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In this article, I’m going to offer you the best encrypted email services, alternatives to popular email services such as Gmail or Yahoo, which can also be secured to a certain degree, but, at the same time, mainstream providers are notorious for mishandling their users’ data or scanning inboxes for keywords to display personalized ads.

You may be concerned that everything you do online is being watched by the government, powerful corporations, or malicious hackers.  

In the past, we’ve shared with you what encrypted messaging apps you should use for secure communication and also walked you through the most popular free encryption software tools.

We can all agree on the fact that a huge part of our internet activity revolves around email. And I’m sure you want that everything you share via email to stay private and only be accessed by the people you choose, and the perfect way to do this is through encrypted emails.

Although there are multiple ways to secure your email using encryption software, they are often difficult to implement by unskilled users. Maybe at a later time, I’m going to also dig into this subject if you are interested, but for now, I’m going to look at some encrypted email service options that are easy to use.  

So, below I’ve put together a list of user-friendly web-based encrypted email services that will help you increase your level of online anonymity.  

You’ll notice that (almost) all of the options come from European countries. Here, the GDPR imposes strict rules on data privacy, and among many other regulations, it’s making privacy by design a legal requirement.  

Disclaimer: While none of those encrypted email services providers will share your data with other companies/advertisers, some may present it to government entities under legal demands.

1. ProtonMail

ProtonMail is an encrypted email service based in Switzerland and created by scientists, engineers, and developers from CERN, with the intention of increasing your online security and privacy. They pride themselves on datacenters “located under 1000 meters of granite rock in a heavily guarded bunker which can survive a nuclear attack”.  

Features:

  • Free option with 500MB storage and 150 emails per day
  • Paid options starting from $ 4.00 / Month for personal use
  • Business plans for $6.25 / Month / User
  • Two-step verification
  • Use your own domain
  • Mobile apps available (iOS and Android)
  • Report phishing option
  • Self-destructing messages – you can set an expiration time on your emails so they get automatically deleted from the recipient’s inbox after a certain time
  • Based on open-source code
  • They use AES, RSA, and OpenPGP encryption

2. Tutanota  

When it comes to the best encrypted email services, Tutanota cannot be overlooked. Tutanota is an encrypted email provider from Germany. They position themselves as a secure email services alternative to Gmail. According to their website, they are also planning to include a calendar, notes, and cloud storage in their offering – and of course, all of these features will be encrypted too.  

Features:

  • Free for 1 user with 1GB of storage
  • Other paid options starting from €12 for personal use  
  • Business plans available
  • Free for non-profit organizations
  • Use your own domain
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Based on open-source code
  • Their data centers run on 100% renewable energy

Additional details:

If you want to send an email to someone who’s using different encrypted email services (for instance, Gmail), you will be asked to enter a password that you will have to share with the recipient.  

The recipient will then use it to unlock your message and be able to read it by accessing a link. The URL will remain active until you send them another confidential email.  

This is what an email sent from a Tutanota account to someone who is using a different email service looks like.  

3. Hushmail

Hushmail is a secure email service based in Canada that encrypts your email communication. Simplicity is at the core of their business in order to keep their customers secure and better understand potential threats. Hushmail uses the “passphrase” naming for the log-in field which is typically referred to as “password”, in this way encouraging people to use more complex passwords – phrases, rather than words.

Features:

  • 14-Day free trial (no credit card required), then $49.98 per year with 10GB of email storage
  • Business plans available
  • iOS app
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Use your own domain
  • An account will be locked if too many attempts are made to access it
  • Ability to set up Hushmail within an email program (Mac Mail, Microsoft Outlook, Android phone, Thunderbird)
  • Inbox antivirus and spam filtering
  • TLS/SSL, OpenPGP encryption

Additional details:

Similar to Tutanota, if your recipient is not using Hushmail, you have to check the Encrypted checkbox, and the email will be read on a secure web page.

4. CounterMail

Countermail is a web-based encrypted email services provider, with their data centers located in Sweden. Although their website looks quite outdated, their email security is able to handle today’s privacy threats.  

Features:

  • 7-Days free trial. After the trial ends, multiple plans are available starting with $4.83 per month with 4000MB of storage. You also have the possibility to add extra storage for a fee.
  • Compatible with Android phone
  • Message filter / Autoreply
  • Supports IMAP
  • Diskless web servers – This means they don’t have any hard drives and instead start from a CD-ROM for increased online privacy. Their web server does not log any IP-addresses.
  • USB-key option – It’s used as a key file in combination with your password for increased security. It provides better protection against keyloggers and brute force attacks.  
  • OpenPGP data encryption, SSL-MITM protection

5. Runbox

Headquartered in Norway, Runbox is a company that provides secure email services worldwide, offering encrypted communication and strong authentication.

Features:

  • Free 30-Day Trial
  • Paid plans for personal use, starting with EUR 14.95 per year, with 1 GB for email and 100 MB for files
  • Business plans starting with EUR 69.95 per year, with 25 GB for email, 2 GB for files, and 25 email domains
  • Accepted payment methods: Credit/debit cards, Bitcoin, PayPal, Money Orders, SWIFT/SEPA payments, and cash.
  • 60-day full money-back guarantee
  • Use your own domain
  • Calendar
  • Ad-free Webmail, spam and virus filtering, email consolidation, and filtering
  • Access from any client via POP, IMAP, SMTP, and others
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Their servers run on 100% renewable energy

6. Kolab Now

Kolab Now offers email accounts for secure collaboration, with all the strongly protected data being stored in Switzerland. Just like any other secure encrypted email services, they will never monitor your data, sell it to third parties, or display ads.  

  

Image source: alternativeto.net

Features:  

  • 30-Day Free Trial, then prices start at $4.44 per month for an Individual account
  • Group accounts (1 to 100 users) from $5.42 per month
  • Calendar, address book, files, and more
  • Two-factor authentication (this will disable access to your account on any other channel, such as ActiveSync, *DAV and IMAP)
  • Mobile synchronization (enabled for mobile devices using ActiveSync)
  • Automatic replies

7. Mailfence

Mailfence was founded in Belgium on the principle that privacy is a right and not a feature. They focus on transparency and maintain an updated transparency report, also keeping their code open to audits.  

Mailfence interface

Features:

  • Free version for 1 group with 500MB of email, 500MB of documents, 1.000 events calendars, support via email
  • Paid versions starting from EUR 2,50 per month and 5GB of email, 12 GB documents, 10.000 events calendar, support available via email and phone
  • Business plans available, tailored to your company’s needs
  • POPs, IMAPs, SMTPs, iOS, Android, Exchange
  • Custom email domain
  • Contacts, Calendar, Documents, and Groups
  • Accepted payment methods: credit card, PayPal, Bitcoin, Litecoin
  • Two-factor authentication
  • End-to-end encryption

8. Posteo

Posteo is an independent email service based in Germany focused on sustainability, security, privacy, and usability. The service is fully ad-free and they protect their users’ privacy through an innovative encryption and security model.

Image source: posteo.de

Features:  

  • Pricing starting with 1 EUR per month with 2GB storage – two aliases included. Storage can be increased up to max. 20 GB, each additional GB costs 0.25 EUR/month;
  • Migration service from other email accounts available (folder structure included)
  • Automatic replies
  • Anonymous signup – you don’t have to provide your name or address during registration
  • Anonymous payment – they don’t link payments with email accounts
  • Calendar  
  • 100% open-source code
  • Spam and virus filter
  • Emails sent don’t contain your IP address
  • Free support
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Accepted payments: PayPal, bank transfer, credit card or cash
  • TLS-encrypted access – TLS with PFS for IMAP, POP3, webmail, CardDAV, and CalDAV)
  • TLS-encrypted transmission: protects emails and metadata, as long as the other email server also supports it (TLS with PFS).
  • TLS-sending guarantee - protects you from sending emails to insecure systems
  • AES encrypted hard disks  
  • Runs on renewable energy 100%

9. StartMail

StartMail is based in The Netherlands and was built by the creators of StartPage, a private search engine. This is a great platform for secure communications, that can be accessed from a webmail interface, as well as through IMAP protocol, which makes it compatible with existing email clients.

Features:

  • Free 7-Day trial (no credit card required)
  • Accounts for personal use with $59.95 per year – 10 GB storage, 10 custom aliases, unlimited disposable aliases, IMAP support
  • Business accounts with $59.95 per mailbox per year – 10 GB storage, 10 GB storage, custom, and disposable aliases, IMAP support
  • Disposable email addresses – create temporary email addresses when you don’t want to share the real ones
  • IMAP/SMTP compatible
  • It’s based on a mix of open-source and closed-source components
  • PGP encryption, security like PFS (TLS 1.1 & 1.2), and extra-secure vaults

10. Mailbox

Mailbox is a secure email provider based in Germany, which was founded with the purpose of becoming an alternative to other encrypted email services that depend on their customer data to obtain revenue from advertising. All created accounts include other features besides an email inbox, such as a cloud office suite to edit documents, a calendar, etc.

Features:  

  • Free 30-Day Trial, with 10 emails per day, storage space of 100MB for emails, 10MB file storage, 1 email address alias
  • Paid option for personal use starting with 1 EUR per month, with 2GB email storage, 3 email aliases
  • Business email plan starting with 25 EUR per month, with the central management console, email and groupware, cloud storage, online word processing, and more
  • Calendar, Contacts, Task Planner
  • Online Office
  • Cloud Storage
  • Offline mode  
  • Advanced users are offered dedicated Tor Exit Node with Hidden Onion Services available at their data center
  • Their servers run on 100% green energy

11. PreVeil

PreVeil is an encrypted email system based on MIT computer scientists’ research on cybersecurity and applied cryptography. PreVeil adds an end-to-end encrypted mailbox to Outlook, Gmail, and Apple Mail without changing your email address. Unlike other encrypted email services, PreVeil protects your messages from phishing, spoofing, password, server, and admin attacks.

PreVeil makes encryption both easy to use and manage.

Preveil email encryption

Features:

  • Free individual user account. Business plans start at $6 per user per month
  • Uses end-to-end encryption
  • iOS and Android available
  • Integrates with Outlook, Gmail, and Apple mail
  • Keep your same email address
  • Full set of administrative tools for the enterprise

12. Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail is an encrypted email service developed and based out of India, with data centers distributed across the US, Europe, China, and India. Their data centers have fail-proof servers at undisclosed locations with stringent 24/7 surveillance and a biometric seal for entry. In addition to end-to-end encryption, Zoho Mail also keeps emails encrypted during transit.

Zoho Mail is an encrypted email service

Features:

  • Up to 5 custom-domain mailboxes free (forever), with 5GB storage per user
  • Lifetime free plan for personal email accounts
  • No ads
  • Business plans start from $1 per month
  • Premium plan with eDiscovery access available for a 15-day trial
  • Two-factor Authentication
  • TLS and S/MIME encryption available
  • DMARC, SPF, and DKIM authentication for extra security
  • 44 languages supported
  • Offline and dark mode available
  • Devoid of third-party trackers

Additional Details:

For organization-level communications, Zoho provides the employer with extensive administrator controls. With this console, the administrator can set up spam filters, customize user-specific settings, and also set up email policies such as domain restrictions, email restrictions, access, and account permissions, based on every employee’s requirement. This way, you have total control over how each of your mailboxes works.

13. Disroot

Disroot.org advertises itself as a platform providing online services based on principles of freedom, privacy, federation, and decentralization. It provides secure email accounts that can be used either in your desktop client or through a web interface. What’s more, since communication between you and the mail server is encrypted with SSL, you can be sure it provides the highest possible level of privacy.

disroot encrypted email services

Features:

  • Free 2 GB storage mailbox.
  • Up to 10MB for documents attachment at once.
  • Accessible by POP3, IMAP, and web page.
  • Boasts a multi-lingual user interface.
  • Open-source software.
  • Provides useful additional services including cloud storage, a social network, forums, and chat.

14. Criptext

Criptext.com is an encrypted email service that guarantees security, privacy, and control over all your email communications. The secure email provider doesn’t have access to your emails nor does it store them in their servers.
Criptext encrypted email services heimdal security

Features:

  • A pioneer of secure email service solutions.
  • It’s free.
  • Has an “unsend” email feature.
  • All your emails are locked with a unique key that‘s stored on your device alone.
  • Doesn‘t store any emails on its servers.
  • Allows sending emails to people who do not have a Criptext account.
  • Utilizes the open-source Signal Protocol library.

15. FastMail

Fastmail is a security-focused email service provider based in Melbourne, Australia. The company claims never to monetize the contents of user emails – as is the case with email giants such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft. Although it claims to only respond to Australian court orders, its servers are based in the US.

fastmail encrypted email services heimdal security

Features:

  • Offers a 30-day free trial.
  • IMAP access.
  • No hidden or complicated policies.
  • Simple, easy-to-use interface.
  • Dates back to 1999.

How you can increase your online security and privacy even more

Hopefully, I’ve helped you choose the best encrypted email service alternative to the risky email provider you are currently using. Yet, obviously, email anonymity does not equal online security.  

Even though some of the encrypted email services listed above also include spam filtering, virus scanning, or report phishing options, malicious attackers can always find ways to send you malware-infected links via email.  

This is why you should also be using a proactive, threat prevention solution for your PC, which lets you click any link with confidence and allows you to be sure that your endpoint won’t get affected by malware.  

And it scans and blocks the URLs you click both in your inbox and anywhere else on the web.   

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Email communications are the first entry point into an organization’s systems.

Heimdal™ Email Fraud Prevention

Is the next-level mail protection system which secures all your incoming and outgoing comunications.
  • Deep content scanning for attachments and links;
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  • Advanced spam filters to protect against sophisticated attacks;
  • Fraud prevention system against Business Email Compromise;
Try it for FREE today 30-day Free Trial. Offer valid only for companies.

Here’s some great news for companies  

We’re working hard on a brand new email module specifically designed to prevent business email compromise (BEC) attacks. We will keep you posted on the progress, so stay tuned!

Later edit: Our email security solution that protects you against email fraud is now live! Get a free demo here.

Are you using encrypted email services? Do you have any suggestions that we could add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below!

This article was originally published by Bianca Soare in June 2019.

End-to-end Encryption (E2EE). What Is It and How It Helps

Best Encrypted Messaging Apps You Should Use Today

Hacked Email Account: What to Do If It Happens to You or Your Business

The most Popular Free Encryption Software Tools to Protect Your Data

Comments

Its good to hear that another encrypted services about to launch but will it be more effective than regular like Gmail or Yahoo? and one more thing how you’ll beat them because both platform have huge as well strong hold in the market.
Thanks and Good Luck for the new one!

Asking questions are truly good thing if you are not understanding something fully, however this piece of writing provides nice undeestanding yet.

Protomail is only half as secure as it pretends to be!

I found several messages about Protonmail keeping IP-Logs and forwarding IP addresses to EU authorities and French authorities resulting in the arrest of several individuals!

Prontonmail does NOT deserve to be on this list, and for sure not as number ONE!
Ed

Hi there very nice site!! Man .. Excellent ..
Superb .. I will bookmark your blog and take the feeds additionally?
I am gglad to search out so many useful information here in the submit, we’d like work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.

Protonmail scammed me. I paid for an upgrade but I still only get basic email. They can stuff their email service up their backsides

I prefer MeSign app anyway, free s/mime certs provided.

Lavabit anyone? Seriously. The founder of Lavabit has the most proven track record of NOT allowing access to logs, shut down the company before he allowed the FBI access, and then re-engineered the stack to plug that logging gap in the future. How can Lavabit NOT be on this list? I’ve been using it with absolute ease and peace.

Ah interesting…nowadays things that are put aside, not mentioned or banned are even more interesting Haha thanks for the tip I will check this out

Olá, tem alguém aí?

FYI, Protonmail recently announced it is dropping support to the necessary bridge to Outlook & Thunderbird running on 32-bit operating systems. Now shopping for another secure email that is able to work with Outlook & Thunderbird on current 32-bit Windows operating systems.

I’m looking for the same, did you find one you can recommend?
Thanks

Great to see email security being addressed here! For too long people have traded privacy for convenience and now it appears as though people understand there is a threat to privacy and are taking the initiative to be secure.
Best to everyone here, Darren Chaker

criptext is a useful email client for all platform,

Hi! This is kind of off topic but I need some guidance from
an established blog. Is it very hard to set up your own blog?
I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.
I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to
begin. Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Cheers

Amado, if you have your own domain, your domain carrier usually offers blog capabilities.

I am no tech wizz..far from Haha.. but I made a blog easily with blogspot…but its Google so now I would like advice for a blog that isn’t Google hahaha

How do you think about MeSince? A free email encryption email client with S/MIME standard. I think it is quite easy to use, they have a global public key DB, we don’t need to exchange the public key by ourselves. And every email will be encrypted, digitally signed automatically. I think it may worth to mention it and let people know.

It gives useful information..

What do you think about utopia? There is a future?

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