Most secure free email service (top email providers for privacy)

Whether for personal or business use, you probably use email a lot for communication. They’re convenient and easy to use, and with today’s technology, they’re accessible from pretty much anywhere. But are they safe? 

As technology continues to evolve, so do the methods hackers and criminals use to exploit it. If a hacker manages to get access to your emails, it could lead to many problems for you down the line. You not only risk your finances but even your identity, and that’ll lead to a whole bunch of other problems. 

Now you might think that secure emails are those that are paid. That’s not always the case. 

So we came up with this list of the best free secure email services. We don’t want you to just settle for any free email service. We wanted you to have access to them without having to worry about your privacy getting compromised. 

So we did our research. We scoured the web for the most secure free email service, checked their official sites, and read reviews from real users through independent sites. 

Don’t just settle for any free email service only to find out later that it’s not right for you and your situation. All email service providers here are good, but some may have features that suit your needs better. 

Keep reading until the very end to find out the MOST critical factor you should consider when choosing a free email service. 

Top 7 free email services for privacy and security

Gmail 

Gmail is a free email service provided by Google. It’s widely used by individuals and businesses alike as it offers a variety of features that appeal to both groups.

For individuals, Gmail provides a convenient way to stay in touch with friends and family. It also offers a number of storage options, so you can keep all of your important messages in one place.

For businesses, Gmail offers several advantages as well. You can integrate the platform with other Google products like Calendar and Drive, making it easy for you to manage all of your communication needs in one place. In addition, Gmail offers powerful spam filtering capabilities that can help you protect your business’ email accounts from unwanted solicitations.

Overall, Gmail is an excellent choice for both individuals and businesses who are looking for a reliable and feature-rich email service.

How Gmail secures your email

Gmail takes security seriously as it uses a variety of measures to protect your emails from unauthorized access, both when they’re stored on Google’s servers and when they’re in transit. Some of these measures include:

  • SSL encryption for all email traffic, making it difficult for anyone to intercept and read your messages
  • Two-factor authentication, adding an extra layer of security by requiring you to confirm your identity with a code or a prompt before you can log in.
  • Scanning of all incoming email for malware and phishing attempts
  • Providing detailed information about potential threats so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to open a message

For more information on how Gmail secures your email, you can also visit the Gmail Safety Center where the company details the measures they take to keep your information safe. You can also check out this guide from Google on how you can further strengthen your Gmail account’s security. 

Other key features

Some of the other advantages that Gmail provides include:

  • 15GB of storage for free; up to 30TB of storage for paid subscriptions
  • The ability to send and receive emails using your own domain name
  • A clean and intuitive interface that makes it easy to find the messages you’re looking for
  • The ability to search through your email using powerful search operators
  • A rich set of features that lets you do more with your email, such as create labels and filters, set up auto-responders, and more
  • Integration with other Google services, such as Calendar, Drive, and Contacts.

The downsides

Despite the many pros, there are several potential drawbacks to using Gmail as well, such as:

  • The need for an active internet connection to access your inboxes and send or receive messages, which can be problematic if you live in an area with poor or unreliable internet service
  • The reliance on Google’s servers, which means that your data is subject to Google’s privacy policies. Some have criticized these policies as “being too intrusive”

Pricing

A Gmail account is free to set up and use. You can sign up for a Gmail account here, and it already comes with a free 15GB of storage you can use across Gmail and Google Drive. 

If you want to increase your storage, however, you’ll need to sign up for a Google One account. The cost of this goes from $1.99/month for a 100GB storage plan up to $299.99/month for a 30TB storage plan.

If you’re a business owner and you want to use your own domain name with Gmail, you will also need to sign up for a Google Workspace account.

Prices for Google Workspace start at $4.20 per user per month. This already comes with a custom business email, 100-participant video meetings, and 30GB of cloud storage per user.

iCloud Mail

If you own an Apple device, then you automatically have an iCloud account, and in turn, iCloud Mail. So, who is iCloud Mail for?

iCloud Mail is for Apple users who want a reliable and easy-to-use email service. With it, you can access your email on any Apple device with an Internet connection, including iPhones, iPads, and Macs.

iCloud Mail is powered by the same technology that powers Apple’s own Mail app, so you can be sure that it’s both stable and user-friendly. And, because it’s designed to work seamlessly with other Apple products, it’s the ideal choice if you want to keep all your devices in sync.

If you’re looking for a dependable email service that works well with your other Apple products, then iCloud Mail is definitely worth considering.

How iCloud Mail secures your email

iCloud Mail uses industry-standard security technologies to help keep your emails safe. Some of the ways Apple protects your emails include:

  • SSL encryption for your account information and email contents
  • End-to-end encryption that encrypts your information with keys derived from your devices and passcode that prevents anyone but you from accessing them
  • Storage of your messages on Apple’s servers.
  • Encryption when in transit
  • Two-factor authentication to protect your account from unauthorized access

You may also check out this iCloud Security Overview for more information on how Apple keeps your data safe. If you’re an Apple user, you can also consult the Apple Platform Security to find out the security measures they have in place for your hardware, system, and the apps that they have. 

Other key features

iCloud Mail also offers a number of features that make it a great choice, including:

  • The ability to access your email on any Apple device with an Internet connection
  • Seamless integration with other Apple products, such as iCloud Calendar and iCloud Contacts
  • A user-friendly interface that makes it easy to manage your inbox
  • Sorting options that let you view your email by sender, subject, or date
  • An extensive search function that makes it easy to find old emails
  • Plenty of storage space

The downsides

While iCloud mail does offer some clear benefits, there are also a few potential downsides to consider, including:

  • The need to have a reliable Internet connection to access your messages because iCloud mail is stored in the cloud
  • Lack of an unlimited storage option, which means that you may need to delete messages or files from time to time in order to free up space.
  • Because iCloud Mail is designed to work with other Apple products, it may not be the best choice for you if you don’t own any Apple devices
  • Complains from some users about the lack of customer support from Apple

Pricing

The cost of iCloud Mail depends on the amount of storage you need.

The basic plan offers 5GB of storage for free, and if you want to sign up for it, you’ll need to do so from your Apple device. If you need more than that, you’ll need to subscribe to one of the paid iCloud+ plans. 

The 50GB storage plan costs $0.99 per month, the 200GB plan costs $2.99 per month, and the 2TB plan costs $9.99 per month. These also come with a “Hide My Email” function, a custom email domain, and HomeKit Secure Video support.

They also come with a family sharing option that allows you to share your iCloud storage with up to five family members. With family sharing, everyone in your family gets their own private storage space as well as access to all of the same features and benefits.

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo! Mail is a web-based email service provided by the American company Yahoo!. It was launched in 1997 and has since become one of the most popular email services on the internet. As of January 2020, it had 225 million active users.

Yahoo! Mail offers a variety of features, including an integrated address book, calendar, and to-do list. It also provides support for POP3 and IMAP protocols, so users can access their Yahoo! Mail account from any email client.

In addition, Yahoo! Mail offers a generous amount of storage space and supports attachment sizes up to 25 MB. This makes it great for personal and business use alike.

How Yahoo! Mail secures your email

Yahoo! uses a number of features to keep your emails secure. Some of these include:

  • Industry-standard encryption to protect your emails as they travel between your computer and Yahoo’s servers
  • Second sign-in verification that requires you to enter your password and a verification code to sign in to your account
  • A dedicated team of security experts who “are constantly working to identify and address potential threats”

For more information on how Yahoo! secures your email, you may visit the Yahoo! Security page, where they discuss how they protect your information. They also have several resources on account security and the initiatives you can take to further protect your Yahoo! account. 

Other key features

Yahoo! Mail offers users:

  • 1 TB of storage space
  • Allows you to send and receive messages up to 25 MB in size.
  • Features such as address book synchronization, spam filtering, and virus scanning
  • Ability to search through email messages, create folders to organize messages, and customize the interface with different themes.
  • Mobile access via the Yahoo! Mail app for iOS and Android devices.

The downsides

While Yahoo Mail has many features that make it a popular choice for email users, there are also some downsides to using the service:

  • Uses artificial intelligence to scan your emails and show you targeted ads based on the content of those messages, which some users find to be an invasion of privacy
  • Known to be less reliable than other providers when it comes to delivering messages on time.
  • Doesn’t always integrate well with other email services or apps.
  • User interface can be confusing and cluttered, making it difficult to find what you’re looking for.
  • Doesn’t have as many features as some of its competitors, such as Google’s Gmail.

Pricing

Yahoo Mail is free to set up and use. You can easily sign up for it here, and it already includes all the standard email features we mentioned above. If you want more storage, however, you’ll have to sign up for Yahoo Mail+. 

Yahoo Mail+ costs $5 per month in the US. It gives you access to additional features such as:

  • Ad-free email
  • 5TB email storage
  • Inbox decluttering with domain blocking
  • Disposable email addresses
  • 24/7 tech support
  • Reply reminders

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is an end-to-end encrypted email service provided by Proton, an organization founded in 2014 by scientists who met while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN).

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ProtonMail now has over 70 million users worldwide. The company aims to “build an Internet that puts people before profits, create a world where everyone is in control of their digital lives, and make digital freedom a reality.”

Proton was designed specifically for privacy and security. On their website, they mention that other tech companies define privacy as “nobody can exploit your data except for us.” According to them, they disagree. “We believe nobody should be able to exploit your data, period. 

Proton is an open-source company, which means that anyone can inspect their source code to see if their services work exactly as they describe.

How ProtonMail secures your email

As we mentioned earlier, ProtonMail is primarily known for its focus on privacy and security. Some of the ways it protects your emails include:

  • Storing your data on servers located in Switzerland, which has laws that prohibit companies from disclosing user data without a court order
  • Encrypting all of your messages with AES-256, which is the same level of encryption used by banks and other financial institutions.
  • Zero-access encryption and end-to-end encryption, which means that only you and the person you’re communicating with can read your emails, and no one else – not even ProtonMail – can access them
  • Storing messages in an encrypted format, so even if someone gains access to its servers, they would not be able to read your messages
  • Not keeping any logs of your activity, which prevents them from providing information to third parties even if they were subpoenaed
  • Two-factor authentication that requires your password and an authenticator app-generated code

Proton is transparent about the measures they take to keep your emails safe. You can check out their Security and Privacy page, as well as the Open Source page for more information on the initiatives Proton makes to promote privacy.

Other key features

Aside from the security and privacy features it is known for, ProtonMail also has a number of features that set it apart from other providers, including:

  • “Self-destructing” messages, which are automatically deleted after a certain period of time
  • Built-in spam filter
  • User-friendly interface
  • Support for multiple languages

The downsides

While ProtonMail has a number of advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks to consider. Some of these include:

  • ProtonMail being a relatively new service, and as such, may not have all the features and functionality of more established providers.
  • Because it uses end-to-end encryption, you can’t search for specific keywords within emails, making it difficult to find important information if you have a large number of messages stored in your account.

Pricing

ProtonMail is a secure email service that offers both free and paid plans. You can sign up for a free Proton account here, and it already includes 1GB of storage and up to 150 messages per day.

The prices of Proton’s paid plans will depend on the features you want and the duration of your subscription. A 1-year subscription to ProtonMail Plus, for example, will cost $3.99 per month. This already includes:

  • 15GB of storage
  • Unlimited messages
  • Unlimited folders, labels, and filters
  • Support for 1 custom email domain
  • Access to Proton Calendar

Zoho Mail

Zoho Mail is a web-based email service created by Zoho Corporation, a global leader in online office suite solutions.

Zoho Mail offers a clean and intuitive interface, powerful features, and robust security. It is available in over 50 languages and supports all major email protocols (IMAP, POP, SMTP).

Zoho Mail can be accessed from any device with an internet connection, making it an ideal solution for businesses with employees who are often on the go.

How Zoho Mail secures your email

Zoho Mail is a secure email service that offers several layers of protection to keep your messages safe. It uses industry standard practices and technologies to ensure that your email is safe from unauthorized access and data theft, such as:

  • Storing of data on servers at data centers that are physically secure and protected by firewalls and other security measures.
  • SSL/TLS encryption for all communication, making it difficult for anyone to eavesdrop on your conversations.
  • Two-factor authentication, which requires you to enter both a password and a security code in order to log in
  • Malware and spam filters to protect your inbox from harmful content.

Zoho further discusses the measures they take to secure your email in their Data Privacy page. You can also access the Zoho Secure Email page where you can find detailed resources on how Zoho protects your emails. 

Other key features

Zoho Mail offers a host of features that make it a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes, including:

  • A drag-and-drop email composer
  • Advanced search options
  • Integration with Zoho Docs, Sheets, and Calendar
  • Built-in spam filtering
  • Ample storage space
  • 24/7 customer support.

The downsides

While Zoho Mail has many features that users can take advantage of, there are also a few potential drawbacks to keep in mind. Some of these are:

  • The free version of Zoho Mail is fairly limited in terms of storage space and the number of email addresses that can be added to an account
  • Paid plans can be expensive when compared to other options on the market
  • Some users have reported difficulty with customer support when attempting to resolve technical issues.
  • Supported by advertisements, which means that users will see ads in their inboxes
  • Not as widely compatible with other email services as some of its competitors. This can make it more difficult to share files and contacts with people who use different email providers.

Pricing

Zoho Mail is a reliable email service with a variety of features to support businesses of all sizes. It offers a pay-as-you-go pricing model, so you only need to pay for the features you use.

You can sign up for their Forever Free Plan, which allows up to five users who have a 5GB limit per user. 

They also have premium plans, with prices starting at $1 per user per month for the Mail Lite plan. This already includes:

  • 5GB of storage per user
  • Access to Zoho Mail’s collaboration tool called Streams
  • Email and folder sharing
  • Domain aliases
  • Access to Calendar
  • Attachments of up to 250MB in size

You can visit the Zoho Mail pricing page for more information on the different subscription models Zoho offers, as well as the features that each plan contains. 

Mailfence

Mailfence is a secure email service founded in 2013. The company is based in Belgium and provides an end-to-end encrypted email service with a focus on user privacy.

Mailfence offers a customizable interface and features such as digital signatures, contact management, and calendar synchronization. The company also provides a desktop client and mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Mailfence is used by individuals, businesses, and organizations all over the world to protect their communications from government surveillance and hackers.

How Mailfence secures your email

Mailfence is a secure email service that offers a number of features to protect your privacy and keep your messages safe. Some of these are:

  • End-to-end encryption, which ensures that only the sender and recipient can read the contents of an email
  • Two-factor authentication, which requires you to enter a code from your smartphone in order to log in.
  • A self-destruct feature, which allows you to set a time limit for how long an email can be accessed. After the specified time period has elapsed, the email will be automatically deleted.
  • Storage of data on servers in Belgium that are protected by strict privacy laws.
  • Ability to create disposable email addresses to use for temporary or one-time communications.

Mailfence further details the measures they take to keep your emails safe in the Private Email page and the Secure Email page of their website. 

Other key features

In addition to its robust security features, Mailfence also offers a number of features that users will find convenient and helpful in their day-to-day lives, such as:

  • The Mailfence calendar which was designed to be easy to use and share with others
  • A built-in contacts manager, so you can keep track of your contacts’ information in one place
  • A variety of tools for collaborating on projects with others, including file sharing and task management.
  • Support for a variety of email clients, including Microsoft Outlook, Apple Mail, and Mozilla Thunderbird
  • Workflow automation features, such as the ability to create email templates and set up auto-responders.

The downsides

Though Mailfence has many features that users may find appealing, there are some potential drawbacks to using this service, like:

  • No 24/7 customer support, which means that if users have any questions or problems, they may not be able to get help immediately
  • Does not offer as many features as some other email providers
  • No integrated chat client or a calendar function.
  • Premium subscription at $5 per month, which is more expensive than some of its competitors

Pricing

Like all the other email services on this list, Mailfence has both a free plan and a premium plan. You can sign up for the free plan here, and it already includes 500MB of emails and 500MB of documents.

If you want more storage, however, you’ll have to sign up for one of their premium paid plans. The cheapest plan comes at only €2.50 or approximately $2.75 per month, and it comes with 5GB of storage for emails and 12GB of storage for documents. 

Tutanota

Tutanota is a secure email service with a focus on privacy. It was founded in 2011 by Matthias Pfau and Arne Möhle, and is headquartered in Hannover, Germany.

The company’s name is a combination of the Latin words “tuta,” meaning “secure,” and “nota,” meaning “note.” It started because the founders were concerned about the amount of data that the government and corporate entities collect.

Tutanota’s goal is to provide a secure, private email service that is easy to use and accessible to everyone.

How Tutanota secures your email

Tutanota uses several methods to keep your data secure, including:

  • End-to-end encryption for your emails and all their contents. This means that only the sender and recipient can read the messages, and not even Tutanota’s employees can access them
  • Encrypted transmission, so your emails cannot be accessed in transit
  • No-log policy, so the company cannot provide outsiders with information about your activities even if they are subpoenaed
  • Servers are located in Germany, where data protection laws are some of the strictest in the world.

For a full list of the security measures Tutanota has in place for your email, you may also visit the Tutanota Secure Email page

Other key features

While Tutanota’s primary focus is on providing a secure and private email service, there are a number of other features that make it a valuable tool for both individuals and businesses, like:

  • A powerful search function that makes it easy to find specific emails among hundreds or even thousands of messages
  • Automatic filtering options to help users keep their inboxes organized
  • A comprehensive set of features for managing contacts and calendars.
  • Integration with a range of third-party services
  • Ad-free services

The downsides

While Tutanota is a secure email service, there are some potential drawbacks to using it. First, the company does not offer 24/7 customer support, so if you have any questions or problems, you may not be able to get help immediately.

Second, Tutanota’s free plan only offers 1 GB of storage. If you need more storage, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.

Finally, Tutanota does not offer as many features as some other email providers. For example, there is no integrated chat client which is common among the other email services on this list.

Pricing

Tutanota offers plans for both individuals and businesses. The free plan is available only for personal use, and it includes 1GB of storage.

If you want access to more features, the premium plan starts at €1 per month for individuals and at €2 for businesses. These plans give you access to features like custom domains, calendars, unlimited search, and many more. 

You can visit the Tutanota Pricing page to sign up for an account and check out the available premium plans and their features for more information.

Features to look for in your email service

When you’re looking for an email service provider, there are a few key features you’ll want to keep in mind. Here are some of the most important things to look for:

  • Metadata handling: One of the most important things to consider when it comes to email security is how your provider handles metadata. Metadata is information about who you’re emailing, when you’re emailing them, and what the subject of the email is. You’ll want to make sure that your provider doesn’t keep this information stored in their servers.
  • Open source: Another thing to look for in an email service provider is whether or not they’re open source. Open-source software is always a good choice when it comes to security, since the code is available for anyone to review.
  • Storage space: You should also consider how much storage space you’ll need. If you have a lot of emails, you’ll want to make sure that your provider offers a generous amount of storage space.
  • Ease of use: You’ll also want to make sure that your provider offers an easy-to-use interface. The last thing you want is to be frustrated with your email service.
  • Pricing: Of course, you’ll also want to look at pricing when you’re choosing an email service provider. Some providers offer free plans, while others charge a monthly fee. You’ll need to decide what’s best for your needs and budget.
  • Support: Finally, you’ll want to make sure that your provider offers good customer support. If you have any problems with your account, you’ll want to be able to get help from a knowledgeable customer service representative.

IMPORTANT: At the end of the day, the most important thing to look at when choosing an email service provider is security. Most of these email service providers give you more or less the same features, but when push comes to shove, how confident are you that they can protect your personal information? 

Security features like two-factor authentication are already common. What the email service provider themselves do to protect your email is what matters most. Make sure you review their security and privacy policies, so you know exactly what measures they take to secure your email.

What kinds of encryption do they use on your emails and documents? Do they share your information with third-party partners? Do they check the contents of your emails so they can show you targeted ads? 

You should ask yourself these questions before deciding on an email service provider. 

What could happen if a hacker gains access to your email?

If a hacker gains access to your email, they could potentially wreak havoc in your life. They could:

  • Read your emails: If a hacker has access to your email, they can read all of your messages. This includes any sensitive information that you might have sent or received, such as passwords or credit card numbers.
  • Send spam: A hacker could also use your email account to send spam to your contacts. This could damage your reputation and relationships.
  • Steal your identity: They could also use your email account to commit identity theft. They could use your personal information to open new accounts, apply for loans, or make other purchases in your name.
  • Commit fraud: A hacker could also use your email account to commit fraud. For example, they could send fake invoices or phishing emails in an attempt to steal your money.

How to protect your email account from hackers

In order to protect your email account from hackers, you’ll need to take some security measures. Here are some things you can do:

  • Use a strong password: One of the best things you can do is choose a strong password for your account. A strong password should be at least 8 characters long and include a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
  • Enable two-factor authentication: Another good security measure is to enable two-factor authentication. This means that you’ll need to enter a code from your phone in order to log into your account.
  • Be careful with links and attachments: You should also be careful about clicking on links and opening attachments in emails. Hackers can use these to infect your computer with malware or steal your information.
  • Keep your software up to date: Finally, you should make sure that your computer’s operating system and security software are always up to date. Hackers often take advantage of security vulnerabilities, so it’s important to patch them as soon as possible.

Conclusion

Email is an essential part of our lives, but it’s also vulnerable. Hackers can access our email accounts and wreak havoc in our lives. 

That’s why choosing a secure email service provider is so important. By doing so, you can protect yourself from these threats and keep your information safe.

Before choosing an email service provider, follow their privacy and security policies, so you know exactly how they keep your information safe from hackers.

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