Shock! G Suite legacy free is disappearing! What should I do?

I was lucky to be one of the free G Suite users. So my personal email domain and my company email domain both use Gmail for free, for up to 50 users in each account.

I actually pay more for extra Google Drive storage because my personal email exceeds 15 GB now, but that’s it.

For my family domain, I have three accounts. For my small company domain I have about 5 accounts. It adds up.

I thought we were legacy users forever. But now Google is nipping at my heels for monthly subscriptions. It all has to be done by May or they switch us over themselves, and if we don’t enter billing info by July we lose our custom domain Gmail!

So I wonder if we should take this opportunity to explore alternatives to Gmail - an email system I’ve used forever. Love the multi-labeling. But can live without it I guess.

Are there alternatives which are as reliable as Gmail? And then there are the Google Docs. I suppose those can be dealt with via a generic account.

Any thoughts? Pay Google forever and be under their price control when they then decide to raise prices?

I also have a generic C-Panel account with generic IMAP that supports multiple domains and I could move my email there I suppose.

Anyway, since we have to pay going forward, are there better choices than Gmail to consider?

Any suggestions?

Yes - it works. Why not?

I guess two reasons:

  • I feel sort of suckered in.

  • Their support isn’t great.

You got many years for free, right? How is that getting suckered in?

So I think it comes down to support vs. effort to switch.


Well, take the account I use for my small company, for example. I feel suckered in because they said I was legacy, so I didn’t feel reserved about adding new email accounts to that domain as needed. Now I need to pay for them all, give some up, or go through a grody switchover.

And I can’t even figure out how much it costs!

It looks like Google may be changing the terms of this. See this article from Ars Technica.


Interesting. Vague. But interesting. Thanks.

I am in a similar boat with a G Suite account that my son and I used for an early iPhone software business. The basic cost for Google G Suite now is $5 per month per user account. Currently I am the only user so I can shut down the unused accounts and apparently migrate my last account to a non-G Suite account.

I have two legacy G Suite accounts. They each have a limit of 50 users, but after some cleanup just now I have 3 in my family G Suite and 3 in my tiny company G Suite. If it’s $5/month per account I guess that would be $30/month = $360/year. Plus what I am paying extra for my Google Drive.

Not negligible.

I also signed up for a free account for a personal domain a long time ago. I agree that I was able to get a lot of value for free for a long time now, but I also set up several mail accounts that I may not have if I’d known that I would be charged for them. I can reduce the number of accounts to two, I think. (My PayPal account is one of them.)

I believe the cost is $6/month per user now - it went up from $5 a couple of years ago. I have to see if $144/year on Google mail is worth it to me (I don’t use any other services - drive, docs, search - only mail). I don’t think it is, though Gmail’s server side spam filtering is fantastic - that’s the value add for me. At this point I have no idea what other services might cost, but when I return from travel I’ll start looking.

I’m not just going to convert them to gmail accounts if that is what Google is offering. I have a couple of those already and would just use one of them.

I also looked at Fastmail, which a couple of people here recommended, and it looks ok. The iOS client isn’t bad, though I don’t see any image annotation tools.

They claim really fast migration from Gmail. One nice thing is that if you have one “standard” account at $5/month and use it for your domain, other email addresses in that domain can use the less expensive “basic” plan for just $3/month if they don’t need much storage. However “basic” is also limited to webmail.

I’ll wait and see what Gmail actually ends up doing.

Apparently Gmail is offering a “discounted” account at $4/month “for the first year” but as we see they can change their prices whenever they want.

If you’re like me and already have a server in the basement that’s running 24/7, you can also register a domain and set up your own email server. This is very flexible and cheap in terms of dollars, but can become time-consuming to administer.

Haven’t done that since the start of the 21st century. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Here’s an update about what Google is thinking:

Still, it looks like whatever they are planning won’t be a free service with custom emails.

I guess (sigh) I’ll try to contact support.

I use one single Fastmail standard account to manage several domains and email addresses for family members. I even host a static HTML website there as well.

For family members it is simple to set up aliases that forwards to any other email provider (i.e. wife(at)domain.tld forwards emails to her normal gmail account - copies are not saved in my fastmail account after changing a default setting).

When I migrated from Gmail a few years ago, the transfer was very simple - in the admin interface there is an option to link up to your google account and the transfer starts. As I remember it it can take some time to complete as they can’t download at 100% speed (Google throttles this - again as I remember it).

When the transfer was complete I did a “Google Takeout” download for my backup, then via gmail emptied all mail.
Back in Fastmail you can then set up a connected service to gmail that pulls and deletes mails on your gmail account (you can even reply using your gmail address).

Gsuite is much more than email, but for email it is going to be hard finding a better provider than Fastmail.


We use Google Workspace in our company, and I maintain my own G Suite/Workspace hosted domain for the occasional side gig.

In general, it’s great, stable and worth the cost. My only worry about it is that Google has been known to be somewhat capricious about changing/dropping or suddenly charging for services (Anyone remember iGoogle?).

Google Bookmarks. Google Reader. Buzz. Google Plus.

Unfortunately, Apple isn’t much better. iWeb. iDrive (eventually put back, but without migrating data from the old iDrive), Mobile Me.


Even for my wife, who’s needs aren’t complicated, no IMAP so Apple Mail or another client can be used makes Fastmail’s Basic plan not an option.

I only heard good things about Fastmail but $5/month (or only $50/year if paid annually) per user for Standard makes $6/month/user for Google Workspace look not so bad.

That doesn’t provide a way to send email from wife(at)domain.tld so it’s only half a solution.

If I’m paying for a domain and email service, I want the email I send to be from my domain address.

I filled out the survey, I’ll be interested to see what they come up with for small, family users. Worst case, I let it get suspended and go back to using my shared web host, Dreamhost, for our email as well. It was a little slow, Dreamhost even encouraged customers to use Google’s free service instead, but that was over a decade ago.

What little we have on Google Drive, switch to free accounts with Gmail addresses; instead of downloading, we can probably share the top-level folders of the G Suite drives with the Gmail accounts then copy the files from there into the Gmail account’s drive. We don’t use Calendar or Meet. The FAQ says the suspended G Suite account with my domain email address as a username will still work for logging in to YouTube or any third-party sites where I used Google for authentication.

If you have a (free) Gmail account, you can configure Gmail to send its mail from an account on a different SMTP server. See Gmail → Settings → Accounts and scroll down to “Send mail as”

I don’t think that actually uses the other address’s SMTP server but in any case, when I’ve tried that, the gmail address used to send was still included in the email.