13 best privacy-friendly Gmail alternatives to use in 2021
It is no secret that Gmail is a go-to email service among millions of users globally. Many people prefer Google’s email service because it accompanies a user-friendly interface, among other features. However, concerns for user privacy have continued to increase over the years. With Gmail being a product of Google, many users have begun opting for the best Gmail alternatives.
The move comes after Google seems to compromise user privacy, mostly due to its automatic synchronization nature across different devices. Therefore, this guide highlights the best alternative emailing platforms to consider against Gmail.
Let’s start with why Gmail privacy has become a concern and what other email services exist there to consider.
Leading reasons to consider using Gmail alternatives
Let’s face it, Gmail offers the best email service to its users besides focusing on user-friendliness and integration. But regarding privacy, this is where most users become disappointed about the email service. Most users can attest that Gmail has put their privacy at risk not once or twice but severally.
For instance, Wall Street Journal published an article in 2018 highlighting hundreds of third-party app developers accessing, scanning, and sharing data from users’ inboxes. This came when Google announced that it would cease scanning user emails for targeted ads. In turn, these third-party apps started sending automated travel itinerary suggestions, price comparisons, and more to Gmail users.
Because of this event, most people realized how vulnerable free Gmail accounts are to compromise. Thus, considering secure Gmail alternatives is crucial to avoid falling victim in similar cases. Other key reasons to consider leading Gmail alternatives are;
- Gmail offers a limited storage space of only 10 GB.
- The email service lacks end-to-end encryption on emails.
- It is US-based.
- Gmail fails to provide confidential sign-up and payment alternatives.
Privacy and user data safety has remained the most persuasive motives to avoid Gmail as an emailing service. Besides, anonymity is another primary concern when it comes to the usage of various Google products.
Best privacy-focused alternatives to Gmail
With exposure to sensitive information being harmful to users, it is essential to consider the best Gmail alternatives. Luckily, several options exist today for people who wish to take their privacy into their own hands. But when choosing a trusted Gmail alternative, ensure it has the following;
- End-to-end encryption
- Customizable domains for business use
- Open-source code
- Anonymous payment options
- Privacy-friendly terms and conditions
- No ads
- Personal data-free sign up
Considering secure Gmail alternatives with most of these features helps have a unique and safe emailing experience. More so, they guarantee safety to personal data and anonymity. Below is a list of the best alternatives to Gmail to consider:
Founded in 2013, ProtonMail is one of the leading and most popular secure email providers today. It has its servers in Switzerland, ensuring user data is under strict Swiss privacy laws. The email service also offers end-to-end encryption, meaning there are no prying eyes in your email inbox.
Besides, ProtonMail is a cross-platform service where users can send and receive secure messages from users in other email providers. The best part is that new users are eligible for 500 MB of free storage when registering with the email service. If you require added storage space, you can subscribe to any of the three premium plans offered by the service.
Expanding the storage gives you up to 20 GB of space to store your emails, including attachments and other programs. Another great feature about this ProtonMail is that the inbox is modern and easy-to-use, offering excellent user-friendliness. The service consists of numerous tools essential for importing data from your Gmail account.
- ProtonMail is an open-source email service.
- It does not allow software installation.
- Users can create an account without providing personal data.
- It integrates end-to-end encryption to protect emails in the inbox.
- The free plan has unreliable customer support.
- ProtonMail does not encrypt email subject lines.
Tutanota is the first email service to incorporate end-to-end encryption, making it another suitable Gmail alternative. It came into existence back in 2011 in Germany and boasts millions of users globally today. Tutanota is an open-source email service, and anyone can check its source code on GitHub readily.
For this reason, the company has become more transparent and secure, especially with the option of not earning money through advertisements. Tutanota’s business model relies on user donations and Premium subscriptions to generate revenue. This suggests that the company has no ties with third-parties to sell user data.
The email service has become an ideal option for international activities and journalists engaging in sensitive information and fighting for privacy. NGOs and different organizations prefer using Tutanota to ensure private and secure internet communication. These benefits make this email service one of the best and safe Gmail alternatives for users.
When you register an account with Tutanota, you get 1 GB of free storage, which applies to all first-time users. However, email compression gives you an increase of up to 10 GB of free storage. We have a dedicated Tutanota guide that can help you get the best out of this secure email service.
- No ads
- End-to-end encryption
- Top-notch security
- Encrypts emails and calendar
- As to get higher quality services, Tutanota requires users to upgrade to higher paid plans.
3. Zoho Mail
Designed focusing on businesses, Zoho Mail is an excellent alternative to Gmail, also available for personal use. It is popular because of its password manager, although it thrives in offering secure email services. Zoho Mail is among the most secure email services today than Gmail.
Once you create an account with Zoho Mail, the mailbox integrates end-to-end encryption that supports S/MIME, SSL, or TLS. To enhance security, add a two-factor authentication through Touch ID, TOTP among other means. The service also has apps with calendar and notes integration, making its emailing service exciting.
Zoho Mail also has responsive customer support working 24/7 to resolve any issue faced by their users. Besides, users get up to 1 TB of storage, which is more space than any other Gmail alternative. Choosing this email service helps you take advantage of its world-class security and privacy features, including its 99.9 percent uptime.
- Document storage of up to 10 GB
- Offers better sales management through its Zoho CRM integration module
- Easy to get a custom domain business email with Zoho Mail
- Cannot import social media contacts
- Requires users to opt for paid plans to get more than 5 GB of storage
Global Mail Exchange (GMX) is among secure Gmail alternatives created in 1997. Based in Germany, GMX offers time-tested and above-standard email services to its users.
The company uses TLS/SSL protection, the same encryption type used by Gmail. Nevertheless, the service prevents cases scanning of email keywords and use the data for advertising purposes like Gmail.
GMX accompanies a mailbox that contains a free calendar, fail-safe antivirus, and spam filter. With over 11 million active users, this email service has become the biggest competitor to Gmail. Each GMX account gives users a storage space of up to 65 GB, making the service worth trying when you need more storage space.
While you can create several GMX accounts but remember that this service is quite different from Gmail; for instance, it offers a maximum size attachment of 50 MB. It is, however, an excellent Gmail alternative that guarantees privacy safety.
- Incorporates an online address book
- One user can create up to 10 GMX email accounts.
- Supports email attachments to up to 50 MB
- Does not the two-factor authentication
- Has an underdeveloped user-friendliness
If you need a Gmail alternative that stands out from the rest, consider Outlook. The service has over 400 million users today. This Microsoft-owned email service enables users to enjoy smooth account management and excellent integration. Outlook guarantees user data security and privacy, unlike Gmail.
User mailbox contains built-in spam filters, ensuring protection against spam emails. Again, Outlook allows you to use the Microsoft authentication app and log into your email account readily. Besides being an email service, Outlook enables users to explore other features such as notes, tasks, calendars, and more.
You can schedule and engage in more sophisticated communications compared to Gmail. Besides, you get to explore a comparable level of functionality that most email providers lack. The downside of this email service is that it only offers 5 GB of storage but still somewhat substitutes it with its advanced security and privacy features.
- Targeted ad-free
- User-friendly interface
- Excellent integration with OneDrive, calendar, and Skype
- Limited storage space than most Gmail alternatives
- Unsuitable email service regarding customization
This is another email provider from Germany established in 2014. The company thrives in providing a great Gmail alternative for both personal and business use. Users enjoy an ad-free and protected emailing service, coupled with a built-in calendar, contact list, and cloud storage.
When signing up for a Mailbox.org email account, you don’t need to submit any personal information. The same feature applies to paid plans, allowing users to make payments anonymously. Mailbox.org comes with reliable SSL/TLS encryption security and supports PGP, crucial for facilitating private communications.
One of the well-known benefits of this email service is its easy-to-remember and recognizable email inbox worldwide. Moreover, the company focuses on user privacy and security, which makes it superior to its competitors.
Mailbox.org comes with two storage space options, 100 GB for mail storage and 2 TB for cloud storage. However, the service uses a pre-paid credit scheme hence unsuitable for those looking for free storage. You can choose any storage size you prefer depending on your budget.
- Supports third-party email clients
- Allows storage of emails in two separate servers
- It does not require personal details to create a new account
- Logs users’ IP addresses, although it is deleted after a few days
7. iCloud Mail
iCloud Mail is a product of Apple and the leading anti-Google product available in the market. This is an optional section of your iCloud account that users need before using any Apple device entirely. For Windows users, they will first need to install iTunes to create an iCloud Mail account.
However, you must own an iPhone to access this user-friendly Gmail alternative. It is an excellent platform for those transitioning from Gmail despite lacking exceptional features.
iCloud Mail is reliable and the best Gmail alternative if you need to increase your privacy online.
It offers 5 GB free storage similar to Outlook without an additional plan to expand it. This makes it suitable for personal use and basic internet users.
- User-friendly interface
- No ads
- Compatible with all apple devices
- Lack the POP3 service
- Limited advanced features
8. Yahoo! Mail
With over 200 million users, Yahoo! Mail is celebrated worldwide, just like Gmail. This email service has a similar interface to Gmail’s, making it a good option for those who need to transition smoothly. Though the service required users to create an account with international and national domains, now users use the international domain @yahoo.com.
The company allows users to get 1 GB of storage space, giving you adequate room to store all your emails, including attachments. However, Yahoo! Mail comes with multiple identical problems like Gmail, privacy issues.
Again, Yahoo! Mail also faced a severe hack a few years back, which saw millions of users and data breaches. If you need secure Gmail alternatives with the highest security features, take note when considering Yahoo! Mail.
- User-friendly interface
- Superior customization
- Supports large file attachments
- Contains ads
- Spam issues
This email service centers upon individuals and businesses and offers high-quality paid email accounts. Located in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, FastMail now provides its services in more than 30 languages. In 2010, Opera Software acquired the company, but it later became an independent organization.
FastMail is an excellent minimalistic email service, primarily with its ad-free features, making it a suitable Gmail alternative. Regarding privacy, all your messages remain encrypted when sending and receiving. But these messages get unencrypted during storage in the company’s servers.
A FastMail basic email account plan gives you a 2 GB storage space with the standard offering up to 25 GB. The professional plan is the highest and comes with a storage space of 100 GB. Users who consider the latter package also get to access unlimited archiving storage.
- User-friendly interface
- Excellent span filter
- Does not offer any free email service
- Unsuitable for advanced users
Posteo is among privacy-focused alternatives to Gmail, offering safer emailing solutions for users. The company is in Berlin, German, and recognized for offering paid mail accounts, both for individuals and businesses. It is an open-source service packed with robust security features.
Some security features at Posteo include server-side email encryption, which uses TLS for emails in transition. It also supports S/SSE or OpenPGP, ensuring user emails remain secure both in storage and in transit. Posteo allows users to create various aliases under a single account to minimize spam and annoying newsletters.
With a Posteo email account, you tend to have an organized mailbox to read new emails readily. New users get a 2 GB email storage, which can be expanded to up to 20 GB when you pay for more storage.
- POP3 included
- Most affordable email service
- Ad-free service
- Allows the encryption of email metadata
- No spam folder
- Lacks custom domains
Hushmail is the oldest secure email provider that has remained around since 1999. It has remained a safe email company over the decades and emerges among the best alternative for Gmail. However, Hushmail lacks most advanced features than most newer email services.
It is an ideal start if you need to transit to a more secure mailbox with privacy. All email services confidential when you register a Hushmail email account. Besides, it is among a few email services offering selected free services without ads.
Concerning security, Hushmail provides an automatic scan of any incoming email. This allows it to remove viruses and filter spam emails, sequentially keeping your mailbox secure. However, the email service lacks typical features that make your mailbox well-organized.
Hushmail offers up to 10 GB of data storage for premium and business accounts, while free accounts permit a storage limit of 25 MB. Premium users access up to 1 GB of storage, which may not be the right alternative for those with big data.
- Supports POP3 access
- Automatic scans mailboxes to eliminate viruses
- Fully-featured secure email service
- Limited storage space
- It lacks a dedicated app.
- It does not have many advanced features.
- It lacks a spell checker.
Founded by a Dutch private search engine, Startpage team, StartMail is another great Gmail alternative. Though the company collects user data to improve its services, it gets deleted immediately after completing your session. The email service again retains your IP address but never shares it with third parties.
Regardless of the information retained by StartMail, the service ensures it gets rid of all user details after three days. It also forbids cookies tracking, which is crucial in maintaining user privacy. Unlike most Gmail alternatives, StarMail often encrypts user data on the server-side than in the browser.
The email supports IMAP and SMTP protocols, including an option for users to create a temporary email. StarMail comes with an anonymous digital payment method, cryptocurrency, allowing you to remain anonymous.
In terms of storage, users get up to 10 GB paid plan, which accompanies unlimited aliases and easy PGP email encryption. For those who choose the latter program, payments will become assorted and assigned a unique number. This makes it separate from other account details.
- Guarantees privacy
- Automatic deletion of user data after sessions
- User data encrypted in the server-side
- Supports IMAP and SMTP protocols
- Does not offer a free user account
- Retails users’ IP address for three days
With over a decade in operation, CounterMail gets a spot as being an alternative to Gmail. However, it seems a bit outdated and needs improvements on its user-interface. Despite these detriments, it packs the most sturdy encryption to keeps user data secure and private.
The email service uses OpenPGP and combines it with a no-logs policy to guarantee enhanced security and privacy, unlike Gmail. With its servers in Sweden, the company adheres to European countries’ strict privacy laws. This ensures user data remains private and secure.
CounterMail also comes with a built-in password manager and extra layered security with advanced features. It also supports digital payment methods to ensure you remain completely anonymous. The email service offers a paid plan of 4 GB storage space.
- Robust encryption user information
- Supports OpenPGP
- No-logs policy
- Built-in password manager
- Advanced security layers
- Expensive services
- Limited storage
- Outdated user-interface
Gmail consists of numerous privacy issues, which makes users doubt the email provider and prefer its secure alternatives. Regardless of your needs, there exist various alternatives to Gmail to use in 2021, giving you a unique emailing experience.
The above-mentioned email services can significantly keep your emails safe. Consider these options if you fancy secure and private email platforms.
Even if you use a VPN to protect your privacy when using Google’s email service’s privacy and security concerns, opting for these alternatives will take you one step forward when it comes to email security.
About the author
Thuranira is a privacy expert who is always excited about security empowerment through technology.