Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail Comparison

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 23, 2009
Updated • Mar 16, 2017
Email, Gmail

Have you ever asked yourself how you did end up with the email account that you are currently using? Chance is that you have at least one account at one of the three most popular web based email service providers Gmail, Yahoo Mail or Windows Live Hotmail (now known as Outlook).

Update: We have updated the information in this comparison article to reflect changes as of March 2017.

This question might have become insignificant in recent years as all three email providers have started to follow suite if one of them improved a limit, or introduced a new service. But not everything is equal, and some email users might be surprised if they take a look at the differences between these email providers.

Did you for instance know that a free Yahoo Mail account expires after four twelve months of inactivity but is the only one to offer 1 Terabyte of storage space for emails?

Gmail on the other hand is the only email service that is not expiring the account after a certain time of inactivity.

It is on the other hand the email service that is offering the least amount of free storage space if you take Microsoft by the word that they increase the Windows Live Hotmail storage space automatically if the limit of 5000 Megabytes is reached (update no longer true).

Take a look at the following chart to see how the three email providers compare.

email providers
outdated information, see below for update

The chart should be up to date. If you spot an error let me know and I fix it asap.

Update: Below is an updated chart (as of March 2017).

Feature Gmail Yahoo Mail
storage space 15 GB 15 GB 1 TB
additional storage yes, paid yes, paid no
message limits 50 MB, Google Drive for larger files 25 MB (option to add storage accounts) 25 MB (100 MB attach large files feature)
custom from address yes yes, paid only yes, paid only
domain name customization yes yes, paid only yes, paid only
access options POP3, IMAP, WEB POP, IMAP, WEB POP, IMAP, WEB
ads yes yes yes
virus scanning yes yes yes
account expiration no 12 months 12 months
mobile apps Android, iOS Android, iOS, Windows 10 Android, iOS
remarks crawls emails for ads paid version, without ads, extra features paid version, without ads, extra features

Back to the original question: Which email provider are you using primarily and why? Here is my answer..

I mainly use email accounts that have been created for my web projects. I also use a Gmail account; Primarily because it is linked to other Google services that I need to use. I do have a Yahoo Mail and Microsoft Live Hotmail account but I barely use them. Mostly for services that require such an account.

Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail Comparison
Article Name
Gmail, Windows Live Hotmail and Yahoo Mail Comparison
The comparison looks at the three popular email providers Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail, and how they compare to each other.
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  1. Dar mushtaq said on March 7, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Please open this Gmail

  2. Zero said on July 10, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    I use hotmail. Seems the best to me right now. Love the new features and speed enhancements too.

    I’ve tried gmail but i hate the conversation ordering and there’s no way to change the ordering plus I don’t trust google anymore as they don’t care about anyone’s privacy and love the chance to leak data. Google truly is an evil corporation.

    I like yahoo mail especially the new interface. they’ve really done well over the years.

  3. shailesh said on December 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I use Zimbra Desktop ( as mail client which pulls gmail as well yahoo mail for offline browsing. For those who are fan of Gmail’s thread conversation, Zimbra Desktop does it with or without thread conversation.
    As for as Spam is concerned, i get more in gmail than Yahoo mail. To my utter surprise, i daily see some fixed spams in gmail’s junk folder which gives me the impression that these are sent intentionally to prove how GOOD gmail’s spam filter is.

  4. Mr. Wright said on December 2, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    Another option that is comparable to all the big names is Zoho. Zoho will sync your email with all their other apps, most of which are free (CRM, Planner, Calander, Project Mgmt., etc.)

  5. thehosh said on November 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    gmail primarily, for the simple reason that it can handle multiple emails, i have about 10 accounts (including 3 from hotmail, and 2 other gmails and 4 own domain accounts and 1 university account). i send and receive them all through gmail. very convenient with the labels as well :)

  6. kai said on November 25, 2009 at 11:17 am

    @steve burton: it seems that you still have the old version of Yahoo Mail.
    FYI, Yahoo has been rolling out the new version of their webmail service progressively. As a Spanish user, they upgraded my account just a couple of months ago whereas many other users had their accounts updated months before. Currently, you get 25MB in regular attachments and 100MB attachments using integrated app.

    As for the POP support, you gotta pay to get it in US but it has been free for years for the rest of the world.

  7. steve burton said on November 25, 2009 at 5:32 am

    You information is off quite a bit on They currently charge for most of the services listed above as free just so you know. $19.95 per year for their Yahoo Mail Plus service. Without the service fee you get no pop mail service at all, you message size is restricted to 10MB. They do not allow you to forward your email to another email account if you want to transfer. They are tagging your outgoing emails with message ads. They also remove most of their filters and spam guards as well. So to any one that wants an email, I would say pick something else that you don’t have to pay for. I just switched back to regular yahoo classic and you should have seen the nice nasty email I got from them. It states “we value your business and are sorry to see you go. ” They are already assuming I am leaving I just haven’t had time to change the credit infor on my account. Now that I see everything everybody else is offering for free. Why keep Yahoo is the question, keep $19.95 a year in your pocket!!!! I can forward you the email if you like!! Over the last few months, they have increase their ads by 1,000 per cent on every download also.

  8. kai said on November 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    Martin, 100MB attachments are possible in Yahoo using the integrated app.

    >>”As for M$ – no way I trust them with my email.”
    That’s funny, because unlike MS, Google is a really scary corporation. To begin with, it’s the most privacy-invasive company out there (along with Facebook).
    I use Gmail because it’s easy-to-use and i don’t care about my own privacy, otherwise I’d be using another webmail service (both Hotmail and Yahoo are good alternatives and have improved a lot over the years).
    Also, Google should get their priorities right. They add tons of useless features to Gmail Labs(i.e. that snake game) but still haven’t added HTML signatures support (which is a killer feature)

    1. Martin said on November 25, 2009 at 12:39 am

      Kai you are right, I wrote about that earlier this year that they have integrated the service.

  9. Toby Galino said on November 24, 2009 at 12:30 am

    I have to echo VictorAv — For personal use its gmail’s SSL feature that’s got me hooked and the fact that its pushed to my iPhone. Email services need to provide more robust forms of protection — like extended validation ssl, – and two factor authentication. if all email users had a 2FA token it wouldn’t matter if their passwords were hacked. We’re betting here at VeriSign that Google also leads the way implementing multi-factor authentication.

  10. DanTe said on November 23, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    To “Clement”, sorry, didn’t know I was being “aggressive”. You had mentioned “plug and play” Yahoo, meaning “convenience” to me. So I just reiterated what you pointed out: plug and play, because I really don’t have the time to waste on setting up stupid things just to be “technical”.

    And to me, Gmail, is not plug and play. Time (a limited resource) is better spent elsewhere.

  11. Mike J said on November 23, 2009 at 7:07 pm

    I gave up on Yahoo; just a nuisance all around.I use gmail mainly,but of course you have to put up with bots scanning every word.
    BTW-Inbox allows up to 50MB attachments to be sent or received.

  12. DanTe said on November 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm

    I use Yahoo! Mail the most. Chiefly because it lets me send and store .exe files. It’s also highly convenient to read as part of My Yahoo! as I get most of my news fix from My Yahoo! feeds.

    My Gmail account has generally been relegated to backup status and for use of my Google Phone. Or for when I want to cut and paste pictures into the email as Yahoo! Mail does not allow this.

    But since I use email mainly as a repository of useful software I can download and use remotely, I stick to Yahoo. For those of you who would constantly say: just zip the exe files and Gmail will let you send it and store it. To which I say, if I’m fixing a PC remotely, the last thing I need to do is constantly unzipping files.

    Yahoo! Mail is also great for my financial needs. I give each of my financial institutions a unique Yahoo! Plus Mail account. i.e. for Chase accounts; for Goldman Sachs accounts, et al. This way, when I receive email from say Chase, if it’s not sent to, and is sent to my actual Yahoo account or some other Yahoo Mail Plus account, I know for certain it’s a Phishing scam.

    1. Clement said on November 23, 2009 at 6:37 pm

      @DanTe :
      Just FYI, when it coms to the last point you bring up, you can do this very simply with a standard gmail account :
      – Use for goldman and for chase
      – Use “periods” within your e-mail address to differenciate your accounts. might be used for XXX, where youremail is your standard address.

      As for Downloads, a good old fileserver is perfect for that ;), but I understand that you enjoy using your e-mail for that purpose.

      And to my understanding, My Yahoo! now enables you to load external emails from say… Gmail, right ?

      Basically, I think Yahoo! is nice for anyone who would like a “plug and play” solution, whereas Gmail would suit power users, ready to take the -little- time required to set it all perfectly to their needs (thanks to labs, SSL, pop accounts, etc).

      1. Clement said on November 23, 2009 at 9:57 pm

        Actually, I wasn’t talking about Yahoo ! Plus, but just the plain My Yahoo ! Homepage, where anyone can add their own e-mail addresses from Hotmail, Gmail, etc.
        And no need to be aggressive, I think none of the Gmail users are there because of its “coolness”, but more of its convenience…
        And nowhere in my comment did I mention that Yahoo! was not convenient, quite the contrary, just pointing out the facts about things you did in Yahoo that you didn’t seem to know Gmail could do as well, that’s all…

      2. DanTe said on November 23, 2009 at 9:26 pm

        Yes, you can set up new gmail accounts for everyone of my unique Yahoo! Plus accounts. But it’s a pain. And it requires separate signups. I just click on my Yahoo Options button, type in new email address to be associated, and click yes. It’s done. No confirmation emails, no separate signup sheets, et al.

        It’s all about convenience. My time is too valuable to be wasted on stupid things, just because it’s technically flashy and “kool”.

  13. S.Jaafar N. Ahmed said on November 23, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    Copied from gmail help page:

    “Google may terminate your account in accordance with the terms of service if you fail to login to your account for a period of nine months.”


    1. Martin said on November 23, 2009 at 4:08 pm

      Yes I read about the nine month figure but it seems as if Google is not enforcing it at this point. It is probably still better to log in at least once every nine months to stay on the safe side.

  14. victorav said on November 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    One of the most important feature is SSL. Gmail will allow you to always use HTTPS when using web browser to view your email. Also is when you use pop and smtp with gmail, you use secure pop and secure smtp. You can not do that with windows live or yahoo.

  15. Rarst said on November 23, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    gmail does have expiration policy – 9 months.

    I have few accounts that are consolidated at gmail with custom address. I think about trying Google Apps at times, but not many reasons to so far.

    I had account at Yahoo that got nuked because of inactivity. Since I had clear secondary address they could at least send me a note there before silently deleting everything. Hadn’t re-opened it since.

  16. rob said on November 23, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    unless it has changed, yahoo POP access is only available with the yahoo plus (meaning you must pay).

    1. Martin said on November 23, 2009 at 2:55 pm

      I heard that pop3 access is available in some countries.

      1. Randy said on November 23, 2009 at 10:32 pm

        There’s a hidden work-around for pop access with Yahoo! Mail. If you set your country to Asia, then you can check it with your favorite pop client.

  17. yogi said on November 23, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I use gmail – when I began I loved the threaded conversation and the fact that I can access it anywhere. transferring large files was also very important.

    These things were also offered by Yahoo and still are but I cannot stand the Yahoo interface, it is for me extremely nonfunctional and very unaesthetic. I feel like poking my eyes out each time I visit a Yahoo page. Gmail on the other hand has a clean, sensible design IMO.

    As for M$ – no way I trust them with my email.

    Good comparision chart !

  18. Clement said on November 23, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Professionally, I use good ol’ Outlook, but personally, I’ve been faithful to Gmail for the last 5years+. My professional account also gets to that accound thanks to pop integration, and I can reply to these emails transparently from my Gmail. I apply rules to most of my e-mails, so they skip my inbox and are tagged properly automatically.
    I also use Gtalk from time to time, saves me from having to install MSN or some other IM…
    Add to this Twitter Gadget and Gmail is at the core of my communication process.

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