March 17, 2021

Most Secure Email Providers

The most common email solutions like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo Mail are all not secure. How come? They’re operated by companies that gather your info then use it for their benefit. Also, they do not provide end-to-end encryption to secure all your messages.

In addition to what’s stated, these email providers don’t care if authorities check your inbox. Lastly, they’re known to breach data, making them unsuitable for those who value their privacy above all else.

Fortunately, many secure alternative email solutions are available. Each one of these solutions refrains from tracking, collecting, and using your data. Also, they encrypt your messages so no third-party shall ever get to decipher their contents.

What Are The Most Secure Email Providers In 2021?

Here at VPN Thrive, we take digital privacy and security very seriously. Because of that, coming up with a list of the most secure email providers was a no-brainer for us. After all, we got the chance to test each major service available on the market to determine what’s best.

These are our top picks:

  1. ProtonMail
  2. Tutanota
  3. HushMail
  4. CounterMail
  5. Mailfence

All of these email providers are incredibly secure. However, each of them is unique. Thus, it’s important to thoroughly analyze them to know which is best suited for you. So without further ado, let’s begin by discussing ProtonMail.

1. ProtonMail

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is, without doubt, currently the world’s most secure email provider. It was established back in 2013 by CERN scientists in the privacy-friendly country of Switzerland. As you might’ve expected, the email solution maintains a zero-logging policy and is open-source.

Quite interestingly, ProtonMail has no desktop applications. Instead, it utilizes a web-based client that’s compatible with every leading browser. With that said, the email provider does maintain native applications for the latest versions of Android and iOS.

Sad to say, ProtonMail’s web-based clients have clunky interfaces that feel outdated and rough to navigate. While you can get used to them, it’ll definitely take some time. On the bright side, the service’s mobile apps deliver a much better user experience

ProtonMail has a free version, which is excellent. Using it, you’ll be able to send 150 emails per day and store up to 500 megabytes worth of messages. While the customer support for it is admittedly limited, you shall still get all the essential bells and whistles you’d want.

You have the option to avail of two types of ProtonMail subscriptions. The former entitles you to 5 gigabytes of inbox storage, 5 email aliases, and personalized domain support. Meanwhile, the latter gives you 20 gigabytes of storage, 50 email aliases, multi-user support, and free access to ProtonMail’s proprietary VPN called ProtonVPN.

The prices of ProtonMail aren’t out of the reach of average consumers. However, since it’s most expensive plans are suited for professionals, they’re a tad bit pricey. Still, we think they’re worth their cost as they’ll make sure you’re 100% protected whenever you communicate via email.

2. Tutanota

Tutanota

Tutanota is one of the most secure email services there is. It has 2 million active users, thanks mainly to the high level of security it provides. Of course, the email’s availability on GitHub under a GPL V3 license greatly boosts those numbers.

Unlike other secure email services, Tutanota doesn’t use PGP encryption. Instead, it employs military-grade AES, which is the most secure encryption currently available. It’s used by the world’s governments, intelligence organizations, militaries, and tech companies.

As you might’ve expected, Tutanota has a strict no-logging policy. On top of that, it automatically deletes IP addresses along with emails from the heading metadata. This is done to ensure that you’re 100% safeguarded whenever you send out a message to anyone.

The secure email service also boasts a web-based application and native apps for iOS, macOS, Windows, and Android. Each of these is extremely secure because they let you utilize 2FA authentication. Furthermore, they’re all relatively easy to use, configure, and navigate.

A paid Tutanota subscription isn’t necessary for most users. Its free version already gives you a useful calendar and 1 gigabyte worth of inbox storage space. Be that as it may, you won’t be able to avail of customer support unless you avail of a paid plan, which costs $1 a month.

One downside of Tutanota is that it’s based in Germany. Thus, the email provider falls under the jurisdiction of the Fourteen Eyes Alliance. As a result, it must follow restrictive privacy laws that can potentially undermine its operations as a secure email service.

3. HushMail

HushMail

HushMail is one of the oldest secure email solutions. Despite being established a long time ago, the Canada-based service has maintained its good reputation and popularity. 

What makes it unique is that it’s specialized to meet the needs of medical practitioners, small business owners, and lawyers. That said, it’s still very suitable for all your needs.

You should know that Hushmail uses OpenPGP to provide its millions of users with end-to-end encryption. Sad to say, this form of encryption isn’t that secure because it fails to encrypt recipients and subject lines. Thankfully, a few more security features are present.

One example is SSL/TLS and HSTS tunnel protection that ensures your emails are secure while they’re in transit. Besides that, there’s also hashing technology to make sure your password does not get compromised by hackers, government monitors, and other third-parties.

Another drawback of Hushmail is its lack of a solid no-logs policy. The service actively records the IP addresses of everyone who visits its website. Moreover, it also logs information such as your credit card details, email, and billing address. What’s worse is that any log created by the service is kept for 18 months.

Besides having a web-based client, Hushmail also recently rolled out a native iOS app. In any case, you’re sure to have a good experience no matter how you access the service. Why? Its developers have made sure it’s user-friendly, highly-configurable, and easy to navigate.

Hushmail isn’t free to use. It offers many business plans and one personal plan. The annual cost of each type of subscription varies greatly. However, you’ll be glad to know that the service’s prices are within the reach of average consumers like yourself.

4. CounterMail

CounterMail

CounterMail is a Swedish secure email provider that has been operating since 2008. It’s one of the most secure solutions out there for anyone who’s looking to send messages without having to compromise their privacy and safety. On its website, it proudly states it focuses on security above anything else, meaning that you’ll be in perfect hands after choosing the service.

Like most of its competitors, CounterMail employs PGP encryption. Something that makes it stand out, though, is its utilization of RAM-based servers. These servers aren’t capable of tracking, collecting, and storing the personal logging information of users.

Apart from what’s mentioned above, CounterMail also has super countermeasures that’ll keep you safe from man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. It also lets you use a time-based one-time password algorithm with a third-party application or a USB key for 2FA authentication.

Despite everything it has going for it, CounterMail has one flaw. It is based in Sweden, which is a Fourteen Eyes Alliance member state. Due to that, the email service must follow restrictive local privacy laws that significantly restrict its ability to function at full efficiency.

CounterMail boasts a web-based application as well as native apps for Android and iOS. As expected from an older service, its web app has an outdated interface that’s not particularly suited towards younger users. Luckily, many customization options exist that allow you to personalize your experience to an impressively high degree.

You only have 7 days to use CounterMail for free. After that, you’ll have to pay to make use of the service for longer and access all its features. On the bright side, you won’t need to spend lots of cash since CounterMail is one of the most affordable secure email services out there.

5. Mailfence

Mailfence

Mailfence is an excellent option for those who are using a secure email solution for the first time. It’s a unique service because it treats encryption as an optional feature rather than one that’s essential. If anything, it focuses on convenience first, and then safety.

Don’t think that Mailfence isn’t safe to use. With it, you have the option to use either PGP, RSA, or ECC encryption. On top of that, it’s possible to digitally sign your emails, meaning that verifying your identity to people you communicate with is an absolute breeze.

Mailfence logs basic information such as your IP address. Its source code also is not totally open-source. Therefore, knowing what’s actually happening behind the scenes is next to impossible. This isn’t great for anyone that needs to know exactly what is going on.

An awesome thing about Mailfence is that it offers customer support to those who avail of its free version. Furthermore, the service also gives you 500 megabytes worth of storage plus a calendar, user group facilitation, and document storage features. In the secure email service industry, a package this good for free versions is quite rare.

While no native Mailfence apps are available for mobile devices, a superb web-based client exists. Although it boasts an unsightly interface, it’s easy to navigate, configure, and utilize. Because of that, I’d easily recommend it to anyone.

If the free version of Mailfence doesn’t cater to your needs, it’s premium subscriptions certainly will. The prices of these subscriptions are all affordable. But, the greatest value for money lies in the most feature-rich ones that are a bit pricier.

Why Choose Secure Email Providers?

Why Choose Secure Email Providers

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You’re probably aware of the benefits that come with using secure email providers. That said, it is best that we still discuss why you should use them. After all, you might still have doubts and reservations as you’ll need to spend money on a service that’s otherwise usually free.

  • Safeguard Every Message

Mainstream email service providers like Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo don’t provide end-to-end encryption for your messages. Consequently, it’s way easier for hackers to intercept then decipher their contents. From a privacy standpoint, this is simply unacceptable.

All secure email providers encrypt your messages in one way or another. They use robust protocols like AES to PGP to safeguard your emails from malicious third-parties.

  • Avoid Targeted Advertisements

To make a profit, free email solutions often secretly gather their users’ personal information then sell it to third-parties. Oftentimes, these parties then send you targeted advertisements in the form of popups and banners.

As you probably already know, targeted ads can ruin your browsing experience. In addition to being intrusive, they also get in the way of whatever you’re doing. Therefore, anyone looking to surf the web smoothly should do all they can to eliminate them.

  • Keep Messages In A Safe Place

Governments have a habit of snooping into the inboxes of citizens. This is especially true if you reside in a country that falls under the jurisdiction of one of the world’s many surveillance alliances. Due to that, you should keep your messages in a safe place.

Many secure email service providers maintain RAM-based servers that can’t store your private logs. Therefore, when these servers are checked by authorities, nothing shall be found. Your messages shall remain 100% uncompromised and safeguarded.

What To Look For In A Secure Email Provider?

What To Look For In A Secure Email Provider

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Hundreds of email services that claim to be secure but really aren’t. For that reason, it’s essential to know what to look for when you’re in the market. By considering these factors, it’s sure that you’ll be completely protected when sending emails.

1. End-To-End Encryption

No email solution can regard itself to be secure without end-to-end encryption. When it’s used, the sender and receiver are the only parties that can read a message. Nobody else shall be able to look into it, regardless of how well-funded or equipped they are.

You should note that end-to-end encryption comes in many forms. The most common of which is caller Pretty Good Privacy or PGP. Other types include AES, RSA, and EEC.

2. Area Of Operation

Each country has its own privacy laws. As a rule of thumb, it’s best to avoid using a secure email service that falls under the jurisdiction of the world’s surveillance alliances.

Why? Because local authorities in these areas can invade your privacy whenever they want without consequences. It’s even possible for them to share whatever they obtain with other parties. Although this is terrible, it is a sad reality for every internet user.

3. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Secure email services that allow you to utilize two-factor authentication or 2FA are much safer than those that don’t. How come? They make it more difficult for hackers to infiltrate your account by adding a whole new level of protection to the login process.

The best secure email solutions don’t just have built-in 2FA authentication. In addition, they also allow you to utilize third-party applications that you might find better suited to your needs.

4. Metadata Header Deletion

Every email you write and send out has metadata. When this is scanned, others shall get to find out your web browser, current device, and who you’re communicating with. If anything, this isn’t good for anyone who’s striving to remain under the radar.

The best secure email providers always make sure to delete header metadata. This is done for the sake of your privacy and that of whoever you’re in contact with.

Putting It All Together

Now that you know what the most secure email providers are, nothing should be stopping you from communicating via email safely. Remember that because the internet is a dangerous place, it’s best to exercise every possible precaution to remain protected.

Don’t forget that using a secure email provider is only the first step in maintaining your online safety. As you might’ve guessed, there are many other precautions you must take to ensure you’ll never be victimized by cybercriminals.

I highly recommend that you check out and our other articles we have regarding online safety.

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About the author 

Erwin Caniba

Erwin, our Chief Editor, has an established career in digital marketing. Since 2012, he’s always used a VPN. As such, it came to his mind to share his experience with every VPN that he’s used. And so, VPN Thrive was born.

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