February 01, 2022 by Jatheon

Microsoft Exchange vs. Outlook Comparison: Which One to Choose?

At first sight, there may appear to be no significant difference between Microsoft’s primary email systems, Exchange and Outlook.

It’s easy to see why people are confused — after all, they both offer comparable services like calendaring and email hosting — yet they’re utterly different to the trained eye.

Microsoft Exchange and Outlook are complementary services that operate best when used together, despite the fact that they’re commonly presented as either/or options.

Let’s look at the fundamental distinctions between the two services and explain why it’s not so much Microsoft Exchange vs. Outlook as it is Exchange and Outlook

What Is Microsoft Exchange?

Microsoft Exchange is a set of applications that enable digital communications and collaboration in a business IT environment. It’s an email and calendar server, which implies it’s a specialized network resource management application that communicates with email clients using transmission control protocols including IMAP, SMTP, and POP.

Microsoft Exchange 2022

Source: Microsoft

To put it another way, Microsoft Exchange is in charge of sending and receiving emails from and to client computers. Although Exchange may be used with any email client, it is most typically used with Microsoft Outlook.

Exchange is a part of Microsoft Office 365 Business Plans and Enterprise plans, the company’s productivity and collaboration suite. Exchange Online plans can also be purchased separately.

What Is Microsoft Outlook?

Microsoft Outlook is an electronic mail and calendaring app that is a part of the Microsoft Office 365 suite. Outlook is mainly used for email, but it also allows users to manage contacts, tasks, calendars, and more all from one place.

Microsoft Outlook 2022

Source: Microsoft

Outlook is an email client – a simple application that you install on your computer and which allows you to send and receive emails via protocols to and from an email server.

You can use Outlook without connecting to Exchange, but you’ll have to work offline, which means you’ll lose access to email and other collaborative features.

Microsoft Exchange vs. Outlook

There are a few fundamental distinctions between Microsoft Exchange and Outlook, apart from the fact that one is a mail server and the other is an email client.

Here’s a table overview of Microsoft Exchange vs. Outlook:

Microsoft Exchange Microsoft Outlook
Microsoft Exchange is a server application and an email server solution. This means that Exchange is a dedicated network resource management platform. Outlook is an email client installed on your desktop. Outlook is designed to send and receive emails, and it keeps in sync with Exchange.
Exchange is offered as a part of:

  • Microsoft 365 Business plans,
  • Microsoft 365 Enterprise plans, and
  • Office 365 Enterprise plans 

or purchased separately.

Microsoft Outlook is included in the Microsoft Office suite. It’s a part of all versions of Office 365 for business
Exchange can be used both with Outlook and other email clients. Outlook can’t be used with email servers other than Exchange. It’s possible to use it without Exchange, but it requires working offline.
Microsoft Exchange services are cloud-based. Microsoft Outlook services are desktop-based

Collaboration and User Management

While Outlook allows you to form and manage groups, Exchange provides many more options for collaboration and team structure. Admins have complete control over individual and team permissions, as well as the ability to create and distribute resources, contacts, or subgroups.

UI and Access

While Exchange offers considerably more options than Outlook alone, Exchange users may still access their accounts using Outlook, which has a clean and professional style that makes it simple to discover what you’re searching for. Microsoft Outlook may be accessed online or via mobile applications for iOS and Android smartphones. For Microsoft 365 subscribers, a desktop version is also available.

On the other hand, the Exchange admin interface might be substantially more intimidating, especially for new users. This dashboard provides you with all of the tools you need to manage your organization’s hosted email, but it may take some time to become acquainted with its features and possibilities.


However, when it comes to security, Exchange outperforms Outlook. Unlike Outlook, which just filters spam emails into the Junk folder, Exchange security features are significantly more versatile. Admins can actively filter communications based on business policy or regulatory requirements to guarantee organization-wide compliance.

Message Size Limitations

Finally, Exchange allows customers to send messages that are far larger than those enabled by Outlook. Individual messages in Outlook are limited to a total size of 20 MB, compared to 150 MB for Exchange. However, keep in mind that huge files may be rejected by the recipient’s email client.

Key Considerations when Choosing a Hosting Service

Microsoft Outlook and Exchange are only two email hosting services in a sea of many. Just because they’re manufactured and maintained by one of the world’s most well-known software companies doesn’t imply they’re a great fit for every enterprise.

In fact, it could make more sense for you to look for alternatives to Microsoft Outlook and Exchange.

Before you begin your search, you should familiarize yourself with the various email hosting alternatives accessible to you. There are three main types of email hosting:

  • Self-hosting: You keep your emails on your own server.
  • Shared hosting: You use a third-party supplier to bundle web and email hosting.
  • Third-party hosting: You rent email storage space on the server of a third-party provider.

Once you’ve determined which email hosting model is best for your company, you’ll want to thoroughly examine providers based on a variety of criteria, including:

  • How much do their services cost
  • What features and functionality are available
  • Whether or not they permit custom domains
  • Whether or not they employ spam filters
  • How much mailbox storage space do they offer
  • What security protocols possible they have in place
  • How they intend to utilize your data and who will have access to it.

Microsoft Exchange vs. Outlook – Better Together

We hope this post shows why, when it comes to Microsoft email hosting, you should consider why they work better together rather than Microsoft Outlook vs. Exchange.

Once you’ve chosen the right email hosting option for your company — don’t forget about email archiving! Jatheon provides both cloud and on-premise email archiving solutions that help companies ensure email compliance and take care of ediscovery.

If you have any questions regarding email archiving and email compliance, get in touch with our team, or book a free live demo.

Read Next:

10 Microsoft Outlook Alternatives to Try in 2022

5 Best Alternatives to Microsoft Exchange

Top Trends in Enterprise Data Archiving for 2022

See how data archiving can simplify compliance and ediscovery for your organization

Book a short demo to see all the key features in action and get more information.

Get a Demo

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap