Privacy has become a hot topic as the internet increasingly ingrains into our lives, and email is one of the standout intersections. ProtonMail, since its 2014 launch, has been a leading secure email service thanks to its end-to-end encryption.
It is also cheap, and along with its consistency, the email service has attracted over 50 million users as of 2020. But many people want more out of their email service than the promise of data privacy.
A popular gripe is that you only get Calendar and Cloud storage features when you sign up for ProtonMail. For other productivity features like office tools and project management software, you need to find another client.
Users have also complained about its exhaustive integration process with other email clients and the fact you have to pay to import or export several emails at once. All of this is to say, as great as it is, there are several reasons to look for a ProtonMail alternative.
Out of several options, I have distilled from the many, the best 15. In this article, I will go over how each compares to ProtonMail as a secure email service and the other qualities that make them a considerable alternative.
Whatever is your reason for looking for one, you will have a few candidates in mind at the end of this post.
Ready? Let’s get started.
Tutanota tends to come up every time ProtonMail is the subject, even in the latter’s subreddit. That is a good sign when it comes to relevance. When you drill further down into its qualities, the only conclusion is that Tutanota is one of the best, if not the best, ProtonMail alternatives out there.
A privacy-oriented email service, it offers end-to-end encryption for emails sent from one user to another. This even extends to the subject lines, which is a lot more than ProtonMail offers, as well as its calendar and contacts services.
There is also no advertisement. So you can be sure no server is scanning your emails to show you targeted ads. The Germany-based webmail also claims that its data encryption is so secure, even its admins can’t decrypt your data.
This commitment to privacy even extends to the onboarding process. Prospective users don’t have to provide a phone number or personal information to register for an account. Tutanota is also open source, has two-factor authentication, and an app for iOS, Android, and desktop users.
Additionally, the email service offers a calendar and contacts service, both of which are also encrypted.
It is also cheap. There is a free base account, and its premium and teams categories cost €1 and €4 per month, respectively, as at the time of writing. You can visit here for current pricing.
Mailfence has been around since 2013; the same year ProtonMail came alive, so they have the same claim to experience.
Like the Switzerland-based email service, Mailfence has end-to-end encryption, but it also offers digital signatures along with it. This provides a means for recipients to prove the authenticity of emails from you.
The email service supports Exchange ActiveSync, along with vanity domains. Users also get catch-all address support and manage different identities with aliases and filters. Mailfence’s commitment to secure email messaging also extends to support for plain and rich text emails.
Mailfence is also entirely browser-based. It functions excellently without any need for extensions or plugins. It comes embedded with POP3, IMAP, WebDAV, and CalDAV clients. You can add email accounts from other services and manage them from one place.
Besides using an encrypted email service, you also get organized mails in folders and categories and the ability to write notes on messages.
Another thing is, you don’t just get email service when you register. You also get access to its Contacts, Calendar, and Documents service, features that are only still in beta for ProtonMail.
Disroot is a great alternative to consider if you want to switch to an ecosystem built on privacy and security – and not just a secure email service. ProtonMail’s list of additional services includes ProtonVPN, ProtonCalendar, and ProtonDrive. Disroot, however, has more.
It has a Cloud service, Temp File Hosting and Sharing, Search Engine Platform, Video Conferencing, Code Hosting, Voice Chat, and Office tools.
They are all built with total commitment to privacy, security, and decentralization. The services are also run by community members using donations from users.
The Disroot email service has end-to-end SSL encryption, and emails sent from its accounts to compatible recipient servers also carry TLS encryption. This ensures your content is secure during transfer.
What’s more, all of its services, including email, are accessible from its Android app. The email service is accessible via different email clients on other platforms, including Evolution, KMail, Thunderbird. It works with the iOS Mail App too.
Lastly, Disroot email is free to use for up to 1 GB of storage, compared to ProtonMail’s 500MB. If you need more, you can fill out a request for up to 10 GB for 0.15 euro per GB a month, which is still cheaper than its counterpart.
For up to 50GB, users only have to sign up to its Patreon and join its $15 monthly subscription tier. Aside from extra storage, you also get email aliases and a Disroot branded T-shirt.
Posteo is a ProtonMail alternative of choice if climate change is at the heart of your decision. The Berlin-based email service provider gets its entire electricity needs from renewable energy.
That is on top of a high data security rating that earned it international recognition after the 2013 global surveillance disclosures.
It is particularly notable for its support for anonymity. You don’t need to offer any personal information to register for the platform. Although much of its services and features are free, the few that require payment are payable with Posteo’s anonymous payment system.
As an email service, you get a base account with 2GB of storage, upgradeable to 20GB for €0.25 a month per GB. It is cheaper than ProtonMail’s pricing and more flexible too. The email account is ad-free, as is the website, and it comes with a synchronizable Calendar and Address book.
Additional benefits of using Posteo as a ProtonMail alternative include high-quality email management features like spam and virus filters and unlimited filter addresses.
It is also easy to migrate from other email accounts with the Posteo migration service. Using it, you can copy the entire content of an email account or select folders.
ProtonMail users are primarily individuals, but that is not to say there are no business users. Unfortunately, it is not robust, offering only administrator privileges and multiple user support.
That is why Barracuda, a private company that offers protected email service, is a good alternative for businesses, even if it focuses more on security than privacy.
The company’s email product offers protection against all 13 types of email threats, including ransomware, spam, spear phishing, and malicious websites. It uses an artificial intelligence engine to detect impersonation attempts, learns communication patterns, and identifies anomalies.
Barracuda also offers an Email Threat Scanner that helps companies identify email threats in their mailboxes. Businesses also get a flexible and comprehensive Office 365 backup for quick and seamless recovery from ransomware and other malware attacks.
There is also cloud-based archiving. Its Email Continuity feature allows email communication to continue during downtime, with solutions like an emergency mailbox and a dedicated cloud-based email service.
Barracuda’s security offering has earned it a high reputation for providing secure email solutions. It has been around for over 17 years and is used by more than 200,000 organizations.
6. Vivaldi Mail
Vivaldi Technologies has made a name for itself as the owner of one of the most secure and private web browsers on the market with its Vivaldi Browser. The company is creating a similar reputation for its email service, Vivaldi Mail.
Although it is still officially in beta, it is showing promise. Unlike ProtonMail, which uses RSA-based encryption, Vivaldi Mail offers PGB-based email encryption. You also get the ability to import your own PGB keys.
It is accessible via an in-built client in Vivaldi Browser. It has a modern interface with excellent message management. There are multiple folders, and you can create custom folders and filter messages according to flags and labels.
It can also serve as a central point for other email accounts, including iCloud, Outlook, Gmail, IMAP/POP3, and Fastmail.
The email service is also accessible online as a standalone platform as Vivaldi WebMail.
Additional features include an integrated feed reader, saved searches, and the ability to queue up multiple messages in the Outbox folder before sending in bulk.
One of the oldest privacy-focused email services globally, Fastmail is one of the best ProtonMail alternatives if you are looking for a legacy solution. However, with that comes special considerations. It does not offer a free tier, but it does let you try it out for 30 days.
Its encryption service is server-side, and you can encrypt everything else like your calendar and contacts. Another privacy feature is the multiple custom domain.
You can keep your primary email address private and create multiple email addresses as aliases. All while receiving emails from each one in a single inbox.
What’s more, you can choose from more than 113 domains for your primary address, which is a very generous offering compared to ProtonMail which offers less than 10.
Fastmail’s email service also comes with its email clients on mobile and desktop. It is available on iOS and Android and on Outlook, Thunderbird, and Mac Mail on desktop. Also, its Contacts and Calendar features are accessible via the app.
This ProtonMail alternative allows you to set important email addresses to get alerts when they email you. Lastly, it has an easy migration process with access to support if you need it.
Also Read: Best Anonymous Email Account Providers
Much of the privacy-focused email services are open source and community built. Mailpile is no different. It is also funded entirely by user donations, which means there is no advertisement display. The email service’s code is also available to anyone on GitHub to fix a bug or add a feature.
This ProtonMail alternative uses OpenPGP encryption and signatures. This allows you to sign your emails, guaranteeing that the recipients know it is from you while keeping it private and secure. The project started as a search engine, a history that now enables efficient searching by users.
Another thing, Mailpile is self-hosted software. You can install it on your laptop device, desktop, Raspberry PI, or in the cloud. It is also possible to install it as a browser add-on and use it on desktop platforms like Windows, macOS, and Linux.
Additionally, you can use Mailpile even when you are offline, and it is fast and responsive. An advantage you can’t get from ProtonMail.
CounterMail, like ProtonMail, is an email service that excels at providing data privacy. However, unlike the latter, it uses OpenPGP encryption, accessible via a browser.
Its servers are not just based in Sweden, but they are also not stored on hard disks. Instead, the service saves data on CD-ROMs only, preventing data leaks.
Also, CounterMail only stores encrypted emails in its servers, and you can create an additional level of encryption with a USB drive. The decryption key is saved on the device and is required for every login attempt. Attachments can also be encrypted, as well as plain text messages.
The email service also offers dynamic aliases, message filter/autoresponder, XMPP chat server, and custom domain support. It also has a built-in password manager called Safebox and scrubs all IP addresses from the header of emails.
Finally, signing up for CounterMail is easy and private. You don’t have to provide a previous email address, real name, phone number, or any other personal information for the free account.
As for the premium account, which comes with a default 4GB of storage space, the company deletes your transaction data after two weeks.
One of Hushmail’s marketing copies is that it is like your current email but with “added important security features,” and that is true in many ways. The encrypted email service company has a mobile (iOS) and web version that is easy to use with a modern interface.
It supports IMAP and POP so that you can access your Hushmail account from any email client of your choice. Users can send encrypted messages to fellow Hushmail users and non-users on other services, including Outlook Mail and Gmail.
Its encryption security is multi-layered, ensuring that no one other than someone with your password can read your emails. Not even Hushmail admins can.
When you create a Hushmail account, you can choose from several domains, including @hushmail.com, @hush.com, @hush.ai, @mac.hush.com, and @hushmail.me. You can also use them as aliases to receive emails that deliver to your main account.
There is no free account, but Hushmail Premium has different pricing for various categories and uses.
Each one comes with 10 GB of storage and two secure web forms to help businesses and individuals securely take surveys and client information.
11. Zoho Mail
Zoho’s Office and Product management tools have already proven to be competent alternatives to their Google and Microsoft versions. Its email service, Zoho Mail, is also one for ProtonMail, especially for business owners.
Zoho stores data on its servers in encrypted format after fragmentation. The fragmented data is also encrypted. Furthermore, the service uses the industry-standard SSL connection to encrypt email traffic from your computer to the server.
As for your messages, Zoho’s email service uses S/MIME to encrypt them, storing the keys on its servers. This offers protection against common email threats like spoofing, phishing, and data leaks.
What’s more, the email service comes with its own client, available on mobile and desktop. It has a fresh interface, along with additional productivity features like Calendar and Contacts. It also has Tasks for creating and tracking small sets of tasks and Notes for email-inspired thoughts.
Zoho Mail also has a free business account, with five users and 5 GB per user and a 25MB attachment limit. It also comes with email hosting for a single domain.
The team behind StartMail is also behind startpage.com, a well-known search engine among privacy enthusiasts because it does not track user data. So going in, you know a lot of attention is paid to data privacy.
One of the ways it does that is the use of PGP encryption. You can communicate safely with other StartMail users or anyone with a PGP-encrypted email.
The encryption is also server-side, different from ProtonMail’s end-to-end. But it offers two-factor authentication that protects your email, even if your password got stolen.
StartMail is also in The Netherlands, and as a result, fully compliant with GDPR laws.
As a ProtonMail alternative, it has aliases. You can create and give out an unlimited number of aliases when you don’t want to share your primary email.
StartMail is purely a desktop email service, but it is compatible with IMAP/SMTP. You can use it on email clients like Thunderbird, Outlook, and Apple Mail with far more ease of integration currently offered by ProtonMail.
Finally, the email service is paid only, with $59.95 for personal and business accounts. You can check here for the latest pricing. An account comes with 10 GB of storage, and you can make payment via Bitcoin.
FairEmail is not so much an email service as it is an email client, albeit one with a focus on privacy like ProtonMail and the other services featured on this list.
If you are not looking so much for an email service with encryption features but rather a client that lets you access your emails privately and securely, FairEmail is worth considering.
It is fully open-source and compatible with all the major email services, including Outlook, Yahoo!, and Gmail. Emails are encrypted with OpenPGP and S/MIME and can be read in Safe view, with styling, scripting, and unsafe HTML removed. FairMail also reformats messages to prevent phishing.
There are no ads, no analytics, or tracking, and it supports IMAP, SMTP, and POP3. The app also has conversation threading, push notifications, and is battery friendly. The user interface sports a modern, material, minimalistic design.
You can also register an unlimited number of accounts with unlimited email addresses, perfect for creating alias identities.
Finally, FairEmail is easy to install. You can install it directly from the Google play store or download the APK file from F-Droid.
For a small fee, this Canadian-based alternative offers one of the best secure email services on the market. It is ad-free because it is paid, and you can expect it to stay that way for a while – thus, ensuring that your privacy and security remain the focus of the product.
The service has multiple filters in place to block spam. Some of its sender monitoring and analysis systems include Message Sniffer, Gateway, and Cloudmark. It also has a proprietary filter, Thexyz BL, that further limits the number of spam messages that make it to your inbox.
It supports standard encryption systems like OpenPGP public key, with end-to-end encryption. It also supports IMAP and POP3. Additionally, emails sent from an account won’t display your IP address, and it uses SSL/TLS measures to protect the content of users’ emails during transit.
Migrating to Thexyz is easy. It comes with an easy-to-use migration tool and works with Gmail and Office 365, more than ProtonMail’s productivity offerings.
And you don’t just get a secure email service either. It also comes with calendars, contacts, and notes accessible via webmail and mobile apps on iOS and Android devices.
Like practically every secure email provider, Mailbox.org, like ProtonMail, has Europe-based servers. ProtonMail’s servers are in Switzerland, while Mailboxes are in Germany. On top of that, it uses full PGP encryption, ensuring end-to-end protection when you send emails to another user.
While sending emails, each one is protected with SSL/TLS technology, with Perfect Forward Secrecy. It is also possible to set your mailbox never to send messages to emails with insecure email services. Furthermore, there is an option to send messages in plain text or encrypted form.
This Germany-based private email service is also compatible with Mailvelope, a useful tool for storing encryption keys locally.
Outside of its privacy and security features, Mailbox.org is a growing suite of productivity tools. There is a cloud-based file storage and text editor. It also comes with calendars and address books.
The desktop-only email service is available for use on any device, whether a PC, tablet, or smartphone. It costs a base price of €1 per month, after a 30-day free trial. It comes with 2 GB of mail storage and three aliases.
Visit here for up-to-date pricing.
With end-to-end encryption and universal accessibility through webmail, dedicated iOS, and Android apps, ProtonMail is undoubtedly the leading private email service in the world. It also has more than 50 million users, guaranteeing access to a large pool of community support.
These qualities and more make it hard to find the perfect alternative. And of the 15 options I’ve discussed so far, Tutanota comes the closest. It encrypts all your data down to your searched emails. You also don’t have to provide your personal information to register for an account.
Throw in the fact it is cheap and runs on 100% renewable energy, and it is pretty clear that Tutanota is the best ProtonMail alternative.
Tom loves to write on technology, e-commerce & internet marketing.
Tom has been a full-time internet marketer for two decades now, earning millions of dollars while living life on his own terms. Along the way, he’s also coached thousands of other people to success.