Best Secure Email Services For Privacy Concerned People

Explore some of the best privacy-friendly email services to take control of your data and fight away from big tech.

Can you call Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo! Mail etc. as secure email services?

Well, yes, in the way that your data is (usually) safe from outside attackers. But when we talk of secure email service, the focus is on data security and privacy.

No matter what. If you are concerned about the privacy and security of your email conversation and want them to be as private as possible – this article will help you find the best email services for the job. You may also like our recommendations for tools to protect your privacy coupled with the options listed here.

Do keep in mind that we have compiled this list by judging their privacy policies, and what many users have to say about them. However, we still advise you should always be cautious with your data.

Our list includes paid and free secure email providers, which may offer standalone applications for multiple platforms or the usual web-based platforms.

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The list is in no particular order of ranking, meaning the service listed first is not necessarily better than 2. Evaluate the options as per your requirements.

1. Proton Mail

a screenshot of the proton mail banner on its website

Proton Mail is a very popular Swiss-based email service that follows an ad-free model to protect your privacy. It is protected by many layers of security, with strong encryption at all times.

Proton Mail apps are open-source, so you can review its code to make sure that it is up to the task.

You can get started for free but with paid options, you get more perks and better features for its VPN and email alias services.

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We at It's FOSS use ProtonMail for our @itsfoss.com emails. Quite satisfied with their service as they fit our needs. We ditched Google Workspace for Proton more than three years ago.

Key Highlights:

  • End-to-end encryption.
  • Free & Paid options are available.
  • 2FA with hardware security keys.
  • Labels and folders to organize emails.
  • Undo send option.
  • Email tracker prevention.

2. Tutanota

a screenshot of the tutanota banner on its website

Tutanota is an encrypted email service provider fit for both personal and business use. You will need a premium subscription for access to its features such as extra email addresses, custom domains, more storage, etc.

At the time of updating the article, they hit a milestone of 10 million users on the platform, which shows it is a suitable option for many privacy-focused users.

Tutanota is among the first to start working on quantum-resistant cryptography. So, it is definitely an email service to keep an eye on.

Their paid plan with custom domain is one of the most affordable I have ever seen.

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We use Tutanota for our other domain @linuxhandbook.com emails. While the features are limited when compared to ProtonMail or GMail, you can go for the simplicity and affordable pricing for custom domains.

Key Highlights:

  • End-to-end encryption.
  • Free & Paid options available.
  • All their email clients are open-source.

3. StartMail

a screenshot of the startmail banner on its website

An email service by Startpage.com (one of the best google alternatives), StartMail is a good choice for being one of the best private email services available.

While StartMail doesn't offer a free tier like ProtonMail and Tutanota, it does offer a free 7-day trial. You can explore it and if you like the service, you can then upgrade to a paid plan at the end of your trial period.

Key Highlights:

  • Inbox filters and customization.
  • Advanced search to find desired older emails.
  • Disposable email aliases.
  • PGP email encryption.
  • 20 GB storage.
  • Custom domain option available with upgrade.
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4. Librem Mail

a screenshot of the librem mail banner on its website

This is part of the Librem One suite by Purism. Unlike others, it isn’t free. You need to opt for the premium subscription to get access to their private email service, Librem Mail.

Personally, I haven’t used it. But, it looks like a decent end-to-end encrypted, ad-free email service, and given the history of Purism to protect users’ privacy, it should be a good pick.

Key Highlights:

  • Decentralized
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Ad-free

5. Mailbox

a screenshot of the mailbox banner on its website

Mailbox is an impressive secure email service that is powered by green energy. The data centers are located in Germany, which makes it quite privacy-friendly.

It will cost you 1 Euro/month, which includes 2 GB of secure cloud storage. The idea of having cloud storage along with your email isn’t new β€” but not all privacy-focused email providers offer that.

In addition, it provides many security features to help you keep your emails private.

Key Highlights:

  • Privacy-focused
  • Cloud storage offering
  • End-to-End encryption

6. Mailfence

Mailfence

Mailfence is a Belgium-based privacy-focused email service that enforces OpenPGP end-to-end encryption.

Like ProtonMail and some other reputed players in this list, Mailfence offers more than just encrypted emails. It also has a calendar, contacts and document storage. You may also edit the documents online, just like Google Docs.

You can use it for free for 500 MB of emails and 500 MB of document storage. If you want more storage, you can upgrade to a paid plan that also allows additional features like POP, IMAP, SMTP, ActiveSync, custom domains and user management for businesses.

Key Highlights:

  • End-to-end encrypted
  • EU privacy law compliant
  • Free & Paid options
  • Custom domain support available
  • 2FA Available
  • Browser-based, mobile apps also available

7. TorGuard’s Private-Mail

Private Mail

Key Highlights:

  • OpenPGP end-to-end encryption
  • Standalone Desktop app (Windows for now)
  • Free and paid options
  • Custom domain option available with premium subscription
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The email clients available for download are not actively maintained. You should remain cautious if you are using this in combination with TorGuard's VPN service.

Private-mail ticks all the points that you normally look for in a private email service. It no longer offers free access to service, paid only.

If you want to access the service across multiple devices (that includes your smartphone) – you may want to upgrade your subscription. For now, a desktop client for Windows is available.

8. Hushmail

a screenshot of the overview section of hushmail on its website

Hushmail is an encrypted email service provider for privacy concerned users that provides a plethora of security features.

In the case of businesses – it categorizes them and offers different pricing.

For example, if you want to utilize Hushmail for your Healthcare company – they will offer you HIPAA-compliant service.

Similarly, different plans are made available for law firms, enterprises, and small businesses.

Key Highlights:

  • Separate plans & pricing for business users (small businesses, healthcare, law, non-profits, & enterprise).
  • OpenPGP end-to-end encryption.
  • Ability to create secure web forms and e-signatures.

9. CounterMail

Countermail 1

Key Highlights:

  • OpenPGP end-to-end encryption
  • Custom domain support
  • Web form support
  • Windows, Linux, & MacOS X support

CounterMail is yet another alternative as a secure email service to the others mentioned above. It lets you try the service for one week absolutely for free. In addition to the encryption, it lets you have your own domain and create web forms.

The more you spend, the more storage you get. The features remain the same – which is a good thing. If you know someone using the service, you can try it for free up to 10 days; otherwise, it is a paid-only option.

10. POSTEO

a screenshot of the posteo banner on its website

Posteo.de is an interesting email service that focuses on privacy and security while also running on green energy, like Mailbox.

It's an affordable solution – for just 1 Euro/month (billed annually). However, they do not support adding a custom domain – even if you want to pay more.

Fortunately, you do get email aliases. You can upgrade the storage space along with email aliases, and calendars for an additional fee.

Key Highlights:

  • Open-Source
  • Runs on green energy.
  • OpenPGP encryption support.

11. Skiff

a screenshot of the skiff banner on its website

Skiff is a relatively new player in the secure email market, but nonetheless they provide some pretty neat features with their service.

They provide 10 GB of cloud storage for free, with more features being unlocked with their paid plans.

Key Highlights:

  • End-to-end encryption.
  • Custom domain support.
  • Email aliases.

12. Fastmail

a screenshot of the fastmail banner on its website

Fastmail is an interesting option offering integration with the 1Password password manager for masked emails. So, you may no longer need to use extra tools to protect your email addressthe .

They offer a 30-day trial, after which you can opt for one of their paid plans that start at $3/month.

Key Highlights:

  • Strong data protection standards.
  • Email aliases.
  • Feature-rich platform.

Suggested Read πŸ“–

11 Ways to Improve Your Privacy
Bring your A game to improve your privacy online, whether you are a Linux user or not. Follow these tips for a secure experience!

Some readers mentioned Lavabit as another option, if you want to explore something else, you can take a look at it.

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Some of you may be skeptical about some of the email services which are end-to-end encrypted.

Well, to clear things up right off the bat, by default, not all the emails you send are not β€œend-to-end” encrypted but secure. When we mention end-to-end encrypted – it means, only the receiver can decrypt (or access) the message. You can learn more about it in Proton's blog post.

Such privacy-focused email services are the need of the hour, seeing that big tech is just toying around with user data for their gains.

πŸ’¬ Did we miss any of your favorites? Let us know below!

About the author
Ankush Das

Ankush Das

A passionate technophile who also happens to be a Computer Science graduate. You will usually see cats dancing to the beautiful tunes sung by him.

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