November 09, 2021 by Steven Tobolar

Secure Email Providers: Everything You Need to Know

Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo are among the most popular webmail providers, and they offer a wide variety of features, which is why most people don’t even bother to look any further. And that’s just fine unless you really care about the privacy and security of your sensitive information. Few Gmail users know that by opting for one of those providers, you grant Google and the US government access to your email data.

In other words, although these systems are so widely used, they leave much to be desired in terms of protecting user privacy and security. And this isn’t something you should sign up for, no matter whether you plan to use them for personal or business purposes.

But, there’s no need to panic – there’s plenty of other, more secure email providers that will protect your sensitive data and offer you top-notch security. Our list contains both free and paid solutions, together with some of the most important features we think you should have in mind when making a decision about which one to pick.

Key Features of Secure Email Providers

  • Encryption
    The process of encoding messages and information to render them completely useless to everyone except the intended recipients. In essence, encryption prevents hackers who intercept your email message from interpreting its content. There are different encryption protocols, with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) being one of the most trusted.
  • Two-factor authentication (2FA)
    This process is used for adding an extra layer of protection to your online email accounts. This is achieved by requiring an additional log-in credential for identity verification apart from the username and password.
  • End-to-end encryption (E2EE)
    A secure communication system that only allows the device to which the message was sent to decipher it. This way, third parties are prevented from accessing and secretly modifying data.
  • Integration with other email providers

Top Secure Email Providers


ProtonMail is the top contender in terms of email security. This Swiss-based email provider was created by CERN researchers and offers zero-access encryption. As Switzerland boasts strict privacy laws, you can be sure your sensitive data will be treated in a similar manner.

Moreover, thanks to E2EE and strong privacy standards, even the company itself can’t decipher your email messages. The protection protocols go to such an extent that you can have a problem if you can’t remember your password or need to recover your data.


Source: ProtonMail

The company data centers are safeguarded within nuclear bunkers that were used by the Swiss government in the past. So, all user data is stored on servers, consisting of fully encrypted hard disks protected by several password layers, that are physically located in Switzerland, which ensures data sovereignty.

It’s a plus that ProtonMail has an interface similar to Gmail’s, which allows for a seamless transition. ProtonMail comes in four pricing plans:

Free Plus Professional Visionary
Users 1 1 1-5,000 6
Storage 500 MB 5 GB 5 GB per user 20 GB
Addresses 1 5 5 per user 50
Messages per day 150 1,000 Unlimited Unlimited
Folders/labels 3 200 Unlimited Unlimited
Support Limited Normal Priority Priority
Custom domains 0 1 2 10
Pricing Free €5.00 monthly €8.00 monthly €30.00 monthly


Hushmail is another solid webmail provider that offers a high level of security through encryption and OpenPGP standards. Its users can both send to and receive secure emails from people who use any other webmail client. It also allows its users to add another layer of protection by setting up security questions on outgoing emails they send to recipients who don’t use Hushmail.


Source: Hushmail

Simplicity is at the core of Hushmail. According to the company, their webmail service is simple to use, understand, and secure. Therefore, new users need only a couple of minutes to create and set up a Hushmail account. After the account is ready to use, Hushmail can be accessed via dedicated desktop webmail and native iPhone apps. Other options include accessing through a supported desktop or smartphone email application.

Hushmail offers the basic plan for free, but you can pick among six different paid versions for specific purposes:

Personal Healthcare Small Business Law Nonprofits Enterprise
10 GB of storage 10-15 GB per account  10 GB per account 10 GB per account 10 GB per account API access
Up to 2 secure web forms Up to 5 encrypted email accounts Up to 2 secure web forms  Up to 2 secure web forms  Up to 2 secure web forms  White label solutions
Ad-free accounts Up to 5 secure web forms  Use your own domain name  Support for claim of privilege Use your own domain name Forced TLS encryption 
Unlimited aliases  Electronic signatures Unlimited aliases  Use your own domain OpenPGP encryption  Enforced password complexity 
Dedicated customer support  Private message center Private message center  Private message center Dedicated customer support  Email migrations
Dedicated customer support Dedicated customer support  Unlimited aliases Admin tools
Dedicated customer support 
$48.98 annually  $9.99-$29.99 monthly $5.99-$7.99 monthly $9.99 monthly $9.99 monthly Available upon request


Although its website doesn’t look too fancy, make no mistake — CounterMail is among the leading secure email providers. Just like Hushmail, CounterMail leverages OpenPGP standards and, like ProtonMail, it comes with complete E2EE. CounterMail servers are based in Sweden, and they’re diskless – the company uses a CD-ROM to start them. This way CounterMail prevents potential data leaks.

CounterMail uses SSL server encryption and robust Man-in-the-Middle protection. It also allows users to keep their own domain name, and provides 2FA via either a USB key dongle or TOTP. The company plans to add different advanced features, including an encrypted chat client, password-based encryption, time-delayed sending, and one-time messages to the service’s feature roster.

CounterMail offers three subscription plans:

Storage Price Commitment 
4 GB $29 6 months
4 GB $49 1 year
4 GB $79 2 years

Extra storage space is available for an additional one-time fee, a domain option for a $15 one-time setup fee, while USB credits are included in all premium subscriptions.


The name Tutanota was coined by blending two Latin words, “tuta” and “nota,” and means “secure message.” This email provider doesn’t fall short of expectations as it implements both E2EE and 2FA security protocols. Tutanota is based in Germany, which means that your data will be safeguarded by the country’s strict privacy laws.

Unlike some other secure email providers on this list, Tutanota opted for the AES-128 encryption standard instead of PGP, which has drawn user complaints. PGP provides better security since it’s an asymmetric key encryption algorithm, meaning that it doesn’t use the same key for both encrypting and decrypting data. On the other hand, AES uses only symmetric key encryption, which lacks an extra layer of security.


Source: Tutanota

It’s also worth noting that you can send an unlimited number of messages on both free and premium plans.

Tutanota offers three pricing plans:

Free Premium  Pro
One user

1 GB storage

Tutanota domains only

Limited search

One calendar

1 GB storage

Multiple custom domains

Unlimited search

5 aliases

Inbox rules

Email support

10 GB storage

1 custom domain

Unlimited search

20 aliases

Inbox rules

Priority support

Custom logo and colors

Contact forms (€20)

Free €12 + €12 for each additional seat annually €60 + €24 for each additional seat annually 


Founded in 1999, Mailfence is a secure webmail provider with a mission to protect user privacy. That’s why it doesn’t use third-party marketing trackers or display ads. This also means that your data won’t be sold to various companies for advertising purposes. At the same time, Mailfence is a staunch supporter of transparency and it maintains and provides detailed reports.


Source: Mailfence

In terms of security, Mailfence leverages OpenPGP E2EE, SSL/TSL encryption, and 2FA. Also, since it enables digital signatures and implements the Sender Policy Framework and Domain Keys Identified Mail verification systems, it’s possible to verify the sender’s identity and prevent any kind of data tampering.

Mailfence offers four pricing plans:

Free  Entry  Pro Ultra
500 MB of storage for emails 

500 MB of storage for documents


Email support 

5 GB of storage for emails 

12 GB of storage for documents 

10 aliases 


Email and phone support 


iOS, Android, ActiveSync support 

User management 

Custom email domains

20 GB of storage for emails 

24 GB of storage for documents 

50 aliases 


Email and phone priority support 


iOS, Android, ActiveSync support 

User management 

Custom email domains

50 GB of storage for emails 

70 GB of storage for documents 

100 aliases 


Email and phone priority support 


iOS, Android, ActiveSync support 

User management 

Custom email domains

Free €2.5 monthly €7.5 monthly €25 monthly


Norwegian-based Runbox is an employee-owned company which explains its superb customer service.

But top-notch customer service isn’t the only reason why Runbox is on this list. Namely, this email provider allows for Web, IMAP, POP3, SMTP (and more) access and integrates seamlessly with other email providers. Besides that, it doesn’t display third-party ads and allows its users to keep and use their existing email addresses.

However, Runbox doesn’t come with E2EE, and although this is somewhat of a shortcoming, there’s no reason to worry since the company servers and all the data are situated in a maximum-security DigiPlex data center. This facility offers electromagnetic and fire protection, as well as 24/7 manned security.

Software-wise, Runbox provides 2FA, SSL encryption, intelligent virus and spam filtering systems, as well as IP address whitelisting.

Runbox has a slightly different pricing plan. The first account you purchase is called the Main account, and it’s intended for one person. In case you need more accounts, it’s possible to purchase additional sub-accounts. You pay the full price for the main account, while sub-accounts are more affordable.

Micro Mini Medium Max
Email storage: 2 GB 10 GB 25 GB 50 GB
Domains: only 10 25
No. of aliases: 100 100 100 100
Price $1.66/mo

$19.95 billed annually

$ 34.95 billed annually

$49.95 billed annually


$79.95 billed annually 

Additional accounts $0.66 /mo

$7.95 (billed annually)


$ 14.95 (billed annually)


$24.95 (billed annually)


$34.95 (billed annually)


Posteo is an ultra secure email service powered entirely by green energy, and it’s also one of the most affordable solutions on the market, but not at the expense of privacy and security.

A feature that makes Posteo email provider unique among other contenders is that it allows users to sign up and pay anonymously. Besides that, you can also expect TLS-encrypted access and transmission with Perfect Forward Secrecy, HTTP Strict Transport Security HSTS, SSH, 2FA, spam and filtering functionality, and more.


Source: Posteo

In addition to that, it’s also possible to enable PGP and encrypt your mailbox. Support for POP, SMTP, and IMAP protocols is another plus. However, despite all these advantages, Posteo lacks E2EE, and that’s a shortcoming you should bear in mind if you’re considering this provider.

Posteo offers the following pricing plans:

  • Full account (includes two aliases, three calendars): €1 monthly
  • Additional storage: €0.25 per GB/mo
  • Additional alias addresses: €0.10/ monthly
  • Additional calendars: €0.10/ monthly

Kolab Now

Another Swiss-based service, Kolab Now provides secure email solutions to SMBs. The company insists on the transparency of users’ data, but it’s still very secretive regarding the security measures it implements. The only thing we know is that it leverages S/MIME, OpenPGP, and Perfect Forward Secrecy.

Still, Kolab Now covers all the bases when it comes to protecting their users’ sensitive data, which makes it popular with the target audience.
The pricing is pretty simple – it costs $4.42 monthly for individual users, while a group account costs $5.39 monthly.

Best Secure Email Providers: Side-by-Side Comparison

Provider  Pricing Advantages  Disadvantages 
ProtonMail Basic plan is free; paid plans range from €5 monthly/€48 annually to €30 monthly/€288 per annually – Features E2EE

– Protected by strict Swiss data privacy laws

– No unlimited storage

– Upgrades are expensive

– Issues with customer support

Hushmail Various pricing options such as $49.98 annually for Hushmail Premium or Personal Use and $5.99 monthly per user for Hushmail for Small Business – Ad-free inbox

– User-friendly 

– No crypto key management 

– Accounts are automatically deactivated after being inactive for 3 weeks 

– Incompatible with MacOS 

– Servers located in Canada

CounterMail Various pricing options ranging from $29 for a six-month subscription to $79 for a two-year subscription – Features E2EE

– Diskless servers 

– IMAP support 

– Outdated UI

– Encrypted emails can’t be sent to external users

– More expensive than others

Tutanota Basic plan is free; Premium plan starts at €12 annually; Pro plan starts at €60 annually – Features E2EE

– Works on all browsers

– Ad-free inbox 

– Outdated UI

– AES-128 encryption 

– Plain-text formatting only 

Mailfence Basic plan is free; Entry plan available at €2.50 monthly; Pro plan available €7.50 monthly – Protected by strict Belgian data privacy laws

– Ad-free inbox

– IMAP/POP support 

– No unlimited storage

– No mobile apps

– Lack of proper alias management system 

Runbox Various pricing options ranging from $19.95 annually to $79.95 annually; additional accounts and account upgrades come at extra cost – Protected by strict Norwegian data privacy laws

– 24/7 live support 

– Integrates with all email services 

– No unlimited storage 

– Outdated UI 

– No E2EE

Posteo €1monthly; additional storage available at €0.25 per GB per month – Servers use green energy 

– AES-256 encryption 

– Ad-free inbox

– No E2EE

– Doesn’t provide as much security as other services 

– Customer service could be better 

Kolab Now Individual accounts start at $4.42 per month; Group Manager accounts start at $5.39 per month – Protected by strict Swiss data privacy laws

– Feature-rich 

– Open source 

– No E2EE

– Security systems aren’t transparent 

When we’re talking about secure email providers, email archiving is a topic that has to be included in the conversation. While the systems we discussed make sure the sensitive data you send in your email messages is protected, implementing a reliable email archiving solution is an equally crucial step if you want to stay on the safe side.

Jatheon is a comprehensive email archiving platform that will safely index, store and organize your business emails so that you can easily search and retrieve them using 20+ criteria for compliance, ediscovery and FOIA management.

To learn how your organization can archive email using Jatheon’s on-premise and cloud email archiving solutions, contact us or book a 30-minute, no commitment demo of our platform.

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About the Author
Steven Tobolar
Steven Tobolar is Jatheon’s Head of Tech Support and an experienced engineer specializing in large-scale migration projects, AWS, Exchange Servers, and Microsoft Azure. Outside work, he enjoys reading, movies, off-road driving, and mountain biking.

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