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When it comes to free web-based email providers, some are closer to perfect than others. Admittedly, deciding which ones are best is subjective. A select few, however, consistently make it to the top of the list.
5 AOL Mail
Remember America Online, commonly known as AOL? It’s still around along with its email service AOL Mail. Gone are the days of exclusivity, when you had to pay to use AOL Mail. Today, it’s free and comes with a user-friendly modern interface, AIM chat, mobile access, unlimited storage, drag-n-drop capability, text messaging and spam filters. Unfortunately, the service is inundated with ads, which diminishes the mail experience a bit.
Coming in at No. 4 is Mail. Despite its unoriginal name, the free email service from 1 & 1 Mail and Media, Inc. contains a feature that sets it apart from the rest: a customizable email and domain name feature. With Mail, you can choose a unique email moniker like @reggaefan.com, @london.com, @lawyer.com and @bikerider.com. And it’s free. In addition to the ability to creatively name yourself, so to speak, Mail also gives you unlimited storage, great spam filters, and the ability to access and read mail from a different email system.
Hotmail is still around—sort of. To bring the ancient email service into the modern age, Microsoft has revamped it. Now known as Outlook, the free email service has a contemporary appearance to go with its new name. Users enjoy features such as 5GB of storage space, two-factor identification and alias email capability. For the social butterflies of the world, social network and Skype integration are also available.
2 Yahoo! Mail
The second best free email service is Yahoo! Mail from—you guessed it—Yahoo! Although the interface contains ads in a side pane, you’ll quickly forget about the visual assault when you begin to read and send messages. Yahoo! Mail’s slick and modern design keeps everything well organized with the use of tabs and category folders, located in a sidebar for easy reference. Yahoo! Mail also allows you to receive and send messages from a non-Yahoo! email address right from your inbox; send large files, up to 2GB; block email addresses; and preview photos within an individual email.
Google dominates the Internet, so it’s no surprise that its web-based email service is widely considered the best free email service available. The Gmail template is simple and easy to use, and its minimalist design allows you to see only what you want to see: your messages. There are no overbearing ads dominating the page. Google understands that “free” isn’t a license to take advantage of your sensibilities. In addition to the massive amount of storage space available—10GB—the system is also great at filtering out spam. Gmail also gives you the ability to IM or make phone and video calls right from your inbox.