Email continues to be a vital form of communication, even though social media is now so prevalent. Plus, email is generally free, unless it is offered as part of a package deal with website design and hosting, for instance. Email continues to be so popular that there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of providers to choose from. So what companies offer free email accounts, and how do you choose between them?

Features of Good Free Email:

First of all, you need to know what is important in a free email provider. Those things are:

1. An effective spam filter

2. Sufficient storage space

3. Mobile access

4. A user friendly interface

5. Desktop availability

6. Minimal amounts of advertising

What Companies Offer Free Email Accounts?

With the above six features in mind, what companies offer free email accounts that you could consider signing up for? Below is a list of the 10 options that are generally accepted to be "the best".

1. Gmail, which everybody knows about. You get 10 GB of storage, a great spam filter, mobile access, and various other great features.

2. Zoho Mail, which is very much a professional email account with instant chat, notes, task manager, and calendars. Plus, you can add Google for Business apps to it as well. There are no ads at all, and it is really user friendly.

3., previously known as Hotmail. It is basically a combination of the strong desktop Outlook that most of us know, allowing you to connect direct to social networks, and also Office Web Apps.

4., which allows you to choose your own domain name – a feature that is really rare in the world of free internet. If you don't want to choose a domain name, you will simply be assigned You also get unlimited storage, and attachments of up to 50MB, plus mobile support.

5. Yahoo! Mail, which continues to be one of the best after nearly two decades of offering services. Unlimited storage, instant messaging, social networking, and SMS is all included.

6. GMX, which isn't very well known but actually offers a really good and reliable service. It filters viruses and spam very well and gives you unlimited email storage. You can also add attachments of up to 50MB and use their email collector to manage all your accounts. Plus, it allows for web-based and mobile access.

7. Fastmail, which has been around for about a decade. They have excellent protection against junk mail, good web folders, temporary secure SMS passwords, 120 day inactivity time, and IMAP. Unfortunately, they only offer 25 MB of email storage.

8. Hushmail, which is another very good one to consider. They provide you with 25 MB storage on free accounts, which isn't much. They do, however, have excellent mobile device integration, and they can integrate with Outlook.

9., which gives you 5GB of storage. An easy drag and drop interface allows you to change the look in any way you see fit, and you can choose RSS feeds that you like. It also comes with some cool features like notes, tasks, calendar, and photo sharing.

10. ShortMail, which is like Twitter except that it is private. You can't exceed 500 characters in each email, and you can't add attachments. This is about quick, to the point communication. It works on various mobile apps as well.