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Hosted email – The task of finding a provider…

Well, for the last month or so, I’ve been investigating several migrations to more managed hosted services so I don’t need to spend so much time doing admin.  Email is rather difficult as I host several power users who have pretty exacting requirements and I wanted to get more capabilities.   A lot of people suggested Google for Domains, and I did consider that pretty seriously.  For $50/user/year, it’s pretty decent, but I decided to try hosted Zimbra instead.

I looked at the following hosting companies:

  • – website is garish, but it offers everything I wanted, although sales is NOT responsive
  • – ditto, but sales was very responsive
  • – lots of good recomendations, sales very responsive, no upfront pricing
  • – I like supporting local SMBs, but they never got back to me about pricing
  • – Has an interesting suite integration with Sugar, but it’s overkill for me and the minimums are expensive
  • – good price vs features, pushed all the right buttons, but this seems an Exchange centric shop trying to branch out, which is a risk for me

In the end, partially because of my wanting BES and ActiveSync plus a fair amount of storage and a large number of domain aliases, 01 and Mindcentric where the only two real contenders.  Others offered a similar combo, but the ROI was not so good when adding up all the extras, like domain aliases or extra storage. I’m currently trying out a free account for one month at, we’ll see how it goes.  At $50/year, it’s competitive with Google Apps, although with a lot less storage.

I really think that Zimbra should have a more detailed partner offering for hosting.  Certainly their rankings help, but with so many providers to choose from, it would be good to have a community filter.   Of course, that’s not really in their best interest.  And, BTW, what happened to Yahoo offering hosted Zimbra?  Seems like a natural fit….

I did briefly consider hosted Exchange, but then I remembered how hard it usually is for me to wrap my brain around Microsoft’s terminology and implementation logic.  It sounded like a perfect recipe for chaos.

[note: I got a nice email from SpecialAI about my post and clarified some things as a result.  It's good to see that at least one company is paying attention to what people are saying about it....]