Are you wondering how to protect confidential information contained in your emails? With one of these secure email services, you can encrypt, control and keep all your communications private.
The most popular free mail services may not be very privacy friendly. Many providers of email addresses rely on accessibility and offer minimal encryption, and to suggest advertisements to you, they should at least be able to scan the content of your conversations.
If you want to have an encrypted email address, then you are probably in one of these cases:
- You fear that your emails may fall into the wrong hands
- You need better encryption because you process sensitive data
- You work in parts of the world where governments are known to be intrusive
Also note that an antivirus and a VPN can also enhance the security of the information on your computer.
Here are our top 5 best secure mail services that guarantee that only the intended recipients will receive your communications.
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- Free (Premium $ 13.50 per year)
Tutanota operates from Germany, so you benefit from the strict European data protection regulations.
After signing up for a free account you will automatically get 1GB of storage. Otherwise, there is the Premium version (€ 1.20 / month) and Pro (€ 6) if you wish to benefit from additional options such as custom domains, more generous storage space, aliases and customer support.
All emails are encrypted locally on your device. only the sender, recipient and for the outsiders only date will be visible.
Tutanota uses 128-bit symmetrical and asymmetric encryption, so you can exchange emails with platform users and others using an unencrypted service. In the latter case, you will send a password to your recipient, who will allow them to access the message.
This process only takes place the 1st time, then your recipients will be added to your secure contact list.
Also note that the paid versions include an encrypted calendar function.
Tutanota is a simple encrypted messaging service, with secure web access and dedicated Android, iOS, Windows, macOS or Linux applications, which makes it compatible with almost all devices.
- Free (Plus tier $ 4.50 per month)
ProtonMail is a Swiss company that offers a complete level of security, while locating their main data center “under 1,000 meters of granite rock in a bunker”.
It houses an impressive service protected by “the Swiss Federal Data Protection Law (LPD) and the Ordinance on the Swiss Federal Data Protection Law (OLPD)”.
Proton Mail provides end-to-end encryption and does not require any personal information when creating your account, including your IP address which could be used to locate you.
This Swiss service is based on open-source software and works with SSL, AES, RSA and OpenPGP encryption technologies.
ProtonMail lets you choose from a variety of options. For example, it is possible to send encrypted emails to users of Proton Mail or third-party services (such as Gmail, Mail, Outlook). The recipients will be able to decrypt your messages by means of a secret phrase received separately.
If desired, set a period of time during which your encrypted email can be read, and then it will be automatically deleted. Ephemeral communications are also possible.
Its other advantage is that you can create your own domain name, rather than having an email ending with protonmail.com.
The free plan gives you 500 MB of storage, limits the account to 150 messages per day and only supports three files, but it’s a great way to try ProtonMail before committing.
The PLUS package costs € 4.40 / month , it allows you to send / receive 1,000 emails per month, store 5 GB of data and supports filters / folders.
StartMail is the sister product of StartPage, it is one of our favorite search engines after Qwant because it does not keep any information on the user and his online searches. This guaranteed confidentiality is now extended to your emails thanks to StartMail.
The interface is simple and refined, the whole service being based on a web interface rather than on applications for mobiles or desktops.
E-mail messages can be encrypted in several ways, either by question and answer, where the recipient is required to answer a question before the content is decrypted (a password can also be provided instead) , or by sharing PGP encryption keys.
The latter solution is reserved for users of StartMail or another service with PGP encryption.
StartMail doesn’t have a free plan, but only a 30-day trial is offered, then you can upgrade to Personal for $ 59.95 / year.
It gives you the right to 10GB of storage space, 10 personalized aliases, an unlimited number of disposable aliases, so that you remain anonymous, and IMAP support.
The cost of StartMail makes it a service only for those who really need encrypted messaging.
Criptext is completely free and includes very interesting features. If you send emails to Criptext recipients, then you can cancel them within a maximum of one hour. What could be more convenient when you need to send detailed information or information that was not supposed to be shared.
There is also real-time tracking that lets you see if your email has been received and read.
The encryption works with the open source protocol, Signal Protocol for better protection of your privacy and prevents third-party services from accessing it.
Add to that that each email has its own key, so that even if it is acquired by a hacker, the latter will only be able to read the message in question, and not the others.
One thing to keep in mind is that you will need to have at least one device connected to Criptext at all times (you can have up to 10) otherwise you will lose all of your communications.
Criptext mail service is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android and iOS.
Mailfence service is from Belgium, Mailfence offers a wide range of functions for encrypting email on a PC. At the time of writing, there are no dedicated mobile apps with the free plan.
On the other hand, by subscribing to the Entry formula for example, you take advantage of ActiveSync on your iOS or Android and receive emails on your different devices.
Mailfence cannot read your messages, they are encrypted with private keys and a password. In addition, Mailfence ensures that it does not have a root key that can decrypt your emails even if it wanted to.
It also points out that being located in Belgium, that it only complies with the orders of a judge for any delivery of information and that it is not subject to American requests Obligation of silence (gag orders) and National Security Letters.
The free account includes 500 MB of storage, two-factor authentication, and support. If you need more control, be aware that the Entry package costs € 2.50 / month for 5GB of storage space, 10 aliases, email or phone support, custom domains and compatibility with POPs, IMAP, SMTP, iOS, Android and Exchange ActiveSync.