The 17 Most Private and Secure Email Service Providers in 2022

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Summary: The 17 Best Secure Email Providers in 2022

The last few years have seen a spate of cybercriminal activity that targets users’ email accounts. This is hardly surprising when you think of all the sensitive personal and business-related information that’s stored in your inbox.

While popular services like Gmail have done a lot to increase the security of your mail, they still fall short of other dedicated secure email providers. These email providers are an excellent choice because they help protect your privacy and maintain your anonymity.

But don’t worry, we got you. Below you’ll find the 17 best secure email providers in 2022 and their features outlined in simple and plain language. The top secure and encrypted email services are:

  1. ProtonMail: The most popular secure email service provider
  2. Mailfence: End-to-end encryption and a familiar Outlook layout
  3. StartMail: The email provider by the creators of Startpage
  4. Tutanota: Perfect email platform for journalists and human rights activists
  5. Librem Mail: Private email service among other useful privacy apps
  6. Thexyz: Unique extras like a spam filter
  7. CounterMail: Swedish mail provider with fantastic security features
  8. Soverin: User-friendly Dutch email service provider
  9. Zoho Mail: The best mailing platform for businesses
  10. RMail: Mail tracking options and strong encryption
  11. Hushmail: A simple yet strong option for individuals and businesses
  12. Kolab Now: Full suite of open-source productivity apps
  13. Posteo: A green, ad-free email service provider
  14. Mailbox.org: Browser-based email service with extra productivity tools
  15. ServerMX: Reliable encrypted mail hosting with multiple custom domains
  16. Private-mail: Excellent mail and file synchronization options
  17. Runbox: Good and sustainable email service from Norway

In addition to using any of the secure email services listed above, you should always use a VPN when dealing with sensitive or personal information online. A VPN helps encrypts your activity and keeps your personal data away from prying eyes.

NordVPN is a great VPN provider due to its strong no-logs policy, terrific speeds, and vast network of servers. You can try it out using its 30-day money-back guarantee.

To learn more about how you can secure your mail, read the rest of the article below!

Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Outlook are the most popular and widely used email service providers in the world today. Most users are happy with the way these services function and have no reason to switch to another. But the privacy and security of our emails are a growing concern for most people around the world.

After testing more than 25 secure email providers, we have compiled our list of the top 17 that you can use, including the pros and cons, usability, pricing, and our thoughts.


The 17 Most Secure Email Providers in 2022

We relied on a range of factors, such as encryption standards, user interface, price, and location to determine which email services are the most secure. Here’s our list of the top 17.

1. ProtonMail

Screenshot of ProtonMail website homepage with added logo in the corner

ProsCons
AES, RSA, and OpenPGP end-to-end encryptionAliases are available only with paid plans
Free option availableExpensive when compared to competitors
Great user interface
Apps for mobile devices

ProtonMail is the world’s largest secure email service provider, with over a million active users. Developed by a team of scientists and standards at CERN in Switzerland, Proton has emerged as a leader in encrypted email services.

Encryption and privacy

It uses the latest forms of open-source end-to-end encryption, like AES, RSA, and OpenPGP, to secure your mail from prying eyes. This means that only you and the recipient of your mail can view its content. The service doesn’t track user IP addresses as well.

Proton is based in Switzerland, a jurisdiction known for its strict privacy laws. Though do keep in mind, that ProtonMail will collect and share user data if required by a legally binding order from Swiss authorities.

It also offers additional features to protect your privacy, such as an anonymous mail service using the Tor network and self-destructing emails.

Usability

Proton offers one of the more refined user experiences among the secure email service providers on this list. It also offers great apps for iOS and Android, making it easier to secure your email even on mobile platforms. Proton also offers apps that extend the security of your inbox to calendar and cloud storage.

Price and features

Proton doesn’t just offer an email service, but also has other privacy-focused products, like a VPN and cloud storage. These services are all bundled together in one of three packages.

The basic version of Proton is completely free. You get 500 MB of storage and can send up to 150 messages per day. Alongside that, you get the free, limited version of ProtonVPN, ProtonCalendar, and ProtonDrive.

If a basic account doesn’t meet your requirements, you can consider their Unlimited or Mail Plus packages, which offer a range of features at different price points.

For instance, the Mail Plus plan, which starts at $3.49 per month, offers 15GB of encrypted cloud storage, 10 email aliases, and priority customer support. You can also send encrypted emails to users who don’t have an account with ProtonMail Plus.

Get ProtonMail

2. Mailfence

Mailfence homepage with logo

ProsCons
OpenPGP encryptionNot fully open-source
Send encrypted messages to accounts without PGP encryptionNo mobile apps
Starts at a relatively affordable price14 Eyes nation
Compliant with GDPR

Mailfence is a secure email service that has been around for a while. It was established in 1999 and uses the tagline “privacy is a right, not a feature.” This highlights the seriousness with which the email service provider takes the privacy and security of its users.

Encryption and privacy

Mailfence uses OpenPGP end-to-end encryption to protect your emails when they are in transit from you to the recipient. It also provides symmetric password encryption, in which the sender and recipient can agree on a password to decrypt emails.

Symmetric encryption explained

Mailfence is based in Belgium and is subject to the nation’s privacy laws as well as the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Belgium is a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance, which potentially makes user data vulnerable to being shared with other nations, such as the US and the UK.

Usability

Mailfence doesn’t currently offer any apps for desktop or mobile devices. It can still be accessed using the browser installed on your smartphone. The website layout is a lot like Outlook and that should help new users get used to Mailfence quicker.

Like ProtonMail, Mailfence offers an integrated suite of tools comprising contacts, calendars, and documents.

Price and features

You can start using Mailfence’s secure email services for free. Its free plan enables you to encrypt your mail, store up to 500MB of emails and documents, and also includes two-factor authentication.

If you’d prefer larger storage, better customer support, support for POP, IMAP, and other exchange, you can check out the Entry plan, which starts at  $2.93 (2.50 euros) per month.

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3. StartMail

Screenshot of StartMail website homepage

ProsCons
PGP encryption9 Eyes nation
Can send encrypted messages to people without encryptionCapped at 10 GB of storage
Affordable when discountedNo free plan
GDPR-compliant

StartMail is a secure and private email service that employs advanced encryption and decent usability.

It was made by the same people that run Startpage, a secure search engine known for privacy and security. So is StartMail the email software you’ve been looking for? Let’s find out.

Encryption and privacy

StartMail supports PGP encryption, which is a big plus in our book. It also lets you set up passwords for recipients that don’t use encrypted email services, or that don’t have the right PGP key.

On top of all of that, StartMail also uses secure TLS connections to manage your emails, and they’re self-hosted on Dutch servers. That is a double-edged sword though.

On the one hand, it complies with GDPR regulations. On the other hand, The Netherlands is part of the 9 Eyes Alliance, so there’s no telling how safe your data actually is. Other StartMail safety features include:

  • No ads and tracking
  • Blocks tracking pixels
  • Accepts Bitcoin payments
  • Malicious link protection

Usability

StartMail is a very user-friendly web app. The main interface is easy to navigate and pretty intuitive.

You can customize your inbox layout, filter incoming emails, use your own custom domain, and even migrate emails and contacts from another service (although the latter feature is still in beta).

And the best part? StartMail is available on most modern devices, including PCs, Macs, iOS, and Android phones.

Price and features

StartMail has no free version, although you can try their Personal plan for free with a seven-days trial.

When it’s time to pay though, you’ll have to whip out $5 per month for the Personal plan, and $5.85 per month for the Custom domain plan. The only reason you’d upgrade to the pricier plan is if you need the custom domain. Other than that, the features are virtually the same.

The only gripe I have with StartMail’s pricing is that you can’t pay extra for more storage. Everyone is capped at 10GB of storage. But they’re running a 50% discount at the moment, so you might want to check it out.

Get StartMail

4. Tutanota

Tutanota screenshot with logo

ProsCons
AES128 and RSA 2048 end-to-end encrypted emailsBased in Germany; a member of 14 Eyes
Symmetric and asymmetric encryptionLimited search functionality in the free plan
Well-designed apps for most popular OSsImporting existing email is an issue
Great free plan

Tutanota started offering secure email services in 2011 and has grown to become the most secure email service provider today. It is widely used by journalists and human rights activists to encrypt their communications, a testament to its security and privacy.

Encryption and privacy

Tutanota encrypts not only your mail but your entire inbox! The only unencrypted information is the email addresses of users and senders.

It offers both symmetric and asymmetric end-to-end encryption for all your email, including those sent to external recipients. Asymmetric encryption occurs when the sender and recipient use their own private keys to encrypt and decrypt the contents of the mail.

As it is based in Germany, Tutanota has to comply with privacy by design requirements of the GDPR and the German Federal Data Protection Act. However, like Belgium, Germany is also a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance.

Additionally, Tutanota claims to be an anonymous email service that does not track or log user data, so you can easily send anonymous emails.

Usability

Tutanota is a secure email provider that offers a great suite of apps across different operating systems, including macOS, Linux, Android, and Windows. The suite also includes an encrypted calendar, which helps you keep track of your engagements in a safe and secure manner.

The search functionality on Tutanota is also relatively better than other secure email services.

Price and features

Tutanota has a great free plan that comes with 1 GB of cloud storage and access to an encrypted calendar. However, search is limited on the free plan and you can only use Tutanota domains. The premium offering, which starts at $1.17 (1 euro) per month, will give you unlimited search, multiple calendars, and five aliases.

Overall, Tutanota’s free plan is one of the best options offered by any secure email provider.

Get Tutanota

5. Librem Mail

Librem mail screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Open-source PGP end-to-end encryptionNo free plan
Full suite of privacy appsCan be a little buggy
Available as an app for mobile devices5 Eyes Alliance country

We don’t look at your junk” is how Librem describes its commitment to securing your email anonymity and privacy, especially with its Librem Mail offering. Run by Purism, Librem Mail is one of the most well-known secure email services in the world.

Encryption and privacy

Librem uses the best end-to-end encryption standard for your email, i.e. OpenPGP. It is also entirely open-source, which means you can see exactly how its code works and which user data is being retained.

A slight concern with Librem is that it is based in the US. This means that it may have to share user data when presented with a legal order from agencies like the NSA.

Additionally, America is at the forefront of the 5 Eyes, 9 Eyes, and 14 Eyes alliances, which means that agencies in other nations can also get access to your data.

Usability

As mentioned above, Librem is actually a full suite of privacy-friendly applications. It has different apps for chat, social, and mail as well as its own VPN service, and they’re all available for both Android and iOS platforms.

You can even connect to Librem’s secure email service using free compatible apps on other devices. Though do keep in mind that Librem can sometimes be buggy and is also known to crash.

Price and features

Unlike the other secure email services listed so far, Librem Mail does not have a free version. It comes bundled with the chat, social, and VPN apps for $7.99 per month.

We were unable to find details regarding encrypted cloud storage and aliases provided by Librem Mail during our research.

Get Librem Mail

6. Thexyz

Thexyz screenshot with logo

ProsCons
AES zero access encryption for email at restUI is very basic
Unique privacy features, such as spam filterNo free tier
Unlimited aliases and 25GB storage for $2.90/month5 Eyes nation

While not the most popular name on the list, Thexyz is a secure email provider that is certainly worth considering. It has a few unique features that differentiate it from the other secure email service providers on this list.

Encryption and privacy

Thexyz secures all emails using the highest level of TLS encryption with DNSSEC, SPF, and DKIM. It also allows for the use of two-factor authentication through YubiKey.

Even though Thexyz is based in Canada, it has voluntarily complied with GDPR and incorporates key privacy elements into its design. It also has a unique spam protection filter that will reduce the number of pesky emails you receive in your inbox.

Usability

Thexyz’s user interface is quite basic when compared to other secure email providers on this list. While it does offer apps for Android and iOS, these are fairly minimalist as well.

Thexyz also has a tool that allows you to easily migrate emails from Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, and Outlook.  This makes it a breeze to switch to a private email service provider.

Price and features

Like Librem Mail, Thexyz does not have a free tier. However, its Premium Webmail plan offers 25GB of encrypted cloud storage, unlimited aliases, and your own domain email. All of this comes at a very reasonable price of $2.95 per month.

The features that Thexyz offers at this low price point make it one of the best overall secure email providers in the world today.

Get TheXYZ

7. CounterMail

Countermail screenshot with logo

ProsCons
OpenPGP end-to-end encryptionNo free plan
Great security features like diskless servers and USB keys14 Eyes nation
Simple user interfaceAdditional cloud storage is expensive

CounterMail is a Sweden-based secure email service. It has some impressive security features, which make it a great option for users looking to secure their email communications.

Encryption and privacy

CounterMail uses OpenPGP end-to-end encryption with 4096 encryption bits to secure your emails. Their web servers are diskless, which means user data is hardly stored in permanent form. It is also one of the few secure email services that protect against man-in-the-middle attacks.

Additionally, CounterMail has a strict no-IP-logging policy. It also stores personal data and information only in encrypted form. You can even use a USB key to encrypt emails, adding another layer of security.

Usability

CounterMail has a pretty simple and easy-to-use website. It doesn’t have the bells and whistles of other secure email providers like ProtonMail, but it gets the job done. There are also no native apps for Android or iOS. You can, however, get it up and running on Android using the K9 app and IMAP.

Price and features

CounterMail has interesting pricing options. All its premium plans come with 4GB of storage for your mail. You can buy more storage if required, with an additional GB of storage priced at $59. The premium plans start at $3.29 per month if you take a two-year subscription.

Users can also pay an additional $15 to use their own domains with CounterMail. The website also indicates that features like end-to-end encrypted chat and time-delayed sending will be introduced soon.

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8. Soverin

Soverin screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Visually pleasing websiteBased in the Netherlands, a member of 14 eyes
Unlimited encrypted emails and virtual addressesNo free tier
Easy sync with IMAP/POPCloud storage capacity cannot be increased

A secure email service provider based in the Netherlands, Soverin is one of the better all-around options for sending encrypted emails. Let’s find out how it fares on our selected parameters.

Encryption and privacy

Soverin’s website states that it uses A+ grade SSL/TSL connections to secure your emails in transit. It also removes personal information, such as your IP address, from the headers of your email. The secure email service does not read the content of your email, except for automated spam prevention.

The Netherlands, where Soverin is based, is a member of the 9 Eyes Alliance. However, the nation is a signatory to the GDPR, and the privacy of individuals is generally respected in the nation.

Usability

Soverin has one of the most visually pleasing websites among the secure email providers on this list. The site is also easy to navigate and important information is readily available.

Unfortunately, there are no mobile apps for Soverin at the moment. Though you can integrate your Soverin inbox with the native Mail app on iOS and third-party email clients on Android.

Price and features

Soverin has just one pricing plan, which costs $3.77 (€3.25) per month. As part of this plan, you get unlimited messages and 25GB of cloud storage. Users are also able to generate unlimited virtual email addresses and a private email with this plan.

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9. Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Great secure email provider for businesses and individualsLimited free tier
Apps available for Android and iOSPrimarily for businesses
Data centers distributed across different countries
The extremely affordable basic plan

Zoho Mail is a secure email service provider that caters primarily to businesses. However, the security and privacy features that it offers for individual mail are top-notch and fetch it a place on our list.

Encryption and privacy

Zoho stores all your encrypted messages in data centers that are located in undisclosed locations spread across the US, Europe, China, and India. It uses SSL for transport-level encryption between the device and the server. Zoho also offers some nifty security features, such as spam filtering and malware detection.

Zoho Mail also supports two-factor authentication through the Zoho OneAuth application, Touch ID, OTP, and QR, which makes it one of the most secure email services.

Usability

Zoho is known for its suite of open-source office apps. So, it’s not a surprise that Zoho Mail boasts a well-designed user interface across different devices. It has apps for both Android and iOS, which ensure that your email is secure on all your devices.

Pricing and features

Zoho Mail has a limited free plan that might be interesting for individual users, and its paid options are very affordable as well. The Mail Lite plan costs $1 a month per user, and gives you 5GB of cloud storage, hosting for multiple domains, attachments up to 250MB, and email routing.

If you’d like to try out the premium plans, you can use their 15-day free trial, which doesn’t require any credit card information. In addition to mail, features such as Calendar, Contacts, Files, and Reminders are all available on the same app.

The Workplace plan ($3 per month per user) is a great option for businesses and includes an online file manager, spreadsheets, and instant chat communication.

Get Zoho

10. RMail

Screenshot of Rmail website homepage with added logo in the corner

ProsCons
Complete mail tracking and auditing solutions for businessesPhone-based customer support is limited to the most expensive plans
AI-based mail protectionLimit of 5 emails on the free tier
Strong encryption standardsBased in the US
Support for sharing large files

RMail is the secure email solution from RPost, a recognized name in online security. RMail’s features are particularly suited to businesses that require mail tracking and auditing solutions.

Encryption and privacy

RMail uses AES-256-bit encryption to secure messages. It also provides auto-TLS functionality to secure messages in transit. Additional security and privacy features include proof of delivery of mails, open email tracking as well as message authentication.

These are particularly useful for businesses that often conduct business over email and require logs and audits of mail delivery. These trails are also helpful in showing compliance under the HIPAA and GDPR.

RMail also features a host of security-oriented features, such as RMail Gateway, which simplifies outbound mail encryption and proof of email compliance.

Usability

Rmail integrates neatly with your mail app of choice, be it Outlook or Gmail. It also offers standalone apps that make it easier to send encrypted and secure emails. The apps feature a clean interface, simplifying the process of sending encrypted emails.

Pricing and features

RMail’s e-sign functionality provides added benefits for businesses. Sharing files of up to 1GB in size is possible on RMail’s paid plans. Files up to 200MB in size can be shared on the free plan.

RMail’s Personal ($7 per user per month) lets you send 25 emails a month, and Standard ($15 per user per month) lets you send up to 200 emails. However, they don’t feature live customer support, content filtering, or archiving, like the most expensive plans.

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11. Hushmail

Hushmail screenshot with logo

ProsCons
60-day money-back guaranteeStorage on the personal plan is limited
App for iOSLocated in a 5 eyes nation
Unique plans for healthcare and legal professionalsPricing plans are on the higher side
Secure web forms and digital signatures

Hushmail is a secure email provider with a strong focus on providing simple, easy-to-use encrypted email for individuals and businesses. Active since 1999, Hushmail now operates out of Vancouver, Canada.

Encryption and privacy

Hushmail prides itself on its seamless and integrated end-to-end encryption. Mails that you send to Hushmail users are automatically encrypted. For emails to other recipients, you can simply toggle a button to encrypt your mail.

Canada is a member of the 5 Eyes Alliance, which can be cause for concern for a private email service like Hushmail. But this shouldn’t be an issue for most users, especially if you use a VPN to change your IP address and encrypt your online activity.

Usability

Hushmail’s web app is easy to use, even for users who aren’t familiar with encryption keys. It has recently launched an app for iOS and you can use it on Android with your preferred client via IMAP/POP.

Pricing and features

The pricing plans on Hushmail are categorized according to different requirements for businesses and individuals, meaning they have plans for healthcare, small business, law, and personal.

The personal plan starts at $9.99 per month and features 10GB of cloud storage. It also gives users the tools to design and use secure web forms and digital signatures.

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12. Kolab Now

Kolab Now screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Excellent suite of integrated appsEnd-to-end encryption not enabled by default
Based in SwitzerlandNo mobile apps
Completely open-sourceLimited storage options

Kolab Now is a full-featured suite of productivity applications, which includes a secure online email service. It does well on several of our parameters, making it one of the most secure email providers in 2022.

Encryption and privacy

Kolab Now is a fully open-source secure email provider, which adds an element of trust to its operations. It has configured perfect forward secrecy, which ensures that your encryption keys are frequently changed to limit damage in case the system is compromised.

The private email service supports PGP encryption, though this is not enabled by default. In terms of privacy, Kolab Now is based in Switzerland, which is a nation known for its stringent privacy laws.

Usability

Kolab Now’s private email service is available as a web client. This means that there are currently no apps for either Android or iOS. That said, you can use IMAP, SMTP, or ActiveSync to get your account up and running on any of your devices.

Pricing and features

Kolab Now is a paid service and has no free tier. It has two different plans, “just email” and “full kolab.” The former starts at around $5 per month and will get you 5GB of storage, as well as access to Kolab Now’s suite of apps, which includes Calendar, Files, Tasks, and Notes.

The ability to share emails and email folders is a great addition for teams and families that regularly share email content. You can try these features before purchasing a subscription by using Kolab Now’s free trial.

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13. Posteo

Posteo screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Strong encryption and privacy focusGermany is a 14 Eyes member
Completely anonymous paymentsNo support for custom domains
Powered by sustainable energy

Posteo is a Berlin-based secure email provider that has been around since 2009. The service prides itself on being green, secure, and ad-free.

Encryption and privacy

Posteo provides comprehensive encrypted mail services, ranging from access encryption, hard disk encryption, and transport-level encryption.

Of course, S/MIME and PGP encryption for incoming and outbound emails are not in-built and users will have to configure themselves.

As we’ve stated earlier, Germany is a member of the 14 Eyes Alliance, which means your data may be shared with other member nations. However, Germany has a track record of respecting the right to privacy, which is why some of the best secure email providers operate out of this jurisdiction.

Usability

Posteo’s website has a clean interface with lots of information. Users can easily learn about its services and offerings in just a few clicks. You can categorize emails into folders for easy sorting and organization.

Posteo is available only as a web client. To use it on your mobile devices, you can either run the web client in a browser or configure your third-party email client with Posteo using IMAP or POP3.

Price and features

Posteo functions exclusively as a paid service, and there is no free option. There is a single Posteo subscription plan that starts at $1.17 (1 euro) per month and comes with 2 GB of storage, attachments of up to 50 MB, and unlimited filtered addresses.

A downside of Posteo is that it does not support custom domains. But it remains one of the best secure email providers nonetheless.

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14. Mailbox.org

Mailbox-org screenshot with logo

ProsCons
30-day free trialBasic plan is rather limited in features
Easy-to-use PGP encryption14 Eyes nation
Full suite of office appsNo apps for mobile devices
Anonymized mail headers

Another secure email provider based out of Germany, Mailbox.org has been around for a while and is one of the more established names in the business.

Encryption and privacy

Mailbox prides itself on providing security in a convenient manner. It offers easy-to-use PGP encryption for your emails through its inbuilt interface or plug-ins like Mailvelope.

Additionally, all of Mailbox.org’s services require mandatory SSL/TLS encryption. It also employs algorithms that use perfect-forward secrecy to prevent future decryption of recorded data traffic.

Finally, your IP address and other personal information are completely removed from email headers.

Usability

We had no issues in using the Mailbox.org website, which is currently the only way to access this email provider. While it doesn’t have apps for mobile devices, it does feature some great in-built productivity tools, like an address book, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

Due to these services, Mailbox.org is one of the few real substitutes for Google and its suite of apps.

Pricing and features

Mailbox.org does not have a free version. Its paid plans start at $1.17 a month, in which you get 2 GB of email storage, three aliases, and limited support.

With the Standard plan, you can increase the email storage to 10 GB and also get access to custom domains, secure video conferencing, and the online office suite. Be sure to use Mailbox.org’s 30-day free trial to check out its features before purchasing a subscription.

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15. ServerMX

Screenshot of ServerMX website homepage with added logo in the corner

ProsCons
Reliable PGP encryptionNo free version
Multiple custom domainsNo dedicated apps
Based in NorwayAttachments can be a maximum of 50MB
Anonymized mail headers

ServerMX is known for its secure and encrypted mail hosting service. It earns a spot on our list due to its focus on privacy and security. It’s a reliable service that helps keep your emails and communication safe.

Encryption and privacy

ServerMX utilizes PGP encryption to secure emails at rest. It also provides a dedicated SMTP server to securely send mail. Antivirus protection, as well as two-factor authentication, are other notable features.

From a privacy perspective, ServerMX is based in a GDPR nation. This means it complies with some of the highest privacy standards in the world. They also use IP address stripping to protect user identity.

Usability

There is no dedicated ServerMX app. Instead, you can integrate this provider with your existing email client. This is a useful feature for those who prefer using Thunderbird or Outlook.

That said, the absence of a dedicated app with calendar and contact integration is a slight miss. Of course, ServerMX supports CardDAV and CalDAV protocols, which let you import your events and contacts to other clients.

Pricing and features

ServerMX does not offer a free plan. Its paid plans range from €1 per mailbox per month to €4 per mailbox per month. The primary difference in the plans is the storage provided with each mailbox. This ranges from 2GB in the basic plan to 50GB in the most expensive one.

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16. Private-Mail

Private-Mail screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Great cross-device syncingBased in the US
Apps for iOS, Android, and WindowsPlans are expensive
Seamless PGP encryption

Private-Mail is a feature-rich encrypted email service based in the US. It lands a spot on our list due to its ability to seamlessly sync your mail and files across devices.

Encryption and privacy

Private-Mail uses the latest and most secure open-source encryption standards, like AES and OpenPGP, to secure your mail at each stage of the delivery process. This means that no one, including the email provider, can view the content of your emails as only you hold the private keys.

Private-Mail is based in the United States, which we know is a leading member of data-sharing alliances like 5 Eyes. This does raise concerns regarding the security and privacy of encrypted emails sent using this email service.

Usability

Private-Mail scores very highly on our usability parameter. It has well-designed and feature-rich apps for Android, iOS, and Windows. Moreover, it allows you to seamlessly sync files, calendars, and contacts across devices using Private-Mail Files and its Secure-share feature.

Usability is further boosted by its Keyring Management functionality, which helps you store, organize and change your private keys.

Pricing and features

There is no free version of Private-Mail. Even the standard plan, which starts at $8.95 per month, is expensive compared to other email providers on this list.

However, the high price is justified when you consider everything that the standard plan includes. You get five aliases/disposable email addresses, 10 GB of encrypted mail and cloud storage, and priority support.

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17. Runbox

Runbox screenshot with logo

ProsCons
Free trial: 60-day money-back guaranteeFiles storage on basic plan is limited
Create up to 100 aliasesNo encryption at rest
Powered by sustainable energyNot open-source
Norway is a privacy-friendly jurisdiction

Runbox is a security-focused email provider based in Norway. It’s been around for more than two decades and has built a reputation as one of the best secure email providers. You can also use it to get a Norwegian IP address if you want.

Encryption and privacy

Runbox protects your mail when it’s being transferred between you and their servers, as well as between their servers and other email services. The email provider uses a combination of SSL, PGP, perfect forward secrecy, and two-factor authentication to make this happen.

Norway is a very privacy-friendly jurisdiction. This provides a high level of certainty that the contents of your email will be read only by you and the recipient.

It’s important to note that Runbox does not encrypt emails stored on its server. However, we don’t believe this is a major concern, due to Norway’s robust privacy framework.

Usability

Runbox’s website is visually appealing and gives users relevant information about their products and services. They have also recently launched a webmail client, Runbox 7.

While there are no apps or clients for Runbox, you can easily use it on your desktop or mobile devices with SMTP, POP, or IMAP.

Pricing and features

Runbox is a paid email service, with its most basic plan starting at $19.95 for a year. For this price, you get 2 GB of email storage space, 200 MB of file storage, and the ability to host one account on your custom domain. The basic plan also allows users to create 100 aliases — a pretty unique offering.

Get Runbox

At the end of the day, popular email services like Gmail and Yahoo! Mail provide unmatched convenience and usability. With Gmail, you even get access to a full suite of productivity apps like Docs and Sheets.

While some of the secure providers listed above are catching up in terms of functionality, most of us would still prefer using a popular service like Outlook.

We’ve identified a few measures you can take to make your email account more secure and private, even without switching to a secure email service provider.

  1. Use a password manager to set secure passwords. Be sure to change your passwords often. Also, don’t use the same password for different email services.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication. In simple terms, this means combining something you know (your password or PIN) with something you have (an authenticator app) to add an extra layer of security.
  3. Check which third-party apps and devices have access to your email account on a regular basis. Revoke access for the apps and devices you no longer use. This reduces the potential vulnerability of your account.
  4. Occasionally check your filters and forwarding addresses to ensure that your private emails aren’t being forwarded to any addresses not authorized by you.
  5. Use a VPN to encrypt your internet activity when accessing the mail service of your choice. We recommend NordVPN as it’s fast, has a vast network of servers, and does not log users’ IP addresses.
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These steps should help you continue to use your favorite email service provider without being overly concerned about the security and privacy of your inbox.


Why Do You Need a Secure Mail Service?

There’s a whole lot of private and confidential information stored in your inbox. On a personal level, this includes emails from friends and family, travel booking confirmations, shopping receipts, and other subscription-related information.

From a professional standpoint, your inbox can contain highly secret and confidential communications and proposals. All this information is a treasure trove for hackers and scammers looking to make a quick buck.

We’ve all received at least one suspicious-looking mail that’s actually a phishing attack or contains malware-infected links. As our lives become more digital, the frequency of such attacks and scams will only increase. That’s why it’s vital to protect your email by choosing a secure service.

Moreover, traditional and popular mail service providers, like Gmail and Yahoo, can use your information to target you with advertisements and improve their other services, like Search. This means they have access to all sorts of information about you — information you might not want to share with them.

Finally, the emails you send using these service providers are not always protected by end-to-end encryption. This means that your ISP, email service provider, and government agencies may be able to read the contents of your mail.

If any of these concerns resonate with you, you should consider switching to one of the secure email service providers listed above.


How to Choose the Best Secure Email Service Provider

It can be difficult for users to understand and differentiate between the services offered by secure email providers. To simplify this process, we’ve identified the important features that you should look out for in a secure email provider:

Encryption standards

Check whether the provider offers end-to-end encryption. Specifically, you should take note of the standard of encryption, with OpenPGP being the gold standard.

Location

The country in which your provider is based is important because domestic privacy laws determine how easily government agencies can access confidential mail in your inbox. Additionally, nations have entered into alliances, such as 5 Eyes, to share data between them.

Usability

The user interface and cross-device functionality offered are important as they determine how easily and seamlessly you can secure your mail across devices.

Price and features

Before deciding which secure email provider to use, you should assess the plans they offer and the different features provided in each plan. Be sure to check if the providers offer a free plan or a money-back guarantee, so you can try it out before committing.


Final Thoughts

With the increasing digitization of our lives, it’s important to ensure that your personal information and data on the web are secure. Your inbox contains sensitive information relating to commercial and personal aspects of your life, which can reveal a lot about you.

To ensure that these are afforded the highest level of security, you can switch to one of the secure email providers listed above. If you wish to continue using your preferred email service, consider taking the steps listed in the previous section to make it more secure.

Check out the articles listed below to learn more about keeping yourself secure on the internet:

The 17 Best Secure Private and Secure Email Providers: Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the FAQ below for some short and simple answers to the most pressing questions about secure email providers.

ProtonMail is one of the best and most popular secure email providers, due to its strong focus on end-to-end encryption, ease of use, and wide range of features.

Gmail is fairly secure, but doesn’t offer end-to-end encryption. This means that the contents of your mail can be read by prying eyes online. Your activity while using Gmail can also be tracked.

If you’re concerned about your online privacy and security, the best option might be to move away from Google and its services. We’ve listed some great alternatives to Gmail and other Google services.

PGP encryption is used for sending encrypted emails and encrypting sensitive files. PGP is the standard for email security because it uses a combination of symmetric key encryption along with public-key encryption. Most secure email providers use PGP encryption to keep your identity and personal information hidden and secure when sending and receiving emails.

You can take several steps to ensure the security and privacy of your email:

  1. Use a strong password and change it often.
  2. Enable two-factor authentication for added security.
  3. Regularly check which third parties have access to your account.
  4. Use a VPN to encrypt your online traffic and keep it safe from prying eyes.

If you’re on the hunt for a good and secure email provider, there are a few features you should look for:

  • Encryption standards: get a service that offers end-to-end encryption with OpenPGP.
  • Location: find a provider that’s based in a country with good privacy laws and no connection to alliances such as “5 Eyes.”
  • Usability: a good user interface will make for a good experience.
  • Price and features: free providers are great, but only if they offer good quality and sufficient features.
Tech journalist
Mohit is a legal and public policy researcher whose work focuses largely on technology regulation. At VPNOverview, he writes about cybersecurity, cryptocurrencies and sports events.
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  1. CTemplar shut down on May 26, 2022. There is an announcement about it on their website.

    • Thank you for bringing this to our attention! We’ve updated the article accordingly.

  2. Hi Mohit,

    Given my interest in Countermail, I would like to ask you if you can help me with an invitation code, as you know a free registration to Countermail is not possible on this time without a invitation code

    • We cannot provide an invitation code. However, Countermail opens up registration from time to time if you do not know someone with the service currently. We recommend checking back with Countermail often.

  3. Protonmail “The service doesn’t track user IP addresses as well.”

    Unless asked by the Swiss government to do so.

    • Unfortunately, that is true. As mentioned in the article, “ProtonMail will collect and share user data if required by a legally binding order from Swiss authorities.” If you want to be extra safe, it’s best to use a VPN in combination with ProtonMail. You can try out Proton’s own service, ProtonVPN, or give a top contender like NordVPN or ExpressVPN a shot. This way, your IP address will remain hidden.

  4. zoho has a very good free email

    • It does! Thank you for letting us know. We added both the free version as well as their 15-day free trial to our article.

  5. I think servermx.com (based europe email hosting provider) is missing in your list. I have a bunch of domain names with servermx.com without any issues.

    • Thank you for sharing this with us! We looked into it and agree with you – so we added it in the 15th spot.

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