Outlook.com: ad-free for $19.99 per year

Martin Brinkmann
Feb 20, 2013
Updated • Feb 20, 2013
Microsoft, Microsoft Outlook

Many Internet services displays advertisement on their websites and use it as the main revenue generating source. The revenue that is generated is then used to cover the hosting costs, pay authors and engineers, and maybe even the site operator. Many sites would not simply be there without advertisement, or at least not in the form they are currently.

Microsoft, just like Google and other Internet companies, displays advertisement on several of its properties. When it comes to the email services Hotmail and Outlook, advertisement is displayed to free users of the service. Microsoft, unlike Google, does not scan emails to better target ads on its sites, but advertisement is still displayed nevertheless.

If you do not like that at all and prefer a cleaner interface without ads on Hotmail or Outlook.com, then you can subscribe to an ad-free Outlook and Hotmail for $19.99 a year.

ad-free outlook hotmail

What you get for that?

  • No graphical ads in Outlook or Hotmail
  • No account exipration

The term graphical ad is confusing, as it may mean that textual ads can still be displayed on both sites. It is not really clear if that is just a bad choice of words but I'd assume that Microsoft would not charge its users $19.99 for an ad-free environment when it turns out that the environment is not ad-free after all.

Outlook or Hotmail accounts expire after 270 days of inactivity. A subscription prevents this from happening so that accounts will never expire as long as the subscription is active.

The main question is this: would you pay $19.99 for an ad-free experience on Outlook or Hotmail? Or on other sites and services like Gmail? Or are ads something that you do not mind, considering that you get the service for free as a consequence? Or do you use other means to get rid of advertisement, ad blockers for instance? (via Caschy)


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Smoked Caramel said on June 22, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    In addition to using AdBlock+, if you want to completely remove that annoying empty space on the right for Firefox on Windows you can do this:
    1) Open C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles\\chrome
    2) Create userContent.css if it does not exist
    3) Add the following to the file:
    @-moz-document domain(outlook.live.com) {
    div#primaryContainer > div._n_p { display: none !important; }
    div#primaryContainer > div:nth-child(4) { right: 0px !important; }
    div._rp_L4 { margin-left: 0px !important; }
    div._rp_m2, div._rp_g { margin-left: 5px !important; }
    4) Restart Firefox

    This is for Outlook OWA interface that replaced good old interface mid-June 2016.

  2. Albert Einstein said on June 21, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    they dont offer ad-free for other countries like slovenia, hungary, austria, germany… So, when it be available, I will buy, but now I can’t. They s*ck!

    1. Nikola Tesla said on June 21, 2016 at 2:34 pm


  3. NEXUS said on December 11, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Let’s face it – without addon’s like Ad-block Plus, everyone’s Internet experience would be a whole lot worse. Still can remember the days back in the mid 2000’s when ads were popping up everywhere, not just in the browser, but on the desktop too.

    We all know people want to be paid for their time and effort in creating a website/page…. but ads all over the webpage never worked. Just a fact.

  4. GDJ said on November 3, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Why even bother about all these Ad’s when you can just install Ad Block Plus, it really takes out all these ad’s from all the places you browse including your free e-mail accounts. Personally I feel we should never pay to have a ad free experience, just irritating when so many ad’s pop up.

    And those worried about limited Cloud Storage, just switch over to GMail for 15 GB of free Cloud Storage.


  5. ondiz said on August 20, 2014 at 1:45 pm

    Martin I’m searching for real ad free mail service.
    It would be nice to know if adfree option also exclude email content “sniffing” for commercial poupose and “service optimization” and not only ad visualization…

  6. Matias said on June 4, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Martin, for Outlook (Hotmail) I use Greasemonkey and this script:


    It works flawlessly, showing no ads!

  7. Mungo said on April 18, 2013 at 11:07 pm

    The MS plan to increase income drove me & others to FireFox. A simple addon not only removes the ads, it shifts the columns over to use the space efficiently.

  8. Jim said on February 21, 2013 at 9:31 am

    My Hotmail (ahem) account is pristine. I use Adblock and I have my filters set to “Exclusive”. Nothing shows up in my inbox unless I want it to. I have never run into any limitations with the free account, so I see no benefit to upgrading.

    FWIW, Yahoo offers a similar deal. I have a few friends that pay for the premium version of Yahoo. They like it.

  9. rpwheeler said on February 21, 2013 at 1:16 am

    Ad-blockers are my choice. Almost any ads are way too intrusive for me.

  10. Aaron Z said on February 20, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    I use this only for Windows 8 and as a junk email. Gmail is my main email and I love it. I will NOT go with anyone else because their services are laid our very nicely and organized. MS releases a new e-mail system and does nothing with their calendar. So no, I will not switch. Sorry MS.

  11. Tim said on February 20, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Just looked at 1&1 Web Hosting prices and you could get your own personal domain name/mail box for less.

    £2.99 – UK Domain name per year
    £8.28 – Mail Account per year

    £11.27 – Total ($17.24)

    1. Zahid said on February 17, 2016 at 12:59 am

      Better than Microsoft! Seriously…

  12. Morely the IT Guy said on February 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

    No *graphical* ads. You’ll still get spammed half to death by Microsoft’s business customers who bought your address, though.

  13. Sue said on February 20, 2013 at 9:44 am

    I’d rather put up with the ads than have to pay for the site

  14. Sabin said on February 20, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Just install Ad Block Plus addon, you won’t see any ads.

  15. Dan said on February 20, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Aside from using an ad-blocker, I also access both Gmail and Hotmail through an email client via POP3. I still prefer to download and archive my messages locally.

  16. Charlie said on February 20, 2013 at 8:53 am

    In Chrome, I see this on the right side of my outlook.com email page – “Content is not available. Please check back later.” I use adblock, BTW. The msg does not appear when I’m using Firefox.

  17. BobbyPhoenix said on February 20, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I don’t mind seeing ads if they are small text ads. Once any of them get bigger than than that they get blocked. As far as paying a yearly fee. Not for me. I know this is basically paying $20 a year for ad removal, and even if you get more storage. It just sound bad/cheap. Now if they say $20 for more storage, and a bonus is no ads, then that sounds better. Still won’t do it.

  18. KoalaBear said on February 20, 2013 at 8:47 am

    True, but are also default in Gmail, and space is still growing, currently 10.1GB. 25 MB even.

  19. Alan said on February 20, 2013 at 8:43 am

    There are some other benefits to paying the $19.99 per year. 10 gb of email storage as opposed to 5 gb for the free service, you can send up to 20 mb email attachments. It’s worth it to me.

    1. Miles said on March 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      Yeah… I’m from the old days of hotmail with 200MB storage, and I never came near that either. Heck, I think when I first had hotmail before Microsoft bought it, I had 20MB storage, and that was fine then. I don’t even need 1GB storage.
      But if I could pay for for seven years ad free right now, I probably would… if I could guarantee that they wouldn’t change my email anymore.

    2. insanelyapple said on February 20, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      I dont think that most of people are even getting emails over 5mb in attachment; for ~90% of users premium version is completely useless. Ads? Theres adblock + filters sets.

    3. Martin Brinkmann said on February 20, 2013 at 8:44 am

      Interesting, do you have a page where all benefits are listed?

  20. Ramesh Khanna said on February 20, 2013 at 7:30 am

    i access one of my Hotmail accounts with windows 8’s mail app and so far have not got any ads.

  21. Sbronzo di Riace said on February 20, 2013 at 5:03 am

    $19.99 per year ahahaahahahah

    really ridiculous

  22. Nebulus said on February 20, 2013 at 4:11 am

    I use AdBlock Plus for Firefox to block ads on various sites, including Outlook.com. I dislike ads and never click on them so I don’t want them to clutter my browser window, but I would never pay to get this kind of service when I have a free alternative.

  23. KoalaBear said on February 20, 2013 at 3:37 am

    I use Gmail since the beginning. Never been distracted with the ads as they are text only. If it was not text-only, like in Hotmail you are really distracted.

    But maybe when Google offered this, I could think about it. But need a credit card which I don’t. (not that common in The Netherlands as it is in America etc).

    1. ilev said on February 20, 2013 at 4:00 am

      I don’t see any advertisements as I use ad-block.

      1. Zahid said on February 17, 2016 at 12:57 am

        Same :P

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