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If you’re looking for an email provider that you can trust, finding the right service isn’t always easy. Plenty of companies claim to be secure email providers but actually have plenty of holes, letting hackers and phishers wreak havoc.
But even the well-known providers cannot give you full online protection. That’s why we recommend using a VPN together with your secure email for the best security and privacy. This way, you’ll be able to browse, stream, and torrent safely without any IP or DNS leaks.
Getting back to secure emails, there are fantastic operators running some of the safest email accounts ever created. Currently, the number one is ProtonMail, which also makes a great pair with ProtonVPN. It has end-to-end encryption, up to 20 GBs of storage, and 2-factor authentication.
Top 10 most secure email services
There are also other options, so we’ve put together our list of the 10 most secure email providers. Any one of these will keep your data safe, quarantine your contacts, and block snoopers.
Many people’s preferred option for the most secure email system, ProtonMail, is a slick Swiss company that focuses on absolute privacy. The location is important, as Switzerland is legendary for ensuring secrecy and privacy. So any data on ProtonMail will remain hidden from government surveillance.
Their free package comes with 500 MB of storage, which you can upgrade to 5-20 GB using the paid services. ProtonMail’s End-to-End encryption puts them among the safest email vendors, providing safety even when sending to users outside the ProtonMail service. Moreover, everything is anonymized, and no personal information has to be supplied when you sign up.
Buying the Visionary plan of ProtonMail (24 EUR/month) will also give you access to ProtonVPN – their super-secure VPN service. If you need both a secure email service and a VPN, this may be worth considering. Finally, you can learn more about the product by reading our ProtonMail review.
Despite its exotic-sounding name, Tutanota hails from Germany, where it has earned an impressive reputation as one of the most secure email providers. All mail and attachments sent via Tutanota are automatically encrypted by Tutanota’s open-source webmail client. Also, no IP information is retained after sending. Basically, Tutanota goes all out for your email security.
It’s also very cheap, with Premium packages starting at around $1 per month. There’s a limited free option and the Pro package, which includes a generous 10 GB of storage. The regular Premium option is just as secure but comes with just 1 GB.
Find out more in our dedicated Tutanota review.
A relative veteran of the secure email scene, FastMail offers a simple service for individual users. All sent and received messages are encrypted when possible, while TLS and SSL encryption are standard on the FastMail web client or app. They also offer “world-class” spam filtering and virus checking.
Basic packages come with 2 GB storage, Standard features 25 GB, while Professional offers 100 GB. All are competitively priced and come with zero ads or tracking. All in all, it’s a great option for solo email users.
One of the most famous secure email providers around, Hushmail has created easy-to-use web and desktop clients. Based in Canada, Hushmail’s tools encrypt outgoing messages, creating dedicated websites for recipients to use, while OpenPGP and SSL/TLS combine to keep any messages private.
They offer free and Premium packages, which come with 10 GB of secure storage. There’s a well-designed iPhone app as well, helping to protect your messages even when you’re on the move. See all the details in our Hushmail review.
5. Zoho Mail
Generally oriented towards professional users, Zoho Mail seeks to offer an affordable set of communication tools for businesses who need reassurance and privacy. A great feature for businesses is the way their email clients work with the Zoho Workplace – a set of secure office apps.
But the real gem here is Zoho’s encryption and authentication, which puts it in the upper echelons of secure email providers. Standard packages come with 30 GB of storage, while Professional packages bundle in over 100 GB. More on prices and features – in our Zoho Mail review.
The only way SCRYPTMail could be more serious about security is if they had a global private mercenary force punishing hackers. It’s as they say – “privacy is a right, not a privilege.” Founded by a group of security obsessives in the USA, this email service offers top-of-the-line encryption and can send encrypted messages to any web user.
Unlike some other services, SCRYPTMail also encrypts the metadata on its servers, putting another barrier between hackers (or government agencies) and user data. Storage limits are generous, and almost all of the services offered by SCRYPTmail are free, making it doubly attractive.
There’s more about SCRYPTMail in our review.
If you’re asking yourself what the most secure email service around is, the German contender Posteo is surely going to appear near the top of the list. Based on open-source coding, Posteo is ad-free and totally secure. It is also deeply committed to sustainability, which makes it unique in the secure email world.
Expect strong encryption and two-factor authentication, and don’t expect any data collection or surveillance. If Posteo runs into issues with the government, they make a point of warning their users. The very cheap Basic package comes with 2 GB of storage, but you can upgrade to 20 GB for a small monthly fee.
If you’re looking for a business email solution and you’re based in North America, LuxSci could be just what you need. Based in Massachusetts, this company offers a suite of secure communications tools (not just email). Packages come with 1-50 GB storage.
There are individual accounts as well as corporate packages, but in reality, LuxSci’s services lean towards larger organizations. And they do a pretty good job at filtering emails and keeping staff data safe and sound. See our LuxSci review for more details.
Going against the grain of commercial email companies, CounterMail is Sweden’s addition to the pack of high-security email providers. Uniquely, it uses a CD ROM-based system to store user data, minimizing the chance of hackers accessing emails. The company also follows a policy of total openness – a refreshing decision in the online security world.
There’s no free option with CounterMail, and prices are relatively high, as you might expect with the safest of email accounts. Storage maxes out at 2 GB with standard packages but can easily be expanded for a supplementary fee. Check out the CounterMail review for more.
Coming from Belgium, Mailfence is among the finest secure email providers in the world. Ensuring total freedom for users communicating with other email accounts, Mailfence uses OpenPGP to provide excellent encryption on all incoming and outgoing data and includes two-factor authentication to add another security layer.
The free package features 500 MB of storage, which increases with Entry and Pro packages, offering a maximum of 20 GB. Mailfence commits to blocking every spam email and preventing any unwanted ads from appearing in your webmail inbox. Read the Mailfence review to learn more.
What you should look for in secure emails
When reviewing secure emails, we always have a must-have set of features. If the service misses even one, it simply doesn’t qualify to be called “secure.” Below you will find the attributes that let us decide whether the score will be negative or positive. In the same way, they can be your guiding light when choosing your own secure email.
- Two-factor authentication. Also known as 2FA, this feat adds an extra layer of protection and is necessary not only for secure emails but online banking and other activities. There are plenty of 2FA options, ranging from USBs to authentication apps. However, probably the most common one is a smartphone, known as “something that you have.”
- End-to-end encryption. While this seems to be a core feature of any secure email, some services present themselves and secure without end-to-end encryption. Without it, third parties can read your email while it’s traveling from server to server towards the recipient.
- Removing metadata headers. Most users don’t know that each email contains these headers, containing browser and device info. In some cases, you may find the recipient’s data as well! Therefore, to have true privacy, removing all this is a must.
- The location of servers. Basically, that’s where your secure email provider resides. Many countries have data retention laws, meaning that they will collect your data without any warning. That’s why a provider from Russia or the US will always be suspicious.
Why should you use a secure email?
If you’re reading this article, you probably know the answer. And for those who still haven’t made up their mind, we’ve made this list of some very good reasons to ditch Gmail or Apple Mail.
- Securing your emails. Again, this is quite self-explanatory, but too many people think mainstream providers do their best to keep your messages private. On the opposite, they do what their can to read them, attracting cybercriminals at the same time.
- Hiding all metadata. As mentioned above, this is less informative but still dangerous data to lose to cybercriminals. If they already have something, adding a device and web browser info might just do the trick for them.
- Privacy-friendly storage. Even if nobody has read your Gmail inbox yet, they just might in the near future. Therefore, choosing a secure email that’s located in a country with no data-retention laws and far away from the Five Eyes Alliance should give you less to worry about.
- No data sharing. Data has become more important than ever. Corporations pay huge sums knowing that they’ll end up earning money. So the question is – are you fine with giving it away for free and see it used for personalized ads?
Which email provider is the most secure?
At the moment, ProtonMail is the most secure option. It has everything that a secure email needs and then some. Plus, you can try the free version before committing to the premium option.
Is ProtonMail safer than Gmail?
Yes. First of all, it doesn’t scan your inbox for keywords and whatnot. Secondly, ProtonMail has end-to-end encryption and a privacy-friendly location in Switzerland. Finally, it has both free and paid versions which are safer than Gmail.
Why would I encrypt my emails?
It depends on whether you want someone else reading them. Encryption makes it way harder to do so. Without it, you also put your contacts in danger as they may end up on databases for sending spam or be individually attacked by cybercriminals using other methods.
Which free secure email is the best?
Free or paid, the answer is the same – ProtonMail. The provider is in Switzerland, a country with strict privacy protection and anybody should think twice before messing with that. Furthermore, it has a great free and premium version, both full of features.
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Nadin has been tinkering with computers and gadgets for as long as she can remember. She has extensive knowledge about various topics, including IoT, Linux, digital security, and more. Nowadays, she works as an IT network professional and writes helpful guides in her free time.