Most Secure Email Providers to Try in 2021
By Christine Margret 17 minutes
Note: The Internet is not a safe place. So called secure email providers, advertisers and even government agencies collect user’s private data for their own interests. To protect and safeguard your personal data from preying eyes, use FastestVPN to encrypt your data when using email services.
The problem with protecting your email is that it must be encrypted end-to-end to prevent it from being intercepted while traveling on intermediary networks, and the recipient also needs to have the same encryption system. Although some of these systems are free, they are difficult to configure in general and try to convince the other user of the importance of carrying out the process, it can be useless. The way in which email protocols work also facilitates data leaks, because the mail remains in a service, waiting to be collected. However, if you still need to use email to send confidential data, or just want to keep your emails private, there are a few secure email services that you can rely on. Each email provider offers a high level of security and great features that can benefit you over other standard email services.
Top 10 Secure Email Providers that you can use for Messaging and Communicating:
- Kolab Now
- Bonus Tip
Posteo is an independent secure email service providing great security, privacy, and sustainability on the internet. They offer sustainable and encrypted email accounts, including calendars and address books. Posteo is totally self-funded and ad-free. Posteo is said to be one of the most all-round and friendly encrypted email services. It is a great, cost-effective solution for those who want to encrypt their entire mail suite.
- Two-factor authentication (TOTP) available
- Fetched by IMAP/POP3,
- Address book and calendar (synchronizable)
- Simply saved data encryption
- Ad-free email account, ad-free website,
- Easy signups
- Pay anonymously by cash, bank transfer, or PayPal
- 2 GB storage (can be increased)
- up to 50 MB of file attachment
- Its servers are based in Germany
- No end-to-end encryption
- Not as secure as other encrypted services
- 1 EUR per month
- Additional storage: 0.25 EUR per GB per month
ProtonMail is the top-most rated secure email provider right now. It not only provides a secure email messaging service but also gives users the ability for quick setup and ensures that the user stays safe from email scammers. Although, signing up to ProtonMail as simple as other popular email platforms like Outlook or Gmail, ProtonMail actually offers built-in security for user protection against scammers and snooping eyes.
- End-to-end encryption for all messages
- Users can send encrypted email messages to their contacts that don’t use ProtonMail
- Useful self-destruct emails
- The improved online web interface with features such as drag and drop messages, contact manager, and authentication logs.
- Dedicated mobile applications for both iOS and Android.
- Totally open source email service
- Max attachment size: 25 MB
- Mailbox storage: 500 MB (free), 5 to 20 GB.
- ProtonMail servers are located in Switzerland
- Expensive top-end plans
- Limited cloud storage
- Free (No Ad), multi-tiered pricing starting from $4 per month to $75 per year.
Mailfence is an encrypted email service based on the OpenPGP standard that offers end-to-end encryption and digital signing. It was launched in November 2013 by ContactOffice Group, which has been managing an online collaborative suite for professionals, universities and other organizations since 1999. Unlike other private and secure messaging services that can be found on the web, Mailfence does not lock users into their own “digital island“. It leaves its users absolutely free to communicate securely with anyone, whether with other Mailfence users, or any other email service (compliant with the OpenPGP protocol). But using Mailfence has many other benefits, as you can see in the table below.
It most recently launched its mobile app. You can follow the steps outlined here to add Mailfence to your list of apps.
- Supports two-factor authentication
- Emails addresses are digitally signed to prove authorship
- Doesn’t use ads
- Email settings can be customized and tweaked as per user preferences
- Blocks spam messages
- Allow users to buy credits to send text messages and faxes
- Contacts can be imported from Outlook, Gmail, CSV file, vCard, etc.
- Includes file storage and calendar for documents
Allows users to send mail through the address they used to sign up, like their Gmail address
- Max attachment limit: 10 MB (Free), 50 (Entry/Pro).
- Mailbox storage: 500 MB (free), 5 GB (Entry) and 20 GB (Pro).
- Mailfence is a Belgium-based secure email service.
- Free (No Ad)
- $2.80/month (Entry)
- $8.44/month (Pro)
- $28.00/month (Ultra)
- Free tier cloud storage is limited
MailHippo is a highly-encrypted, secure and affordable platform for sending and receiving emails. Along with end-to-end encryption, MailHippo is compatible with any existing email address and supports any email provider, which makes it one of the best-encrypted email services available. MailHippo is very easy to use and doesn’t require any setup or complex configuration. Simply sign up to immediately start sending and receiving HIPAA-compliant encrypted emails.
The cloud-based platform uses industry-leading 256-bit AES encryption to secure messages while in transit and at rest. In addition, MailHippo equips each user with a complementary SendSafe® address, allowing the user to receive totally-secure emails from anyone.
MailHippo offers a number of affordable monthly price plans along with a Free Trial to let users make the most of their encrypted messaging service. All price plans can be cancelled anytime with no obligation, giving you complete control over how long you want to use the service.
- Use your current email address
- No setup/configuration required – start sending in minutes
- Message recall
- Message expiration
- Message preview
- Auto type-ahead address book
- SendSafe® Address
- HIPAA Compliant (required for healthcare providers)
- Online customer support
- Unlimited email storage
- Send large files up to 100 MB in size
- 10 GB of email attachment storage
- Storage is limited for the free version
- Basic plan starts at only $4.95/month
- 30 Day Free Trial
You may not have heard of it, but Cyberfear is promising. The service has taken several considerations to ensure the best user privacy. For starters, users have two passwords; one for logging into the account, and one for encrypting/decrypting the mailbox.
It is located outside of the jurisdiction of the Fourteen Eyes alliance network with a zero logs policy. One of the neat features is the option to setup aliases that serve as a mask for the actual email address. The alias is useful for registering for accounts online and avoid spam.
It is a paid option that will set you back $18 a year. Because of Cyberfear’s privacy-focused approach, payments encouraged through cryptocurrency.
- End-to-end encryption
- Safe jurisdiction
- Cryptocurrency payment option
- PIN-encrypted emails
- Disposable aliases
- Offshore location outside of USA
- Low inbox space
- $18 annually ($1.50 monthly)
Tutanota is yet another web-based secure email service that focuses on providing the best security and experience to its users by providing a variety of features and solutions within the platform. Even though it is an open-source system, it also provides private users with a dedicated platform for their email. The security provided by Tutanota is immaculate and doesn’t cost much. It has a paid version that costs only 1 euro per month and a free one. In the free version you have 1 GB of space and few options. In the payment option, you can expand the space, use 5 or more aliases, use your own domains or make customizations. The developers of Tutanota declare that they do not use PGP in the encryption because for them the encryption of the matter is also important. Therefore they have developed a proprietary solution based on AES and RSA that encrypts attachments, text, and subject. They do not record IPs or email addresses, which are deleted.
- Tutanota supports all browsers
- App is free for most personal users
- Apps for both iOS and Android
- Unlimited number of sent messages per day
- Plus account starts at about $1.50 per month, making it extraordinarily cheap compared to most other secure email providers on the market
- Premium account users can use their own domains with Tutanota
- Expand your cloud storage and user count
- Max attachment limit: 25 MB.
- Mailbox storage: 1 GB
- Tutanota is based in Germany
- Free (No Ad)
- $1.12 per month (Premium)
- Mobile app design is out-dated
- Only AES-128 encryption
Mailbox.org is also a Germany based, secure email provider that offers powerful features. It offers a great number of features with an extremely user-friendly design. Moreover, it’s also compatible with mobile apps and third-party email clients. What’s more? There’s much more that you can enjoy with its encryption feature that lets you encrypt all your data on servers in Germany.
- Ad-free services
- Custom domain name
- Cloud storage
- Spam protection
- Individual Price Plans
- Max mail storage 25 GB
- Cloud Storage 25 GB
- Enabled Registration Tracking
- Doesn’t support mobile clients.
Note: The Internet is not a safe place. So-called secure email providers, advertisers and even government agencies collect user’s private data for their own interests. To protect and safeguard your personal data from prying eyes, use FastestVPNto encrypt your data when using email services.
Kolab now is yet another Switzerland-based open-source encrypted email service that is focused on providing small and medium-sized enterprises with secure email services and a complete online office suite. Kolab Now allows you to pass confidential information through emails easily without any problems. It charges its users directly and offers various monthly and annual plans for an individual account. Kolab now stores all your emails and file on their server in Switzerland, keeping your data safe from your own government agencies, scammers, as well as advertisers. Although Kolab Now doesn’t provide end-to-end encryption, the features Kolab offers are one of the best in the email today. Kolab maybe not cheap, they do provide great all-round email privacy.
- Integrated app for taking notes
- Email-tagged support
- Contacts and calendars
- Shared folders
- Kolab now’s servers are based in Switzerland
- It’s more of a productivity app rather than a secure email service
- Rates are getting higher quickly
- $4.45/ month (Personal account)
- $5.43/month (Business account)
- 50 cents per GB per month storage.
Countermail is all about user security. Although its interface looks pretty outdated, its system is regularly updated while its email security is second to none. Just like ProtonMail, it also offers end-to-end encryption between the sender and receiver and uses OpenPGP to keep your email messages safe and your email account secure. Since it uses diskless data servers, nobody will be able to read or write anything you send through these servers. CounterMail is very open and honest about how their system works and are always ready to display how secure their system is for everyone.
- Supports IMAP
- Allows modification of different settings for your account
- Doesn’t keep IP address logs
- Includes a built-in password manager for password protection
- Uses anonymous email headers
- Supports email filters
- Available for desktop and IOS
- Cloud storage starts from 250mb up to user requirements.
- CounterMail is a Sweden-based email service
- Dated website
- Free tier limited to a week
- $4.83/month (6 months plan)
- $4.08/month (1-year plan)
- $3.29/month (3-year plan)
Not the most popular secure email service than the ones mentioned above, but RunBox is slowly catching up to the top email providers in terms of email encryption. Runbox uses various security tools to keep your data away from the cybercriminal who want to steal it. When you send an email using Runbox, they are sent through a secure encrypted connection, and everything sent between Runbox servers and your email address is also encrypted. The data stored on the Runbox server is locked in a vault (in Norway) where it is protected by the constitution. Runbox also provides annual plans using bitcoin for extra anonymity. Runbox uses two-factor authentication and with no external tracking cookies, it is almost impossible for scammers to hack into any Runbox email account.
- Create email aliases to use different email addresses with just one account
- Powerful and reliable in processing and storing a large amount of data.
- Professional management of emails such as spam filtering, customized sorting, forwarding, etc.
- Integrated services
- Strong email privacy protection
- Spam and virus protection
- Plenty of storage space
- Universal access via Web, IMAP, WAP, etc.
- Max attachment limit: 100 MB.
- Mailbox storage: 10 GB
- Runbox is Norway-based secure email providers
- Less storage capacity
- High subscription costs for businesses.
- No mobile App
- $19.95/year (Micro Plan with 2 GB email storage + 200 MB of secure file storage)
- $34.95/year (Mini Plan with 10GB email storage +1GB file storage +5 custom domains hosting)
If our ten suggestions are not what you were looking for then here’s an additional recommendation:
Startmail is formed by the team of a private search engine called Start page. It is based in the Netherlands however, the company is following the Dutch law. All the emails are encrypted on Dutch servers. Startmail supports IMAP, SMTP and third-party app like Thunderbird.
- PGP encryption
- Disposable email addresses
- IMAP/SMTP compatible
- Affordable plans
- 10 – 20 GB
- Doesn’t support custom mobile app
- Code is not open source.
- $59.95/year (10GB storage / 10 addresses)
CTemplar is comparatively a new service or probably the newest option for you to try on. The company is based in Iceland and is getting popular because of the serious claim of being the world’s most secure and private email service. The reason behind the claim is Iceland’s strong privacy laws. Moreover, it also offers amazing security features with complete encryption protection.
- Instantly Delete Emails
- Built-in Kill Switch
- Anti-Phishing Protection
- Dedicated Bare-Metal Servers
- IP Removed from Emails
- 1 GB of email storage (For Free Accounts)
- $8.00/month (Prime plan)
- $12/month (Knight plan)
- $20/month (Marshall plan)
- High cost plans for additional plans
- Not compatible with MAP/SMTP and third-party email clients.
Using any secure email providers from the above list is up to you, but you can make your email even securer by using a VPN service. VPN creates a secure connection between your computer and the network (the email service provider). When you enable the VPN service, the internet traffic (emails, messaging, etc.,) travels through the VPN connection first. This means VPN secures your email, web browsing, chat, etc., from scammers and hackers.
So, if you have a VPN, enable it and keep yourself secure.
Security Features to Consider When Choosing the Best Personal Email Service
While searching for the most secure email services, be careful of what you’re considering. There are plenty of free email providers that might harm your email safety and privacy. Hence, to get the most secure email services, always consider the following criteria. Your personal email service should match a few, if not all, the features below.
The encryption feature is the most critical feature that makes an email service secure. A regular email service only provides encryption when your email reaches Gmail or Hotmail. End-to-end encryption keeps your message secure while transmitting and only allows the sender and receiver to read the message. Therefore, always consider an End-to-end encrypted email service as it’s the most prior email security feature.
Another important feature to look for is two-factor authentication. It gets you the added layer of protection and stops intruders from accessing your account. If hackers somehow manage to learn your password, the 2FA gets you the backup key, and makes it impossible for a hacker to login to your account even after having the login credentials. You can deploy different options for two-factor authentication, including SMS 2FA, TOTP 2FA, Push-based 2FA, and more.
When a user sends an email, some of his information is attached with that email as metadata header. The header covers critical information about your web browser, device, and recipient. However, a secure email service takes care of your metadata security by stripping out header metadata to protect privacy as much as possible.
Server location is another strong security consideration. The main reason to always focus on server location is that some countries, including the USA, Canada, UK, and Australia, are the Five Eyes Intelligence network participants. These countries spy and share user data on their servers with agencies. Therefore, It’s suggested to select secure email services from safer countries that respect user privacy laws, including Sweden, Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland.
How Does Secure Email Work?
Secure email works with end-to-end encryption, and the recipient can only decrypt your message. Yet, if you’re using a regular email provider, the service can read or scan emails through keywords, making it easier for hackers to intervene.
Secure email services have many encryption choices, just like PGB, that mix both symmetric and asymmetric encryption. Other encryption protocols like S/MIME use the certificate to ensure that no one has tempered the email you sent.
There are other encryption choices available such as Transport-level encryption, and end-to-end encryption.
Transport-level encryption safely delivers the email on the web, but email providers can read it. However, it can be combined with other protocols like TCP, HTTP or FTP to better work for other things like IMAP, SMTP.
Another email encryption is known as PGP, pretty good privacy. PGP encryption has everything in it. It deals with symmetric encryption, hashing, and a public encryption key. The best thing is users don’t have to exchange encryption keys every time. The whole encryption process takes place secretively, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
Yet, so far, End-to-end Encryption is the best as it prevents third-party and mail providers from reading the message. Only sender and receiver have private keys to decrypt message when needed.
Why Should You Use Secure Email Services?
Gmail is not a very secure option when it comes to security. There are many reasons why one should be using secure email services in the first place. However, to make things clear below, you can find a list of the practical reasons to use secure and encrypted email service.
Storing Messages in a Safe Location
A safer location is needed to keep your messages away from the Fourteen Eyes intelligence-sharing countries. Secure mail services have servers at private locations that won’t allow anyone to break into your emails.
Gmail or regular email services never encrypt the metadata header that contains data about you, your browser, device, and the receipt. Yet, secure email services always hide your metadata header to better ensure privacy.
Strong Messages Encryption
Unsecure email services never maintain encryption once your message arrives at its intended server. Any hacker or the email service itself can easily snoop on your messages. Secure email providers always manage end-to-end encryption that makes it impossible for anyone to read messages except you and the recipient.
Why is Gmail not a Secure Service Provider?
Gmail is not considered a secure service provider due to its lack of encryption. It only uses TLS encryption that protects messages when they are in transit. Once the message reaches the mailbox, then Gmail can clearly see your content.
Why should I encrypt my emails?
One should use encrypted email services because your email might contain sensitive personal or business information. Without encryption, anyone can easily track or spoof your messages.
Can I encrypt my messages manually?
Yes, you can manually activate encrypted emails by setting up the PGP encryption method. However, the setup should be followed from both ends, the sender and the recipient.
What will happen when an email account gets hacked?
When a hacker hacked your email account, then he can send anything miserable in your name. He has the power to transfer money or falsely manage your online account. Not only that, he can send anything with your name, and it will badly affect your personal or business reputation.
How to figure out if anyone is reading my messages?
A few signs will help you know if your email gets hacked. Yet, there are no signs to determine if someone is reading your messages. The best bet to avert email snooping is through end-to-end encryption.
When it comes to privacy, there are not may email services that guarantee anonymity and security. To keep your emails as private as possible you should use any of the email services listed above. Apart from the list above, there are some other secure email providers that we have not mentioned like Fastmail, SAFe-mail, etc., but they are also very useful when it comes to email encryption.
All these secure email services listed here are much better at protecting your privacy than Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, and others. If used properly, end-to-end encryption will keep your emails safe when you send them to other users.