Email has become a huge part of our lives. In fact it pairs with instant messenger applications as leading ways we communicate with friends, family and clients. It’s just a great way to get your message across without spending hours talking with someone over the phone.
It has greatly expanded dramatically in the new millennium. Today you can access your mail on everything form cell phones to iPods. With email usage booming, many companies have jumped on the bandwagon and developed their own email service. With larger services like Google’s Gmail, Microsoft’s Windows Live/Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, everyone is sure have an account somewhere down the line.
Many companies and small businesses want email with their own domain name (like firstname.lastname@example.org) and access to their email beyond their company server, but that can be expensive and require technical staff or knowledge. That’s where Palo Alto Software comes in with their new Email Center Pro, trying to make this process easier and more cost friendly.
Rather than relying on a third party, Email Center Pro essentially lets you use your domain name to create multiple email accounts, versatile mail folders, notes for coworkers and templates for different users.
There is a free version available, but you’re limited to 250 emails per month with five users. The Basic Plan includes five gigabytes of storage, two thousand five hundred emails per month, an unlimited amount of users, five accounts and POP support for $19 a month. The Standard version includes 10 gigabytes of storage, 5,000 emails per month, unlimited users, five mailboxes and POP support for $49 per month. The Premium version includes 20 gigabytes of storage, 10,000 emails per month, an unlimited amount of users and mailboxes and POP and SSL support for $99 per month. Finally the company offers a Pro package which includes: 30 gigabytes of storage, 15,000 emails per month, and unlimited amount of users and accounts, POP and SSL support for $149. All packages also include free backup as well.
After evaluating their Pro package service for a few days, I wasn’t that impressed. The web-based interface was passable, but it wasn’t even as user friendly and feature packed as my free Gmail account. I was also disappointed that there wasn’t any IMAP connectivity — a big letdown considering the high price of the service. There also isn’t an unlimited message package.
While I was testing the service, I noticed that after I clicked the send button it took around two minutes for an email message to leave the Email Center Pro’s server and to make it into my Gmail server. I also experienced downtime with the service as well, which leaves me questioning how reliable it’s going to be in a pinch.
I did like the ability to add notes into a message. There is some good “corporate” customizability there.
You can sign up for a free account here, but I’ll stick with Google for now.