PROS / AOL provides the most freedom to personalize your email address of any service we reviewed.
CONS / You cannot import contacts from social media accounts.
VERDICT / Although the glory days of America Online are in the past, AOL Mail is still a hard-hitting contender in the free email service space.
America Online was once king of the internet, but that was a very long time ago. What remains of the once-great internet giant is a rebranded name, AOL, aggregated content and an aging but still excellent free email service – AOL Mail. And although AOL Mail falls short of the top email providers on our review, it does offer a free email service that’s worth considering.
The most attractive portion of the new AOL Mail is the fact that it has unlimited storage capacity. With unlimited storage space, you’ll never have to worry about keeping too many emails stored in your inbox again. Additionally, you’ll be able to attach attachments up to 25 MB, which is pretty standard for a free email service.
Furthermore, AOL’s other attractive offers include image blocking, download restrictions, your choice of HTML or plain text composer, IMAP access and plenty of small extras for a free email service.
AOL Mail offers a spam filter feature that’s simple; you choose Off, Low, Medium and High. AOL recommends keeping your filter on Medium. We found that on this setting, all our emails were routed to the appropriate places in the service. If spam does slip through, it's an easy fix. Additionally, with AOL's Security Suite download, you get virus protection in your emails and on your computer, along with phishing protection, parental controls, AOL's firewall, pop-up controls and spyware protection.
With AOL free email, you have the ability to drag and drop each message into its appropriate, customized folder, which makes it very easy to sort through hundreds of emails when you need to. Furthermore, the service allows you to customize filters to reject emails from unknown domains, those with clickable hyperlinks and those that contain pictures and certain words or phrases. Unfortunately, with the way that AOL's security features are set up, there is no way to sort your incoming email to route them into specific folders automatically.
One feature we particularly like is MyAddress. AOL allows you to choose your own domain name. Your email no longer has to be email@example.com. If you own a domain, you can route your AOL mail through that domain, so your free email address has the potential to be firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, you can invite up to 100 friends to be a part of your domain. No other free email service we reviewed allows you this degree of email address personalization.
Although the MyAddress feature is attractive, and helpful for businesses, if you need a mail service that lets you set up an alias to forward incoming emails to another account and keep your primary AOL address masked, AOL Mail isn’t for you.
AOL Mail includes a calendar that can track events by year, month, day and so on. Additionally, you can record your tasks and place notes in the calendar feature. AIM is AOL's instant messenger, which is included with the free email service.
AOL Mail is in the process of reinventing itself for the better, but its lack of a few features that the best email accounts offer drops it out of the top email providers out there. However, AOL Mail does provide some of the best free email security available on the internet, and many of the features you enjoyed with AOL as your ISP are now free for the world.