"Hotmail Plus" is the name Microsoft gives to the top version of Hotmail ("Windows Live Hotmail") - which costs $19.95 per year, and comes with several perks this tutorial will go over. Before delving into the details of the Hotmail Plus offering, let us just say to clear any confusion: Hotmail is, and remains, a free webmail service ("webmail" = emails you check from the web, without needing to use an email program). Windows Live Hotmail, as it is officially known, gets its revenues from the ads displayed alongside your emails; you are under no obligation to pay for Hotmail, and Hotmail Plus is an optional service that makes your email experience much more enjoyable. The probably most noteworthy, and perhaps best selling point, of Hotmail Plus, is that it disables the ads: you get all the functionality of the original Hotmail, with more features (described below), but absolutely no ads anywhere. That alone, we think, is well worth paying $20 per year for Hotmail Plus!
Storage | Attachments | Reserved Email Account | Safe Senders | Email Forwarding | Custom Filters
The rules of the game have somewhat changed since Hotmail became "Outlook.com", so check out our tutorial on "Ad Free Outlook.com", the successor to Hotmail Plus. Webmail providers offer so much for free accounts nowadays, that it becomes hard to justify paying extra for a premium account. Or does it? (Hint, read the linked tutorial :)
We are not affiliated with Hotmail Plus, and do not get any commission when you sign up for Hotmail Plus - this positive tutorial reflects our opinion that Hotmail Plus is a much nicer experience than the regular Hotmail, not only because of the nice features it ads on top of standard Hotmail, but also and mostly, because Hotmail Plus does not display any ads. We think that paying $20 per year for a bit more "quiet" time away from ads is well worth it (about $1.65/month, not much if you use your Hotmail account as regularly as we do!)
As mentioned above, Hotmail Plus comes without any ads displayed alongside your emails: this makes the Hotmail experience a lot more enjoyable: the screens are less cluttered, and pages load faster since Hotmail Plus does not have to download the graphical banner ads the regular Hotmail has to. This also makes reading your emails quite a bit less stressful, since many of these banner ads are animated, and the movement is very distracting when you are trying to concentrate on reading your emails - no such problem with Hotmail Plus.
All the following are free upgrades you get with your Hotmail Plus account, in addition to removing the ads. The last section of this tutorial will show you how to sign up with Hotmail Plus if you are convinced. Note that Hotmail Plus does not offer you free tech support from Hotmail or anything like that - it is the same email service, minus the ads, and with the following free upgrades after the yearly fee is paid.
The regular Hotmail allows you for 5 gigabytes of storage for your emails, which grows as needed; Hotmail Plus doubles that and starts with 10Gb storage (still grows as your needs evolve). This is not much of a case for Hotmail Plus, since very few people will even get close to 1Gb of emails stored online.
The regular Hotmail allows for up to 10 megabytes file attachments, which corresponds to about 4 high resolution pictures. Hotmail Plus allows you to send email attachments of up to 20 Mb, or the double of regular Hotmail. For an in-depth overview of limitations with attachments in Hotmail, how to overcome them, etc. - please see our Hotmail attachments tutorial and our tutorial on Hotmail size limits - both tutorials also discuss Hotmail Plus.
Unlike the regular Hotmail, your email account will not be disconnected if you fail to login regularly - this is nice to have, but probably a non-issue for anyone who uses Hotmail regularly. Any business owner who uses Hotmail as their professional email should without a doubt pay for Hotmail Plus to avoid any problem.
Hotmail Plus doubles the number of "safe senders" you can have configured - the regular Hotmail currently allows you to mark up to 250 email addresses as "safe" - Hotmail Plus doubles that to up to 500 registered safe senders.
Unlike Hotmail Plus, the regular Hotmail does not let you forward emails to email accounts . To clarify: you can manually forward emails to anyone with both regular Hotmail and Hotmail Plus, but you cannot setup automatic mail forwarding of all incoming mail to an external email address (an email address different from "@msn.com", "@live.com", "@hotmail.com", and local versions of these sites).
Without more details available, Hotmail Plus also advertises the ability to include more recipients in your email distribution lists, and the ability to create more custom filters ("email rules") to automatically sort through and organize your emails.
Hotmail Plus cannot be downloaded, since it is a webmail service, but you can get Windows Live Mail as a free download to connect with the Hotmail Plus servers (more detailed information is upcoming on Hotmail Plus IMAP and Hotmail Plus POP3 server information).
To sign up with the Hotmail Plus service, go to the Hotmail Plus homepage, and click on the Upgrade now button.
This site will also give you up-to-date information about Hotmail Plus, as well as any new features offered bundled as part of the Hotmail Plus premium service.