If you want to be sure that no one is reading your emails, choosing an encrypted email service is the right move.
In this guide, we take a look at five of the best free encrypted email services you can use in 2020.
As one of the top encrypted email services, ProtonMail is very easy to use. It has a powerful end-to-end encryption feature that protects any email that you send until the recipient opens it. In addition, you and the recipient are the only ones that can view the email. This zero-access build of ProtonMail’s servers ensures that only you and the recipient can open and read the encrypted emails and not event ProtonMail can read the emails.
In the event that your email recipient does not use ProtonMail, you can opt to send them an email that is unencrypted. However, ProtonMail has a feature that can encrypt the message and instead leave a link in the email. The recipient will be able to decrypt the email using a password that you will share with them privately. Moreover, ProtonMail gives you 500MB of storage space with the free option.
- One of the best-encrypted email services
- Does not log IP addresses
- Free option has limited storage
- Upgrading is quite expensive
CounterMail is a web-based encrypted email provider that has its data centers located in Sweden. This encrypted email service is easy to use and very secure. It is designed to provide maximum privacy and security without any unwarranted complexity. Although CounterMail’s website looks outdated, you can be rest assured that their email security is built to handle today’s privacy threat.
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With CounterMail, you have access to your email account from anywhere, at any time worldwide. Your account will always remain anonymous and encrypted. Its encryption works transparently and automatically without requiring any specialized computer knowledge or skills. CounterMail uses a strong encryption protocol known as OpenPGP coupled with 4096 bits encryption keys to secure your data.
In addition, one of the features that makes CounterMail stand out from its competitors is the use of diskless web servers. This means that CounterMail is doing everything possible to keep you anonymous as you use their service. They also offer MITM (Man-In-The-Middle) protection, which helps protect your identity. There is a USB-key option that enables CounterMail to be used with your password for increased security. This way, you get better protection against brute force attacks and keyloggers.
- Uses diskless servers
- Data servers are located in Sweden
- Uses the OpenPGP encryption protocol
- Free option only lasts 7-days
- Outdated user interface and design
Hushmail is a Canadian encrypted email provider that allows users to sign up for free and get an account. With the free option, you are only able to get 15 MB of storage with a single address. This means that you will not be able to receive large attachments in your emails and will, therefore, need to constantly delete emails to free up some space. As such, Hushmail is ideal for anyone looking for a free encrypted email service and doesn’t mind deleting emails now and then.
While Hushmail can be used on smartphones and desktop-based email applications, it is not compatible with macOS. In addition, its servers are located in Canada, a country that is not the best when it comes to privacy. However, with the applied end-to-end encryption, your emails will remain safe and their contents won’t be accessible to anyone.
Moreover, the company’s core values are based on privacy, clarity, and simplicity. Hushmail has done a great job of demonstrating this by providing users with a neat design, easy-to-use interface, outstanding privacy features, and protection.
Every email is encrypted using OpenPGP encryption. If your recipient uses Hushmail, they will be able to read their email on their smartphone or computer. However, if they don’t use Hushmail, they will get a link that is attached to the email. This link will redirect them to a website that is more secure after which they will be required to key in a passphrase before they can get complete access to the email. You can also add another extra layer of security that will require the recipient to answer a security question before they can access the contents of your email.
- Can be used on smartphones and desktop
- Has an easy-to-use interface and design
- Uses OpenPGP encryption
- It is not compatible with macOS
- Its data server is based in Canada
Tutanota is another free encrypted email provider that is easy to use. It is an open-source, web-based email application with its servers located in Germany.
Germany has some of the toughest data privacy rules so you can be rest assured they have got your back when it comes to privacy. What we love most about Tutanota is that with the free option, users get 1GB of free storage with one email address. In addition, Tutanota is compatible with Windows, Android, iPhone, Mac, and Linux.
Tutanota gives you the ability to securely send and receive emails without the use of PGP keys. Instead, they use strong AES encryption with Perfect Forward Secrecy. This means users can a password and a special link system to send emails that are end-to-end encrypted to just about anyone regardless of the service they are currently using. Moreover, this email service is built to strip IP addresses from the email headers. It can also encrypt metadata. As such, you get to enjoy a very secure email service that makes it hard for anyone to track or see the contents of your email.
The only downside worth mentioning is that Tutanota stores some minimal metadata logs for messages sent for five days using the service. This is done to ensure the smooth running of the service.
- Provides end-to-end encryption
- Compatible with all browsers and devices
- Users get 1GB of storage
- The AES encryption is not the most secure
- Stores some minimal metadata logs
Mailfence is an encrypted email service provider that was launched in 2013. Its servers are based in Belgium, a country that has strong privacy protection laws.
Mailfence believes that ‘privacy is a right, not a feature’. To this end, their service cannot be tracked. Moreover, Mailfence does not have any ads, spams, solicitation or backdoor and is free from government surveillance. Mailfence has incorporated state of the art security features that protect your email privacy at all times. With the free option, users get 500 MB of email storage and 500MB of document storage.
In order to deliver emails that are completely secure, Mailfence uses different methods. One method used to achieve this is OpenPGP end-to-end encryption that ensures that only your recipient can decrypt your email. Secondly, you can also send a password encrypted email. This means that you will need to show a password with your recipient that they will need to key in before they can access your email. Additionally, you have the option of using a digital signature. This works in a similar fashion as a stamped seal or handwritten signature only that the digital signature provides more inherent security.
Unlike other email service providers, Mailfence has an integrated suite of tools, such as calendars, messages, contacts or and documents. With this service provider, you get the freedom to choose which email you want to encrypt. In addition, it is a private, secure and easy-to-use service.
- Uses the OpenPGP end-to-end encryption
- Has an integrated suite of tools
- Its servers are based in Belgium
- Stores some user logs
- Its paid for plans are expensive