ProtonMail Reviews& Product Details
ProtonMail is a swiss-based secure email service provider that offers end-to-end encryption with key features such as self-destructing emails, custom labels, easy migration, and quick filters. It utilizes zero access architecture, which means that ProtonMail doesn’t store any user info, providing excellent data privacy. The encrypted emails are transferred across using secure lines. Moreover, it is an open-source solution that uses open-source cryptography algorithms to achieve complete security and privacy. ProtonMail follows a freemium model, enabling individuals to try out its service with limited features and paid plans best suited for businesses and teams. Let’s explore more about ProtonMail in our ProtonMail review.
Found in these Categories
- Small Business
- Medium Business
- Large Enterprise
- Non-profit Organization
- Cloud, SaaS, Web-Based
- Mobile - Android
- Mobile - iPhone
- Mobile - iPad
- Desktop - Mac
- Desktop - Windows
- Desktop - Linux
- Desktop - Chromebook
- On-Premise - Windows
- On-Premise - Linux
Pricing Model: Subscription
- Free Trial
- Free Version
Features list not provided by ProtonMail.
ProtonMail – encrypted email service
If you care about your online privacy, you should get an encrypted email service. ProtonMail is one of the most popular email encrypted services that provides end-to-end encryption for your emails. It offers accessible features for individuals and businesses. Moreover, it is an open-source solution that offers excellent features, including custom labels, multiple layouts & themes, quick filters, and archives. As for security and email encryption, it uses open-source cryptography, hardware-level security, and self-destructing messages. Also, if you are moving from another email service, ProtonMail offers migration tools for easy import. In our ProtonMail review, we will explore more about ProtonMail and see what it has to offer.
What is ProtonMail?
ProtonMail is a secure email provider based in Switzerland. It is an open-source service provider that offers freemium plans. Swizz is well-known for its data security and neutrality, so your privacy is well-secure. However, ProtonMail records IP addresses for the emails but only shares them with the Swizz government if the original user permits it. ProtonMail uses end-to-end encryption to secure emails, using open-source cryptography algorithms to power the encryption.
ProtonMail is open-source, making it more reliable and trustworthy than the other closed email service provider ecosystem. With ProtonMail, you can maintain multiple email accounts without switching providers. Moreover, it offers productivity options such as Drive and Calendar, directly integrated for better management.Some of the other key features offered by ProtonMail include:
- Custom labels
- Quick filters
- Migration tools
- Encrypted attachments
- Two-factor authentication
- Hardware-level security
Want to know more? Then, keep reading our ProtonMail review.
How secure is ProtonMail?
ProtonMail uses different types of techniques to secure your email. The key features that secure your email include no or minimum information logging, end-to-end encryption, open-source code, independently audited solution, SSL secured connections, and zero access architecture. As a user, your primary concern is whether ProtonMail is secure or not. The three key aspects that make ProtonMail the worthy choice is
- Switzerland-based with one of the strictest privacy laws
- Data secured in highly-secure data centers
- End-to-end encryption.
However, ProtonMail does log some basic information such as IP address, device identification number, and date when the email is created. But, they do not reveal any email contents as they are encrypted, and no one can decipher them. One such instance took place in 2021 when French authorities requested information related to French climate activists.
Initially, they rejected the request, but Interpol got directly involved, leading the Swiss government to reveal that information per the local law. Overall, ProtonMail does the basic logging that almost every other email service provider or service provider in general does. If you are worried about this type of situation, then you can overcome it by using a VPN provider when using ProtonMail or any other kind of service. This way, you are entirely secure.
How to use ProtonMail?
If you are new to the secured email service provider, you may find yourself confused on how to use ProtonMail “effectively.” In this section, we will take a closer look at using ProtonMail.
- The first step is to sign up for ProtonMail. If you are already signed up, you need to do a Protonmail sign-in by going to their official site or using the ProtonMail app on Android or iOS to log in.
- Now, you need to create a new email. You can choose to send an email to another ProtonMail user or someone outside of ProtonMail. If you select another ProtonMail user, you do not have to worry about encryption as ProtonMail takes care of it.
- If you are sending an email to non-ProtonMail users, you need to set up PGP, which is easy to do. All you need to do is ensure that the “Attach Public Key” option is enabled. The option is present in the more section. You can also set up the option to work automatically by going to Settings and then Security. There, you need to enable “Automatically attach the public key.” Of course, this only works if the recipient also sends their public key, and you need to trust the key to secure the communication between you and the recipient.
You can also send password-protected self-destructing emails as well. But, again, you need to read ProtonMail documentation on the steps to do it securely.
ProtonMail is primarily aimed at providing excellent security for email collaboration. That’s why it offers security features in addition to the traditional email features. In this section, we will take a closer look at what ProtonMail has to offer. But, first, let’s list the ProtonMail features below.
For productive people, it is essential to organize their mailbox. That’s where custom labels come in. ProtonMail understands that and offers custom labels support which you can use to group your emails easily. Traditionally, you can use folders to group emails, but they are not enough for ultimately managing your email address. To manage your email, you can add custom labels to emails. This will ensure proper categorization, and if you later decide to remove the label, it will not be removed from the folder.
Multiple themes and layouts
ProtonMail also supports basic customization when it comes to layouts and themes. Initially, ProtonMail only supported layout, but it came with more options with time. You can choose from six different themes. Once you select your theme, you can choose the layout of your choice—the layout changes composer, inbox, and icon sizes — independently changeable to suit your requirement.
ProtonMail utilizes end-to-end encryption to ensure email security at all times. Also, the messages are stored in the ProtonMail server completely encrypted using the highest security encryption possible. In addition, all the communications between the server and the users are entirely encrypted. This means you can adjust the different aspects of the email and make it look like Gmail if you need to.
Zero User Data Access
ProtonMail encrypts all the data so that it is not even accessible by ProtonMail employees. To achieve this, ProtonMail follows zero access architecture. The architecture ensures that all data is encrypted at all times, making it inaccessible to unauthorized personnel and ProtonMail employees. The zero user data access means ProtonMail offers excellent Privacy. Also, it gives complete control to the user. However, the only side effect of the approach is that if a user forgets its password, ProtonMail cannot recover the password or access the content within the account.
With Quick filters, you can effortlessly search your emails. With it, you can input email addresses, dates, keyboards, or boxes to find the message. However, you need to note that email content cannot be searched as ProtonMail uses zero-knowledge encryption, which doesn’t index the email content and hence cannot index them.
ProtonMail’s easy migration tools let you quickly move from other email services to ProtonMail. However, many individuals and businesses need to import their emails before using the new email service provider. The proprietary app by ProtonMail lets you easily import or export data from Outlook, Yahoo, or Gmail. Also, the migration tools are only available on paid plans.
You can further enhance your productivity by learning the keyboard shortcuts offered by ProtonMail. These shortcuts let you quickly go to previous mail, open or save a new draft, or scroll through your mailbox.
ProtonMail recently introduced a new encrypted attachments option. All the attachments are auto-encrypted when uploaded and decrypted when downloaded with this option enabled. These updated features truly bring security to a whole new level – providing end-to-end encryption to your emails.
Another new feature that ProtonMail added is the Archive folder. This folder is added to already present five folders, including Inbox, Sent, Spam, Drafts, and Trash.
Open Source Cryptography
ProtonMail secures your email using open-source cryptography. These open-source algorithms are trusted. ProtonMail uses RSA, AES, and OpenPGP to secure its servers. The open-source nature of the algorithms means you can trust them as everyone can check what the algorithms do in terms of security.
If you want to secure your email completely, you need to enable two-factor authentication(2FA). This additional layer requires an additional input code when logging in to your email. To enable 2FA, you need to install 2FA apps such as FreeOTP, Authy, and Google Authenticator.
ProtonMail also equips its server with hardware-level security. Their data centers are kept at secure locations, and only personnel with biometric data can access the site. In addition, the hard disks used here are fully encrypted while utilizing multiple password layers.
If you want a message to self-destruct after a specific period or after being read, you can do so with ProtonMail. The self-destructing messages technology works with both secure and unsecured messages.
Even though ProtonMail is an open-source solution, they offer paid pricing options. As ProtonMail is community-supported, they provide free access to ProtonMail without showing ads or breaking privacy by selling users’ data. The paid plans enable ProtonMail to keep their services running as they need resources to run the infrastructure. Irrespective of whether you pay for their services or not, you are bound to get the highest security level.The paid plans offer access to the following features:
- Security without compromise
- 24/7 operations
- Swiss Based
- Infrastructure redundancy
- Community activism
- Expert customer support
- PGP compliant and open source
- Cryptography research
- Resilient networks
Let’s go through the ProtonMail plans one by one.
ProtonMail is an individual plan where you can access 500 MB of storage. It enables anyone to take advantage of what ProtonMail has to offer. With the plan, you can send encrypted emails all over the world. The great thing about ProtonMail Free is that it offers the same level of security as that of other paid plans. However, it does come with some limitations as below:
- Messages per day: 150(150 messages per hour).
- Folders/labels: 3
- Storage: 500 MB
- Customer support: Limited
- Customizable: No
In ProtonMail Free, you do not access custom domains or additional addresses. Also, the short email domain can only receive messages with access to 1 active custom filter. ProtonMail Free doesn’t sell your data for advertisement, which means your privacy is protected even if you use the Free plan.
The Plus pricing starts at $5.00 per month, which amounts to $48 per year. It is also an individual plan, but the most significant jump is your storage and messages per day. Here, you get a limit of 5 GB storage with 1000 messages per day (300 messages per hour). As you send more emails, you also access more folders and labels. The key features that you get are:
- Messages per day: 1000 messages (300 messages per hour).
- Folders/labels: 200
- Storage: 5 GB
- Customer support: Normal
- Customizable: Yes, you can add an extra email address and custom domains
Unlike the Free plan, here you get access to 1 custom domain and access to email filters and autoresponders. The short email address can send and receive emails. Moreover, you also get access to IMAP support, migration tools, and 100 active custom filters.
The Professional plan starts at $8 per month per user, which amounts to $75 per year per user. The plan is best suited for organizations looking to use secure emails for their work. In the professional plan, you can add up to 5000 users with 5 GB per user storage. Users also get to use five addresses with unlimited folders/labels. As it is aimed at business, you get priority customer support. You also get two custom domains, email filters, autoresponders, multi-user support, and catch-all email. In summary, you get the following with the Professional plan:
- Messages per day: Unlimited
- Folders/labels: Unlimited
- Storage: 5 GB per user
- Customer support: Priority
- Customizable: Yes, you can add an extra email address and custom domains
- Autoresponder: Yes
ProtonMail is an individual/family plan that offers you superior features compared to the other individual plans. The plan came into existence in 2014 when crowdfunding contributors made this tool a possibility. Its pricing starts at $30 per month and $288 per year. The visionary users get access to all the features. Additionally, they also get access to early access services and features. So, if you are someone who likes to try out new things in email technology, you can go with the Visionary plan.
Here, you get access to six uses with a total of 20 GB of storage. You also get 50 addresses and priority support. The messages per day and labels/folders are set to unlimited. As for custom domains, you get 10. In terms of features, you get everything, including:
- Email filters
- Catch-All Email
- Multi-User Support
- Migration tools
- 100 active custom filters
Another thing that separates this plan from the other ones is the inclusion of the ProtonVPN Visionary Plan that supports 10 VPN Connections.
ProtonMail, with its freemium model and excellent security measures, is a good pick for almost anyone out there. However, it is not the only option. The idea of a secure email service is widespread, and you can easily find many alternatives to ProtonMail. Privacy is one of the biggest concerns for online users, and many startups and companies are taking the opportunity to provide the most secure email services out there. ProtonMail’s main drawback is daily message limits. Also, it doesn’t support POP3. Lastly, the visionary plan is expensive, turning off people who want to get a family plan.
So, what options do you have? Let’s list the ProtonMail alternatives below:
Tutanota is one of the best ProtonMail alternatives. Like ProtonMail, it is also a privacy-oriented email service that offers excellent security features, including end-to-end encryption. It also comes with an excellent onboarding process and easy import functionality. Also, it is an open-source solution that makes people trust the solution more than other proprietary 3rd-party solutions. Finally, the prices start cheap at $1 per month, in addition to the free base account.
Disroot offers an overall great package when compared to ProtonMail. It is a cloud-based solution that offers code hosting, voice chat, office tools, search engine platform, video conferencing, and file hosting & sharing. All these are secure using high-level security, privacy, and decentralization. In addition, the email service is completely protected with SSL encryption. You can use Disroot email for free up to 1 GB of storage. However, the paid plan starts at $15 per month.
If you are looking for a private company offering email services that provide better support than open-source solutions, then you can choose Barracuda. It provides secure email services that protect against all types of threats, including malicious websites, spam, spear phishing, ransomware, and more! It also comes with an Email Threat Scanner that identifies any compromises within your email.
ProtonMail vs. Tutanota
ProtonMail and Tutanota are two prominent secure email providers out there. Of course, you cannot go wrong if you choose any of them. But, what makes them different from each other? This section will go through the key differences between the two industry-leading providers.
ProtonMail uses RSA 2048-bit end-to-end symmetrical encryption for emails when it comes to encryption. As for non-email users, it uses the standard AES 256-bit. Moreover, ProtonMail also supports OpenPGP — not so secure encryption method. Tutanota, on the other hand, also uses RSA 2048 for end-to-end user emails and AES 128-bit for non-users. In addition, Tutanota also supports PGP but covers its flaws by encrypting subject lines.
As for anonymity, both Tutanota and ProtonMail do a good job when it comes to anonymity. Both do not trace IP addresses when sending or receiving messages. ProtonMail does log IP as a requirement from Swiss government requests, but you can easily overcome it by using a good VPN service.
Tutanota offers a good spam filter feature that identifies spam and blocks them. However, overall, many users have complained about the spam filtering abilities of Tutanota. ProtonMail, on the other hand, uses a spam detection system for blocking unwanted messages. If you find ProtonMail spam detection too strict, you can easily add emails to its whitelister.
ProtonMail, a Switzerland company, offers great privacy-oriented features, including protecting the servers in a safe and secure place. Tutanota is a German company, but it is protected with the German Federal Data Protection Act, which ensures that users’ data is protected and can only be collected after the user’s explicit permission.
As for features, both ProtonMail and Tutanota offer standard email service and offer features including custom domain aliases and autoresponders. However, both of them do have some unique features to offer. For example, Tutanota offers SecureConnect, which lets you create web forms that can be included in a site with the same security levels as Tutanota offers. ProtonMail, on the other hand, offers a VPN subscription which makes it a good combination for those who want to secure their whole online experience. Besides that, ProtonMail offers ProtonMail Bridge that automatically encrypts and decrypts messages in SMTP and IMAP-supported applications.
When it comes to pricing, both offer competitive pricing. However, if you are looking for more simplistic pricing, ProtonMail is a good choice. Overall, both are good picks for secure email service providers.
ProtonMail Review Conclusions
Most of the mainstream email service providers do not offer end-to-end encryption. That’s where email services like ProtonMail come in. So, if you are looking for more privacy and security, this tool is a great pick! In addition, it offers excellent import features that simplify importing your emails to the brand new service provider. Also, the product is easy to use while providing good encryption. In conclusion, in our ProtonMail review, we found an excellent encrypted email service. So, if you are looking for an encrypted email service, then ProtonMail is an excellent pick for you!