The 5 best free email account services you can use online

man using phone and laptop at home
Some of the best free email accounts include Gmail, Outlook, iCloud, ProtonMail, and Yahoo Mail.

  • The best free email accounts, like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook, offer users reliable and easy-to-use features.
  • You can also go with more niche free email account services, like ProtonMail.
  • When picking a free email service, consider what features are important to you, like security, data storage, or add-ons like video conferencing.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference section for more stories.

In the early days of the internet, it seemed like there were thousands of free email service providers. Since then, a select few have dominated the space thanks to their reliable features, customizable interfaces, and extensive storage options.

The best free emails accounts

While Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook stand above the rest in terms of well-rounded, accessible features, there are a couple outliers users should consider depending on their email needs.

Gmail

Gmail is an obvious choice for many reasons: It’s free, customizable, and gives users access to the full Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite). More than a billion people use Gmail across the world.

Here are the features that make Gmail stand out:

  • Schedule send (which lets users can schedule when an email is sent out)
Gmail schedule send page
Instead of sending an email immediately, you can schedule it to go out at a specific time.

  • Automatic Out Of Office replies
  • Advanced search via the toolbar to find specific emails
  • 15 GB of free storage
  • Offline access (with Google Chrome)
  • Spam mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
  • The ability to snooze emails for later
Gmail Snooze until window
When you snooze an email, it’ll reappear unread at the top of your inbox at the time you select.

  • Share files directly from Google Drive with email recipients without leaving the message box
  • Automatically filter emails into categories for Promotions, Social, and Updates
  • Undo send
  • Send confidential emails that expire within a specific period of time upon receipt

While Gmail has a highly customizable interface and sleek design, its labeling system could use some work. Users often have to customize labels and manually filter emails into folders, rather than the service doing it intuitively.

Outlook

Microsoft Outlook has such a vast array of features that can either be incredibly useful, or overwhelming to those who want a simpler email service. Like Gmail, Outlook integrates with other Microsoft programs like Office, OneDrive, Skype, Calendar, PayPal, and DocuSign.

Here are the features that make Outlook stand out:

  • Schedule send (where users can schedule when an email is sent out)
  • Automatic Out Of Office replies
  • Advanced search function via the toolbar to find specific emails
  • 15 GB of free storage (subscribers get 50 GB)
  • Offline access (via the Outlook Web App)
  • Junk mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
  • The ability to snooze emails for later
  • Automatic email filtering (Outlook organizes emails it deems important to go to the “Focused Inbox”)
  • Works seamlessly with other Microsoft-related apps within the platform
Outlook integrated Microsoft apps
Outlook integrates Microsoft apps like Word, Skype, and OneDrive into the email platform.

  • Similar editing abilities users would find in Microsoft Word

Unlike Gmail, Outlook’s template for automatic email replies is restrictive and doesn’t offer many options. However, it’s ability to filter, label, and find emails puts it a notch above the rest.

iCloud

Most Apple users know about iCloud’s email service, but don’t have one. The good news is you can set up an iCloud email account in a few minutes. iCloud’s email service is for anyone looking for a no-frills option that can accomplish basic email functions without much fuss.

Here are the features that make iCloud stand out:

  • Automatic Out of Office replies
  • 5 GB of storage (additional space can be purchased in monthly or yearly installments)
  • Junk mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
  • Filters can be easily set up using Rules, which can be found on the sidebar
  • Access to Apple apps like iCloud drive, Notes, Reminders, Photos, Calendar, Contacts
  • Can be synced with any iOS device
  • Minimalist design is easy to use
  • Allows users to designate “VIP” senders

The biggest downside of iCloud’s email service is that you must have an Apple device to get full access to all its features. An iCloud email account also doesn’t have the ability to schedule send emails, snooze emails for later, or access email offline. However, if you have an Apple ID, signing up for iCloud is the easiest, quickest way to get an email address.

ProtonMail

Users who are looking for the epitome of email security should look no further than ProtonMail. ProtonMail’s mission is to provide users with the privacy and security, which has made it a favorite among journalists and government figures.

All emails are automatically encrypted unless otherwise selected, making it the best choice for anyone looking to ensure the security of their correspondence, but who can also overlook the service’s lack of extra features.

Here are the features that make ProtonMail stand out:

  • End-to-end encryption on every email, even with those who don’t have ProtonMail
proton1
ProtonMail messages can be encrypted even for non-ProtonMail emails.

  • Encrypted email data
  • Email expiration dates (automatically deletes an email after a certain amount of time, ranging from one hour to 28 days)
ProtonMail expiration date window
You can set an expiration date for an email in ProtonMail.

  • Recipients will receive a one-time password to access an encrypted email
  • Anonymous sign-up

There are a few downsides to using ProtonMail, like only being able to send up to 150 messages per day. And at just 500MB, it’s free email storage is abysmal compared to other services. There’s also no way to filter messages into more than three folders.

Yahoo Mail

Don’t cast Yahoo Mail aside just yet. Yahoo has been around longer than many of the other email providers, but doesn’t get enough credit for its features and hefty storage options. In recent years, Yahoo has scrapped the flashy, page-length advertisements for a more robust, polished email interface that resembles its competitors.

Here are the features that make Yahoo stand out:

  • Schedule send (where users can schedule when an email is sent out)
  • Automatic Out of Office replies
  • 1 TB of free storage (significantly more than most providers)
  • Junk mail filter provides security against phishing and bugs
  • Easy ability to connect external apps, like Google Drive and Dropbox
  • Disposable email address (users can create up to 500 disposable email addresses that can’t be linked back to their primary account)
  • Customizable folders and layout
  • Ability to easily unsubscribe from unwanted emails without leaving your inbox
  • GIF keyboard
yahoo gif uploader window
Yahoo Mail has a built-in GIF uploader.

  • Import contacts from sites like Facebook
  • SMS and text message capabilities
  • Track packages and mail within the Yahoo Mail app

Yahoo’s biggest downfall is it can, at times, be buggy and slow. Creating filters isn’t as intuitive as other competitors, making organization time-consuming. However, if you want to add Yahoo Mail to the mix, the app makes it easy to integrate your other inboxes (Gmail, AOL, Outlook) all in one place.

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How to log into your Gmail account on a computer or mobile device

senior typing on laptop with smartphone
Logging into your Gmail account only takes a second on any device.

  • You can log into your Gmail account, and enable automatic Gmail logins, on the mobile app or desktop website.
  • If you logged out of Gmail, signing into your account is quick and easy, as long as you know your password.
  • Make sure to log out of your Gmail account when using shared or public computers for security.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

Gmail makes it easy to not only access your emails, but also connect to other Google services, such as Google Docs, Google Drive, Google Calendar, and so on.

What’s even better is that you can perform actions, like adding an event to your Calendar or sharing a Google Doc, using your Gmail account.

But before you can do any of that, you need to log into Gmail – here’s how.

How to log into your Gmail account on a mobile device

On your phone, you’re usually automatically signed into Gmail. However, if you’ve logged out or deleted the app, here’s how to log back in.

1. Download and open the Gmail app on your iOS or Android device.

2. Tap the “Sign in” button at the bottom of your screen. If you already have an email account linked in the app and want to add another account, simply tap your profile icon in the top-right corner and then tap “Add another account.”

gmail
Tap “Add another account.”

3. On the next page, tap “Google.”

gmail2
You can also connect other types of email accounts to your Gmail app.

4. Tap “Continue” to allow Google to sign into your account.

gmail3
Tap “Continue.”

5. Follow the steps to log in.

gmail5
Enter your email or phone number and click “Next.”

You can check the box next to “Remember me” to stay logged into your Gmail account on your device.

How to log into your Gmail account on a computer

To log into Gmail on your Mac or PC, simply go to Gmail.com and enter your account email (or associated phone number) when prompted, and enter your password. Check the box next to “Remember me” if you’d like to stay logged in automatically.

gmail6
Enter your password and select “Next.”

And if you’re logging in on a public or shared device, don’t forget to log out of Gmail when you’re done for the day.

How to add a signature in Gmail to automatically sign and personalize your emailsHow to reset and change your Gmail password if you’ve forgotten it, on desktop or mobileHow to log out of a Gmail account on your iPhone by removing the Google account from your deviceHow to add a Gmail account to your iPad in 2 different ways

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How to delete your Gmail account without losing any of your data

  • You can delete your Gmail account in the “Data & Personalization” tab of your Google settings.
  • Deleting your Gmail account won’t delete your Google account entirely, but will delete all the email you have saved at that address.
  • Once you delete your Gmail account, you won’t be able to send or receive email from that address.
  • You can download your email data before deleting the Gmail account, if you’d like to save your emails.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

If you have a Gmail account that you no longer want, whether because it was for a business you no longer run, or was created when you were thirteen and now only receives spam emails, you may find yourself wanting to delete it. 

When you delete a Gmail address, you won’t delete the Google account associated with it. This means you’ll still be able to use other Google apps like YouTube or Docs.

However, deleting the Gmail address means deleting all the email saved inside of it. Additionally, neither you nor anyone else will be able to send or receive mail at that address.

So, make sure you’re absolutely sure of your decision before you decide to delete your Gmail account. 

If you’re certain you want to do it, here’s how to delete a Gmail account using any internet browser on your PC or Mac computer.

How to delete your Gmail account

1. Open the Gmail account that you want to delete on your PC or Mac computer.

2. Click on your profile icon in the top-right corner to open your account menu.

3. From your account menu, click “Manage your Google Account.”

How to delete Gmail account
Select “Manage your Google account.”

4. In the left-hand sidebar, click the “Data & personalization” tab.

5. Scroll down and click “Delete a service or your account.”

How to delete Gmail account
Go to “Data & personalization” and then “Delete a service or your account.”

6. Click “Delete a service” under the “Delete a Google service” section.

How to delete Gmail account
Find the “Delete a Google Service” heading.

7. Enter your password, if prompted, to verify that it’s you.

8. On this page you can choose to download your data before deleting your account by clicking the blue “DOWNLOAD DATA” button. 

9. Click on the trash can icon next to “Gmail” at the bottom of the page.

How to delete Gmail account
Click the trash can and then provide a confirmation email address.

10. Enter an email to send a confirmation message to. This email cannot be another Gmail account. Click the blue “SEND VERIFICATION EMAIL” button. 

11. Log into the email account you provided and open the email that Google just sent. Click on the link inside to finish the deletion process.

Related coverage from Tech Reference:

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Google says Gmail should be restored shortly after users had problems during the company’s second service disruption in 2 days

Gmail Google laptop
  • Google said it expects to resolve Gmail issues by 4:00 p.m. PT after a “significant subset of users” experienced problems with the email service on Tuesday, according to Google.
  • Although users can access Gmail, Google said, users saw error messages, lags, and ‘unexpected behavior.’ 
  • On Tuesday evening, DownDetector received over 16,000 reports that users were having problems with Gmail. 
  • The service issue is Google’s second in two days. Yesterday, an outage took out YouTube, Gmail, and Google Maps for about an hour. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google said on Tuesday that it plans to have Gmail running normally again by 4:00 p.m. PT after a large number of users experienced issues.

“We expect to resolve the problem affecting a significant subset of users of Gmail at 12/15/20, 4:00 PM. Please note that this time frame is an estimate and may change,” Google said on its website.

Gmail users experienced lags, error messages, and ‘unexpected behavior’ on the popular email service on Tuesday, according to Google. The platform didn’t specify how many users have been affected, but service monitoring website DownDetector received over 16,000 reports of issues with Gmail Tuesday evening.

“We’re aware of a problem with Gmail affecting a significant subset of users. The affected users are able to access Gmail, but are seeing error messages, high latency, and/or other unexpected behavior,” read an alert on Google’s service dashboard earlier on Tuesday.

The service issues come just a day after Google experienced a large outage that took out Google Maps, YouTube, and Gmail. Monday’s service issues began at about 6:30 a.m. ET and were resolved around 8 a.m. ET, Business Insider previously reported.

On Tuesday, Google first reported that Gmail was having issues at 4:29 p.m. At 5:18 p.m. Google wrote, “Our team is continuing to investigate this issue. We will provide an update by 12/15/20, 6:00 PM with more information about this problem. Thank you for your patience.”

For the latest about the service disruptions, check Google’s Workspace Status Dashboard.

Read the original article on Business Insider