January 24, 2022 by Jatheon

5 Best Alternatives to Microsoft Exchange

Exchange, Microsoft’s email server solution, has become one of the most widely used servers across the modern digital landscape. This comes as no surprise as Microsoft’s on-premise email server offers a secure, sturdy, and reliable solution that is known for its flexibility, user-friendliness, versatility, ability to customize and efficiency.

Naturally, no solution comes without its downsides. Being an on-prem server, Microsoft Exchange must be paired with adequate computing resources and sufficient storage, and when we take into account that it can be quite expensive, all these factors combined are often a challenge for various companies. SMBs are a good example because of their limited resources to support the on-premise setup. Additionally, Exchange users also need to take care of regular hardware maintenance, making it a suboptimal solution for many companies in the long run.

This is why we decided to provide you with 5 great Microsoft Exchange server alternatives currently available on the email server market.

But first, let’s go over some basic parameters we need to consider while choosing between effective Microsoft Exchange server alternatives.

What to Look for in Microsoft Exchange Server Alternatives

When looking for optimal Microsoft Exchange server alternatives, businesses need to take into account multiple factors that shape the solution and make sure it is in line with their unique business and infrastructure needs. That said, here are 6 aspects of choosing the right email server platform:

Size and Scalability

The size of your organization matters. It does make a difference if you have 10 or 500 employees, as well as whether your business will grow in the future. These parameters determine the server service plan and the amount of storage that your company requires.


Not all Microsoft Exchange server alternatives are created equal and with the same set of features. Depending on the industry, workflow, the size of an organization, and other similar factors, different businesses have different needs in terms of email server features. Some focus on file-sharing or chat functionality features, while others put emphasis on document generation, security, IMAP and POP support, integrations, etc.


Type of deployment is an important factor when choosing email services. Make sure you opt for the solution that offers the deployment type that your organization will easily implement within its existing architecture.

Mobile Functionality

Accessing emails on the go has become a must as remote work has now become an inevitable part of the modern business workplace. Be sure that the Microsoft Exchange server alternatives you are considering have high mobile functionality.

Customer Support

Never overlook the value of quality and swift customer support. Solutions that offer around-the-clock support that is accessible via multiple devices and channels are always a sound choice.

User Reviews

Reading online user reviews can be a great source of data that can help you make an informed decision. Reading them carefully and going through as many as possible will provide you with valuable insight into the solution’s features, recurring issues, UX scores and other useful information about a specific email server service. Starting a Reddit thread or asking your tech community for feedback is also a great way to get to learn more about the product straight from the horse’s mouth.

Now, let’s go over some of the email server alternatives available on the market.

Overview of 5 Best Microsoft Exchange Server Alternatives


This platform advertises itself as a “fully-featured Exchange alternative.” It manages to provide its users with a robust set of features that rivals Office 365, while is at the same time available at half the price of Exchange Server. IceWarp, despite its low cost, enables companies to have access to a wide range of collaboration applications.


Source: IceWarp

The users get business-class email, business-class calendaring, instant message functionality, conference calls and document storage, while this browser-based webmail client solution also covers GDPR-compliant login settings, custom domains, multi-layered security, smart attachments, and many more useful features that make IceWarp an Exchange alternative worth considering.

Pros Cons
  • Great features (on par with Office 365)
  • Outlook-compatible
  • 24/7 phone support (for professional tier users)
  • Support for IMAP and POP3 protocols
  • Easy setup and upgrade
  • Vague privacy and security policies
  • Lack of marketplace for prebuilt partner integrations
  • Subpar versatility of administrative tools
  • Intrusive Outlook synchronization plug-in

Open-Xchange App Suite

This platform, branded as “ruthlessly open”, offers a substantial set of applications that include productivity tools, email and messaging capabilities, as well as proper security solutions. This is one of the most used white-label Microsoft Exchange server alternatives as it features both online and offline email access to businesses.

It also provides its users with contact management, personal dashboard, scheduling and task management capabilities that are easily integrated with OX’s email functionality.

Pros Cons
  • White-label-based high customizability 
  • Powerful APIs
  • Open standards 
  • Deployment options: SaaS, cloud-based and on-premises 
  • All devices sync 
  • No POP3 protocol support
  • Hosting company influences browser usability 
  • Subpar UX 
  • Fewer functionalities (when compared to Office 365)

Google Workspace (Formerly Google G Suite)

Google has a top-tier collaboration and productivity software suite – Google Workspace – that is among the best Microsoft Exchange server alternatives to consider, especially if your organization needs an all-round solution with an integrated cloud-based email server, Gmail.

Google Workspace

Source: Google Workspace

Related: Google Workspaces (Google Suite) vs. Gmail: Which One to Choose?

Gmail is among the most widely used alternatives to Exchange server as well as Exchange Online, and is available at great pricing plans. The cheapest pricing plan starts at $6 per user monthly, where you get business-level Gmail service, cloud storage of up to 30GB, shared calendars, and Google’s full suite of productivity applications.

Pros Cons
  • Great choice of collaboration/ productivity applications
  • Great UX score 
  • High levels of customizability 
  • High levels of device compatibility 
  • Built-in security features
  • No live customer service 
  • Potential concerns with data privacy 
  • Lack of built-in email forms or workflows
  • Limited Basic plan storage 

Zimbra Collaboration

If you are an enterprise-level company that is looking for a solution based on open-source technologies, then Zimbra might be what you are looking for. As per the team behind Zimbra, this collaboration platform encompasses multiple open source projects under one supported and certified open-source collaboration application tailored to satisfy the needs of enterprises.

Zimbra Collaboration

Source: Zimbra Wiki

This Exchange alternative incorporates a robust email server that offers functionalities like messaging, calendaring, and chat/video conferencing, therefore comprising a centralized business communication database. Some of the best Zimbra features include accessibility from any device, MAPI connector (to link with Outlook), enhanced Allow-Quarantine-Block controls, and a set of useful tools similar to those of Office 365.

Pros Cons
  • Useful labeling system
  • Centralized emails across entire company 
  • Hefty storage 
  • OS-friendly 
  • Customizable source code 
  • Not great UX score 
  • Absence of the search functionality 
  • Lack of a distributed system
  • No attachment option in the mobile version

Kerio Connect

Kerio Connect is a great alternative suite that offers business-level email service, calendar applications, instant messaging, etc. For the deployment options, companies can choose between on-prem deployment or partner-hosted cloud-based systems, while the entire installation and deployment are done extremely quickly.

It is among the best Microsoft exchange alternatives as it features almost identical collaboration tools – instant messaging, integration with scheduling, calendars, notes, contact and task management, and so on.

Pros Cons
  • User-friendly interface
  • Good deployment options 
  • Has SSL encryption, S/MIME, anti-spam/anti-virus tools
  • Native archiving and backup 
  • Has instant messaging feature built in
  • Scalable pricing 
  • Potentially buggy administrative console 
  • Anti-virus and spam filters sometimes go offline
  • Subpar customer support
  • Upgrade cycle could be faster 

Don’t Forget About Email Archiving Solutions

We hope this article helped in your search for the best Microsoft Exchange alternatives, and we’d also throw in an extra piece of advice – be sure to invest in a robust email archiving solution.

Once a business chooses the right email server, it is equally important to integrate an effective email archiving tool that would help optimize and enhance storage and email data management. If you have any questions about our data archiving platform, deployment options and cost, feel free to contact the experts here at Jatheon or book a short demo.

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