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Microsoft recently ended custom domain support for outlook.com, their free email service. Google buried Google Apps free edition back in December 2012. So with Microsoft and Google having turned their backs (but not their wallets!) to SMBs, what should Zoho do?


Well, when Google ended Google Apps Free edition, we increased our free plan to 5 users. Let us take a peek at what happened to the no. of sign ups to Zoho Mail email hosting plans:


Given that an approx 600% increase in sign ups over five quarters is quite impressive, we have decided to raise the bar further.


Starting today, we are increasing the number of users / mailboxes offered with our free email hosting plan, doubling it from 5 to 10 free users. And oh! It’s also ad-free. Beat that!

Better yet, it doesn’t stop with 10 free users. Get up to 15 more bonus users credited to your business account by referring other outlook.com users; err, we mean other ‘no more for free’ email hosting services in general 😉 And when you invite another business, they get 5 bonus users too. It’s a two-way referral incentive arrangement. In all, you can get up to 25 free users, ad-free.


So what is the catch? We just believe in the Freemium model. We are committed to it. It has helped budding entrepreneurs to get started with their dreams, which in turn helped us gain more visibility. When they grow, they are happy to upgrade to higher plans with a price tag. It lowers our cost of customer acquisition; we would much rather spend our money on product development than on excessive sales and marketing as so many of our competitors do.


But what’s even better is the goodwill developed in the process. And that is priceless. Here’s a recent feedback from a customer that captures this essence:


I’m glad to be a Zoho customer. For me as a small company, it’s very important to save money first, but also it’s important to get good services. Zoho Mail service has a great free plan. Big companies have monthly fees for similar plans and they don’t care about small companies like ours. So, I think, to have such sensitive partner like zoho is really important. And when you grow, and can afford bigger plans, then you choose only those who supported you. I’m happy with all apps and services I have now in your servers. So thank you!

So if you love our free plan and believe in the power of free, please do us a favor. Spread the word about us. Word of mouth is the best help you can provide us in return for the quality, free service. That’s why we provide you even more for free, when you refer other businesses to us.


It is said that the best things in life are free, like sunshine and rainbows. We think the best things in life are free and also ad-free, like Zoho Mail. So switch (and / or refer others to switch) to the business email with a cleaner outlook 😉

  1. Kaufmann

    Hi. I’m testing Zoho Mail with my own domain. It works great so far. Will it stay FREE for the next ten years or so, so I can migrate fully to it or is it just a few months???

    (I would be willing to receive advertising that the service stays free.)

  2. Jayesh choudhary

    We are not recieving email larger that 10 MB please support urgently .

    Jayesh Choudhary

  3. sam


    Does the free service have any email features ?

  4. Glenn Goodman

    Without ActiveSync on Windows and Mac Zoho Mail still can’t compete with Google Apps. Fix this and you’ll have a winner.

  5. Ali

    Verrrrrry good news! THNX

  6. mesa

    URGENT – If I have a Paid Standard (10GB) single user subscription and invite another business, does that mean I get 5 more paid accounts for free?

  7. Mateo

    Iam launching a business and need to keep costs low and was reviewing pricing (again!) on google vs Zoho. Problem solved. Looking forward to growing big enough to pay Zoho back! Also flagging to a entrepreneur friend in London – hellostrangetown.com/

    Mateo, Uruguay.

  8. Ademola

    I have been unable to sign up for free custom mail on Zoho after several trials.
    I always receive error message ‘We are unable to process your request now. Please try again after sometime’

    Please, can somebody help me out?

  9. Ivonia

    I use Zoho only for personal need.
    I’m thinking to use Zoho for my business need that I’ll establish very soon.
    Zoho, you are wonderful.

  10. vilaku

    we love zoho mail, so we recommend only zoho mail:

  11. Saidul Hassan

    10 isn’t enough for my business need and since Google turned their back, I was left without any choice. Now with the referral 15 plus, I definitely going to host my mail with Zoho! And yes, if it’s not 30, I’ll be referring a lot more than three. Then you!

  12. Bob

    Hi, I am ready to migrate from Gmail sometime very soon. Just wanted you to know that Go Daddy no longer offers a free email with a domain purchase. It give its website builder and some hosting accounts 100 mb pop accounts. It is no longer actively selling its own webmail products, but is selling MS Office 365 instead. Just one more free provider going away.

  13. Kaisersoze

    @Hari Murali
    Fair enough and i see your point. I work in IT and I quite used to metrics, hence my comment when I saw just a part of the full picture.
    Don’t take me wrong… Zoho is a great service and works flawlessly, which is something that most companies cannot brag about! Keep up the amazing work. Its really good to have companies like Zoho on the internet.

  14. Henrique Stefan

    The ZOHO Mail free plan, it’s free forever? Or like now domains live, users can not create or delete email accounts.


  15. Kaisersoze

    well… this article is a bit dodgy… first you Omit one of the Axis of the graph, omitting the number of subscriptions?!?! Come on.. if you wan to brag about something at least be honest…

    Would also be interesting seeing how many people actually keep their Zoho account….
    More than having more account I would be more interested on having more space than 5gb and a better webmail interface. That would be something great!
    Don’t take me wrong, I am a happy user customer, but news like this are fallacious and just annoy me.

    • Hari Murali

      We are not a publicly listed company and opted to take advantage of the freedom to maintain some suspense on the numbers, partially 🙂 The intention of the graph was to give readers an idea of the uptrend we experienced after our earlier increase in the free plan. There is lot that can be seen if we started deeply analyzing big data, yes. We only meant to highlight positives that we took from the data we have, in further increasing our free plan.

      We are discussing ways to package and provide more storage space. A new, revamped UI is in the making.

  16. Shreyas Purohit

    Awesome! And Zoho saves the day. I have referred will be referring many more to your service.

  17. Georges

    zoho.mail is very very good, i like so musch

  18. Georges


  19. Georges

    Cool i like very well

  20. RK Senthil Kumaar

    Thanks a lot Zoho!
    You are doing such a wonderful job! Thank you so so much!

  21. Shanaka


  22. THUEUX



  23. Georges

    zoho est superbe…… 9******

  24. Linda Strand

    I love Zoho, and will be referring many of my clients to you! Thanks!

  25. Roger A-Smith

    A question Please!
    Thank you first !:)

    if we had 5 basic emails then we made referrals and we got 10 and now an additional 5,

    1st how can we see the number of mails we have
    2nd shall we have 15 mail now ?!

    Thank you.

    • Hari Murali

      @Roger A-Smith
      You are welcome.

      You can now get up to 25 free users / mailboxes. 10 users free by default and up to 15 more bonus users through referrals. Every time you refer a domain, we’ll add 5 bonus users to you and the referred domain. Thus you can refer 3 businesses (domains) and get up to 15 bonus users, on top of the default 10 free users.

      The referral bonus user count is displayed in the ‘Mail Storage’ section of the control panel on the right column pane.

  26. Clayton Bernardino

    I use only one user, but I want to add a new domain 🙁
    Anyway, zoho is my friend, domains.live.com is my old friend 🙁

  27. Daniel Ives

    Thank You!

  28. Torty

    Good news Thanks,

  29. Mark Newland

    When I first signed up for Zoho, 10 users was the norm and I actually was telling people about the service. Then things were changed to a 3-user model and I stopped advertising it as much.

    I also used to think of myself as “special” cause I had the better plan. Now that everyone else can have the 10-user plan I no longer have that “special” feeling but I am far more willing to tell others about Zoho again.

  30. Frank Rubi

    Thank you for what you do!

  31. Nur Azhar

    thank you ZOHO !!!

  32. Ariz Shahbaz

    I am in love with Zoho services. Its flawless, and absolutely easy to setup and operate. And what is better when its free for 5 users, and now 10. I almost refer everyone to Zoho Mail for their business emails, and I am sure most have integrated and started using it.

    Thanks Zoho. You are the best 🙂

  33. CA Sanjay lalwani

    I am in just love with Zoho!

    Great Service! Great People!

  34. Sudheendra

    Gr8 job Guys! Just when I needed… besties to ZOHO…

    Whats the referral Link, have referred quite a few, will be glad to refer many more!


  35. Les Olson

    I have been very happy with Zoho and am recommending it to others. I appreciate the quick support for the few times I have needed it.

    I have used other email services and Zoho is at the top of the list. Thanks!

  36. T.P.

    This is great news!

    Thanks Zoho team for all of your wonderful services. I have found Zoho to be THE best in email hosting for professional and personal needs.

  37. Joseph Martin

    I am currently a new convert (March 2014) and I’m currently loving the system i’d give it 8 out of 10 stars. I wish i could do a few more things with it. Was getting a TON of spam

    1) add a blacklist service like spamcop. Although zoho does stop alot of spam from happening it doesn’t catch all of it.. I’d like to be able to setup a blacklist service or a way to mark spam that keeps is based off of subject… Yes i can do it based off of from but they spoff that stuff ALL the time

    • Hari Murali

      @Joseph Martin
      Thank you for the top score. But yes, we will look into improving our spam control mechanisms and get the 2 more points from you.

  38. Aukang

    Thank you Zoho for good services you offer 😉

  39. Rahul Sood

    Make User Experience similar to Gmail and you will Rule !

  40. prasanth

    Good news for small business organisations. I recommend zoho to all my clients. Very good service, spam control also nice.

  41. Pete Y.

    Zoho is great for small business and small government. Our little city couldn’t function without this! We’re getting setup now and appreciate your product!

  42. Jim

    Great news, somebody is taking the initiative to pick up on a void in the market where other companies are neglecting the chance for offering something free and receiving a great advertising scheem for premium services in return. I previously used domains.live.com and find zoho’s mail service to be much more user friendly.

    I’m using Zoho’s freemium mail service for a non profit open source project, so having a free, usable and reliable email service is vital. On the other hand should my project start generating revenue and require further email addresses I wouldn’t hesitate to upgrade.

  43. Ganguli

    Hi Zoho team

    We would like to increase our ids. thanks for the wonderful offer. Is it for the new joiners or we can have it extra 5 ids.
    We have been using this service from last 5 months.
    looking for your quick reply.

  44. Aliakbar Majidi

    WoW! Great News 🙂

  45. Sri

    Excellent news….Thanks to Zoho team

  46. Prajeesh

    This is awesome guys. Really appreciate it. Great to have such entrepreneur supporting company. I am going to stick with Zoho for a long time. Keep it up guys.. entrepreneurs needs you..

  47. leela

    I do agree with Andreas regarding attachment size for email attachments. Even I face problems with the size limit and iam unable to receive the email grater than 10 mb it would be appreciated if both incoming and outgoing mail attachment size is increased to more than 20 mb.

    • Hari Murali

      We acknowledge that we have to support larger attachments. We are testing a feature to attach large attachments in the form of ‘link to the file’ within the email message. Once this is ready, we’ll post an announcement. Stay tuned.

  48. Nefi López

    esto es increible, realmente me encanta esta noticia! felicidades Zoho

  49. Frances Williams

    Great work guys, this put Zoho in an even stronger position in the market.

  50. Tina Lewington

    I to am happy with zoho but as you limit file attachements I have to keep switching between my hotmail/outlook and zoho, that is ourely the only reason I have kept my other email account open.
    So I use zoho 90% of the time the rest of the time I have to use hotmail or outlook, inconvenient to say the least.

    • Hari Murali

      @Tina Lewington
      We acknowledge that we have to support larger attachments. We are testing a feature to attach large attachments in the form of ‘link to the file’ within the email message. Once this is ready, we’ll post an announcement. Stay tuned.

  51. Dulan

    Thank you very much 🙂

  52. Amit

    After starting a new business our need was to curtail our expenses. On that the problem was delayed payments from clients, there was a day came when we need to make a choice between renewing our email subscription or paying to our vendor. Happy, that I found ZOHO. With now added 5 more free emails, I may not need to worry when adding employees. You people are saviour for startup like ours. Can we ask a little more? We have a very lightweight website hardly 500MB, can you offer free hosting as well?

    • Hari Murali

      We happy that you found us. Glad to be of service.

      About website hosting, have you had a look at Zoho Sites? As with all our other Zoho services, there is a free plan in Zoho Sites. We are looking to come up with Mail+Sites combo plans soon.

  53. Panpic

    Great work. Thank for your support small business. It’s very usefull of my startup

  54. Andreas

    If Zoho does not increase the attachment size for email attachments, it will be very difficult to keep working with Zoho. More Free Users does not improve things for existing customers, more attachment file sizes is what is impressive. I hope someone is reading this and listening. Andreas

    • Hari Murali

      We hear you and acknowledge that we have to support larger attachments. We are testing a feature to attach large attachments in the form of ‘link to the file’ within the email message. Once this is ready, we’ll post an announcement. Stay tuned.

  55. Huber


  56. Eric Francis

    Kudos guys, i want to confess here that you guys are wonderful and also want to congratulate you on your standard improvement in helping people meet their needs in the present internet business communication world. Well, not to go too far, i have been telling more about your service to my friends recently before i traveled to Africa and i will remind them that they truly need your service once i get back.
    I will want you guys to work properly on the “domain” verification process as it takes time to verify even after completing process and i have sent mails to your support several times without reply.
    Well, i am already singing the Zoho song “5-10” upgrade trala la la la

    • Hari Murali

      @Eric Francis
      We love your song and its tune. Thank you for spreading the word about us. We’ll do our best to keep up the faith you have in our service.

      We realize that the domain verification process can be nagging to go through. There are so many domain service providers out there and the user interface of the DNS management page differs from one to the other. This makes it challenging to provide instructions to suit the different styles. However, we are working on providing video guides to go through this ownership verification step. Hopefully videos will make it a lot easier to complete this step during the sign up process.

      • Eric Francis

        i know it is not easy to complete everything at a time where users will
        applaud at the same time for good delivery , but you guys have been wonderful. I will agree that you guys should try to complete a Video on domain verification soonest as i have friends who are complaining of domain verification problem like i had also. It is making me to look stupid in their site even after letting them know that, it will surely give a little cause for alarm during domain verification and which is important. Do not forget that, it is the beginning of customer ‘s expectation for good service. The more they get pass there the earlier the service interest. Zoho guys should work on this advice

        Eric Francis.

  57. Mohammad

    Appreciate your support
    really you are great people

  58. Stefan M.

    Wonderful news for us! Thank you Zoho!

  59. Dan Roggenkamp

    Thank you Zoho! Your Freemium model is great for those of us in education. I’ve been with Zoho for some time now and love it.

  60. Debbianne

    Viva Zoho! You guys rule.

  61. Wagner Franceschi

    It change anything if I have about 72 paid members?

  62. Felix

    Great news! Thank you very much!

    I was wondering if I can trade doubling the number of users to doubling the number of POP clients (from 1 to 2). It would be great to get emails on both desktop and smartphone…

  63. Andrew

    Wonderful. Zoho has been integral to the launch of my startup. Thanks for being the enabler of great things to come!

  64. Karim

    Thanks for support small business guys, you rocks!!!

  65. Joshua

    Definitely the best email service I found. Zoho is really good and this is another great leap forward!

  66. springheal

    As much as I love Zoho free, it limits file attachments too much when Outlook accepts larger files. For this one reason, I may have to switch back which is a shame.

    • Hari Murali

      We acknowledge that we have to support larger attachments. We are testing a feature to attach large attachments in the form of ‘link to the file’ within the email message. Once this is ready, we’ll post an announcement. Stay tuned.

  67. Max


  68. Tamas Farkas

    Hey Guys, great job!

  69. David

    Excelente!!!! muchas gracias.. 🙂

  70. Joey

    How can we take advantage of this, if we are currently paying for under 10 accounts? I attempted to downgrade the accounts, but it is not allowing me.

  71. John Heatz

    This is awesome news, certainly something that I’ll take advantage of as I had already used my 5 mails!


    Yes actually we enjoy that philosphy if things go right, for this integrity we are going to get services from zoho, as we look for trusted partners and no some company who at first opportunity will try to get a piece of us.

  73. Jacob Isreal

    Thank you for “raising the bar,” or rather just the number of users because the referral process is getting old. They don’t verify MX records using normal methods, so many times when mail IS setup correctly and the referred user is receiving mail properly, Zoho referrals will respond that it isn’t working. This could be due to DNS propogation, but the servers are working in the US and that’s what matters. It shouldn’t take a week to be credited for referred users.

    We also don’t have IMAP push or Calendar Sync yet. These are features that have been promised in other threads, but we haven’t received any status updates in quite a while. How about a post about these issues, or a response please?

    Thanks – I still love Zoho services!


  74. Aswin Raj

    This is great! Good job Zoho

  75. Ankur Gupta

    Great news!!
    I’ve only used Zoho Mail. The more I use it, the more i fall in love with it. I’ve recommended 3 of my friends to use it for their startup.

  76. Rameesh T

    Zoho’s vision and mission are helping worldwide SMEs.

  77. Jenish

    Zoho is simply awesome. You are best for my small scale business.
    A BIG THANKS ! 🙂

  78. Daniel

    Excellent news, Zoho! You guys, keep up the excellent work. You have saved us hundreds of dollars compared to Google Apps.

  79. Abhi

    @LoudBux (For some reason I am not able to reply to the comment), yes you can. 10 users means 10 different mailboxes. However, what you asking is just 1 mailbox with 2-aliases. To create alias, log-in to your admin control panel go to mail administration and ‘Add a new alias’

  80. Mark

    I am always confused by Zoho Mail terminology. I love Zoho mail, but please tell me the difference between ‘A User”, ‘A Mailbox’ , ‘An Account” and ‘A License.”

    I have a paid Zoho Mail service so does the extra amount of Mailboxes or Users etc., apply.

    • Hari Murali

      There is FAQ that explains the user-mailbox terminology. I’m copy pasting it here. If you still find it confusing, then we have to do a better job at providing clarity. Please let me know 🙂

      How does the ‘/user’ pricing work? Is it the same as paying ‘/mailbox’?

      One user corresponds to one mailbox of 5, 10, 15 or 25 GB based on the base plan you choose. However, a user can have many email or domain aliases (ie. different email addresses), with all emails accumulated in the exclusive mailbox assigned to the user.

  81. Ricardo

    Hi guys,

    great news, I’m starting my own business myself and I’ve been involved in a few ventures before. It’s great to have the possibility to increase the number of users at this stage, hope to earn a lot of cash to payback for this 🙂

    Best of luck

  82. t. j. fulkerson

    I am wondering why you are charging us $15usd per month to use your service and about to go to $1usd the first of june. we have six (6) users so I am wondering why you are charging us?



  83. colin

    Zoho is a great (the greatest) email system I’ve found, the apps are great too. What I would like to see is better filtering, like, the ability to discard emails. Also, the black list system is a bit odd at times…Nothing major.

  84. Mary McKisson

    I would like to send this this info to my son but he does not use social networking, nor do I. He recently switched from netscape to gmail and I’ve always told him zoho is safer and better. Could you send this to me as an email and I will forward it to him. Thanks.

  85. Dilip Malave

    This is great for a small business like ours. The one thing missing for us and a lot of people we talk to about which service provider is best is the ability to track open emails being delivered/opened. Thats a hugely important feature thats missing with Zoho compared to Gmail. I know Zoho has the “ask receipt” option and also the CRM option which is not what I am talking about. Gmail has a lot of third party options like “Yesware” and “Signals” that offer simple features that add so much value. Any plans or hacks to compete with google mail on this front?

    • Hari Murali

      @Dilip Malave
      This sort of tracking is available with our email marketing application Zoho Campaigns. We are working on including such smart features in Zoho Mail. In fact, an interface make over is on the cards. Stay tuned for more updates on this front during the span of this year 😉

  86. andrey

    I am personally delighted that servisjm that offers zoho.com

  87. mike miskulin

    URGENT: I am about to be charged for 1 year of “standard” plan which I no longer need – we selected standard last month because we required 8 users (7 + admin). But I do not see any way to “downgrade” back to the free plan.

    Is this possible?

    • Hari Murali

      @mike miskulin
      All you have to do is change to the free plan. Go to ‘Subscription’ section in the control panel and select ‘Cancel Subscription’, found below the title ‘Subscription’, on the right pane. However, please be aware that when you do this, the mailbox storage size of all your users will reduce to 5GB, as against 10, 15 or 25GB /user in the Standard or Premium plans.

  88. Arthur

    Awesome! A big THANKS from the “small guys”!

  89. Charlie Wyrick

    I’ve only been using Zoho mail for a little over a month and wonder why I didn’t make the switch long ago. It’s fast and reliable. I started a small Social Media Management company for the food and beverage industry and began integrating the additional apps like invoice, and creator. Now that Zoho Mail is adding additional users, and as my company grows, it’s comforting to know that I can add 5 more users without any fees. Great Job Zoho! I will be spreading the word many times over..By the way, what will you think of next?

    • Hari Murali

      @Charlie Wyrick
      We wish you had found us long ago too. Well, you are here now and we are glad to have you. Do spread the word, many many times over! 😉 And we are thinking of a lot of improvements but what takes the cake is a new, revamped UI. Stay tuned.

  90. jake

    boy–you guys really now how to put lipstick on a pig.

  91. Patxi

    Is this only for new customers? Are you taking into account the customers that support you from a long time now?



    • Hari Murali

      Existing customers can change to the free plan to avail the extended free user limits, provided 5GB mailbox size /user will suffice.

  92. Juan Luis

    Great!!…we really apreciate zoho service 🙂

  93. SI

    Can I ask what you offering your paying customers for being loyal and paying you each month?

    • Hari Murali

      Paying customers get more mailbox storage /user (10, 15 or 25GB), multiple domain hosting and domain aliasing, more groups and ability to buy additional storage. If your point is that we should be coming up with better benefits to paying customers, we are working on providing features beyond higher storage. Please stay tuned.

  94. Shemiah

    Hari – is there anything we need to do to take advantage of the 10 free emails if we currently pay for them?

  95. Dhameen Ansari

    Good news. Great show guys. I’ve been using Zoho for 5 years now. All the free apps that Zoho provides is very much helpful to Entrepreneurs at the earlier stages of their business.



  96. Andy

    What about your existing users with SMB requirements? It would be great if you can extend the initial offering to existing SMB accounts with free 5 or 10 user mailboxes. I have refereed more than 5 customers and I never saw a single free mailbox added to my account in past 1 year. They all are using zoho suite of products.

    • Hari Murali

      Existing business users can change to the free plan to avail the extended free user limits, provided 5GB mailbox size /user will suffice. Please request the 5 businesses you referred to forward the email invitations sent to them to referrals@zohomail.com and we’ll follow up. Matching of the referral code sent through email invitations is the way we validate genuine referrals.

  97. Shemiah

    Hari – excellent news! I have two questions. 1) If we currently pay for additional email addresses (but still have less than 10), is there anything we need to do to take advantage of this wonderful benefit?

    Also, we referred a client to Zoho back in the fall but we didn’t get our credited email addresses. (They may not have used the referral link, or completed the referral form).

    This is awesome news. We’re happy to help further.

    • Hari Murali


      1) All you have to do is change to the free plan. Go to ‘Subscription’ section in the control panel and select ‘Cancel Subscription’, found below the title ‘Subscription’, on the right pane. However, please be aware that when you do this, the mailbox storage size of all your users will reduce to 5GB, as against 10, 15 or 25GB /user in the Standard or Premium plans. If 5GB mailbox size /user would suffice for your current business communication needs, we do not mind you cancelling your subscription to avail the benefits of our extended free plan.

      2) If you had sent a referral invitation to the client back then, please request them to forward your referral email invitation to ‘referrals@zohomail.com’. We’ll follow up from there.