• Review: ZohoMail vs GoogleMail

    Zoho vs Google


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    You need to manage the email from your own domain, do you use Google Mail (distinct from gmail) which is part of Google Apps or Zoho Mail that is a Zoho Collaboration App?

    Both Google Apps and Zoho Apps both have options for all the bells and whistles. But what if you just want to look after your emails? After using both for several months, here is what I think of them side by side.

    What rocks:

    Google Mail integrates with the multitude of Google apps that you are likely to be using. Zoho Mail is free and integrates with Zoho apps.

    What sucks:

    Google Mail (Google Apps) has frustrating integration between email accounts and charges $5 a month. Zoho Mail has confusing draft settings.

    Low Down:

    After using Google Mail (as part of Google Apps) for several years and Zoho Mail for several months I find myself recommending Zoho Mail more and more often. Google has clunky integration between email accounts and Zoho have some very practical features that just make sense.


    Zoho Mail – $0
    Google Apps (including Google Mail) – $5 per month + taxes

    The Review

    I was using Google Mail as part of (Google Apps) for the last few years to manage the emails from my domain. When I went to add a new email account I found that the free service is no longer free. It is only $5 a month, but I figured it was time to shop around and see what else was out there.

    After a bit of research I found Zoho Mail which is free for mail. I set it up and have been running both consecutively for different accounts for over 6 months.

    I just want to clarify that by Google Mail I do not mean Gmail which is similar in many ways and looks almost identical. But Google Mail is a part of Google Apps and is designed to manage emails on your own domain name. Gmail is more similar to Hotmail and while you can attach your own domain to Gmail your mail will still come from Gmail rather from your own domain.

    It seems with all the advice I was given that this is not common knowledge.

    I figured for business emails, attaching my domain name to a Gmail account was not going to give me the professional image I was looking for.


    Having more than one website and web presence can be very frustrating with Google’s integration, so it was very nice to escape the Google empire for this new account. This may have consequences down the road if Google tighten up their game and become an even bigger super power, but for now their integration sucks, and using Zoho Mail instead of Google Mail has meant one less integration problem.

    If you just have one website,  one social media presence, one YouTube account and one email address then you will not have the integration problem, and using Google for a single sign it would have its benefits. But for all of us with more than one project on the boil a new mail host makes a lot of sense.


    Google Mail has email signature option that is lacking in usefulness but integrates with WiseStamp which is a great signature building app. Zoho Mail allows you to build custom signatures in their standard offering.

    Conversation display

    Google Mail combines conversations into one thread, which makes sense and could be a great feature, but the practical reality of this feature is that for long threads it can be very time consuming and frustrating to find the parts of the conversation you are looking for and they are not placed in sequential order.

    Also if you have more than one thread with the same conversation it gets very complicated.

    Zoho Mail uses the old fashioned approach to conversation display.


    Google Apps for Business is $5 a month or $50 a year + taxes, you get more features but I only use it for mail. Zoho Mail is free.

    Saving contacts from emails

    Google Apps does a better job than Zoho Mail of saving new contacts that you email.

    The verdict

    All in all Google Mail (Google Apps) and Zoho Mail will give you the ability to manage emails from your domain easily. The set up is relatively easy, the interfaces are simple and self explanatory and both products work as they should. If you only have one email account and one web presence then there are some sign in benefits to using Google Apps for Mail.

    If you have multiple web presences or email accounts then Zoho Mail will help you have more than one account open.

    If you are just looking for straight email with no bells and whistles and don’t want to pay a monthly fee, then Zoho Mail takes the cake.

    Post By Serena Star Leonard (13 Posts)

    As well as being one half of the Grassroots team, Serena is a business coach, blogger and author of the best selling book How to Retire in 12 Months and her latest book How to Succeed in 12 Months: Creating a Life You Love. She is currently travelling the world making mini documentaries for her passion project Five Point Five and helps people understand websites, business and how to get book deals.

    Website: → How to Retire in 12 Months


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Join in! There's already been 29 comments

  1. brendan August 20, 2013 @ 8:52 pm

    In Zoho Mail, you have an option to add the email address to contacts while composing the email. Goto Mail Settings >> Compose > Choose ‘Yes’ for Automatically add recipients to contacts. You can also make use of the feature “Add To” –> “Contacts” by opening the mail.

    To manage your contact email address in Zoho Mail, sign into Zoho Mail –> click ‘Contacts’ icon (available on left hand side) (or) sign into https://contacts.zoho.com/ directly –> here you can add/delete/edit the information.


    • Serena Star Leonard August 21, 2013 @ 7:51 am

      Hey Brendan, thanks for your tip!
      I find that needing to do this means it is not as intuitive as Google Mail. Google automatically remembers everyone you have emailed whether you have saved them or not. With Zoho Mail you have to take an extra step to save them.


      • lago March 01, 2014 @ 6:07 am

        Your’er right it’s not intuative at all!


      • John McCabe April 20, 2015 @ 9:34 pm

        Thanks for your review and the follow-up.

        I think a lot of people have a rather skewed view of what to expect from email. I think it might have been worth clarifying whether you were talking about the webmail interface or the service itself. Email, to me, is about choosing what mail client you want to use and being able to access your mail store through that e.g. by POP3, IMAP or whatever. As such you choose the client depending on your needs (e.g. you might choose Thunderbird, The Bat, Pegasus etc). If you choose to use a webmail interface that’s fine.

        As for Google defaulting to saving email addresses; that’s not necessarily a good thing and it might not be something you want, in which case, Zoho’s webmail interface not doing so might be a better choice of default. Either way though, if you’re using a separate email client, that choice will depend on which one you decide to use.

        Ultimately it all comes down to choice and cost; if you want multiple email accounts for your domain, and are offered them free of charge from Zoho, it seems a little unreasonable to expect all the facilities, with the same settings, that you would get from a paid-for service.


  2. Dan February 08, 2014 @ 2:26 am

    a good post thanks 🙂
    i was considering switching to google due to teething issues in syncing mac and iphone, which I guess isn’t actually a zoho issue!
    think I’ll try and work them out, thanks again.


    • Serena Star Leonard March 30, 2014 @ 6:40 pm

      Good luck Dan! Yes it doesn’t seem like an issue with the email host 🙂


  3. lago March 01, 2014 @ 6:06 am

    I’ve been using both Zoho & Google for my mail for years.
    Google offers everything except security.
    Zoho…………well I hope it’s more secure but other operatiing stuff is usable but pathetic. I’ve been onto them about,Archiving, Flagging etc…….no useful info because it does not work!
    I would have thought when you flag an email with a contact name/folder then ARCHIVED IT it would go to the named folder, NO SUCH LUCK.
    Also too often I send an email but it DOES NOT GET SENT.
    Therefor be prepared to check in SENT EMAILS to make sure.
    Not very good.


  4. Fran March 27, 2014 @ 3:24 am

    Thank you for this detailed comparison! I have just set up a Zoho email account for my business website, but I was second-guessing myself since I like Google’s calendar and docs. Thanks to your review, I’m more confident in my original choice of Zoho now. I’m just looking for email, since I integrate all of my schedules, contacts, and email accounts on my iphone anyway.


    • Serena Star Leonard March 30, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

      Hey Fran,
      Yes sometimes less is more! I don’t use any of the Google apps extra’s and still in the dark ages with my paper diary!! So I am happy with Zoho!


  5. Serena Star Leonard March 30, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

    A quick update now that I am a couple of years into using Zoho Mail – I get more SPAM in this account than I do on the Google Mail account.

    Maybe because of where my email address is published, but some of this spam seems to be obvious spam so I figure Zoho Mail could be better at filtering it.


  6. Yazid HO TEN YOU April 26, 2014 @ 4:56 am

    HI, I have a question: If i just buy a domain name and use it through gmail ( not google mail) does the gmail still automatically remember emails adress of the senders?


    • Serena Star Leonard April 26, 2014 @ 10:47 pm

      Hi Yazid,
      Are you asking if the contacts stay in your contacts list? As far as I know contacts in Gmail operate the same regardless of whether you use your own domain name or not.
      Serena 🙂


  7. Scott Erholm June 07, 2014 @ 4:02 am

    If you ever have the need to move one or more Google accounts to another, you will find the process incredibly inefficient, time-consuming, and onerous. Due to a domain-name change, I had to move my own account and several users to a new one, since Google will not simply let you change your email address of the primary account. Here is what I discovered:
    1. As the primary account administrator, I must manually re-create all user accounts from scratch.
    2. In order to avoid forcing my users to manually export and re-import all their own email messages, I must install a MS Windows utility (which makes the assumption that of course my organization uses Windows), create a CSV file for the user migration, and configure my account to allow the utility to run.
    3. Contact data must be manually exported and then re-imported to the new account by the user.
    4. Calendar data must be manually exported and then re-imported to the new account by the user.
    5. Drive data and files must be manually downloaded and then uploaded to the new account by the user. Depending on the file type, sometimes the original file format is not preserved, and some files simply cannot be downloaded at all.
    6. Sites data must be manually exported and then re-imported to the new account by the user.
    7. YouTube videos must be manually downloaded and then uploaded to the new account by the user.
    8. Google+ data may be manually exported and then re-imported to the new account by the user. The process seems is murky, with some waiting period enforced, and the user must first create a new Google+ account as a placeholder.

    Overall, it was such a painful experience and I found the process to migrate email to Zoho simple in comparison. Of course, Zoho does not have YouTube, Google+, and so on, but it does have Docs, Contacts, Calendar, and Notes. I am so happy to have divorced my organization from Google Apps!


    • Serena Star Leonard July 15, 2014 @ 1:12 am

      Thanks for the tips Scott! I am so happy I have never had to do that!! I am yet to be divorced from Google, but I am very happy that my email accounts are with separate providers and I seem to be using Zoho Mail more and more each day!


  8. Michelle July 19, 2014 @ 12:29 pm

    Does Zoho play well with Mac Mail or Outlook? Looking for something that integrates nicely with both programs. I currently use Yahoo Small Business and its email program doesn’t play nicely with either really. Thanks for all the tips!


    • Serena Star Leonard July 14, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

      I don’t know to be honest – of course you have the options of iMap but I am a PC user 🙂


  9. Ivonia August 09, 2014 @ 2:43 pm

    I use Zoho for about a year or 2 and love it very much.
    Not as popular as Google Mail but wonderful for sure.


  10. M. Green July 12, 2015 @ 6:19 am

    I am finding that, after now 15 years on Hotmail, it has more and more problems coming up, so for me it is unreliable. On the other hand, not for political reasons, just for “ease of use” issues, I really hate the organisation of Gmail. I know a lot of people love it, but unfortunately I have never done so – and I have tried it, with accounts I still rarely use.

    I really don’t like the organisation into “conversations” — as that is NOT what I want at all. Yahoo seems scarcely any better, so I am looking forward to trying Zoho mail, in the hope it will be a lot better. Maybe I will post a user comment after a while, but for now I am looking forward to giving it a go….


    • Serena Star Leonard July 14, 2015 @ 3:32 pm

      Good luck! Yes the conversations thing is awful! I am such a happy Zoho user now 🙂 Even though I run this and Google Mail side by side I much prefer Zoho.


  11. Tim August 05, 2015 @ 8:23 am

    Thanks for this evaluation and ongoing upkeep of comments Serena.
    I have a domain hosted by Google, and need to set up just a couple of e-mails with my domain. A couple of questions for you:
    1. Would the fact my domain is with Google make it a compelling reason to use Google Apps for email? (over say Zoho)
    2. If I were to use Zoho for email, and in the unlikely event I found I didn’t like it, how difficult is it to switch my domain emails over to Google Apps?


    • Serena Star Leonard December 11, 2015 @ 9:20 am

      Hey Tim,

      I am sorry I don’t actually know the answer to either of your questions! Maybe someone else can help with some suggestions here.

      Good luck!


  12. Redress December 06, 2015 @ 5:01 pm

    Spam! The moment I switched over to Zoho as a email host I started to receive more spam than ever before. Now I receive about 75 spam per day. I never had so much spam when I used GoDaddy or other email hosts. Yes, Zoho is free, but, I pay for it in my time deleting spam emails each day.


  13. Pat Savage December 11, 2015 @ 6:53 am

    I was heartened by what I read by these exchanges related to Zoho mail. I looked to migrate away from Go Daddy to Zoho as Go Daddy is almost doubling costs based on new e-mail policies. However, I have had nothing but headaches with Zoho. I cannot get my I-phone and Outlook to work with the zoho hosting, I keep getting an error that “Email is locked”. Tried Zoho support with urgent priority, still no response several hours later. Even got a e-mail and number from an account rep, and the call died when I tried to reach the person at the number HE SPECIFICALLY TOLD me to call. I would express that any small business looking to use the Zoho service as an alternative to other (unfortunately) costly services think twice. Very disappointing.


    • Serena Star Leonard December 11, 2015 @ 9:33 am

      That must be so frustrating! I hope that it gets worked out for you soon, email issues are a nightmare 🙁


  14. Julio December 11, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

    Very good comparison, I already tested the two , zoho mail is a good alternative , bad mail

    delivery problems does not justify the use , at least for me , I have a website with a

    contact page using a plugin for wordpress , famous form7 but in gmail , I get the contact,

    this is for me great , now the same can not be zoho , he simply does not deliver , and that

    to me is a reason for choosing google Apps , if you are smart and want their service email

    always online because she knows the importance that is choice google apps if you do not

    have a team can use a standard email to receive everything in one box of emails and filter

    for folders this is a great tip for those who need to work with various names of emails bad

    that only you operate or your team is collaborative and use the same box … then you can

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  15. Mimi January 07, 2016 @ 9:53 am

    Enjoyed your article and all the posts. Longtime user of TB for my 3 website emails. TB being no longer developed, I have been looking at both zoho and Gmail (or Google Apps) for a few years, and still on the fence. I need a way to easily and quickly personalize emails I send to groups, my beef customers, periodically, don’t want “undisclosed recipient”, but each email addressed to the recipient. Gmail now has a fab extension called GMass which I’ve tried and really like. Cannot find anything like that for Zoho mail. Are you aware of something similar for Zoho that I may be missing?


  16. Mimi January 07, 2016 @ 9:55 am

    Also, wanted to add that using aliases on Gmail to send mail from my website addresses, Gmail no longer let you use their outgoing servers, so you mail goes through the website hosting servers, which may stop large group mailings via GMass. Do you know if I got a Google App account, that I could use my website email addresses and use Gmail outgoing servers, or is it the same as for regular Gmail?


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