Google G Suite becomes chargeable: what are alternatives?

For many years, you could use G Suite with your own domain free of charge - this will end in the summer of 2022, and subscriptions that have been running up to now will have to be converted or can no longer be used. At some point, the data will also be lost if you don't react to it.

The advantage of G Suite was that you could use your own domain and create multiple users. As an alternative, Google (of course) recommends its own solution in the form of Google Workspace Business Starter, which is offered at a discount for former G Suite customers for the next 12 months:

22.01.2022 until 22.07.20220,00 € EUR per user and month (5,20 € EUR 100.00 % discount)
22.07.2022 until 22.07.20232,60 € EUR per user and month (5,20 € EUR 50.00 % discount)
After 22.07.20235,20 € EUR per user and month
Google Workspace Business Starter plan for G Suite migrants

In the summer of 2023, I will then take a closer look at alternatives, currently I have eight different accounts running in the family which would then cost 41.60 EUR per month from 22.07.2023, which would amount to around 500 EUR over the year: definitely too much for private convenience, but basically a fair offer in my opinion, due to the generous transition period.

Nevertheless, I have already looked for possible alternatives that meet the following criteria:

  • Own domain(s), independent of the actual domain hosting
  • Reliable mail sending and receiving (especially acceptance of SPAM filters, you want your own mails to reach the recipient)
  • Good integration with mail clients (at least IMAP, ideally push)
  • Sufficient storage space: currently my private mailbox contains a good 3.8 GB of mails
  • Availability & reliability should be a matter of course
  • a certain level of data protection, if e-mails themselves are already not sent encrypted

In a hurry I found four solutions that basically meet my requirements. The only problem are the 8 accounts, maybe I will reduce here a bit, in the end some mail accounts are also only due to the better overview and could also be replaced by aliases.

  1. Microsoft 365 for up to 6 users
    For EUR 99 per year (which means EUR 1.375 per user per month and significantly cheaper than the Google solution), Microsoft basically meets all requirements apart from data storage in Germany.
  2. Mail-in-a-Box
    The complete opposite is Mail-in-a-Box, a preconfigured mail server for self-hosting (on a VPS, for example at Hetzner). Advantages: more than one domain, any number of accounts, more expensive than the Microsoft solution at about 15,- EUR per month, but more flexible.
  3. Apple iCloud+
    200 GB comes to EUR 2.99/month and can be shared with up to five family members. In the meantime, it is also possible to use one's own domain, and there are features like hiding the e-mail address when logging in and "Private Relay", which can be used to disguise the data flow and one's own identity. This is practical if you already use a lot of Apple devices.

    Disadvantage: five different domains can be created, but only three mail accounts can be created per domain. This makes it a bit impractical in my case, at least for my mainly used mail domain.
    This provider advertises that its servers are located in Germany, supports its own domains and, at EUR 3 per month and user, is cheaper than the Google solution, but more expensive than the corresponding Microsoft product. It is more flexible, however, if a mail account is no longer needed.

There are many other email solutions on the market that basically meet the requirements - in the end, everyone has to know for themselves what is important to them. Storage space in the cloud is not a factor for me, for example, but the ability to receive and send larger attachments.

Who else uses G Suite and faces the same problem? What is your solution? Sure, for some things a free Gmail or address (or from any other provider) is enough, but for some purposes a personalized domain is still preferable.

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