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Email Services

Email is practically a necessity for using any online service, however we do not recommend it for person-to-person conversations. Rather than using email to contact other people, consider using an instant messaging medium that supports forward secrecy.

Recommended Instant Messengers

For everything else, we recommend a variety of email providers based on sustainable business models and built-in security and privacy features.

In addition to (or instead of) an email provider recommended here, you may wish to consider a dedicated email aliasing service to protect your privacy. Among other things, these services can help protect your real inbox from spam, prevent marketers from correlating your accounts, and encrypt all incoming messages with PGP.

OpenPGP Compatible Services

These providers natively support OpenPGP encryption/decryption and the Web Key Directory standard, allowing for provider-agnostic E2EE emails. For example, a Proton Mail user could send an E2EE message to a user, or you could receive OpenPGP-encrypted notifications from internet services which support it.


When using E2EE technology like OpenPGP your email will still have some metadata that is not encrypted in the header of the email, generally including the subject line! Read more about email metadata.

OpenPGP also does not support Forward secrecy, which means if either your or the recipient's private key is ever stolen, all previous messages encrypted with it will be exposed. How do I protect my private keys?

Proton Mail

Proton Mail logo

Proton Mail is an email service with a focus on privacy, encryption, security, and ease of use. They have been in operation since 2013. Proton AG is based in Genève, Switzerland. Accounts start with 500 MB storage with their free plan.



Free accounts have some limitations, such as not being able to search body text and not having access to Proton Mail Bridge, which is required to use a recommended desktop email client (e.g. Thunderbird). Paid accounts include features like Proton Mail Bridge, additional storage, and custom domain support. A letter of attestation was provided for Proton Mail's apps on 9th November 2021 by Securitum.

If you have the Proton Unlimited, Business, or Visionary Plan, you also get SimpleLogin Premium for free.

Proton Mail has internal crash reports that they do not share with third parties. This can be disabled in: Settings > Go to Settings > Account > Security and privacy > Send crash reports.

Custom Domains and Aliases

Paid Proton Mail subscribers can use their own domain with the service or a catch-all address. Proton Mail also supports sub-addressing, which is useful for people who don't want to purchase a domain.

Private Payment Methods

Proton Mail accepts cash by mail in addition to standard credit/debit card, Bitcoin, and PayPal payments.

Account Security

Proton Mail supports TOTP two factor authentication and hardware security keys using FIDO2 or U2F standards. The use of a hardware security key requires setting up TOTP two factor authentication first.

Data Security

Proton Mail has zero-access encryption at rest for your emails and calendars. Data secured with zero-access encryption is only accessible by you.

Certain information stored in Proton Contacts, such as display names and email addresses, are not secured with zero-access encryption. Contact fields that support zero-access encryption, such as phone numbers, are indicated with a padlock icon.

Email Encryption

Proton Mail has integrated OpenPGP encryption in their webmail. Emails to other Proton Mail accounts are encrypted automatically, and encryption to non-Proton Mail addresses with an OpenPGP key can be enabled easily in your account settings. Proton also supports automatic external key discovery with Web Key Directory (WKD). This means that emails sent to other providers which use WKD will be automatically encrypted with OpenPGP as well, without the need to manually exchange public PGP keys with your contacts. They also allow you to encrypt messages to non-Proton Mail addresses without OpenPGP, without the need for them to sign up for a Proton Mail account.

Proton Mail also publishes the public keys of Proton accounts via HTTP from their WKD. This allows people who don't use Proton Mail to find the OpenPGP keys of Proton Mail accounts easily, for cross-provider E2EE. This only applies to email addresses ending in one of Proton's own domains, like If you use a custom domain, you must configure WKD separately.

Account Termination

If you have a paid account and your bill is unpaid after 14 days, you won't be able to access your data. After 30 days, your account will become delinquent and won't receive incoming mail. You will continue to be billed during this period.

Additional Functionality

Proton Mail offers an "Unlimited" account for €9.99/Month, which also enables access to Proton VPN in addition to providing multiple accounts, domains, aliases, and 500GB of storage.

Proton Mail doesn't offer a digital legacy feature. logo is an email service with a focus on being secure, ad-free, and privately powered by 100% eco-friendly energy. They have been in operation since 2014. is based in Berlin, Germany. Accounts start with 2 GB of storage, which can be upgraded as needed.



Custom Domains and Aliases lets you use your own domain, and they support catch-all addresses. also supports sub-addressing, which is useful if you don't want to purchase a domain.

Private Payment Methods doesn't accept any cryptocurrencies as a result of their payment processor BitPay suspending operations in Germany. However, they do accept Cash by mail, cash payment to bank account, bank transfer, credit card, PayPal and couple of German-specific processors: paydirekt and Sofortüberweisung.

Account Security supports two factor authentication for their webmail only. You can use either TOTP or a YubiKey via the YubiCloud. Web standards such as WebAuthn are not yet supported.

Data Security allows for encryption of incoming mail using their encrypted mailbox. New messages that you receive will then be immediately encrypted with your public key.

However, Open-Exchange, the software platform used by, does not support the encryption of your address book and calendar. A standalone option may be more appropriate for that information.

Email Encryption has integrated encryption in their webmail, which simplifies sending messages to people with public OpenPGP keys. They also allow remote recipients to decrypt an email on's servers. This feature is useful when the remote recipient does not have OpenPGP and cannot decrypt a copy of the email in their own mailbox. also supports the discovery of public keys via HTTP from their Web Key Directory (WKD). This allows people outside of to find the OpenPGP keys of accounts easily, for cross-provider E2EE. This only applies to email addresses ending in one of's own domains, like If you use a custom domain, you must configure WKD separately.

Account Termination

Your account will be set to a restricted user account when your contract ends, after 30 days it will be irrevocably deleted.

Additional Functionality

You can access your account via IMAP/SMTP using their .onion service. However, their webmail interface cannot be accessed via their .onion service and you may experience TLS certificate errors.

All accounts come with limited cloud storage that can be encrypted. also offers the alias, which enforces the TLS encryption on the connection between mail servers, otherwise the message will not be sent at all. also supports Exchange ActiveSync in addition to standard access protocols like IMAP and POP3. has a digital legacy feature for all plans. You can choose whether you want any of your data to be passed to heirs providing that they apply and provide your testament. Alternatively, you can nominate a person by name and address.

More Providers

These providers store your emails with zero-knowledge encryption, making them great options for keeping your stored emails secure. However, they don't support interoperable encryption standards for E2EE communications between different providers.


Tuta logo

Tuta is an email service with a focus on security and privacy through the use of encryption. Tuta has been in operation since 2011 and is based in Hanover, Germany. Accounts start with 1GB storage with their free plan.



Tuta doesn't support the IMAP protocol or the use of third-party email clients, and you also won't be able to add external email accounts to the Tuta app. Email import is not currently supported either, though this is due to be changed. Emails can be exported individually or by bulk selection per folder, which may be inconvenient if you have many folders.

Custom Domains and Aliases

Paid Tuta accounts can use either 15 or 30 aliases depending on their plan and unlimited aliases on custom domains. Tuta doesn't allow for sub-addressing (plus addresses), but you can use a catch-all with a custom domain.

Private Payment Methods

Tuta only directly accepts credit cards and PayPal, however cryptocurrency can be used to purchase gift cards via their partnership with Proxystore.

Account Security

Tuta supports two factor authentication with either TOTP or U2F.

Data Security

Tuta has zero access encryption at rest for your emails, address book contacts, and calendars. This means the messages and other data stored in your account are only readable by you.

Email Encryption

Tuta does not use OpenPGP. Tuta accounts can only receive encrypted emails from non-Tuta email accounts when sent via a temporary Tuta mailbox.

Account Termination

Tuta will delete inactive free accounts after six months. You can reuse a deactivated free account if you pay.

Additional Functionality

Tuta offers the business version of Tuta to non-profit organizations for free or with a heavy discount.

Tuta also has a business feature called Secure Connect. This ensures customer contact to the business uses E2EE. The feature costs €240/y.

Tuta doesn't offer a digital legacy feature.

Self-Hosting Email

Advanced system administrators may consider setting up their own email server. Mail servers require attention and continuous maintenance in order to keep things secure and mail delivery reliable.

Combined software solutions

Mailcow logo

Mailcow is a more advanced mail server perfect for those with a bit more Linux experience. It has everything you need in a Docker container: A mail server with DKIM support, antivirus and spam monitoring, webmail and ActiveSync with SOGo, and web-based administration with 2FA support.


Mail-in-a-Box logo

Mail-in-a-Box is an automated setup script for deploying a mail server on Ubuntu. Its goal is to make it easier for people to set up their own mail server.


For a more manual approach we've picked out these two articles:


Please note we are not affiliated with any of the providers we recommend. In addition to our standard criteria, we have developed a clear set of requirements for any Email provider wishing to be recommended, including implementing industry best practices, modern technology and more. We suggest you familiarize yourself with this list before choosing an Email provider, and conduct your own research to ensure the Email provider you choose is the right choice for you.


We regard these features as important in order to provide a safe and optimal service. You should consider whether the provider which has the features you require.

Minimum to Qualify:

  • Encrypts email account data at rest with zero-access encryption.
  • Export capability as Mbox or individual .eml with RFC5322 standard.
  • Allow users to use their own domain name. Custom domain names are important to users because it allows them to maintain their agency from the service, should it turn bad or be acquired by another company which doesn't prioritize privacy.
  • Operates on owned infrastructure, i.e. not built upon third-party email service providers.

Best Case:

  • Encrypts all account data (Contacts, Calendars, etc.) at rest with zero-access encryption.
  • Integrated webmail E2EE/PGP encryption provided as a convenience.
  • Support for WKD to allow improved discovery of public OpenPGP keys via HTTP. GnuPG users can get a key by typing: gpg --locate-key
  • Support for a temporary mailbox for external users. This is useful when you want to send an encrypted email, without sending an actual copy to your recipient. These emails usually have a limited lifespan and then are automatically deleted. They also don't require the recipient to configure any cryptography like OpenPGP.
  • Availability of the email provider's services via an onion service.
  • Sub-addressing support.
  • Catch-all or alias functionality for those who own their own domains.
  • Use of standard email access protocols such as IMAP, SMTP or JMAP. Standard access protocols ensure customers can easily download all of their email, should they want to switch to another provider.


We prefer our recommended providers to collect as little data as possible.

Minimum to Qualify:

  • Protect sender's IP address. Filter it from showing in the Received header field.
  • Don't require personally identifiable information (PII) besides a username and a password.
  • Privacy policy that meets the requirements defined by the GDPR.

Best Case:


Email servers deal with a lot of very sensitive data. We expect that providers will adopt best industry practices in order to protect their members.

Minimum to Qualify:

  • Protection of webmail with 2FA, such as TOTP.
  • Zero access encryption, builds on encryption at rest. The provider does not have the decryption keys to the data they hold. This prevents a rogue employee leaking data they have access to or remote adversary from releasing data they have stolen by gaining unauthorized access to the server.
  • DNSSEC support.
  • No TLS errors or vulnerabilities when being profiled by tools such as Hardenize,, or Qualys SSL Labs; this includes certificate related errors and weak DH parameters, such as those that led to Logjam.
  • A server suite preference (optional on TLSv1.3) for strong cipher suites which support forward secrecy and authenticated encryption.
  • A valid MTA-STS and TLS-RPT policy.
  • Valid DANE records.
  • Valid SPF and DKIM records.
  • Have a proper DMARC record and policy or use ARC for authentication. If DMARC authentication is being used, the policy must be set to reject or quarantine.
  • A server suite preference of TLS 1.2 or later and a plan for RFC8996.
  • SMTPS submission, assuming SMTP is used.
  • Website security standards such as:
  • Must support viewing of Message headers, as it is a crucial forensic feature to determine if an email is a phishing attempt.

Best Case:


You wouldn't trust your finances to someone with a fake identity, so why trust them with your email? We require our recommended providers to be public about their ownership or leadership. We also would like to see frequent transparency reports, especially in regard to how government requests are handled.

Minimum to Qualify:

  • Public-facing leadership or ownership.

Best Case:

  • Public-facing leadership.
  • Frequent transparency reports.


With the email providers we recommend we like to see responsible marketing.

Minimum to Qualify:

  • Must self-host analytics (no Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics, etc.). The provider's site must also comply with DNT (Do Not Track) for those who wish to opt-out.

Must not have any marketing which is irresponsible:

  • Claims of "unbreakable encryption." Encryption should be used with the intention that it may not be secret in the future when the technology exists to crack it.
  • Making guarantees of protecting anonymity 100%. When someone makes a claim that something is 100% it means there is no certainty for failure. We know people can quite easily deanonymize themselves in a number of ways, e.g.:

    • Reusing personal information e.g. (email accounts, unique pseudonyms, etc.) that they accessed without anonymity software (Tor, VPN, etc.)
    • Browser fingerprinting

Best Case:

  • Clear and easy to read documentation. This includes things like, setting up 2FA, email clients, OpenPGP, etc.

Additional Functionality

While not strictly requirements, there are some other convenience or privacy factors we looked into when determining which providers to recommend.

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