Privacy is a hot topic these days, and secure email providers are one of the best ways to secure your information. We live in an age where we need to be mindful of who we share our data with and how secure it is. This article will help you find the top 5 secure email providers for privacy in 2021 so that you can protect yourself from cybercrime and curious eyes.
Many people are not aware that big email providers such as Google’s Gmail and Microsoft’s Office365 use your inbox contents to create a persona about you to hit you with relevant advertising.
Yet, many lesser known email providers specialize in private and secure communications, and this article focuses on reviewing those secure email providers.
We will look at secure email providers with a free option as well as paid premium options. This list will be ranked by security, privacy, and usability to give you an easy way of finding the most secure email provider.
What makes an email provider private & secure?
There are several key features that we look for in determining whether an email provider is secure and offers good privacy.
- End-to-end encryption – this means your emails are encrypted through the entire process, on the server, and in transit. This will secure your emails from hackers or government surveillance efforts that may intercept them while delivered.
- Zero logs policy – this means that your emails are not logged in any way by the email provider.
- 2FA – two-factor authentication is available to secure your login further.
- Bug bounty program – the email provider actively looks for bugs and rewards ethical hackers if they find a vulnerability.
- Good reputation – the email provider does not willingly hand over access to your inbox at the request of another entity.
Protonmail is an email service that was originally created by CERN scientists and has a strong encryption foundation. They offer three levels of security (free, paid, & secure core). The secure core feature is only available to those who pay for the premium version; it forces end-to-end encryption throughout the entire process instead of just on your computer. Their zero logs policy means nothing about you or what you do with their service is logged in any way, and they even have a bug bounty program to encourage ethical hackers to help them find vulnerabilities so that they can patch them immediately.
Protonmail offers apps across all devices and good search capabilities, so finding specific emails when needed isn’t difficult either. It also allows users to use aliases which helps to protect their privacy even more.
One particular concern with Protonmail is that it does not encrypt email subject lines, posing a privacy concern for some users.
Another area of concern is that Protonmail were recently forced to share IP address data with French law enforcement agencies of a climate activist.
Server location: Switzerland
Tutanota is an open-source secure email provider that offers end-to-end encryption at all times and has a secure core feature to provide additional security for those who are willing to pay the small fee associated with it.
Their zero logs policy means no data about you or your communications will be logged in any way, shape, or form by their service, making them very private.
It also uses two factor authentication as an optional account protection measure.
Tutanota also allows users to create aliases, which helps keep your identity secure online while using their secure email services.
Tutanota has apps available for IOS, Android, Windows, & Mac OS. Their fast web client provides a pleasant user experience.
With Tutanota, complete anonymity is possible if opening a free account through Tor by providing just the address you want and a password. Ongoing use via Tor will ensure complete anonymity.
Server location: Germany
Startmail is a secure email service based in New York and offers excellent privacy features. They encrypt all data with a zero logs policy, which means they don’t keep any statistics about sending or receiving emails, etc. It also allows you to use aliases if desired for added security and does not require personal information (such as your real name) when signing up.
Their secure core feature is only available through the premium version of their secure email platform, but it does ensure end-to-end encryption like Protonmail & Tutanota do while keeping no records of what you are doing online.
Startmail allows you to sign up using Tor for complete anonymity if desired and does not have ads in their secure email client, so it will be ad-free when browsing your inbox or signing in to the secure web interface.
You can also use aliases with StartMail as well for additional privacy.
Although based in the United States, Startmail’s servers that contain private data are located in the Netherlands on their own physical servers.
Server location: The Netherlands
Countermail is a secure email provider that has been around for more than 15 years and offers a wide variety of features, including secure core via the premium plan. They also have excellent privacy options with their service as it ensures all emails are encrypted at rest & in transit on top of standard encryption.
Their secure webmail client enables users to easily access secure mail from any device or browser, making staying connected easy no matter where you go online. The secure core feature of Countermail adds an extra layer of security by providing end-to-end encryption so even if your data is intercepted while in transit, it will remain unreadable because only people who your key can read these messages.
This secure email service allows users to sign up using Tor for added privacy if desired and can be used with secure aliases.
Countermail has an excellent no-logs policy which ensures that data about your communications or personal information will not be logged in any way, shape, or form by their secure email services.
Server location: Sweden
Mailfence is a secure webmail service that encrypts all data at rest & in transit for ultimate privacy online. They offer secure email services with excellent encryption options, including end-to-end encryption, PGP compatibility, and secure core via the premium plan.
They also have a zero logs policy that ensures their secure email platform will not log your activity. You won’t need to worry about them keeping any records of what you are doing or communicating with when using it. You can use aliases if desired as well on top of this for added security.
This secure email provider allows users to sign up through Tor if they want complete anonymity when signing up but doesn’t require personal information like name or address, which is nice.
Server location: Belgium
What about alternatives to email?
Maybe it is simply time to consider a shift from traditional email to messenger services such as Telegram or Signal?
Everyone has a right to privacy, and the ability to keep our business or personal communications private and confidential should be a fundamental right to all people.
With the emergence of instant messaging apps such as Telegram or Signal, it is now possible to reduce dependency on ordinary email and move communications to these simple but secure and private apps.
We have put together a review of the most common messenger apps for you to consider.