How to change to encrypted emails
Emails are normal for everybody. Almost everyone receives and sends dozens a day either private or for business. It belongs to everyday life like breakfast. But have you ever thought about email security? Are you really sure that messages which you send to your friends and family can really (and only) be read by the recipient? So much for now: If you use Google, Yahoo or similar providers currently, your emails are not encrypted and could be read by everybody (if he wants to and knows how to do it).
In the past it has been quite complicated to encrypt your own emails via PGP or S/MIME. This has changed now. Using a provider who encrypts all of your emails is the easiest way to make your emails useless and unreadable for people who should not see them. They protect your privacy and you do not get any personal ads anymore for instance which are based on the content of your emails.
The possible solution is pretty easy and you have plenty of options out there which you can use for that purpose. This is how to change to encrypted emails and these are some of the providers.
Server in Switzerland
ProtonMail offers a lot of advantages: There is a free version which is exactly as easy to use as Gmail, it is open source and its servers are based in the Swiss mountains. Any questions about security? Privacy laws in Switzerland are very strict which is because this is a great quality feature. ProtonMail can be used smoothly on desktop computers via browser and in an mobile app as well:
The service uses a full end-to-end-encryption which means nobody from outside (except the real recipient) can read the message text and its attachments. The email is encrypted as soon as the sent button has been clicked and remains safe throughout the whole transmission. At the moment when the recipient opens the message, the email is decrypted and can be read. This guarantees that no third party people can read the email. ProtonMail illustrates the principle like this:
What is also impressive: ProtonMail is not able to recover your email in case you lose your password for your account. This tells a lot about security. In addition, the service does not keep any information about IP addresses. It is also possible to pay in cash for a premium account so the privacy keeps protected and no credit card information have to be provided during the payment process.
- 500 MB storage in the free version, up to 20 GB for paid accounts
- Usage of your own domain is possible like email@example.com for instance
- Supports two-factor-authorisation
- No ads
- Option to send password protected emails to users who do not use ProtonMail
- Contacts can be imported as CSV file
- The default email signature in the free version cannot be changed, so it has to be removed manually before sending a message
- IMAP, SMTP and POP3 are not supported
- For marking emails there are only labels which can be used, but no folders or subfolders to arrange them
A plus account costs an annual fee of € 48,00 at the moment and inclused 5 GB of storage. Visionary accounts offer more space (20 GB) and cost about € 288,00 yearly. ProtonMail also provides special offers for companies.
Server in the Netherlands
StartMail also puts their focus on highest protection for your personal data and makes the change to encrypted emails really easy. All data is saved securely on servers in the Netherlands. The service can also guarantee encrypted email to users outside StartMail. This happens by a special question/answer function.
- Free version can be tested 7 days
- Compatible with IMAP and SMTP
- Available domains can be embedded
- No mobile app for Android or iOS available
10 GB storage are available at StartMail for € 49,95 a year.
Server in Belgium
Mailfence advertises besides privacy with no trackers and law protection as well. It is brilliant that they also provide secure calendar, document storage and contacts which are all save.
- Protected calendar and document storage
- 500 MB email storage for the free version, 500 MB for documents
- Supports IMAP, SMTP and POP3
- Offers digital signatures and inter-operability with any other OpenPGP compatible mail so the user can thus send encrypted email to any person that has OpenPGP based encrypted email solutions.
- No mobile app for Android or iOS
The entry model starts at € 30,00 yearly and includes your own domain and 5 GB storage for emails. For € 90,00 a year you can get 20 GB for emails if you need it.
Server in Germany
Tutanota is a German provider and offers a free version as well. It is very similar compared to ProtonMail and also has a great user experience and a state-of-the-art responsive design.
- 1 GB storage for the free version
- Convenient premium accounts from € 12,00 yearly
- App for Android and iOS
- Folder to arrange emails in the inbox
- No search function
- Emails can only be sent in the rich text format, HTML is not supported
- Aliases are not possible
- IMAP is not supported
Server in Canada
Another provider of secure emails is Hushmail. The company is based in Canada (lovely Vancouver) where the servers are. The web version of Hushmail gives you a nice overview and is easy to use.
- iOS app
- Supports IMAP and POP
- 10 GB storage for emails
- An additional email address and your phone number is required during the registration process
Premium accounts are available from $ 49,98 a year.
Server in Switzerland
SEPPmail is a Swiss provider which primarily operates for companies. The service has grown a lot in the past few years in the industries of finance, insurances, public authorities and medicine. Unlike the other listed providers above, the gateway of SEPPmail supports worldwide encryption standards like S/MIME, OpenPGP, TLS and SSL.