Freemail provider in comparison

Worldwide over 300 billion mails per day: this is the remarkable balance of electronic mail. It is impossible to imagine everyday business life without it as a means of communication, even in the age of instant messaging, social media and video telephony. Given the ongoing success story of email, the sheer number of freemail providers is not surprising either. Because receiving and sending e-mails does not have to cost anything: Freemail providers are particularly popular with private users.

Where you can find the most Storage space get for free, the highest Security standards enjoy and which Features the offerers otherwise still offer, read in our overview. In addition to the three major international freemail providers Gmail, Yahoo Mail and Outlook.com we take with GMX, Web.en and mail.de also takes a close look at three of the most popular German services.

All information is up to date as of January 2022.

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The best freemail providers in direct comparison

Provider

Gmail

GMX

Web.en

Yahoo Mail

Outlook.com

Mail.en

freenet Mail

Mailbox storage

15 GB incl. Cloud

2 GB incl. Cloud

Cloud storage

15 GB incl. Mailbox

Only via link to external service

2 GB incl. Mailbox

Max. Size for file attachments

POP3

IMAP

Server locations

German data protection

Apps

Gmail

The service, launched by Google in 2004, really shook up the industry at the time: For the first time in the history of freemail, a provider granted users a mailbox size of 1 GB. This started a real race of the freemail providers for the largest storage volume, which is not over until today. Accordingly, since the introduction of Gmail storage space to a decisive factor in this competition. As a result, more and more freemail providers are now integrating cloud services for file storage into their offerings, in addition to larger mailboxes.

So Gmail currently offers a Total volume of 15 GB storage space for the bundled Google services Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos offers. Relatively generous is also the maximum size of file attachments, which is by default 25 MB. Alternatively, for larger attachments, the service offers to send a link to Google Drive instead of the file.

At Ease of use and layout Since its introduction, Gmail has been based on an interface that, despite being browser-based, is very similar to standalone email clients such as Outlook or Thunderbird – this was also a revolution in 2004. Meanwhile, the interface can also be customized: For example, the design can be personalized with your own photos. Tabs can also be customized as needed. You can also set the size of the various elements.

Another advantage of Gmail lies in its perfect integration into the Google universe: In addition to Google Drive, this is especially Google Meet advantageous. This allows you to chat with friends or have a video conversation with up to 100 people within Gmail – across devices. In addition, the freemail service is also available as apps for Android and iOS devices. Mailboxes can be retrieved using both the POP3 and IMAP protocols.

The main drawback of Gmail is data protection: Google is repeatedly criticized by data protectionists due to supposed softening of their own guidelines. In addition, consumer advocates in Germany see violations of German data protection regulations: Because users’ mails are "scanned" for certain signal words. On the one hand, this is intended to identify spam, but on the other hand, personalized advertising can also be displayed.

After all, the standard active SSL/TLS encryption ensures that mails are "even better protected during transmission between your web browser and Gmail servers". However, this does not mean – as is the case with all the freemail providers listed – that your e-mails are encrypted end-to-end: The mail contents themselves are not specially protected, but only the e-mail transport to the server.

Advantages

Disadvantages

15 GB storage space

No German data protection, as e-mails u. a. are "scanned" for personalized advertising

Integration into the Google universe

Numerous setting and personalization options

Clean and intuitive user interface

Apps for Android and iOS

Google Workspace with IONOS

Collaboration redefined! Use Gmail with your domain and benefit from all Google apps in one central location!

Work everywhere
Video conferencing
share data

GMX is the first of the German freemail providers in this overview, and also the largest with the most users in Germany: this freemail provider accounted for over 25 percent of the user share here in 2020. Which indirectly brings us to the first advantage: GMX, as a founding member, has the Initiative "E-Mail Made in Germany launched with. The basic conditions for this seal of approval are u. a. Server locations in Germany and data processing according to the strict German data protection guidelines. The transfer of emails to the GMX server takes place exclusively SSL/TLS encrypted. The data transfer between the servers of the individual providers of the initiative is also encrypted. Two-factor authentication provides even more security. In addition to their own password, users identify themselves with a one-time password (OTP), which they receive via the app.

The mailbox memory at GMX is 1 GB by default. However, you can expand it with the free activation of "GMX MailCheck": this free upgrade lets you encrypt mails, set up desktop notifications for incoming mail, and unlock an additional 500 MB of mailbox space. Thus with GMX altogether up to 1.5 GB free of charge available. Attachments can be up to 20 MB in size; in the in-house cloud storage you can currently store files with a total size of up to 2 GB, which can, however, be expanded to up to 8 GB free of charge by installing apps. German data protection guidelines also apply to data in the cloud.

With GMX are Apps for Android and iOS Available. Thanks to this wide range of apps, all e-mails and mailbox folders are available at any time, even when on the move. In addition, of course, a spam filter is also integrated.

Visually, the Interface of GMX Blue by default. Alternative designs can be selected and saved in the settings. Navigation works via menu bars on the top and left side. While the top one enables a quick switch between the standard features such as mailboxes, cloud, calendar or address book, on the left there are also advertising entries and links to other GMX products, which finance the free e-mail service.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Server in Germany

Mailbox storage relatively tight with a maximum of 1.5 GB

Somewhat unclear user interface

Free upgrade option for "GMX MailCheck

2 GB cloud storage included

Apps for Android and iOS

WEB.DE

Web.de is in Germany the Second most popular freemail provider, which recently claimed 24 percent of user shares and thus ranks only just behind GMX. Like GMX, the service is part of the United Internet Group, which is reflected not least in the design of the site, since GMX and Web.de are very similar in structure.

By default, access to Web.de to 1 GB e-mail storage at. In the service’s own online storage an additional 2 GB for photos, videos and other files available. By installing various apps, freemail users can expand cloud storage up to 8 GB. Attachments may be up to 20 MB in size.

Fortunately, the apps of the freemail provider are also available for both Android and iOS. Also the Retrieval of mails via IMAP is possible free of charge, so that with Web.The mailboxes can be kept in sync on multiple devices.

How GMX is web.de one of the founders of the "E-Mail Made in Germany" initiative, which makes the service a high data protection standard and stores and processes mails as well as files stored in the cloud exclusively in German data centers. Encrypted transmission is provided, as well as virus and spam protection.

Advantages

Disadvantages

Somewhat confusing user interface

data centers in Germany

with activation of the free "MailCheck", you get a total of 2 GB of mailbox space

2 GB cloud storage included (expandable up to 8 GB for free)

Email retrieval via IMAP as well as apps for Android and iOS possible

Yahoo Mail

With Yahoo Mail, another freemail provider besides Gmail is relying on massive storage space: Here, the user is even given record-breaking 1.000 GB (or. 1 TB) offered. Deleting mails is now largely a thing of the past. The flip side of the coin: A dedicated cloud storage is missing. Only the connection to external services such as Dropbox or Google Drive is possible, which, however, requires a corresponding, separate account. In 2017, the provider presented Yahoo Mail Pro, a paid alternative to the basic version, which features an ad-free interface and prioritized customer support, among other things.

In addition, Yahoo Mail also offers many personalization options: Layout, sorting and the preview of messages can be customized, as can the design of the inbox. In addition to other features such as a Messenger, Apps for iOS and Android as well as POP3 and IMAP queries is also an "adaptive" spam filter on board. According to the company, this is supposed to block "more than 15 billion spam e-mails a day". Also, with Yahoo Mail, you can easily find so-called Throwaway addresses set up. In a way, this is a preventive anti-spam measure, as you can use these mail addresses to register with online retailers, mailing lists or forums, for example, without having to disclose your actual e-mail address. If it is no longer needed, it can be easily deleted again. This reduces the volume of unwanted advertising mail, for example.

In terms of Privacy there are however with Yahoo Mail the same cutbacks as with Gmail to register. For the transmission of mails between the browser and the Yahoo server SSL/TLS encryption is used.

Advantages

Disadvantages

1 TB storage space for e-mails

Cloud storage is only available by linking to external services like Dropbox or Google Drive

Easy setup of disposable addresses

No German data protection: contents of emails are also analyzed for advertising purposes

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