Which email provider is the most secure?

Don’t underestimate all the data in your Inbox and Sent folders in your email client. Your private information should be protected, and one of the ways to ensure email privacy is to use end-to-end encryption. The two most popular email providers that offer end-to-end encryption based on open source codes are ProtonMail and Tutanota, but which one is better?

What does ProtonMail offer?

ProtonMail is a secure email based in Switzerland and widely used by people who want maximum privacy. Its encryption algorithm is so successful that some phones from Sirin Labs even use it.

ProtonMail offers its users many advantages:

  • Based in Switzerland, i.e. not part of the “Five Eyes”, “Nine Eyes” and “14 Eyes” networks.
  • Using end-to-end encryption without access. This means that ProtonMail cannot read or decrypt your emails either.
  • No IP address logs are kept that can be linked to an anonymous email account.
  • It is an open source and easy to use email with a modern inbox design.
  • Self-destructing messages.
  • Secure communication with other email providers.

ProtonMail offers both free and paid options; the latter helps support the larger project and keep your account more secure.

What does Tutanota offer?

Like ProtonMail, Tutanota will protect your emails with its built-in encryption algorithm. Unlike ProtonMail, Tutanota is headquartered in Germany; there is some debate over which country has the best privacy laws, but Germany and Switzerland rank among the best.


Interestingly, Tutanota comes from the Latin language and consists of the expressions “tuta” and “nota”, translated as “secure message”.

Among its main features, Tutanota offers:

  • An encrypted transmission (TLS).
  • End-to-end encrypted email storage.
  • End-to-end encryption of all internal emails.
  • Two-factor authentication.
  • Apps for Android, iOS and Desktop.
  • An encrypted calendar feature to keep your activities private.
  • Data processing in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

It is also open source so security experts can verify the code that protects emails. Same as ProtonMail, Tutanota has a free and paid version.

How do Tutanota and ProtonMail compare to other email providers?

Tutanota and ProtonMail prioritize security and privacy above all else. Thus, both have end-to-end encryption which makes interception almost impossible. Additionally, they will protect your identity by not keeping logs or requiring personal information at the time of registration. But there is more; they also provide secure methods for communicating with people who use regular email providers such as Gmail or Outlook.

Secure email providers generally offer less storage than traditional providers like Google, and Tutanota and ProtonMail are no different, so that’s a downside. For example, ProtonMail offers 500MB and Tutanota 1GB for free accounts. Instead, for example, Google gives us 15 GB of storage which we can also use with Google Drive and Google Photos.

ProtonMail and Tutanota support the basic Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol used by all major email providers. This provides a fundamental layer of security between your computer or smartphone and the mail server, which is responsible for saving and sending emails.

The contents of your inbox are end-to-end encrypted on the server. ProtonMail and Tutanota allow easy encryption between users of the same service. There is no need to reconfigure anything else when communicating with someone using the same service.

In operational terms, this means that only you can read the received message. If a cybercriminal intercepts your data, it will be difficult for them to decrypt the email without the key. Tutanota and ProtonMail’s encryption is considered highly secure compared to regular email services such as Gmail or Outlook, which can also encrypt selected emails.

Another fact to note is that ProtonMail is also compatible with Pretty Good Privacy (PGP). Messages sent this way are locked with the recipient’s public key and can then be decrypted with a private key that only the recipient knows. In this sense, ProtonMail allows a configuration so that the encryption/decryption is done automatically.

Differences and Similarities Between ProtonMail and Tutanota

Although the two services are similar in terms of security and privacy, there are some differences between the free and paid versions available.

The process in which ProtonMail and Tutanota send emails is essentially the same. First, you write an email and choose to protect it with a password, before sending it. The recipient then receives a notification that they have a new message but cannot read it because the body of the message is encrypted. Only when the user enters the password will he be able to see the message.

Message expiration: Messages sent this way via ProtonMail expire in 28 days, unless a shorter period is set. On the other hand, Tutanota are only available until another email is sent to the same recipient.

Host Country: The country where the data is stored is important because it is the legislation that will be applied in the event of legal problems. Tutanota will be governed by German laws, considered one of the strongest privacy defenders in the European Union.

ProtonMail is governed by Swiss law, characterized by confidentiality and neutrality. It is based on the Federal Data Protection Act (DPA) and the Federal Data Protection Ordinance (DPO), which provide you with one of the strongest privacy protections in the world. Distinguishing which of the two is better is complicated as both offer a high degree of privacy.

Space: Free Tutanota accounts will provide 1GB storage for single user, narrow search and single calendar. One positive thing to note is that there are no restrictions on the number of messages you can send.

ProtonMail offers 500MB for each user, a limit of 150 messages per day, and three labels to organize the mail. Free ProtonMail users are more limited in their capabilities than free Tutanota users. The latter then offers a more attractive version in terms of free versions.

Commercial features: Both include custom domains, alias addresses, and inbox rules features; Yet Tutanota is the only one that offers unlimited domains, white label customizations, and encrypted contact forms.

Price: ProtonMail prices are higher than Tutanota, but since neither is compatible with traditional email clients, paid ProtonMail users have access to ProtonMail Bridge which extends support for Outlook, Thunderbird and Apple Mail on Windows, Mac and Linux. On the other hand, Tutanota uses a dedicated desktop client for Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Other advantages : Tutanota also encrypts email subject lines and contact details, which ProtonMail does not. That being said, ProtonMail has an email self-destruct option, which Tutanota does not.

Tutanota or ProtonMail: which is better?

Both are great providers, and both have unique things, so the real question should be, which one is better? for your needs?

On the one hand, Tutanota is more concerned about maintaining your privacy. ProtonMail focuses on highly secure (although arguably not as secure as Tutanota) email services that are still easy to use and convenient for all users. Nonetheless, both providers are excellent, and the one you choose will have the best encryption and security features on the market.

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