Easily communicate with friends, family, and business associates with the best free web mail. Web mail allows you to access your messages from any computer at any time, and with free services, the price can't be beat. The downside to free email services is that they are supported by advertising that can be intrusive. However, most free web mail providers offer premium, ad-free service with other features like additional storage for a yearly fee.
Across the web, reviewers are raving about Gmail. In a ZDNet.com article on building an office suite purely from web-based products, Richard MacManus named Gmail the best free web mail, calling it "the first email system that was built purely for the Web." A review of the major email services on CNET.com also praised Gmail, saying it was the "speediest online email service" in terms of sending and receiving emails. Finally, the service tops lists at iOpus and ConsumerSearch. Add in 2.65GB of storage, organizational tools, and chat options, and it's easy to see why so many people love Gmail.
2. Yahoo! Mail
Yahoo! Mail tied with Gmail as the top recommended email service at ConsumerSearch, with the site mentioning the "terrific interface" with a similarity to Microsoft's Outlook Express. PC Mag.com gave Yahoo! Mail four out of five stars. CNET.com also made note of Yahoo's improved RSS feed organization. Features include tabbed messages, drag and drop organization, and the ability to search messages and attachments. 1GB of storage doesn't quite measure up to the Gmail standard, but it will be more than enough space for most users, and Yahoo looks to be dropping these limits in the near future.
Website: Yahoo! Mail
3. Windows Live Hotmail
An upgrade of the long-running Hotmail service, Windows Live Hotmail offers 2GB of storage space, spam and phishing filters, and drag and drop organizing. When compared to Gmail and Yahoo! Mail, CNET.com said they "prefer Windows Live Mail's approach to spam and other threats." Instead of blocking messages or relegating them to a spam folder, the site warns users through banners at the top of suspicious messages.
Website: Windows Live Hotmail
Bluebottle's unique feature is a complex anti-spam system. Emails must pass a seven-step process before arriving in your inbox, including anti-virus scanning and sending a verification link to unknown contacts before letting their email through. iOpus lists the service at number three on its list of the best free web mail.
ConsumerSearch listed FastMail right alongside the bigger names of Gmail and Yahoo! Mail. Their biggest feature seems to be the ability to create email aliases and choose from a selection of domain names. Unlike some free email services, however, it imposes a monthly bandwidth limit on use in addition to the usual storage limits.