The reason I most highly recommend Tutanota for an encrypted email service is because I use it every day myself. Let’s explore why it’s among the best.
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I use Tutanota myself for my personal email and so does my partner Eve. We’re both really impressed with it. The great thing about Tutanota is that everything is encrypted in your message, even the subject line. Nobody can ever access an encrypted Tutanota message unless they have either your password or access to the email account of the person you’re sending the message to. Tutanota also comes with an encrypted calendar, which I use all the time for my personal schedule.
The company is based in Germany, where the privacy laws are generally very good (although some of the most hardcore privacy activists might debate that). One for sure is that out of all of the services available, Tutanota is the most secure and private email service available. The only way that you could have more secure and private email is if you are a genius and know how to host and encrypt your own email (and let’s be honest, not many of us are that kind of person).
The Tutanota team is quite small so they really keep their decision making and creative forces among a trusted few. This means slower updates however it’s a positive thing for some people. Keeping their team smaller also means keeping their running costs (and therefore the service price) lower.
Tutanota is completely open source and doesn’t require any google services to run on android (this is the reason I switched from Protonmail to Tutanota). You can find it in the play store, iphone store and f-droid (an open source android app store). Tutanota also has a host of proprietary applications for Windows, Mac, Android and iPhone. The service is cheaper than its main competitor, Protonmail.
Tutanota has a free version plus a variety of inexpensive premium plans. To use email aliases and two-factor authentication you have to use a paid plan. Email aliases mean that you can create many aliases for the same email address. One downside of Tutanota at the time of writing is that you can’t create individual ‘display names’ to go with the aliases. Like with Protonmail you can also use your own domain name with Tutanota. A great feature of Tutanota is that you can also pay to have access to a very secure contact form (to put on websites you might own). There’s also the whitelabel service which is an unbranded version of Tutanota so that you can put your own logo in place of the Tutanota one.
Downsides to Tutanota
The biggest downside to Tutanota as I already hinted above, is that the company is quite slow at releasing new features. Which is a shame because there is a significant amount of functionality that many people want to see and is still not available. For example at the time of writing we still can’t import / export mail, we still can’t label our mail and most problematic of all we cannot yet change our display names for our different email aliases. Tutanota plans all of these things in the future and also many other features I haven’t mentioned (see their roadmap), however to be honest the feature updates are slow with Tutanota. I do however counter that again by saying that ensuring they keep their service highly secure and their running costs low is a difficult thing for them to do. So I’m personally willing to tolerate the speed that they go.
Another more minor annoyance with Tutanota is the way that it deals with notifications. Because almost everything is encrypted in your mailbox, the filters you set up won’t work until you actually open and decrypt your mailbox. This means even if you set up a spam filter, you will still be notified of the email before it gets deleted. This also applies to messages you already read on a different device. Example: If I read an email on my computer, my mobile phone will still tell me that there is an unread message. I appreciate that this is a sacrifice that we have to make to have such heavy encryption, however if Tutanota ever found a way around it, I would be delighted.
One thing to be aware of when you use Tutanota is that even though they are the most privacy conscious and secure email service available, some information is still logged. Most of your information is completely encrypted however the sender email address and recipient email address are not. This isn’t really a downside to me but I know for some hardcore privacy activists they’d want even this eliminated.
Even with the downsides considered, Tutanota is the best option for the maximum email security. It’s our email service of choice.
- Most thoroughly encrypted email service available
- Has a free version
- Premium version is very affordable (cheaper than Protonmail)
- Two factor authentication available
- Includes an encrypted calendar
- A simple but good looking user interface
- Works well even on non-google android
- Completely open-source
- Has proprietary open-source applications for all platforms
- Email aliases available
- Ability to use your own domain name
- Hosted in Germany
- Whitelabel feature
- Secure contact form feature
- Inability to set individual display names for email aliases (planned)
- Filtering rules not as advanced as competitors
- Has folders for organisation but not labels (planned)
- Inability to either import or export mail at the moment (planned)
- Contacts section of the application not as advanced as competitors
- Notifications sound even if an email has been read already on a different device
- Notifications sound even when an email filter is set up to delete an email
- Applications require updating quite frequently
Score: 9 / 10
Reviewer: Adam Rouge
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