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A List Of Email Providers That Don’t Track You

by Grey One •

In A Nutshell

  • If you are interested in a reasonable level of email privacy (securely stored and not scanned) consider FastMail
  • If you want your emails stored in Switzerland I recommend MyKolab
  • If you want end-to-end email encryption, I recommend ProtonMail

The Details

Almost all of us would prefer our emails to remain private, or at least not routinely scanned by large corporations and government entities. There are email companies (listed below) that provide a service where your email will remain fairly secure and un-scanned.

Note, however, that regular email is an inherently insecure medium. This is because email is always sent to someone else — thus releasing them into unknown hands. For example, if you send an email to someone who uses Gmail, your email will scanned by Google and the NSA. If you want to avoid this situation, you’ll have to encrypt all you emails, and send them to people who also have encrypted email installed (for example using Thunderbird with Enigmail and GnuPG).

Listed below are email services that offer two advantages over services like Gmail or Yahoo Mail — they do not scan your emails, and they provide a fairly secure environment for email storage. They also do not require personal information like phone numbers during registration.

FastMail: Reliable, Private Email

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If you want a reliable, independent email service that doesn’t scan your messages like Gmail or Hotmail, see a provider like FastMail.

Based in Australia, FastMail been running for 15 years, and they have a good privacy policy regarding email storage. Here’s what they say:

  • we use encrypted SMTP for sending your mail when the receiving server supports it
  • we mandate encrypted access for webmail, IMAP and POP
  • we use Perfect Forward Secrecy where possible for all encrypted connections
  • we encrypt all email while at rest on our servers
  • we encrypt communications between our data centers

After testing this service for years, I found this company to be a reliable provider. Fastmail has well designed apps for iOS and Android.

FastMail‘s prices start at $10 per year.

Encrypted Email Providers

ProtonMail is a reliable encrypted email provider based in Switzerland.

Here are some similar services that provide end-t0-end encrypted email:

Kolab Now: Secure Business Email and File Sharing

Kolab

Kolab Now is one of the most fully-featured private email providers. The service is hosted in Switzerland, because of its strict privacy law. It is run with 100% Open Source software which is developed in-house by Kolab Systems. You can access you email via a webmail interface, or via mobiles devices and email clients via IMAP/POP.

Kolab Now also provides a full groupware feature set to its users. This includes multiple address books, shared calendars, task management and synchronization to various native clients and mobile devices.

They also support an ActiveSync option, which allows you to synchronize all your emails, contacts, events and tasks from MyKolab.com to your mobile device. This works with all devices that support ActiveSync, such as Android, iPhone or Blackberry Z10. You can also decide what folders will be synchronized to your device. Alternatively, you can use CalDAV and CardDAV capable clients to synchronize your data.

Prices are about $11 per month for an individual account.

Comments 28

  1. Indeed an informative list – but a do not include some of the other remarkable players. However, it seriously is incomplete without the following player:

    > https://mailfence.com/ (a pure end-to-end encryption service – that does not only provide confidentiality and integrity but also authentication via the capability of digital signatures, based on OpenPGP – it provides user full control over their keys and does it all in a very user-friendly manner)

    Now, the ultimate tool when it comes to OpenPGP and end-to-end encryption – is always have been GnuPG, though the reason it never really get lifted up is due to its complexity in terms of usability from a typical user standpoint (however, implementations like Gpg4Win, GPGSuite, Seahorse does come in handy).

    Lastly, the article is not bad at all, the only loose-end is not mentioning one of the key player. Nevertheless, it always drops down to one’s preferences and requirements (I personally use mailfence which is free, interoperable, without ads, completely locally hosted and provides an entire collaboration suite i.e. messages, contacts, calendar, documents, polls, tags ….)
    Again, its a matter of personal preference and the extent to which one understand end-to-end encryption technologies (OpenPGP, S/MIME etc, which most of the people don’t) – that contributes in the rightness and wrongness of their online privacy decisions.

  2. Hello there, try migadu.com, they are great and protect your privacy too. Free plan also avalable and you can use your own domain name.

  3. I am looking for an email service where both sender and receiver download email service, emails are encrypted between sender and receiver, emails are not stored on the company’s servers, but are stored on users’ devices. Only two people have the email — sender and receiver. Once both delete the email it is gone. Any recommendations?

    1. You can heck out decentralized messaging via bitmessage, or I2P-Bote.

      These apps allow you send encrypted text messages: Telegram, TextSecure (Android) by Open Whisper Systems, Wickr (Android and iOS), Cryptocat (iOS),

      Take it a step further and get control of your email with this easy-to-deploy mail server in a box. Mail-in-a-Box lets you become your own mail service provider in a few easy steps. It’s sort of like making your own gmail, but one you control from top to bottom. Technically, Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh cloud computer into a working mail server. But you don’t need to be a technology expert to set it up. More: https://mailinabox.email/

  4. What are your thoughts on a paid Google for Work email account. Google says it does not scan those accounts and there are no ads.

  5. I did not see Sub Rosa at novo-ordo.com mentioned. Server is located in Panama, works with POP3, IMAP, or webmail over the clear web or the dark web, with no javascript. Lots of features. $34 per year so you know how they make their money.

  6. Thanks for all the helpful info on your site —

    but I’m very curious to know —
    why is there no mention of StartMail in this article?

    or at least in any Replies? article is dated 2014,
    I think StartMail is officially released in 2015

    I’ve had a fastmail account since they were fastmail.fm (pre-Opera),
    but I’m always interested in possibly better alternatives.

    TIA for sharing your perspective on StartMail.

    1. * bump * Truly, would sincerely appreciate your assessment of StartMail,
      as I requested a week ago. Just purchased a FastMail account for a client-friend,
      but I have more stringent needs than what FastMail may be able to provide at this time.

      Thank you for your Attention —

      1. I haven’t tested StartMail — looks like a reasonable offering, but it doesn’t offer much more that Fastmail in terms of privacy. One interesting feature is the one‐click PGP encryption through the webmail client.

        Startmail also offers Perfect Forward Secrecy, but Fastmail offers that too.

  7. Senior citizen here. Ignorant today. Could use some advice about privacy. Years ago with dialup, I had IMAP-POP email and used Pegasus mail. Now I have hughesnet for satellite and use yahoomail because a former wireless provider didn’t provide an email address.

    I’ve never used gmail, and I would like to get rid of yahoo. Given that I use hughesnet, what are my options of secure email services? I know that hughesnet will not work with VPNs because it uses its own proxy, but what about email?

    1. If you want to get away from Gmail and Yahoo and keep your every day email reasonably private, Fastmail would be your best bet. For more privacy, Tutanota is one of the better encrypted email services.

  8. Are there any secure email providers that allow you to have nested conversations (like Gmail)? I’m told you can do it via Thunderbird but I don’t like the idea of having my email stored on my computer.

  9. Hi there!
    I just read your blog post about privacy conscious webmail service
    and if it’s ok for you I would suggest you another website to add to the list.
    I’m Niko, nice to meet you!
    I’m the owner of “https://digitalenvelopes.email”, I’m a geek guy, FLOSS fanatic and a
    linux system administrator. I made up this website to give a chance to my friends,
    and actually to all the people that wanna try it, to use something different from big email providers.
    We all know privacy is a big problem with big email providers 😉

    It’s built 100% using open source software.

    With digitalenvelopes.email you can choose between 3 different webmail interfaces
    (Horde, Roundcube, Rainloop) and all of them come with the possibility to use pgp encryption,
    although unencrypted messages can also be sent.

    Horde, Roundcube, Rainloop are all at last version and keep updated.

    There are six available domains.

    An email is required to register, but registration is immediate so this can be a disposable one.

    Although the service is technically ‘free’, digitalenvelopes.email is run just by me,
    and therefore relies on donations.

    Ads: no
    Aliases: up to 5
    Terminated if inactive for: 180 days
    Encrypted by default: yes
    Inbox size: 1GB but effectively unlimited (support for more)
    POP/IMAP: yes
    Based: Italy
    Perfect Forward Secrecy: yes
    Privacy policy (https://digitalenvelopes.email/blog/index.php/privacy-policy/)
    Antivirus/spam filtering: Clam AV, SpamAssasin
    User IP in mail headers: No (webmail & SMTP)
    Signup through Tor: No
    Max attachment: 50MB (support for more)
    Severs in: France, Canada
    Connection Security: TLS 1.2, AES256 GCM and SHA384 with ECDHE RSA

  10. Beware of sigma.email! They are way too unreliable. I’ve been using them for a few weeks but have only got a handful of the emails that I was supposed to. Of course the most inconvenient and deadline oriented emails were the ones that were MIA. Same thing with Safe-mail.

  11. “William Smith says
    February 26, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Try https://sigma.email , encrypts using AES 256 in transit and on server clusters with unknown random keys. Its free and unlimited space, users can have their own domains as well.”

    I cant find any review on sigma.email. The interface looks really good along with calendar and note build in. Very nice layout overall on signmal email. i’m currently using runbox but the interface is out dated even for just simple thing as e-mailing. Filter in Runbox is a pain and it just not as handy as i want in sigma.

    Before switching all my account to sigma i would like more review and reliability source of this server. Google and nothing came up.

    1. I was using https://sigma.email and it seemed to work pretty well but it seems complete dead now. I just get

      Error establishing a database connection

      trying to access their server the last day or so.

  12. lighten up for gods sake. what can someone get
    from my email? the tons of porn solicitors and male enhancement offers?
    jeez.

    1. Your email account should be your most protected account, because hackers can use it to break into your other accounts. For example, a hacker can request password resets, and then click on the link in an email to complete the reset.

      Also, companies can gain vast amount of personal information by scanning your email. They can then sell that information to other companies, and link all the information together.

  13. Another great alternative is Posteo.de

    It’s hosted in Germany and offers the latest security standards alongside a data frugality approach i.e. they don’t ask you for your name, adress or other unnecessary details, you can even have an anonymous account if you pay with cash, the service costs 1€/month which I find very reasonable.

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