The government, advertisement companies, hackers – these are just some of the many people craving our information online, especially from our emails. Therefore, using a secure email service now is no longer just nice to have but a necessity. Having end-to-end encryption is a good start, but an encrypted inbox, calendar, and file storage are of utmost importance as well. Due to this, new companies have emerged offering email services that will answer any privacy advocate's needs. On our website, you'll find reviews and comparisons to help you narrow down the competition and find the perfect email provider, while our coupons and free trial pages give you the best deals.
Best Secure Email Services of 2020
Created at the heart of CERN, ProtonMail boasts over one million users worldwide. It offers extremely straightforward end-to-end encryption, with all emails automatically encrypted when exchanged inside ProtonMail's sphere. When sending emails to receivers using other email services, though not automatic, it's pretty easy to encrypt them as well. The user creates a password when writing the email and clicks on send. The receiver gets an email with a link to a temporary ProtonMail inbox, inserts the password and, voila – the content is unencrypted and readable. Better yet, the user can send an encrypted reply right away, without the need to leave the platform.
What about when you receive an unencrypted email? In this case, ProtonMail will encrypt the content at the moment of its arrival and only afterward store it on its servers. Simply put, everything is encrypted and out of reach to third parties, including from ProtonMail itself. Unfortunately, security comes at the expense of some neat features like a calendar, filtering by searching an email’s body, as well as grouped emails. Nevertheless, you can grab the free plan and use ProtonMail's to its full extent, or upgrade to Plus for $4 per month to increase storage space, get five email aliases, and a bridge to use with any desktop email software.
2. eM Client
eM Client has been on the email service market since 2006. Since then, it's had time to hone its offer and come up with a well-rounded product security-wise and feature-wise alike.
When it comes to security, eM Client provides a thorough spam filter as well as phishing protection and lets you easily send encrypted messages through S/MIME and OpenPGP. However, eM Client shines the most when it comes to the email features it offers. It's possible to have various emails working at the same time, delay sends, snooze your email, among other neat features that will make managing your inbox a breeze. Furthermore, it comes with a built-in calendar, task manager, and a live chat that works with Google Talk, Jabber, or any other XMPP-based server.
eM Client offers a competitive free plan where users can add up to two different email accounts and comes with the full extent of features. For commercial use, though, you'll need to upgrade to the pro version. Instead of a monthly subscription, eM Client offers a lifetime license for the cost of $49.95 per computer and provides an unlimited number of email accounts, professional support, and unrestricted translation of incoming emails.
TorGuard, a company known for its VPN, proxy, and router services, has ventured into the secure email service market recently by creating Private-Mail. Though there are still some rough edges, Private-Mail shows great potential by balancing security with a wide array of features.
Private-Mail uses OpenPGP encryption, which means that the user needs to create a password and share it with their contacts. Receivers also need to set up OpenPGP, create their password, and share it with you. Though it may be a little more trouble compared to automatic end-to-end encryption, Private-Mail compensates that with the number of features it offers. Paid users get multiple calendars, a contact list, a taskbar, and extensive cloud storage. Of course, all of these are encrypted, and nobody can take any content without your password.
This email service offers a limited free plan that you can use forever. However, to get the full package, you'll need to upgrade to Standard for $8.95 per month. Although this value may feel excessive, bear in mind that besides a secure email with all the extra features, you are also getting an encrypted cloud file storage of 20GB.
How to Choose the Right Email Service
Choosing the best email service is very personal. It depends on what features you value the most, from how many and what type of devices you want to access your inbox, among other reasons. This way, it's highly advisable to follow some steps before jumping the gun and choosing the first Google result when googling for ‘best email service'.
1. Make a List of Your Needs
Start by listing all the features from an email service that you can't live without. The main tradeoff that you’re going to have to do is between security and email management features. This way, it's essential for you to pinpoint if straightforward end-to-end encryption is more (or less) important than features like built-in calendar, email rules, and so on.
After knowing what you really need to have, it's essential to understand where you are going to access your email from. For example, some email services are perfect on the desktop but don't offer a mobile application. It's also vital to understand your daily email usage since email services' plans differ on the amount of email storage provided.
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want, it's time to do some research. It's essential to read top rankings, reviews, and comparisons to narrow the options down to one. Although on the surface some email services may seem equal, after reading about them, you'll notice that one is always going to come up on top. It might be a specific feature or the company's mission statement, but we guarantee that one will be the winner.
3. Get the Best Deal
When you have pinpointed what email service you are going to use, it's time to look for discounts and free ways to test the product. There are always methods to save money, and our coupons and free trial pages will tell you how.
Secure Email Usage
Using a secure email service is just the first step to guarantee your privacy online. There are many ways that hackers can exploit your devices, and email providers can only do so much.
First, you must use strong and secure passwords and change them regularly. Using a password manager is the best way to create and store multiple passwords, mainly because they generate military-grade passwords for you. Of course, you should always use multi-step authentication whenever possible as well.
New phishing attempts happen every single day, and it’s impossible for email providers to have a complete list of all the phishing accounts. So, you must be aware of the emails you receive and double-check if they're trustworthy before clicking on any link or sending personal information. Antiviruses are a great help since they scan emails to find phishing attempts as well as malware. Better yet, the protection they provide is not confined to email, protecting your device from all different kinds of cyber attacks.
Finally, you need to think about the connection between your computer and the email service's servers. Secure email providers will indeed use the safest connections on their websites, but there are things that they can't influence. Using a VPN is always advisable, especially when using a public Wi-Fi to establish an internet connection.
Free Secure Email Services
It's common practice in the email service industry to have free plans, and secure email providers are no different. Most of the time, there are forever-free packages that you can use and, although limited, most of them will suffice for personal use. However, like the paid subscriptions, free plans change tremendously depending on the email service's pricing strategy.
Private-Mail, for example, heavily limits its service’s features for free users, basically offering only encrypted email. On the other hand, ProtonMail provides most of its features but limits the number of daily messages to 150. As a third option, eM Client gives away its full service for free but limits you to personal use of only two email accounts.
However, there is something that you'll always get with a secure email service on its free option, and that is privacy and protection. So, if you are a light email user who wants to use a safe email provider for personal use, a free plan will suffice.
Email Security 101
The Importance of Email Security
Email has been around for more than 50 years, and it's still one of the most popular ways to communicate online. However, email at its core isn't secure. Advertisement companies, the government, and hackers are just some of the entities that want to have access to your emails for a variety of reasons.
Just in the first quarter of 2019, 22% of businesses experienced a breach due to an email-based attack. Phishing is still one of the most prevalent cyber attacks and grew around 41% in 2018, a quarter of them done through email.
Unfortunately, phishing is just one of the problems. With zero security, your emails are prone to be intercepted while traveling from your inbox to the destination. Moreover, if your inbox is not encrypted, all your information can be shared with intelligence organizations, hacked, sold to advertisement companies, and the list continues. This way, email security is not only important but essential.
What Makes an Email Service Secure?
Three main features tell you if an email service is secure: protection of users' information, the safety of the connection, and security against phishing and spam emails.
Besides the stored data, all information must be shared through a safe connection. The most usual are SSL and TLS protocols. However, when it comes to sending and receiving emails, the best security is to have end-to-end encryption.
Nonetheless, all security will fall if you openly share your own information. That's why secure email providers work their best to have the most updated list of phishing and spam email addresses. Though, this is also something you should always be aware of. New phishing attacks appear every single day and are always evolving, so it's not surprising that email services can't block them all.
Encryption in Email Apps
We use email daily. We speak with our family and friends, do business, receive bills, reset passwords, and the list continues. Basically, email is full of personal information that hackers, advertisement companies, and even some governments would love to know. Thus, having that information traveling the internet entirely in the open is a big no-no. That's where encryption comes in.
Email services that don't offer end-to-end encryption, still protect emails while in transit through HTTPS. However, there is a massive problem with this process, the moment the messages reach the email service’s servers, they can read every word since they have the encryption keys. On top of that, if the servers are hacked, cyber criminals will also be able to see everything. The only way to counter this is by using end-to-end encryption.
End-to-end encryption provides an additional layer of security where the encryption keys are stored on your side. In other words, nobody can decrypt your messages, not even your email service or hackers, making end-to-end encryption a must when it comes to email security.