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In today’s internet, data privacy and security is really important. Custom email solutions can be expensive but if you are looking for free private secure and encrypted email services, I have two open-source recommendations to give that I personally use.
ProtonMail has several paid plans including email services for businesses. But they also have a free version for personal use that includes 500 Megabytes of storage and 150 messages per day. Most personal uses generally do not exceed the limit so you are good to go. As a basic free user you get all the features of security and end to end encryption. Based in Switzerland and all of the data is protected under Swiss Federal Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Swiss Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO). In terms of sharing the data, company claims that only very limited amount of data is shared and only if only the company is compelled to by a court order from Cantonal Court of Geneva or the Swiss Federal Supreme Court. They host and manage their own servers. As a free user you can also choose to receive emails using their short pm.me domain. They have three paid plans, Plus, Professional and Visionary.
To achieve a high level of security, ProtonMail assumes that all mail servers may eventually be compromised. Thus, ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption to protect user data. If a server only contains encrypted messages, users have a much higher level of security in the event of a security breach. The use of encryption also prevents ProtonMail from being able to decrypt and share user emails with third parties. ProtonMail employs the following measures:
- End-to-end encryption
- Zero-access encryption
- Open source cryptography
- Hardware-level security
- Address Verification
- self-destructing emails
Plans and pricing
The Plus Plan costs $5/month or $48/year and offers up to 5 GB of storage, five email address, 200 folders/labels, 1,000 messages per day, and the ability to use a custom domain (e.g., [email protected]).
The Professional Plan is designed for businesses and allows organizations to manage up to 5,000 users from an administrator account. Professional Plans cost $8/month/user or $75/year/user. Professional accounts come with all mail features and priority customer support.
The Visionary Plan is ProtonMail’s family plan and includes full access to all ProtonMail and ProtonVPN features. Visionary Plans cost $30/month or $288/year and supports up to six users; 20 GB of storage; 50 addresses; unlimited messages, folders, and labels; support for up to 10 custom domains; and priority support.
Tuta and nota literally translates to ‘Secure message’ in Latin. For free and private use they offer 1 GB of storage. For now they have not put a cap on message limit. Messages are end to end encrypted. The encryption take place on user’s local device and the private and public keys are generated via browser upon signup. The private key is encrypted with the account password. Snooping around your address book is also not possible unless you giveaway your password which as a sensible user you would not. They also strip away any geographic information from your email headers including your IP. But they do store IP addresses for a week. In terms of security check, they employ penetration testing.