.com suffix and comes with lots of other bells and whistles which we describe more in our email client software section.
If you’re setting up a business, you’ll need a basic suite of software that’s cheap (preferably free) and reliable and can grow with the business with the minimum of maintenance.
Below you’ll find links to free software covering all the business basics.
For other software and applications, visit our Software and Apps zone.
It can be a wrench to move away from Microsoft Office and onto free alternatives, but these days there are high quality, entirely free alternatives that work on a variety of platforms and operating systems.
Unless otherwise stated, each of the alternatives below offer a word processing, spreadsheet, presentation applications (and usually one or two others such as a drawing package or form-creator).
LibreOffice has been around for many years and spawned from the OpenOffice project so is based on firm foundations. It offers a free suite of the usual three applications plus a database manager, drawing package and charting/graphing tool, and works on Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems.
Google Docs is probably the best known of the freebie office suites, offering the usual applications plus a tool to create online forms and a drawing application. It also seamlessly integrates with other Google tools, meaning it gives you access to things like free online storage through Google Drive and mobile apps for use on other devices.
Similar to LibreOffice, Apache Open Office was borne from the original OpenOffice project. In addition to the usual tools, it includes a drawing and mathematical equations application. It also works on Macintosh, Windows and Linux. It too uses the Open Office document format but will also read many Microsoft Office document formats. At the time of writing, Apache Open Office claims over 100 million dowloads.
Other free Microsoft Office alternatives include NeoOffice for Mac OS X and Calligra for Windows, OS X and Linux.