Outlook.com Premium is quite the expensive affair

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 19, 2016

Microsoft revealed Outlook.com Premium, a subscription-based version of its free Outlook.com email offering earlier this year.

Back then, the offer was only available to select customers who took part in the beta test. The company appears to have opened the doors for sign up to Outlook.com Premium to the public recently.

While limited to users from the United States currently, it is likely that the offer will be extended to other regions eventually.

At its core, it is an offer for existing Outlook users and new customers to gain access to a handful of advanced features for a yearly subscription fee.

You are probably wondering about the differences between the free and premium version of Outlook.com.

Outlook.com Premium vs Free

One of the big features of premium Outlook.com accounts is that the inbox is completely advertisement free. While that may not be important for users who use third-party clients to access their emails, those who use the Outlook.com web service to read, send and manage emails may like that.

Premium customers may also use up to five personalized email addresses instead of email addresses that Microsoft offers as part of the free service.

So, instead of picking an email address ending in .outlook.com or other domains provided to free users, premium users may pick a custom domain name instead.

They may add a custom domain they already own to their account during sign-up, or pick a new available domain for that instead.

Related to that are options to share calendars, contacts and documents between those custom email addresses.

Microsoft runs an offer currently to promote the new premium subscription option. Users who sign up for Outlook.com Premium right now get it for $19.99 instead of the regular price of $49.99 per year. Also, the custom domain, if picked and not imported, is free in the first year as well. Users who use their own custom domain can do so without extra charge.

If you think that is quite expensive, you are not alone. Google charges $5 per user for its G Suite Basic plan for instance which gets you extra features such as 30 Gigabytes of online storage, phone and email support, and video and voice calls for $60 per year.

Outlook.com Premium customers pay at least $49.99 after the first year. If they pick a custom domain for their emails, that is an extra that gets added to the total. What makes this even more unappealing is the fact that Microsoft will be the owner of the domain name you pick, and that you only get guaranteed access to the selected email addresses for as long as you pay the extra charge and remain an Outlook.com customer.

Considering that you get better value subscribing to hosting plans that get you as many email addresses as you like, ensure that you have full control over your domain, and a web hosting account on top of that, it is questionable if Microsoft's offer will be that popular.

It may even be better to sign up for a web hosting plan anyway, and use that domain for Outlook.com Premium, instead of using Microsoft's offering to use that domain through Outlook.com. The main benefit here is that you retain full ownership of the domain name regardless of your Outlook.com subscription status.

Now You: Expensive or reasonable? What's your take on the Outlook.com Premium price?

Outlook.com Premium is quite the expensive affair
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Outlook.com Premium is quite the expensive affair
Microsoft's new Outlook.com Premium subscription service for its email service is now available to users from the United States.
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  1. Hans said on August 17, 2017 at 5:16 am

    Uhm, the Outlook plan is $19.99 for 5 USERS. Even if it’s at $49.99/year, for 5 users, its still cheaper than the G Suite.

  2. Jeff said on July 18, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    Limit of 5 users is a deal killer. I need 7 or it’s a non-starter.

  3. Lee Brink said on May 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Lots of incorrect info in this article. Introductory rate is $19.99 and is forever if you sign up now. Still available as of today May 2,2017. If you bring your own domain you own it. Even if MS does it for you according to the terms I read you own it. If you are using webmail it probably does not make a lot of sense. If you are using a client, especially, Outlook and have 4-5 people in the family it makes a whole lot of sense.

    Yes you can host on bluehost, godaddy , etc for $3-4 a month, until they renew and jack the prices up to $12-15 a month. That may make sense if you use their web page services but if you use email only it does not. Plus exchange is a whole lot better than imap, especially foro calendar and contacts.

    For those of us who have wanted our private domains the access to an exchange service for this price is a real deal.

  4. Trebuchette said on April 29, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Please update the article on outlook.com. I’ve tried accessing our old emails with various clients and operating systems; it appears even if you OWN an Outlook/Office license, “old” Outlook (2010/2013) can’t reliably access your outlook.com accounts. I’ve just spent hours trying to “fix” the problem: one KB solution was to login to the live.com website and select POP access (default is off), but that didn’t work for Claws email client.

    Looks like ultimately they are FORCING you to buy Office 365 subscriptions to use Outlook 365 (Outlook 16?) to download your emails. I’m not even clear if you buy the dumb subscription, that you can use old Outlook 2010 to access your email.

    I’m not buying into any more M$ anything (we have Win 7 and Win 8.1 boxes, but that’s it). But I’d love it if you did a little investigative research. We’ve found emails online that never made it to our client email programs. We’re trying to wean off Outlook entirely now, but people should know that they MAY not be getting all their emails, even with a client that uses IMAP and shows SOME emails (and was supposed to work with live.com, or outlook.com …or whatever they’re calling it this week).

    I’m frothing mad at our investment in M$. I don’t like or want web email, and with Microsoft’s recent history, I simply don’t trust the company anymore.

  5. TND said on March 4, 2017 at 6:42 am

    I think it is a bargain; unless I am missing something it is less than 1/10th the cost of G-Suite basic.
    You get 5 (five) users on hosted Exchange with a personal domain all for $20/year (assuming you already have a domain). G-suite is $60/user/year for a total of $300 a year for 5 users.
    Five users for $20/year a bargain compared to G-suite and all the others that are $60/user/year.

    I could not justify $300/year to host email for my family members but when I saw this come up for $20/year I did not think twice. It will be great not to deal with IMAP and cheapo hosting companies that cant keep them selves off blacklists.

    That said, I would not take MS up on the ‘free domain’ for a year. There are plenty of cheap registrars to get a domain that you own and control.

    1. Rob said on April 26, 2017 at 2:52 am

      I agree, I don’t know what everyone else is talking about with it being expensive? I have my own domain with Godaddy and I was on Exchange Online Plan 1 for my family, total of 3 e-mail accounts for $176.40 (got it via volume license from the IT store I work at) and then I found outlook.com premium. So now I get up to 5 e-mail accounts for $29.95 (for now until it goes up in price after the first year but even then it will be half the price) and I get the same Exchange Online service and servers minus a bit of the extra stuff like better spam filters.

  6. Brent R Jones said on October 20, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    The USA Postal Service has overlooked a key source of revenue: government authorized email with a connection to your street address, phones, Internet services, the IRS, Social Security, Homeland Security, et. al. Of course, the FBI and CIA would have the ability to snoop. But think of having brentrodneyjones@usa.gov for my email address! I could say goodbye to my CompuServe, AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail, and Outlook accounts or perhaps link them all.

    And use a tagline of ****Buy and sell cocaine, heroin, marijuana, pipebombs, assault weapons. Love your enemy from Syria, Russia, China and Ukraine. Down with all terrorism, especially NSA.****

  7. Vrai said on October 20, 2016 at 2:41 pm

    Waaayyyyyy too expensive!

    Outlook.com user interface is terrible. The site is very slow to load. Finding things can be confusing.

    I use Fastmail.com. Have two Premium accounts with them, one for business, one personal. Couldn’t be happier! Practically no spam. No ADs. No spying! And way cheaper than $49.99 per year.

    1. Miha said on December 28, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      How is FastMail cheaper?

      If you want custom domain it is still 5$/user/month or 50$/user/year

      It really doesn’t matter who you chose Google with AppsFor business or fastmail or any other. they have the same pricing.

      1. Josh said on January 8, 2017 at 8:32 pm

        Vrai is probably grandfathered in. Fastmail switched a couple of months ago to $3 per user per month, or $5 per user per month, but users with the older accounts which were cheaper could keep on the legacy plan.

  8. Anonymous said on October 20, 2016 at 4:31 am

    use webmail ad blocker to get rid of ads from yahoo, outlook or gmail


    I wonder why it isn’t clipped in Office 365.

  9. Andrew said on October 19, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    It sounds like it would actually renew at $20 per year, per the offer terms:

    *Personalized email free for the first year. Your subscriptions will auto-renew annually at $19.95 (Outlook.com Premium) and $10 (Custom Domain). Custom Domain subscriptions are not available on a stand-alone basis; a concurrent Outlook.com Premium subscription is required. You will be notified if the price changes; cancel at any time at premium.outlook.com. Offer expires Dec 31st 2016. Email addresses subject to availability and GoDaddy’s Domain Name Registration Agreement and Proxy Agreement. Subscription includes 5 email addresses sharing the same domain. U.S. only

    1. Brent R Jones said on October 20, 2016 at 6:07 pm

      Microsoft uses GoDaddy?

      1. Andrew said on October 20, 2016 at 6:22 pm

        yep sadly, and when you buy the domain, microsoft buys it “on your behalf”

  10. Dan82 said on October 19, 2016 at 5:36 pm

    I don’t think $50 a year (or around $60 with a domain) is expensive, but compared to the free version there is very little added value so that and not the price is my criterion. As a premium subscriber you still use the same infrastructure as free users and are, as far as I could see at least, restricted to the same limits and terms of service as well. On the one side that is a size limit of 10MB per attachment for example, on the other side it is the dubious privacy handling that exists with ANY free mail provider.

    Personally, I would never be willing to pay for a service that ends up using my data in the same manner as those of free users, because they at least can use some fake data to sign-up and use their account. The reason I mentioned the limit of 10MB per attachment is that I’ve already run into this limitation once. If the recipient is unable to access MS OneDrive, whether because the person is accessing the mails from a company network or from behind a censorship firewall, you may as well switch to a different mail provider entirely or outsource the hosting of files to a service that is not restricted.

  11. Johnny said on October 19, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    While I agree with the premise of the article as you state it is actually cheaper than GMail, 49.95 vs 60 for a year. So a little misleading to complain is quite expensive.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 19, 2016 at 5:05 pm

      Johnny, I think both are quite expensive if you just want email.

      1. Andrew said on October 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm

        Yes, but this isn’t “just email”, Both offer exchange or EAS support. The cheapest exchange package I have seen is Microsoft’s Exchange Plan 1 for $4/month. While Zoho apparently has EAS, I read issues with it when using it with outlook.

  12. A or B, not C. said on October 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Soon, M$ will likely be offering annual Win 10 Home subscription at about US$79.95, which will also be ad-free n can be installed on 5 devices in yr home only = Win 365, ……. like for Office 365.

  13. Earl said on October 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    Reminds me somewhat of the old Yahoo Mail pricing. $20 got some Plus features (some actually useful stuff versus the free basic Mail), and you could pay some more to get custom addresses/domain that Yahoo would “manage” for you. Then Plus became little more than ad-free for $50/yr. Well, at least Outlook.com looks nice, right?

    I think you need more than one email service for recovery and occasional “backup” (when your primary service is unavailable). Outlook.com w/o any custom domain addresses works as well for this as any other. $20/yr. for ad-free, account persistence provides as much as most will need, if that.

  14. Heimen Stoffels said on October 19, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Are you sure that it’s currently limited to US customers only? ‘Cause I’m from the Netherlands and when I follow the link to the Premium offer and click on Get Started, it lets me sign up for Premium.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 19, 2016 at 1:55 pm

      Well according to the FAQ, sign up works only for users from the US.

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