Google Gmail is one of the most well-known companies in the field of email providers. Considering its popularity, it seems like an obvious choice for business email. However, an issue has recently arisen regarding privacy and data security.
With stories revealed about the relationships that big tech companies have with government agencies, people are increasingly concerned about the privacy of their data and are looking for alternatives. One option is Protonmail, which sells itself on its approach to data security and encryption.
In this article, we take a look at the features, performance, support, and pricing of both email services to determine which is the best business email provider.
One of the main requirements for an email provider to be considered for business use is that it allows the use of custom domains. Protonmail and Gmail both offer this feature in their paid plans.
They also have similar user interfaces, with folders for inbox, drafts, sends, and more. You can create your own folders to archive emails as you like and create filters to perform different actions for incoming mail.
While there are many similarities between the two, there are also a few features unique to each vendor.
Protonmail’s main selling point is its advanced security: it has end-to-end encryption of all emails, the ability to encrypt emails with a password that the recipient needs to be able to open e-mail and e-mails that self-destruct after a set time. The company and its servers are based in Switzerland, which has strict data privacy laws.
The unique feature of Gmail is the ability to start a video or text conversation right from your inbox.
With so many similarities, which product has the best feature set will be determined by your attitude towards data security. If this is of the utmost importance, then Protonmail will be the best choice, but this added security comes with a downside.
Protonmail and Gmail both have apps for Android and iOS, or you can use the web version in your browser of choice on a desktop or laptop. Many desktop email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird, support Gmail, but Protonmail does not. If you want a desktop app for Protonmail, it seems the only option is a “wrapper” app, which you can download from Github.
The lack of a dedicated desktop app is offset by the fact that Protonmail’s web browser user interface is similar to many desktop apps.
Protonmail falls short of Gmail in another important area. As mentioned, Protonmail takes security very seriously. But while encrypting your data is great for security, it isn’t if you want to search for previous emails. In Gmail, you can search for old emails by subject, sender, recipient, date, folder, or content.
Due to the encryption process, Protonmail does not index your emails, which means you cannot search the content for anything. This makes the search function in Protonmail much more limited than in Gmail. If this type of search is something you use a lot, then you must ask yourself if the extra security is worth more than the missing functionality.
Protonmail and Gmail both have knowledge bases with articles covering a variety of different topics. Gmail has a help widget in its mailbox interface where you can search for answers, while Protonmail links you directly to the support section of its website.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in the existing help articles, you can contact the Protonmail support team by sending an email or filling out a form. The level of assistance varies depending on your plan.
Gmail itself does not provide any direct contact method, although you can ask questions in the Gmail Help Community forums. But because Gmail is part of G Suite, admins have access to 24/7 phone, email, and chat support when signed in to the admin account.
Tariffs and packages
Protonmail and Gmail both have free plans, but to use it for business purposes, you’ll need one of the paid plans. Note that the paid version of Gmail is actually part of G Suite, which also includes a collection of other Google apps.
Protonmail prices range from $ 5 / month for a single user to $ 8 / month for up to 5,000 users. Each user has 5 GB of storage and five email addresses. The single user has limits on the number of emails that can be sent per day. There’s also a Visionary plan for six users and 20GB of storage, which costs $ 30 / month and includes ProtonVPN. All Protonmail plans are cheaper if purchased for one year.
G Suite offers three plans (Basic, Business, and Enterprise) that range in price from $ 6 / month per user to $ 25 / month. Email storage for the Basic plan is limited to 30 GB, while the other two plans have unlimited storage.
Protonmail prices are cheaper, but G Suite offers a lot more storage space, which may be worth paying the extra, considering how quickly mailboxes can fill up.
Protonmail and Gmail have similar feature sets and can be used on any device. Gmail is a bit more expensive than Protonmail but includes a lot more storage space for emails. As Gmail is part of G Suite, it also comes with a large collection of other apps.
While we prefer the security of Protonmail to that of Gmail, the only reason it would be worth considering is that data privacy is a major concern. Even so, you should be prepared to give up the ability to search the content of your emails.
For most businesses, Gmail is probably the best choice for a business email service.