Zoho Mail Review
Zoho Mail is a hosted email service that includes 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage in its introductory Mail Lite tier, which costs just $1 per user per month. It’s available for free with a 25 megabyte (MB) attachment limit for up to five users. Overall, Zoho Mail is a capable email solution with an intuitive client, but its relatively small initial storage limit as well as its sole focus on inbox technology rather than other productivity features has it falling slightly behind our hosted email Editors’ Choice winner, Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium in value versus price. Still, if you’re looking to separate from Microsoft, then Zoho represents a solid and surprisingly capable choice.
What makes Zoho so capable is its large and always growing portfolio of business apps that span both back office server programs as well as a host of front-end client software. Zoho Mail integrates tightly with all of these, and even better, you can access almost the entire library for just $1 dollar per user per day via the Zoho One tier, which is billed annually. To get a feel for the quality of these apps, check out our long list of reviews, including Zoho CRM, Zoho Cliq, and Zoho Expense.
Signing up for Zoho Mail is simple; you’re guided through the process with good step-by-step instructions to help you on your way. After creating my account and adding a few users, I had to associate my domain to Zoho Mail. In addition to verifying the domain by creating a text (TXT) record, there are some additional steps to make other email servers treat your domain in a slightly friendlier manner by adding a DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) record. I found this to be the most trying portion of the process because it’s mostly a waiting game. It can take up to 48 hours for these records to be properly accessible from your domain. You also need some familiarity with your domain setup, unless you happen to be in the pulldown of supported domain authorities. Players such as GoDaddy Web Hosting and even Google G Suite Business can make this process a little easier. But, for the most part, it’s the same for all providers.
On the email front, Zoho has put a great deal of thought into its email service and especially its client. That has paid off because the company has managed to innovate in a few exciting ways. One of the more interesting features is called Streams. Gone are the days that require a Cc email barrage to everyone on the team. With Streams and Mentions, those that need to be included can be, without having their inbox hammered by unnecessary distractions. It also seems to subtly encourage a collaborative effort for dealing with email.
Calendaring, notes, and tasks are also included. Notes are reminiscent of Post-it Notes, though I found them to be somewhat underpowered when compared to what’s available in other apps. It would be better to have this capability fleshed out so users would have something more on par with Evernote Business or Microsoft OneNote in the future.
One thing that Zoho doesn’t lack is collaboration tools. In addition to the full office suite available in Zoho Docs, the company also offers Cliq, which is their team chat app. Like Microsoft Teams, Cliq can help put everyone on the same page by letting users create channels in which they can discuss specific topics, share ideas, and collaborate on content. In addition, the Zoho Docs office suite lets multiple users work in real time on the same document—something that even Microsoft Office users typically need an extra app to do. For those big proposals that require a lot of fingers in the same pie, this is a killer feature to have.
However, it’s important to note that, even though all of these apps mostly integrate with one another to varying degrees, they’re still all separate apps. Zoho sports more than 30 business-class apps that span not only collaboration but also finance, project management, sales and marketing, and even vertical software for custom solutions, IT management, and retail. You can purchase any of these apps separately as part of the aforementioned Zoho One licensing package or in focused licensing packages that span sales with CRM Plus, general productivity with Workplace, accounting with Finance Plus, and back-office technology with the IT Management option. Be sure to investigate all of these options and their costs thoroughly before committing to a purchase.
Security and Privacy
On the security side, I found Zoho Mail’s anti-spam features to be adequate, likely on par with Amazon WorkMail (4.00 Per User Per Month at Amazon) though not as thorough as what I found in Google G Suite Business or Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium. However, Zoho Mail tended to be twitchy when it came to alerts from services to which I subscribe. For instance, I noticed that my bank security audit alerts always went to spam, so I had to specifically whitelist that domain. In general, however, Zoho Mail properly categorizes email into spam, newsletters, notifications, and normal inbox content.
In terms of anti-phishing, Zoho Mail doesn’t really do anything special beyond categorizing email as spam. This was a little bit of a disappointment considering the significant efforts that Google and Microsoft have put into adding additional protection in this category. In the future, it would be nice to see an additional warning for clicking on suspicious links.
Zoho does go out of its way to spell out its security policy in detail. The company outlines a variety of precautions that include measures at the physical and network layers as well as specific personnel guidelines that must be followed. In addition, they have both International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 27001 and SOC 2 compliance, which is inline with what you’ll find from the major players in this space. In general, Zoho Mail is as secure as Google G Suite Business or Microsoft Office 365 Business Premium, at least on paper.
Zoho Mail is wonderfully self-contained, mainly because it has such a huge stable of other Zoho apps from which you can choose and Zoho Mail integrates with most of them. However, Zoho Mail does offer a selection of external integration options, too, as well as an application programming interface (API), a variety of dedicated mobile apps, and a custom solutions arm. The Zoho Marketplace has plug-ins available for popular apps such as Dropbox, Evernote, Salesforce, and many more.
One of the better integration options is with Dropbox and similiar apps. In addition to being able to add attachments to mail directly from Dropbox, you can also save attachments directly to the service. If you have a favorite app, then it’s worth taking a look in the Zoho Marketplace to see what Zoho or a partner may have done with it.