The best Exchange Hosting for Small Business
A friend of mine owns a small business. Small is relative so to speak as his business is growing and he is already at employee #12. The employees are spread out over 3 different locations in Canada and the United States. I am doing the web hosting for their website and provided email services. He is a great customer – always pays on time, understands what services I am able to provide and trusts my advice. He recently asked me about group features for email. He meant stuff like Calendar Sharing, public folders, and the ability to accept meeting invites via Outlook and use all the features only Outlook and Exchange can provide. The size of his business does not justify a dedicated Exchange environment as it would be way too expensive to a) purchase and b) to maintain. He asked me for advice trusting me that I would not try to rip him off.
At a certain point you know that a customer will eventually move up to a provider that grow with his needs. I am not a full-time web host and administering Exchange would go beyond of what I want to provide. My strengths are in different areas. But I knew that if I help with finding a good solution that I a) would keep his website hosted with me and b) a happy customer will always recommend your services to others. And as I am mainly hosting small business websites that is a great way to advertise my business by word of mouth. One thing I always recommend: Drive customers to your site through a variety of online marketing solutions.
Anyway – I checked out a few Exchange web hosting providers and then decided to test drive 1 & 1 Exchange web hosting. These guys are pretty big and just celebrated their 20th anniversary. They currently have a special with 50% off for a few months. Their normal Exchange hosting costs $6.99 per month and comes with a ton of features. Now with the special the price came down to $3.50 per month per account. That price is pretty hard to beat in my opinion. The feature list includes a full version of MS Outlook 2007 with each account which makes the Exchange hosting virtually free of charge for over a year. Anything you would expect from an Exchange web host is included and they offer a full 1 GB of mailbox size. Outlook is able to connect from anywhere to your mailbox at 1&1 and so this would work great for the 12 employees. We tested this with 3 accounts and after a week my friend was sold on this solution.
If you are interested in using Exchange 2007 and to receive a free copy of Outlook 2007 at the same time, I would give 1 and 1 a try – especially now with the current prices slashed in half. They do offer a 90 day guarantee so that this is a risk free trial for anyone willing to upgrade to a real email account that offers more than just normal POP3 or so. Go to 1&1 Exchange Hosting’s web page now.