Drive home page showing link to Admin page

G Suite vs. Free Google Apps | What is the difference?

If you’re a company or organization using the free Google Apps, and you’re looking for something that gives you more control over the way that your users utilize them as well as some great additional features, G Suite might be just what you need. Let’s take a quick look at Google’s premium option and what it can offer for you and your organization compared to the free standard version.

If you email me at you will receive a code for 20% off of your first year of G-Suite. If you sign up for G Suite using this link and apply the code during checkout, the discount will be applied after your trial period expires.

Admin Console

The Admin Console, which is an addition to your usual Google Apps menu, contains a lot of features that give you control over your users and how they access and share data and use the Google Apps within your organization.

Drive home page showing link to Admin page

If you click on the Admin app, you’ll be presented with a number of useful features. On the left, the Users feature allows you to add or remove users in your organization, as well as assign them to groups, for example when scheduling different meetings on your Calendar.

G Suite admin console with Users selected

The Apps feature gives you control over which apps your users can use and see. For example, you can turn off Gmail if you’d like everything done through Outlook.

G Suite admin console with Apps option selected

The Device Management feature gives you control over access through different devices, for example, if you’d like to prevent access to company data from a phone. We’ll take a closer look at that in the Mobile Device Management section below.

G Suite admin console with Device management option selected

Video explanation

Custom Email

Perhaps the most important difference between the free Google Apps and G Suite, and something which is often the sole reason why people upgrade is the ability to customize your email address. In the free version, your email always ends with ‘’. In G Suite, you can put your domain name in there instead. You must own the domain before you can use it in your email address.

Gmail showing a custom email

Data Migration

Another useful feature offered in G-Suite is the ability to migrate data from a different email service, such as Outlook or an IMAP service such as Yahoo, to your Gmail account. You can migrate emails, contacts and calendar data.

G Suite data migration

G Suite Editions

G Suite is a premium service, and you can pay monthly or annually. The annual plan has a small discount, but a flexible plan may be better for you if you’re adding and removing users regularly.

G Suite Plan types

The monthly payment depends on which Edition of G Suite you use: Basic is $5/month, Business is $10/month, and Enterprise is $25/month. In most cases, if you’re a small organization, Basic will do just fine.

Comparison of flexible plan and annual plan

If we look at a comparison of the different G Suite Editions, there are a few differences to take note of. One of the main limitations on Basic is the 30GB file storage limit per user. In the Business edition, storage is unlimited, with the caveat that if you have fewer than 5 people in your organization they cannot have more than a 1TB of storage each. In Enterprise, storage is completely unlimited.

Comparison of G Suite plans with storage highlighted

The Business and Enterprise Editions offer a couple of unique features. When you move up to Business, you get eDiscovery which can be useful if you’re searching for documents for a legal case. Enterprise offers much more granular control and customization of your Gmail. None of the G Suite Editions feature ads.

Comparison of G Suite plans with enterprise features highlighted

24/7 Support

G Suite offers 24/7 support, which can come in useful if you’re doing complex tasks with Google apps in a company.

New Calendar Features

If you have G Suite and you left-click on your calendar to create an event, there are a couple more options. The first one is the option to put in an Out of Office notification. The second one is Appointment Slots which allows other people to go into your calendar and set up appointments in the time slots you have designated to be available.

Extra options on calendar frin having G Suite

In the following image, you’ll see the public-facing side of your calendar, as it appears to someone who has come in to make an appointment.

Google Calendar showing appointment slots

Google Docs Sharing Options

If you have G Suite and you go to Google Docs to create a new Google Document, and click Change in the Sharing Settings, you’ll find a range of new sharing options that give you more control over how information is shared within your organization and who can see the document contents.

Google Docs link sharing options

Mobile Device Management

Another feature of G Suite is Mobile Device Management, which gives you control over if and when to activate your user’s mobile device, as well as the option to perform a remote wipe.

G Suite admin device management options

Additional Security Features

In G Suite’s Admin Console, there’s a Security feature that gives you a greater range of security options for your organization.

G Suite admin console with Security highlighted

Inside, you’ll find options for password monitoring, login challenges, and Single Sign-On (SSO) for your users. The following image shows the options available in the Basic edition, but you will find much more granular security options in Business and Enterprise.

G Suite security options


That’s a brief overview of the key differences between the free Google Apps and G Suite, Google’s premium apps service. You will now have a better idea of the benefits to you and your organization if you go ahead and choose G Suite. Hope this has been helpful to you!

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One thought on “G Suite vs. Free Google Apps | What is the difference?

  • Thanks for this article! I’ve heard for years that I can use gmail with my own domain name, but I never knew how until I stumbled across this article.

    I see that G Suite can handle many of my itches for $6/mo.

    (I think I saw that G Suite will allow up to 30 aliases, which is more than enough for my small company, assuming that the aliases can be distributed across my multiple domain names..)

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