We use a multitude of different SaaS products here at Kinsta to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes and to improve the productivity of our team. One product that we couldn’t live without is definitely Google Workspace! We aren’t afraid to come right out and say it’s by far the best email solution on the market right now for your business. 👍 Not to mention the other features that it comes with, such as Google Drive storage and tools such as Google Docs and Google Sheets.

Today we’ll dive into the unparalleled benefits of Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), why we use it and recommend it to all of our clients, and how it compares to other similar solutions on the market.

What is Google Workspace?

Google Workspace is Google’s suite of intelligent apps. This was formerly known as Google Apps, till it was re-branded in late 2016. We primarily recommend Google Workspace for clients that are needing email hosting for their business. However, Google Workspace is much more than just email. It also includes a variety of apps and features that can come in quite handy. In fact, you’re probably already using or are familiar with some of them.

Features We Use on a Daily Basis

Google Workspace has three different plans you can use (of which we’ll dive into a little later on). We utilize the Basic Google Workspace plan for our employees here at Kinsta. This starts at just $5/user/month. For many of you, the basic plan is probably all you’ll ever need. Here’s what it includes:

Gmail

According to Litmus, Gmail leads the way as the most popular email client, with a whopping 26% of the market share based on open rates. It’s no surprise as Gmail has been around since 2004 and now boasts over 1.2 billion users. One of the best things about Google Workspace is you basically get an enhanced ad-free version of the online email client you’re probably already using.

Gmail

Google Workspace essentially allows your employees to have their own Gmail accounts with email addresses with your business domain name (example: [email protected]). A very small business with one or two users might be able to get away with free Gmail accounts and some alias+forwarding rules. But once you start hiring two or three employees, you’ll find yourself needing accounts that can be managed separately.

Google Workspace Gmail custom domain

Gmail custom domain

Google Calendar

None of us here at Kinsta could live without Google Calendar. Many of us rely on it for scheduling calls with clients and setting due dates and reminders for important projects. Google Calendar can help you keep your schedule organized.

G Suite Google Calendar

One of the great things about using Google Calendar in Google Workspace is the ability to create multiple calendars that are accessible to everyone in your company (or even a subset of users). For example, you might want a group calendar for events like team holidays and regular meetings. Having all your employees attached to the same organization makes tasks like these even easier when compared to the free version.

Google Calendar

Google Calendar

Google Drive

Google Drive allows you to store, access, and share your files in one secure place. You then have easy access to them from any device. Google Workspace Basic plans come with 30GB of storage for every employee. Google Workspace’s Business, Enterprise, and Teams editions provide unlimited storage so you will always have enough space for your files. Note: If you’re a smaller team with fewer than 5 users, you only get 1TB/user.

G Suite Google Drive

If you haven’t used Google Drive before, one of the best things we like about it is the amazing search functionality! Although, it’s probably not too surprising seeing as they also run the largest search engine in the world. Did you know that you can search based on the content within a document (regardless of the file name)? Pretty handy. This means you can easily find what you’re looking for, no matter how disorganized you are. 😉

Google Drive search

Google Drive search

The paid version of Google Drive gives you twice the storage of your free personal drive and Gmail, 24/7 support, sharing controls, and advanced reporting.

Google Docs and Google Sheets

Google Docs and Google Sheets pretty much speak for themselves and again are tools we use every single day. You can even import Google Docs into WordPress. These allow you to create and edit text documents and spreadsheets right in your browser. Import your documents to make them instantly editable, including Microsoft Word, Excel, and PDF files (.docx, .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, xlsx, .csv, .html, .ods). As of February 2018, you can now even collaborate and comment on Microsoft Office files without it having to automatically convert to Google’s format.

You can also export to common third-party formats. This makes it easy to collaborate with other individuals or companies and send files back and forth, without ever needing to install or purchase additional software.

Note: Google Docs and Spreadsheets created directly in Google Workspace don’t count towards your storage limit. 👍

G Suite Google Docs and Google Sheets

Here are just a few of the common tasks we use them for:

One of the best features of Google Docs and Spreadsheets is the real-time commenting and unlimited versions. Previous versions are kept indefinitely and they don’t count toward your storage. This makes it super easy to track changes made to a document or undo a mistake. Sharing documents with your coworkers or other individuals is also incredibly easy.

Google Docs versions

Google Docs versions

Google Keep

Google Keep seems to be one of those well-kept secrets that nobody knows about. If you’re looking for a basic Evernote alternative, Google Keep rocks! This is a great little tool regardless of whether or not you’re using Google Workspace. Being a Google product, it works flawlessly within the Google ecosystem.

G Suite Google Keep

It can be an easy way to keep those frequently asked questions you get from customers in a convenient place. Create to-do lists, notes, and set reminders to stay on track. Everything syncs across your devices, so what’s important is always in reach. Easily share them with your team and archive them when you’re done. And once again Google’s search works flawlessly with it.

Google Keep

Google Keep

Google Workspace Admin Console

The Admin console for Google Workspace allows business owners easily manage everything from one single place. It got an overhaul recently and is a lot better than it was previously with Google Apps.

G Suite Admin

Do everything from adding new users and groups, manage devices, configure security settings (like 2-factor authentication), add new custom domains for your business which can be used for Gmail.

Google Workspace admin console

Google Workspace admin console

Most, if not all of the features in Google Workspace have to be enabled by the administrator in order to be used. Some of these are also only available in higher plans. If a feature is not enabled and a user tries to access it, they’ll see a “not available” message (as seen below).

Google Workspace not available

Google Workspace not available

Additional Features

Here are some additional features that we don’t use at Kinsta very often, but you might be interested in:

What do Kinsta and G Suite have in common? The ability to keep things running smoothly behind-the-scenes. Try Kinsta for Free.

Additional Features for Google Workspace Business and Enterprise Users

It’s also important to make a note of the additional features in Google Workspace Business and Enterprise plans. If you’re a bigger business and rely on email heavily, these can help ease some of your worries.

Unparalleled Benefits of Google Workspace

While all those features above are great, now it’s time to dive into some of the real benefits of using Google Workspace for your business.

Google Workspace Logo

 

Hosting Email With Third-Party Is Always Recommended

It’s never recommended to host your email with the same company you use for WordPress hosting. That’s why we don’t and will never offer email hosting to our clients (other than perhaps a Google Workspace add-on down the road in MyKinsta. 🤫) We go into great detail about the reasons here. But we’ll give you a quick summary of why below:

  1. If you use your host, you’re tied to IP addresses that your host has configured for outgoing email. If something goes wrong with that, such as a client suddenly spamming, there is a chance the IP address could get blacklisted for spam. Then you’re suddenly left hanging with no control.
  2. One of the biggest downfalls to relying on your WordPress host for emails is deliverability issues. With Google Workspace, you can authenticate outbound mail using DKIM and SPF records which can positively impact your spam rating.
  3. Sending emails via your WordPress host could potentially result in server resources issues. By offloading email to a third-party, especially Google Workspace, you’ll never have to worry about this.
  4. Spreading services across multiple providers is always a good thing. We always recommend separating DNS (we include Amazon Route 53 DNS for all clients), WordPress hosting, and email. This way if anything goes wrong with one, your email is always flowing. Most likely your DNS will still route regardless, but by using multiple providers you can guarantee this.

So as you can see, going with a third-party for email hosting is actually beneficial to your business.

Caveats (Transactional and Marketing Emails)

While Google Workspace accounts don’t have an SMTP limit, for those of you sending thousands of emails every month, we generally don’t recommend them for sending bulk emails or transactional emails (purchases, registering, resetting a password, etc). You can read the laundry list of their bulk sender guidelines. For these types of emails we recommend the following transactional email services:

Mailgun transactional email service

Mailgun

If you’re small and just starting out, don’t worry about your transaction emails until you start sending out large volumes. You can get started with just Google Workspace for everything and be just fine. Also, some of the providers like Mailgun above, let you send 10,000 transactional emails per month for free. So in a lot of cases, this doesn’t have to be an extra expense. And additional emails after that are pennies to send. Read more about transactional emails, SMTP ports, and free SMPT servers for WordPress.

You then have marketing emails, such as newsletters. The same thing applies here. Typically you’ll want to use a third-party provider due to better deliverability rates and tools for list building, A/B testing, etc. Here’s a few we recommend:

MailChimp email marketing software

MailChimp

Some of the transactional providers above also handle marketing emails and mention that on their sites. So in some cases, you could always combine your transactional email service and email marketing software. Read more about email marketing software.

Familiar, Compatible, and Easy to Use

One of the greatest benefits of going with Google Workspace for your business is that most of your employees are probably already used to using products like Gmail for email and Google Docs. This makes the transition super easy and ensures you don’t have to waste time explaining to new hires how to utilize company tools; unlike Zoho or Office 365 where there might be more explanation needed.

Google Workspace also has the best compatibility on mobile devices compared to any other email provider. It simply works, everywhere!

And if you already have a personal Gmail account, Google makes it super easy to one-click switch between accounts (personal Gmails and Google Workspace accounts).

Google Workspace switch accounts

Google Workspace switch accounts

Uptime

When it comes to uptime, Google is one of the best when it comes to reliability. If you want to dig into the technical details, Google Workspace offers a 99.9% Service Level Agreement (SLA) for covered services, and in recent years they’ve actually exceeded that. Also due to the fact that email is such an important part of every business, Google Workspace has no scheduled downtime or maintenance windows. All of their data centers are built with redundant infrastructure.

But just like any service, they can never be up 100% of the time. Therefore, you can always bookmark the Google Workspace status dashboard for updates on all of their products.

Google Workspace status dashboard

Google Workspace Isn’t The Cheapest, But It’s Extremely Affordable

There are other providers out there that are cheaper, such as Zoho (we’ll dive into a comparison further below). However, just like we always recommend you invest in managed WordPress hosting, your business email is not one of those areas you should try to save a buck. Having an email host that you can rely on can save you money down the road.

Here’s a look at Google Workspace’s pricing and what’s included in each plan.

Google Workspace Business Starter

Google Workspace Business Standard

Google Workspace Business Plus

$6/user/month $12/user/month $18/user/month
Business email through Gmail Business email through Gmail Business email through Gmail + eDiscovery, retention
100 participant video meetings 150 participant video meetings + recording 250 participant video meetings + recording, attendance tracking
Shared calendars Shared calendars Shared calendars
Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides Docs, Spreadsheets, Slides
24/7 support (phone, email online) 24/7 support (phone, email online – Enhanced Support upgrade available) 24/7 support (phone, email online – Enhanced Support upgrade available)
Security admin controls Security admin controls Enhanced security admin controls, including Vault and advanced endpoint management
30 GB cloud storage per user 2 TB cloud storage per user 5 TB cloud storage per user
Cloud search Cloud search
Vault (archive and retention) Vault (archive and retention)
Audit reports Audit reports
Data loss prevention (Gmail + Drive)
Hosted S/MIME for Gmail
Gmail third-party archiving
Enterprise-grade security
Gmail log analysis

Here are some quick estimations for you:

For everything that Google Workspace includes, that’s a pretty great deal and kind of a no-brainer!

You can also opt-in to a discounted rate by switching to an annual subscription. An annual subscription offers savings of up to 20% more than the standard monthly subscription. The great part is you can still be billed monthly on the annual subscription if you prefer.

What do Kinsta and G Suite have in common? The ability to keep things running smoothly behind-the-scenes. Try Kinsta for Free.

Google Workspace Is as Secure as It Gets

Google Workspace is built on top of Google Cloud Platform, which offers the highest security on the market. It’s trusted by some of the biggest companies in the world; such as HP, Verizon, Whirlpool, and Salesforce. As Google says, they are leading with a “security-first mindset.” They have industry-leading knowledge and expertise backing each and every one of their products, including Google Workspace.

Google Workspace security

Here are a few highlights of ways Google Workspace protects you and your data:

You can check out Google Cloud’s security and compliance whitepaper for more information.

Google Workspace vs Office 365 vs Zoho

There are thousands of email hosts on the market. But when it comes down to serious business email hosting, you can really narrow it down to these three providers: Google Workspace, Office 365, and Zoho. So below we’ll do a little comparison.

Google Workspace vs Office 365 vs Zoho

Pricing

For pricing, we are taking the monthly cost from each provider.

Google Workspace Business Starter

Office 365 Business Essentials

Zoho Standard

$6/user/month $6/user/month $4/user/month

Additional notes:

Software and Tools

Below are comparable products across providers.

Google Workspace Business Starter

Office 365 Business Essentials

Zoho Standard

Gmail Outlook (50GB) Zoho Mail
Google Drive (30GB) OneDrive (1TB) Zoho Docs (30GB)
Google Docs Microsoft Word Zoho Writer
Google Sheets Microsoft Excel Zoho Sheet
Google Slides Microsoft PowerPoint Zoho Show
Google Sites Sites (SharePoint) Zoho Sites
Google Meet/Chat Skype + Microsoft Teams Zoho Meeting + Cliq
Google Keep Microsoft OneNote Zoho Notebook
Microsoft Yammer Zoho Connect

Additional notes:

But as you can see, all three of the above providers have very similar offerings when it comes to the tools and services they provide. So a lot of your decision will probably come down to price and ease of use for your employees.

Disadvantages of Google Workspace

To be completely honest, there aren’t many disadvantages that we’ve found using Google Workspace, and our team has used it for over four years. Although it definitely depends on the type of business you are. Here are a few things you might consider:

How to Move to Google Workspace

We personally think that Google Workspace is your best option for email hosting and other tools, and that’s why we recommend it to all of our clients. They also offer a free 14-day trial, so you can even give it a try before committing to anything. Their onboarding process is also incredibly easy.

Here are some quick steps to get started with Google Workspace for your business:

Step 1

Sign up for your free trial.

Free trial Google Workspace

Step 2

Activate your account by signing into your Google Admin Console. (Note: Sign in with your Google Workspace email address and password. (This address ends with @yourbusiness.com, and isn’t a @gmail or personal Google Account.)

Google Workspace admin console

Google Workspace admin console

Step 3

In the Admin console, click “Start Setup” to launch the setup wizard. You’ll give each team member an email address at your domain (like [email protected]), so they can start using Gmail, Calendar, Meet, and all the other Google Workspace services. You can also manually add additional users at any time.

If you have additional domains, you can also add them or create email aliases.

Google Workspace domain alias

Google Workspace domain alias

Step 4

In your Admin console, you’ll then need to follow the steps to verify that you own your domain. You’ll get a verification code to add to your website or your domain settings. Google Workspace has excellent instructions for literally every DNS registrar and DNS provider on how to verify your domain.

If you’re using Kinsta DNS, we also have a tutorial on how to add your Google MX records in our MyKinsta dashboard. When creating your domain, you can add the records with a single click.

Add Gmail MX records

Add Gmail MX records

If you’re coming from another email host, such as GoDaddy, BlueHost, OVH or Office 365, you’ll most likely also want to migrate your old emails over. Here are some helpful links:

Note: If you’re just starting to use email for your business for the first time, you can skip the above migration process.

Step 5

The final step is to then follow Google Workspace’s quick start guides for setting up the additional apps, such as Google Drive, Google Calendar, Google Contacts, etc. And that’s it!

Google Workspace Tips

After Google Workspace is up and going there are a few little warnings or errors you’ll probably run into. One is the following message when trying to save a profile photo.

Sorry! We could not save your profile photo. Please try again later.

Google Workspace could not save profile photo

Google Workspace could not save profile photo

In Google Workspace the admin has to give permission for users to save a profile photo. This can be done from “Directory → Directory settings → Profile editing.”

Google Workspace directory profile editing rights

Google Workspace directory profile editing rights

Check the “Photo” option and hit “Save.”

Google Workspace photo

Google Workspace photo

Note: It usually takes a couple of hours for Google Workspace settings to propagate across. So we recommend waiting a bit before trying to upload a photo again.

Summary

As you can see, Google Workspace can be a great solution for any business when it comes to email hosting and providing an all-in-one solution for document collaboration and storage. It’s extremely affordable and easy to use. Most of your employees are probably already familiar with Gmail, which helps reduce the time required to learn new tools.

If you’re just getting starting with Google Workspace, we recommend subscribing to their blog to keep up to date with new features and releases. Do you have any questions about Google Workspace or how it works? We’d love to hear what you prefer when it comes to email hosting. Let us know below in the comments.


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