Basic Question

I want to know if there is anything preventing me from using the one of the business plans for personal use. The important part is I want to find an official Microsoft webpage or document that provides the information so I know its true and I wouldn't be violating any terms and conditions.


I recently found out about a serious Drupal vulnerability (see https://www.drupal.org/SA-CORE-2014-005) which affected my website. I'm using an average web host that also hosts my main email account. Drupal and website recovery are a different topic but it has made me realize I should split up my email and web hosting.

For now I'm looking for a new email host. I have my own domain name and would like to continue to use that for my emails. A few years ago I could have used either gmail or outlook.com (probably still hotmail.com at the time) to host my emails using a custom domain. Both services have been discontinued and replaced with business services that do offer the functionality I want but at a price and there's this question that I can't find a clear answer for.

Extra Details

It's common to get it asked the other way around like the question License - Can I use Office 365 Home Premium on a business computer?. Microsoft make it clear that you cannot use the Home Premium product for business use, see Choose your Office page (home & offline version). That page shows either 'Home use' or 'Home or business use'. I could buy the offline Office Professional 2013 product and use it for either.

The business - Select a plan page doesn't have that clear definition of what they are licensed for. I also looked at the following two pages and couldn't find an answer:

There are other similar questions on this site:

The linked forum post above seems to suggest that you could use the business account as a individual, again its not an official source for an answer. It would also cost £100 or £112 for Office 365 Business or Office 365 Business Premium per user per year.

Office 365 Home is only £80 per year for 5 people. That's £500 or £560 for the business accounts. I think if Microsoft would let people pay an add-on price to use custom domains with Office 365 Home that would solve this issue for a few people like me. It seems not enough to make it worth providing, that and it wouldn't make Microsoft anywhere near as much money.

It seems crazy to force everyone to use @outlook.com emails, as more people use the service its harder to find a sensible username without sticking a load of numbers at the end. That's not to say finding a domain name is much easier. I'd just like to use something like outlook.com with my own domain name and Office 365 for the up to date office apps.


These are alternatives that I could look into but I've not yet, I know bits about them and maybe I will look into them more.

  • Google Apps for Work
    • Paid service quite similar to Office 365
    • May have this same licensing question
    • Personally I wanted to use the alias feature of outlook.com for sending and receiving emails. I don't think gmail has an alternative. It's aliases are receive only
  • Find another web host
    • I'm currently with Xilo.net, They've been ok but there seems to be a very limited customer community (they replaced a forum with an ideas site which doesn't seem that popular)
    • The Internet is flooded with Top 10 or Best Web Hosting pages and endless offers
    • Here's obviously not the right place to ask about that as its very opinion based, maybe something to ask in a forum somewhere
  • Have you found the EULA? – Raystafarian Nov 3 '14 at 17:56
  • I tried to find a EULA for the business plans but I couldn't find it. On the Sign up page the 'terms and conditions' link shows a bit more text but not a full document and a link to a privacy policy (microsoft.com/online/legal/v2/…). It seems you can get the home EULA (windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/windows/…) but that doesn't say it applies to the business plans. – Kioshiki Nov 3 '14 at 18:06
  • I'm also looking into Google Apps for Work. Their EULA is available but it doesn't clearly state it one way or another. Maybe you can assume that the lack of a clear prevention of use by home users means it's ok. You're still paying for the service whether you are a single person or a single self who runs a self employed business. – Kioshiki Nov 3 '14 at 18:11
  • 1
    You can send from the Google aliases as well, or at least use them as a reply address. Just add them as alias, go to your inbox settings, add another address, you'll get an email to prove you own it, click on the link in the mail and you're done. – John Stoneman Aug 15 '17 at 6:09

Yes you can sign up for and use the business and enterprise subscription plans. They are just more expensive than the O365 for home use and cover different use cases, products, and have an SLA.

O365 for home uses Skype and OneDrive personal

Business / Enterprise plans leverage Lync and OneDrive for Business, and you need the more expensive plans to access the full Desktop/Mobile clients for Office.

As for the 1 user / 5 pc - this is tied to the Office 2013 pro plus installations. It means you can activate Office on up to 5 machines with each valid license. When in O365 you can manage where these are activated. It's very common today to have a work, home PC, and mobile device activated for use, and potentially a temporary location as well.

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