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9 E-mail services you can use for online privacy

David Wibergh, about Online Privacy

At OVPN, we want everybody to feel safe on the internet, and thus it’s our goal to provide knowledge and information on how to achieve this regardless if it’s VPN services or something else related to online privacy security.

Thus, we have tested a large selection of e-mail services and given pros and cons about each and every one of them in order for you to choose the one that fits you the best.

Below, you will find the services we’ve tested in alphabetical order. (496 SEK/ year)

Countermail is one of the oldest e-mail service providers. It was founded in 2008, and the business is located in Sweden. Countermail has taken precautions regarding security as the web server operates without a hard drive and thus unable to log any information. Countermail has, among other things, their own Java applet that offers end-to-end encryption that can be verified by a certificate. Countermail also provides the opportunity to point your domain to their web server, meaning that you can use any e-mail address you’d like as long as you own the web domain you are pointing to. This is great for companies if you can’t or don’t want to deploy your own mail server.

Pros: Good security, offers many options.

Cons: The Java applet, not free. (Free)

Ghostmail is a new e-mail service provider and is only accessible through their web app. It’s completely free and very easy to use. Ghostmail also offers secure cloud storage of 1 GB for free.
Ghostmail has been reviewed by CSIS Security Group (ghost audit report)

Pros: Free and very easy to use.

Cons: Offers few options. (504 SEK / year)

Kolabnow is a provider located in Switzerland on account of the liberal internet laws. Kolabnow caters well to business customers as they offer hosting of your calendar, files, and contacts. They also let you use your own domain.

Pros: Perfect for business customers.

Nackdelar: Not free, no built-in encryption service. (112 SEK / year) is a German e-mail service provider and separates itself from other providers by owning and operating the datacenters and equipment needed to run their business. This means they offer more control than other providers. In addition, Mailbox offers built-in GPG and SMTPS, meaning you can communicate safely. You can also use your own domain with their service.

Pros: Offers many functionalities.

Nackdel: Not free (although cheap compared to other paid services). (Free)

OpenMailBox offers many functionalities without any cost. Not only can you use it as your e-mail app. They also offer XMPP and POP/SMTP (with or without TLS/SSL), which means that you can use any client you wish and you are not limited to their web app. OpenMailBox is completely free and is funded by donations. This is an interesting project with the goal to offer a free and secure e-mail service.

Pros: Free, many functionalities.

Cons:* Can’t use your own domain. (112 SEK / year)

Posteo is another German e-mail service provider founded in 2009. This is a very transparent service showing how they work and what information the authorities ask for and get their hands on. Regarding security, encryption is built-in along with two-factor authorization. Posteo offers a clean look with a functional e-mail service.

Pros: Clean look, a lot of functionality.

Nackdelar: Can’t be used with your own domain and doesn’t offer Bitcoin as a payment method. (Free)

ProtonMail, located in Switzerland since 2013, had been in its beta test period for a long time but finally opened their services for everybody. One unique functionality they offer is that you can send encrypted e-mails to others who are not using PGP. The receiver then gets a link to a website where he or she can read as well as answer the e-mail. ProtonMail has released parts of its source code as open source.

Pros: Unique encryption functionality and free.

Cons: Except for the above, it offers few functionalities, limited to their web app. (504 SEK / year)

StartMail was founded by the same people that were behind the search engines StartPage and Ixquick. StartMail was founded in 2014 and is located in the Netherlands. StartMail showed good promise before launching their service but hasn’t succeeded in getting the traction they expected.

Pros: Built-in and easy encryption.

Cons: Relatively expensive with few functionalities. (Free)

Tutanota, another German provider, was founded in 2011. Tutanota has released their source code as open source, which can be found at Github. If you pay a small fee, you can also use your own domain.

Pros: Free, simple, offers many domains so that you can get the username you want.

Cons: Few functionalities.

David Wibergh