You would think that email providers like Yahoo! Mail or Google Gmail would be the best of the best in terms of the level of security your account has, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. But let’s be a little more clear. Is email providers like Yahoo! Mail or Google Gmail secure? Yes, and there’s even additional security you can add to your account for another layer. Is it the best? Not necessarily.
For most, the idea of their email being hacked or compromised doesn’t really enter their consciousness. Sure, you might hear those same people worry, but really, it’s always a passing thought, a minor comment said in the midst of a conversation. Have you ever heard of those same people go home and make security changes? Probably right.
Here’s the rub: if you use Google Gmail or Yahoo! Mail (sorry, Google and Yahoo!, you’re just some of the more well known email providers), and you practice safe surfing and good password protection, the likelihood of your account being breached is unlikely or ever at all. One can have the best email security on the market and still get their account hacked if they don’t practice safe surfing. For normal use, email providers like Google Gmail is never a bad choice, however, you should consider something more secure if you want to hide more sensitive information.
Speaking of an email breach, you also have to consider what your email is being used for. Take Gmail or Hotmail (now Outlook), for example. Both use encryption that hides the content of an email, which is great. However, it’s only encrypted when it reaches its destination. What does that mean for you? If Google wanted to look at your email, they could. Some email providers provide what’s known as “end-to-end encryption.” This scrambles the content of your email, giving you the power over your content, rather than giving the power to the company who can then jerk your chain if they so please.
It’s time you gain control over your email. Below are some of the most secure email providers on the market, 7 of them, to be specific. Any one of these email providers will give you a sense of security that is, arguably, unmatched by the more popular, more mainstream, email services.
What can be said about ProtonMail? Well, does CERN or MIT ring any bells? They should, because ProtonMail was developed in a CERN research facility with a collection of scientists from both CERN and MIT. That should give you an idea of what ProtonMail may be made of, but you want to know features.
First off, it’s really easy to use. If you’ve used Outlook or Gmail, and realized, “Wow. This is easy to use,” you’ll be saying the same about ProtonMail. And since 2013, ProtonMail has been raking in the popular votes with its powerful end-to-end encryption, you know, the same kind of encryption that gives the power to the user and not the other way around.
Imagine this: you compose an email and send it off to the recipient, only for the recipient to be the only eyes allowed to read it. Isn’t that awesome? Only you and the person getting the message will have eyes on it; not even ProtonMail has the ability to peer into your content.
Believe it or not, some service providers do have their users best interest in mind and it just so happens that security and privacy were one of them. Who would’ve thought?
But what’s the catch? Not a very big one, in fact, a very small fish. ProtonMail has a free tier with additional tiers you can subscribed to, but you don’t have to, nor should you. Each tier has a purpose that is best suited for different situations. You can easily get by using the free tier.
For the free tier, you have the ability to send 150 messages every day and save 500 megabytes of online storage. The next tier up, the Plus plan, is going for $4 a month, which garners you more storage, more messages and some additional features like more folders and better customer support. The other tiers then add more and more.
If you work with sensitive information, it’s hard to argue with the prices they ask for, especially for a secure and private email service.
Are you a business owner or a highly professional individual? Do you have an Outlook account? Then perhaps you should consider LuxSci, yet another email provider that aims to provide its users with end-to-end encryption. And if you love your Outlook account, consider linking it with your LuxSci account.
What makes LuxSci stand away from the rest is its approach to new users. When you create an account, it isn’t immediately created. In fact, accounts are only made during their business hours. You’ll create an account and, within a brief window of time, a LuxSci support member will get in touch with you over the phone. Why? Well, to walk you through their service and show you the ropes.
If you’re looking for a more personal email provider, you should consider something else besides LuxSci. Their focus is mainly on business, and if that’s where you reside, then LuxSci is for you. If you check their pricing, you’ll see why.
For the lowest tier, the “Small” tier, you’re throwing down $50 USD every month.
There’s nothing worse than having your email breached, and then to have your contact’s information leaked as well. That domino effect is a reality too many people fall victim to. If only they had Tutanota. With Tutanota, they could’ve made use of their encryption that, not only hid their email and content, but also their contacts list as well.
Another German-hosted email provider, Tutanota aims to provide many of the features that users crave for when looking for a secure, private and encrypted email service. Tutanota has those in spades.
Tutanota takes 2049-bit RSA keys and AES-128 encryption keys, combined with a custom solution, provides a security to your email that is hard to match. And who could forget the price they’re asking? But like many of the email providers on this list, the free tier is rather limiting with only the bare necessities available to free users. However, like every email provider on this list, any one of the services are worth the cost (depending on your relative position).
What’s really cool about Tutanota is the open-source code of theirs is actually available for download. Why? So security professionals can probe their code for weaknesses.
The Edward Snowden-inspired Mailfence aims to offer a platform that promises your email won’t be tracked, you won’t have advertisements shoved in your face, nor will there by third-party data scanning. Does Gmail or Yahoo! Mail make those promises? Nope.
This Belgium-hosted email provider makes use of AES-256 bit security. If you like Tutanota’s security, you’ll like AES-256 bit security even better, because it is. Only you and the person getting the email is going to have access to the content of a message. The logo Mailfence has created really sells the idea to you.
Email providers like Google have a suite of office applications. Mailfence aims to do the same, even having a cloud service for documents. The best part of Mailfence, besides its awesome encryption, is it’s free. However, its free tier is, admittedly, limiting. Consider this though: if you like Mailfence, consider kicking money their way every month. Who can argue with a secure and private email?
In the beautiful lands of Switzerland, an email provider is being hosted by the name of “Kolab Now.” Another provider that aims to cater its services to business owners. Kolab Now has a hardy security system, among the top ranking, and its suite of features can seriously match Google and Microsoft Office.
A calender and cloud service are only two of the features that Kolab Now throws at its users, but Kolab Now takes a page from social media and arranges your contacts in a way that resembles a social network. It’s rather handy for picking out specific people you were having trouble looking for, and dropping them into neat little groups.
In other words, Kolab Now is more of an ecosystem for businesses to perform their office-type tasks without the need to worry so much about privacy or security. Unfortunately, like any service that offers such a suite of features, it will cost you to use Kolab Now. You should also know that Kolab Now doesn’t use end-to-end encryption. You’ll have to locate that elsewhere.
You can sign-up for a 30-day trial. The monthly subscription, for an individual account, runs you about $4.51 a month.
Don’t let the homepage of Countermail fool you. It may seem dated, but the email service is very much alive and its focus on security is intense. Let’s break down their service.
First off, and not surprising, Countermail makes use of end-to-end encryption. Only you and the person getting the email will be able to read the content. Not only that, but 4096-bit security keys and OpenPGP, only two of the protocols used, will keep your email under lock and key.
One of the biggest features Countermail has to offer and, arguably, one of its best, is the way emails are handled when traveling through their servers: none of them can be read, nor written. They use what’s known as a “diskless data server.” In fact, they’re so proud of it, they have a link on their homepage that delves deeper into the use of a diskless web server. It’s an impressive feature, to say the least. That’ll teach you to judge a website by its cover.
As far as pricing goes, you’ll be dropping about $19 on a 3-month subscription, which is around $6.33 a month. Not bad, especially compared to other services on here. With that price tag, you’ll get 250MB of cloud storage. However, if you really like the service, consider moving up to a 12 month subscription, running up to $59. Yes, it seems expensive at first, but if you keep renewing every 3 months, you’re going to pay more by the end of the year (19 x 4 = $76).
Hushmail is like ProtonMail, but the focus of their service isn’t weighed heavily on business. It certainly does have the option of being used in a business setting, and the service certainly calls for it, but unlike many of the email providers on this list, Hushmail is entirely viable as a personal email, too. You’ll find that Hushmail uses OpenPGP.
If you want to send or read an email, Hushmail will grill you for a password, the encrypted service is utilizes on its platform. You’ll actually be asked by Hushmail if you would like to encrypt the email before you send it, even if the email you’re sending it to isn’t a Hushmail user. The other person then has the opportunity to view the email in a secure setting (a SSL/TLS secure connection), with a security question prompting them to answer in order to open the message.
Now, Hushmail will run you $49.99 a year. That may seem steep at first, but consider this: you’re paying about $4.16 a month. That falls pretty in line with the other services on this list.