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best alternatives to G suite ?

freedom from Google?

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I am not a techie person and i find it extremely difficult to either figure out which G Suite paid subscription to subscribe to as google said they are stopping free google workspace subscriptions in June. After many years with gsuite, i would like to emigrate to other platforms provided free/cheap, i can register using our own domain email address, they are secure/encrypted, preferably open source and they can export emails to desktop oultlook. Basically i would like to free away from Google. Any help most welcome. Thanks.

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By TaxTeddy
19th Jun 2022 10:14

Although I suspect this would not be a direct replacement for your G-suite, I have for many years embraced open source software and continue to find it is ideal as the central plank of my practice software.

The cross-platform ability of open source software has been particularly useful because over the years I have migrated from Mac to Windows and back to Mac again so having the ability to keep all of my data has been a brilliant benefit.

For email I use Mozilla's Thunderbird. Not the prettiest solution but it's a real workhorse, it's versatile and customisable - and it just works. Similarly, my office suite is Apache's OpenOffice - and there is an alternative flavour available as LibreOffice. Again, these are not particularly pretty but they are unbelievably customisable and they easily perform all of the grunt that my practice requires in terms of spreadsheets and word processing.

As I say, I'm not sure if these would be considered replacements for your existing setup because they are not a remote cloud based solution, but I thought I would share in case they are of interest.

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By janelm
19th Jun 2022 11:30

I am in the same situation of having a legacy G-Suite account (whereby you can have your own custom domain hosted by Google, use GMail etc for no cost). I am quite techie having graduated in the late 90s as the web got started alongside many friends now in IT.

I have been considering my options since they first notified us at the end of Jan. Gmail is arguably the market leader in email, in that it has great spam filters, good security (2 factor authentication which I use) and I have never had problems with my sent-emails ending up in client spam-folders. I dimly remember the pre-Gmail days, and I have witnessed other email problems with another domain, whereby if your ISP/email hosting provider has its servers blacklisted for any reason (e.g. another user sending out mass spam), this can affect other users with the same ISP, e.g. all your emails might start ending up in client spam folders or even being rejected by their mail servers.

I could just have my email hosted back at my ISP (where I renew/pay the domain fees/have the website - I just point the MX mail servers at Google for email) for free/within my webhosting package but I am loathe to take the risk. Although I have a secure document portal, clients continue to send all sorts of email attachments with personal financial information, and I regard email security as extremely important (within the measures I can take, I know that fundamentally email is not a secure method of communication).

I use Thunderbird on my desktop (with Gmail) but usually just a browser for email on my laptop. You can set up IMAP/pop3 for pretty much any hosted email to get it into Outlook/Thunderbird etc so this (probably) doesn't need to determine where you choose to host your domain/email. You may find that you already have free email with if you just point the MX mail servers back at the original hosting company - usually the 'free/cheap' email option would be within your overall website hosting package, assuming you have one.

I have had fantastic service/usage of gmail for over 10 years without paying a penny, and I'm aware many have already paid huge amounts in that time who joined GSuite with their custom domains later on, as they have been charging for many years. Thus, as a sole practitioner, I think £55.20/user pa is a pretty reasonable charge (and there is 3 months free, 12 months half price before even getting to £55.20/pa) as I only need the basic Business Starter which is currently offered at £2.30/user from Sept for a year and then £4.60/user thereafter. I am just keeping two paid user accounts and have migrated my family to new free gmail addresses in the last few months. If you have a lot of staff/user accounts obviously it does have greater cost implications.

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21st Jun 2022 10:57

OneDrive is the closest like for like replacement, but IMO G-suite is better.

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By Charlie Carne
21st Jun 2022 17:35

Why would you want to put one of the most fundamental parts of your business (email and, perhaps, file storage) on a free (or even cheap) platform? Anything free is worth exactly what you pay for it.

Some of the answers above confuse the platform (where your email and files are stored) with the software used to access it (eg an email program). I would strongly recommend a business subscription to a good email platform and far and away the two best platforms are G Suite and Microsoft 365. I use M365 and like it very much, but many others prefer Google; both are excellent. I don't know the Google product well enough to recommend which subscription you need but, for M365, I'd choose either the Business Basic sub @ £4.50 pm or Business Standard at £9.40 pm. Both prices apply for annual subscriptions; if paying monthly, they are £5.40 and £11.30 pm respectively). If you don't want to pay £4.50 pm for software at the heart of your business, you might like to question whether you should be in business.

Business Basic gives you a robust email Exchange platform (which is much better than POP3 or IMAP, as all devices connected to the server are automatically synchronised to the server) with 50 GB of storage. If you're away from the office and look at an email on your phone, when you return to the office, that email will be marked as already read, so you're not duplicating your work. If you move an email to a folder on one device, that action will be synchronised on the server and then to all of your other devices. This is a massive time saver. IMAP can do some of this, but is nowhere near as efficient, especially with calendar entries, and POP 3 has no sync features. You also get web access to all of the Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, OneNote, etc.), so all of these can be used via your login on a web browser. In addition to 50 GB of email storage, you get 1 TB of data storage in OneDrive and SharePoint (the MS equivalent of DropBox).

Business Standard does all of the above and adds a licence to allow the MS Office programs to be installed on up to 5 computers (Mac, PC or tablets, etc). I know many people who are happy to use these programs on a web browser and so they only need Business Basic. Full feature comparisons can be seen at Don't bother with the other M365 licences, as Basic or Standard are the ones to look at for a small business. And don't use the Personal or Family versions of M365, which are absolutely not suitable for business use.

If you're using Microsoft 365, then I'd recommend Outlook, as it works well with their email server and the licence is included. But you can use free, open source software like Mozilla Thunderbird if you prefer it.

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