What email solutions do you recommend for people who are switching over to Digital Ocean?

Posted June 3, 2018 11.1k views
MiscellaneousEmailOpen SourceUbuntu 18.04

I’m planning to migrate over from a shared host to upgrade our hosting a bit. I will be self-managing a server after provisioning it using ServerPilot, which is something I’ve never done before but I am looking forward to the challenge.

Does anyone have anything that they can recommend as an email solution for me? I was provided with a mail server on my shared host, and I am willing to sacrifice that to move over to DO, but I still need somewhere to host my emails. I know that Google apps is, of course, an option, and MS Outlook is also a great option. However, those for me would be a last resort due to the added costs, so are there any other email services that you can recommend?

Thanks in advance for your answers!

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5 answers

Update: Zoho doesn’t allow smtp access to free acounts anymore, only webmail. The easiest free solution I’ve found is free smtp through and using gmail along with Improvmx forwarding to receive email.

There are plenty of other free imap or pop services out there, but nobody has all in one pop/imap AND smtp for free anymore. And why would they? There’s no way to monetize it.

You can try Zoho, they offer free email option upto 25 users. However, I would recommend you to go for GSuite from Google.


  • Yes, Zoho is the only other option I’ve come across until now, was wondering if there are others. G Suite would be my preferred option but it is fairly pricey.

Zoho is the best option for free email, don’t have to look anywhere else.


Zoho if you want a free solution. G Suite otherwise.

  • Yes but the free version of Zoho mail doesn’t let you log in via SMTP/IMAP to use apps like Apple Mail on iOS. It only lets you use their webmail and bespoke iOS app, which I don’t want to do.

    • They do have SMTP and IMAP support. I haven’t tried using it on the iOS Mail app but this is what I do. I have a gmail address and another email address under my own domain. I have my custom domain email connected with my gmail account via SMTP (iirc) and I receive emails to my custom one directly in my gmail inbox. Also, in the email composer, I can choose which email address I want to send from. All these while my custom email is connected with Zoho. Let me know if you want a thorough rundown (currently on mobile).

      • Oh, so you just installed it to forward them to your Gmail and then you reply from the custom address but from within Gmail. Is that what you mean?

        If that works, then I’ll set that up, bcs it’s looking like the best option from here.

        • Not exactly forward, but I have set up SMTP on my gmail account (in gmail settings in the desktop site) with the SMTP settings from the zoho settings panel, so any new mail to my custom address is delivered to my gmail account. When replying to messages, I have the option to choose between the gmail account and the custom account to reply from.

          • Oh that’s smart! But you’re still on the free Zoho plan, right?

            That’s really clever, will probably do the same. Thanks :)

          • How would this work for client emails?

            For example, I am hosting some client sites (wordpress) on my DO vps. How would I be able to provide them email accounts through Zoho?

            Right now I am running two mail-in-the-box servers on DO to provide client emails, but the extra cost is making it unsustainable.


        • @thephotographyblog yes I am on the free plan. No problem at all, glad I could help :)

I have used zoho as the best free solution, but google apps seems good if we want to go for the best option but thats a bit paid. Do you recommend anything else apart from it ?