Say goodbye to Gmail - Find a privacy-focused email service

Gmail is a data scraping nightmare. If you are looking for privacy-focused, secure email check out this post gathering the most powerful and secure Gmail alternatives.

Disclaimer: This post is a write-in-progress. I wanted to get it out there, but I will continue update it with additional privacy-focused email services. Additional sections about Soverin and Kolab Now are already in the works, so make sure to revisit this post for more insights.

Last update: June 4th, 2024 - added Posteo and table of contents for easier browsing.

After my post about privacy-focused Google Analytics services became quite a success (I still update it regularly with new services and tools), I decided to expand on the idea of ‚de-googling‘ by gathering privacy-focused Gmail alternatives.

The Google Analytics alternatives blog post became one of the most popular post I have ever written. As more and more people are looking into ways to unbundle Google, it feels great to have created such a resource. However, people are not only searching for privacy-focused ways to get insights about the traffic happening on their websites. They are searching for alternatives for Google Search, Google Calendar, Google Docs, and other products by the tech giant. Whenever I am talking about unbundling Google with friends and colleagues, a lot of them actually tried to unbundle Google, but the reason they have not fully commit to it, is Gmail. Therefore, I decided to create a similar resource focusing on those Gmail alternatives.

Let me tell you, there are great privacy-friendly Gmail alternatives. You found the right blog post to get an in-depth guide about popular services and Pps. While switching to a privacy-friendly Gmail alternative for your work email might be a little bit harder (but not impossible), a first step would be to move your personal email to a new provider, focusing on privacy, not spying on you, and not selling your data. So, when you are reading through this post, do it with a grain of salt. Most of the proposed solutions might not be fully suitable for the big corporation you are working for, but they definitely work for your personal email, for your side-projects, your newsletters, and casual email conversations.

Reasons speaking against Gmail

But, why would you actually migrate off of Gmail? Google makes money through advertising. Therefore, they have great interest in serving you tailored ads, since as they get more targeted to you and your interest, the more money Google makes. The one thing Google needs to create the most targeted ads is data. Thinking about the extensive usage of Chrome, Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and other Google products of some users, the amount of data you are sharing withe with the company is a lot. In my opinion it is not a justified tradeoff, getting access to those free apps by providing loads of your data to Google.

The shocking amount of data Google is collecting got visualized once Apple introduced its privacy labels feature in 2021. Suddenly, people realized that in order to download Gmail and use its free services, they had to agree to the terms and conditions, which were allowing third-party advertisers to know you location, User ID, usage data, and a lot more. The App Store did a great job highlighting all the data Gmail and Goole are collecting. Looking way back, Gmail even used to scan users‘ emails to serve them tailored ads. This practice has been critiqued by privacy experts for quite some time, and fortunately Google decided to put an end to that method back in 2017.

Google's business is not apps, it is data. While you would expect from such a company to take privacy measures to ensure users's data stays safe and secure, Google has moved in the opposite direction. In July, 2023, Google updated its privacy policy to explicitly allow scraping publicly available information from websites to train its AI models and build products like Google Translate, Bard, and Cloud AI capabilities. With the updated policy, Google gets broad rights to collect data from any public-facing website. Although Google states it will only use "public available information", the policy lacks in clarity how copyrighted material will be excluded from the collected data. As a result, loads of websites have policies banning data collection for training AI systems. When it comes to such data scraping, you can not prioritize AI development over user privacy. Except you are Google, it seems like.

Since Email is crucial for communicating, it serves as a hub for sensitive data. A popular email provider like Gmail backed by a company like Google, which is utilizing user data to train its algorithms and AI models, should protect that sensitive data instead of abusing it.

Therefore, you will find a selection of privacy-focused and end-to-end encrypted email services down below.

Table of Contents

Proton Mail

Proton Mail*

Proton Mail is one of the most popular privacy-focused Gmail alternatives. End-to-end encryption, headquartered in Switzerland, email tracking blockers, and over 100 million accounts are some of the strong arguments speaking for Proton Mail. Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and other popular email services use your data to profit from it. Instead, Proton Mail with its end-to-end encryption and zero-access encryption ensure only you can see your emails. Not even Proton can view the content of your emails and attachments.

Most advertisers place tracking pixels within their emails to get information what you have read and clicked on within the email, but they can also follow you around the web. Proton Mail blocks those email trackers to protect you from any kind of tracking and companies monitoring you. Additionally, it saves you from spam and phishing with a dedicated feature called PhishGuard, give you the possibility to create hide-my-email aliases to sign up for new websites, schedule, undo, or snooze emails, unsubscribe from newsletters and marketing emails with a single click, and set passwords and expiration dates for your emails to securely send confidential information.

You can enjoy all of that on all your devices and platforms, since Proton Mail is available for web, desktop, Android, and iPhone.

There is no reason a company should be allowed to scrape your email for data, track you across the internet, and make a profit from that. Everyone can benefit from switching to a private email service just like Proton Mail. It makes it easy to get started, encrypt your emails, and exercise your right to privacy wherever you are.

Proton Mail is a safer and privacy-focused Gmail alternative. With Proton Mail, only you can read your emails, not even Proton can read your emails. Gmail retains the decryption keys for your data on the same servers where it stores your messages. Ultimately, this means that Gmail can read your message. Since Gmail does not feature zero-access encryption, your data is put at an increased risk at the event of a data breach. Those are reasons enough to switch to more privacy-focused and secure Gmail alternative, like Proton Mail.

As of recently, Proton Mail has also raised some privacy concerns though.

Since Proton is incorporated and headquartered in Switzerland, your data is protected by some of the world's strictest privacy laws. You would think so, right? However, in 2021, the company was under fire after it got reported that Proton handed out user details to authorities. Proton promises to let users take control of their personal data. But in the 2021 case, Proton was legally obliged to collect data from an account that was linked to a 'climate activist' arrested by French police. In a blog post by Proton Mail, the company stated that it had received a legally binding order from Swiss authorities to collect data.

That was not the only data request Proton Mail complied with. According to a post by Restore Privacy, Proton Mail complied with 5,957 data requests in 2022 and raises the question if the service is still secure and private. That data is gathered from a Transparency report the company is publishing since 2017. Among those requests is a case where the FBI was able to get data on a U.S. Proton Mail user who was being investigated for harassment, according to an article by Forbes. The newest case is from May 2024, when Proton Mail disclosed user data which led to an arrest in Spain.

If you are looking for a secure, encrypted email service that does not have access to your inbox, Proton Mail is still a great service, and far better than Gmail, Outlook, and Yahoo when it comes to privacy. In case you are planning to use Proton Mail to do things that attract the attention of law enforcement, be aware that the data you provide while using Proton Mail, may be shared with authorities as Proton is legally compelled to do so in Swiss Court. No matter in which country Proton would be headquartered, there would always be the need to comply with laws.

Nevertheless, there are more and different privacy-focused Gmail alternatives which you will find down below, all providing various privacy and security benefits.

Proton Mail offers a Free Plan which gives you access to up to 1GB Mail storage, one user, and one email address. The Mail Plus Plan costs you €3.99 per month (billed annually), giving you access to 15GB storage, one user, 10 email addresses, support for one custom domain, unlimited folders, labels, and filters, as well as access to Proton Calendar. With Proton Unlimited, you not only get 500GB storage, 15 email addresses, support for 3 custom domains, you can also enjoy other Proton services like Calendar, VPN, Drive, and Pass. The Unlimited Plan costs you €9.99 per month (billed annually). Proton is also offering business plans starting at €6.99 per user per month (billed annually).


If you came across Proton Mail before while researching for a privacy-focused Gmail alternative, chances are high you are already familiar with Fastmail too. Fastmail is another widely popular privacy-focused email services, although it is not packed with as much as security and privacy focused features like Proton Mail.

Fastmail provides you with a lovely and lucid interface that allows you breeze through your inbox. Not only that, as within a single app you get a feature-packed inbox, see the full picture with a colorful calendar, and keep your contacts organized with a dedicated address book. Thanks to customizable features like folders and labels to keep things tidy, rules and filters to take control of your inbox, and quick and effective search tools to save time, Fastmail not only helps you to organize your emails, it also boosts your productivity.

Since Fastmail allows you to easily set up multiple addresses, you can protect yourself from tracking, data leaks, and spammers. As the calendar and address book is also part of the app, you never need to leave your inbox to see your schedule or access your contacts, as they are always available from the app's sidebar. Fastmail is not only packed with productivity boosting features, it also puts your privacy first. With Fastmail you can be sure that your data is kept away from self-serving companies. By encrypting emails at rest and in transit, Fastmail secures your emails. It uses Transport Layer Security (TLS) and Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption for all connections, including webmail, the Fastmail app, and IMAP/POP/SMTP email client access.

However, Fastmail does not offer end-to-end encryption for emails, which means that if a government or other entity wants to access the content of an email, they can potentially do so. Additionally, the company is based in Australia (which is part of Five Eyes) and their servers are located in the US. Unfortunately, the list of cons goes on as it requires a valid phone number to create an account, it does not support PGP, there is no free subscrition tier, and only a portion of code is open source.

Restore Privacy did a deep dive into Fastmail and came to the conlcusion that Australia is a bad location for secure email as it is a member of the Five Eyes Intelligence organization, your metadata does not belong to you in Australia, Australia leads the way for the world to spy on users, data is stored on servers in the United States, and ultimate you do not control your content, but Fastmail does.

While Fastmail is a good choice in case your only concern is that a big tech corporation like Google or Microsoft does scrape your data for advertising purposes, if you are looking for a secure and private email service, other services mentioned in this might might be the better choice.

Fastmails' Individuals Plan starts at $5 per month (billed annually) and includes 50GB of storage, extra email addresses for personal and work, the possibility to use your own domain, masked email to hide addresses and secure logins, personal and work calendars, and the option to import or automatically build your contact list.


Mailbox is an exciting privacy-focused email service which has its data centre in Germany, runs on 100% green energy, is GDPR-compliant, and features rigorous encryption.

Since the company and servers are based in Germany, they are tied to strong privacy protections. Mailbox features HSTS and PFS for messages in transit, powerful message and spam filters, messages are encrypted at rest, it is open source, supports custom domains, and a lot more.

Design-wise, Mailbox feels quite outdated. Both Proton Mail and Fastmail feature a way more modern, lucid, and lovely user interface. To some users, this might be secondary, especially since you can use your Mailbox email address with any email client that supports POP3 or IMAP. Nevertheless, design matters when it comes to the user experience and usability of features. So, keep that in mind when deciding whether to sign up for a Mailbox account or not.

When I signed up for an Mailbox account, getting greeted by the Portal which is a customizable interface to navigate through the different sections and areas of Mailbox, felt a bit off. It created the impression that Mailbox does not put email first, but rather tries to be an everything app, as it also provides you with cloud storage, an online office, video conferencing, and more. When I sign up for a privacy focused emails service, that is in fact the only thing I need. I have no plans to move my cloud storage to Mailbox, or use it for email conferencing. The Portal puts those things in the center of the user's attention though.

Mailbox does not offer a dedicated mobile or desktop app. You can use its service within your browser, or rely on third-party email clients.

Still, Mailbox is a very secure email service, as it uses HTTPS (TLS/SSL) along with PFS to protect communication between your devices and their servers, it has server-side PGP encryption, TLS-Check, and lets you create email alias with the domain which forces any messages from this address to travel over secure connections only. Just like Proton Mail, Mailbox does also publish a Transparency Report which is very understandable and easy to skim through.

Although Germany is a member of the 14 Eyes alliance, it has good privacy laws. Since Mailbox is compliant with GDPR, you can be sure that your communications and other data are as private as they can get.

You can give Mailbox a try for free for 30 days. After that, you can chose between three different plans. The Light Plan will cost you €1 per user per month, and gives you access to 2GB mail storage, three alias email addresses, Calendar and Contacts, and limited support. With the Standard Plan for €3 per user per month, you get 10GB mail storage, 5GB cloud storage, 25 aliases, 50 aliases for your custom domain, access to the online office and secure video conferences, and regular support. The Premium Plan is available for €9 per user per month and features 25GB mail storage, 50GB cloud storage, 25 aliases, 250 aliases for your custom domain, online office, secure video conferences, priority support, and telephone support.

In case you want to use Mailbox for your business, you can check out it business plans too.


Tuta is one of the most secure email services available. It has a strong focus on user privacy and data protection. With end-to-end encryption for emails, calendar, contacts and other data, a combination of symmetric AES 128 and asymmetric RSA 2048 encryption, encrypted email subject lines, and sending encrypted emails to non-Tuta users by defining a password, Tuta provides one of the strongest sets of privacy and security focused features.

Tuta is build and run by a small team of privacy enthusiasts in Germany. Since it is based in Germany (just like Mailbox) it has strong privacy laws under the GDPR. It does not collect or share user data, and does not serve you any ads, it publishes regular transparency reports, and allows signing up without providing a phone number, ensuring anonymity. Lovely.

All of your data is stored on Tuta's secure servers which are powered with 100% renewable energy. All of their email clients are open source and they own their infrastructure. There are a lot of email providers relying on closed-source services for captcha, push notifications, desktop clients, and analytics, but Tuta built their own solutions for those kinf of tasks.

Encrypted email has never been easier, as Tuta features end-to-end encryption, 2FA, session handling, phishing protection, and many more features.

On the design-side, Tuta looks ok. It features a bit more structured UI than Mailbox, does not feel as polished as Proton Mail or Startmail. Nevertheless, it features solid apps for all kinds of platforms. Like the other services mentioned in this post, Tuta features rules and filters that you can use to designate individual email addresses as spam, not spam, or discard. Compared to the other services, Tuta's rules and filters are pretty basic though.

A Tuta account does not only provide you with private and secure email, you also get access to contacts and calendars, which are encrypted when at rest.

Tuta offers a Free Plan which gives you access to fully encrypted, no tracking email, 1GB of storage, and one calendar. The Revolutionary Plan costs you €3 per month (billed annually) and gives you 20GB storage, unlimited number of calendars, 15 extra email addresses, 3 custom domains, unlimited custom domain addresses, calendar sharing, event invites, autoresponder, and family option. The Legen Plan comes in at €8 per month (billed annually) and gives you 500GB storage, 30 extra email addresses, 10 custom domains, priority support, and more.

In case you want to use Tuta for your business you can check out their business plans too, which are starting at €6 per user per month (billed annually).


Posteo is another highly secure email, calendar, address book, and notes service from Germany. It is powered by 100% green energy from Green Planet Energy, all your data can be encrypted at the touch of a button, and you can register without personal details, which means zero tracking. Posteo has been founded in 2009 and since then it is providing an impetus for more sustainability on the internet and standing for resolute and sustainable business practices. It is an independent email provider based in Berlin. Their offering of anonymous and sustainable email accounts, address books, and calendars are suited for anyone who has had enough of companies that are collecting data, inboxes polluted with advertising, and all-pervasive surveillance on the internet.

When it comes to encryption, Posteo is offering a comprehensive encryption and security concept. With a Posteo account you enjoy secure transport route encryption (TLS, DANE, and more), TLS-receiving and TLS-sending guarantee, inbound encryption with PGP or S/MIME, crypto mail storage for the entire mailbox, two-factor login with additional email account protection, encryption of calendars, address book, and notes, PGP in webmail interface, and encrypted hard drives.

Since Posteo is 100% independent and financed by their users, there are no ad partners involved, and no trading of customer data is happening. Additionally, you do not have to worry about integrations of social media plugins or any Google products. To keep your inbox clean, you can leverage professional spam filters within Posteo.

Just like with Tuta and Mailbox, the design and user interface of Posteo looks ok. It gets the job done to give you a structured and organized overview over your email inbox. Nevertheless, the UI feels outdated and not contemporary. Being able to use a modern and beautifully designed interface does indeed have an impact on the overall user experience. However, you are not forced to use the webmail browser interface of Posteo, since you can also use a third-party email client. On that note, Posteo does not offer any mobile or desktop apps. In case you do not have a third-party email client to use with your email, the only way to check your inbox is by using the browser interface.

You can create a Posteo account for 1€ per month. Unfortunately, there is no free trial available, and after signing up, you have to pay for a mimum of 12 month up front.

Till next time! 👋‌‌‌‌

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