3 Better Alternatives To Gmail's Self-Destructing Emails

Image: iStock

It was recently confirmed that the new Gmail will contain a 'Confidential Mode' which will allow users send emails that will be destroyed after a set period of time.

This is cool and all, but there are still significant questions that need to be answered around compatibility and security.

The good news is that there are a bunch of alternative email clients that offer far more features and privacy.

Of course, this isn't an exhaustive list and there are no claims that these are the best. Everyone has their own opinions and personal preferences, after all.


ProtonMail

Image: ProtonMail website

Perhaps the most well known secure email service out there. It is often favoured for its sleek design and strong security features.

This is made possible due to being incorporated and having all of its servers in Switzerland. This means that all data is protected by Swiss privacy laws. And while this has always been a draw card, upcoming changes to these laws may change this in the near future.

Of course, this shouldn't be too much of a problem of if you're abiding by the law.

Pros:

  • No personal information required to open an account
  • No IP logs
  • Servers in Switzerland
  • End-to-end encryption (see note below)
  • Self-destruct feature
  • Password protection for individual emails
  • No targeted ads
  • Business accounts available
  • Open-source
  • There's a free version
  • Web, iOS and Android supported
  • Accepts Bitcoin payments

Note: End-to-end encryption will still work with non-ProtonMail recipients - you just need to set a password. These emails will expire after twenty-eight days.

Though ProtonMail is free, you can get some added features (as well as more storage) if you opt for one of the paid account options. They include filters, autoresponders, catch-all email, multi-user support and a built-in VPN.

Cons:

  • Retains some metadata, such as sender and recipient email addresses, IP address of incoming emails and subject line. ProtonMail also has access to some account activity figures
  • The display name and email addresses of your contacts are only encrypted at rest. ProtonMail can access this info for functions such as auto-fill, filters and whitelists
  • No POP3 Support
  • IMAP and SMTP only supported through a paid service called ProtonMail Bridge
  • You can't change your email signature on a free account (if you care about that kind of thing)

You can check out the pricing options here.


Tutanota

Image: Tutanota Website

Quite similar to ProtonMail, Tutanota is kind of like the scrappy younger brother. However, it's cheaper and offers 1GB of storage on free accounts, which is double what ProtonMail has.

Pros

  • Servers located in Germany are are subject to Germany's strict privacy protection laws
  • Anonymous Registration
  • IP addresses not logged, unless the company is presented with a German court order over suspected criminal activity
  • End-to-end encryption
  • Password hashing
  • Supports (and encrypts) attachments
  • Encrypted contacts
  • Business accounts available
  • Open-source
  • There's a free version
  • Web, iOS and Android supported
  • Custom domains supported (premium account only)

At the time of writing, a new beta version of the mail client was storing the IP addresses of user logins. This was due to requests from users who wanted to ensure that no one else was accessing their accounts.

However, the IP addresses are being encrypted whilst stored and cannot be accessed by anyone other than the user, even Tutanota. The information is only stored for one week before being automatically deleted and Tutanota has said that once the new client leaves beta the feature will need to be turned on by a user to be used.

Cons:

  • IMAP not supported
  • Emails are in plain text
  • Two-factor-authentication isn't currently available on iOS or Android. It will be added in the future, though
  • Email rules only available on paid accounts
  • Aliases only available on paid accounts
  • Will monitor and hand over data if presented with a German court order. However, this shouldn't be a problem unless you're doing something bad to get on their radar
  • No search function, so finding older emails can be annoying
  • No cryptocurrency payment option
  • Limited storage

You can check out the pricing here.


HushMail

Image: HushMail Site

It's worth saying straight up that HushMail isn't as secure as its counterparts. Firstly, it operates out of Canada and thus doesn't enjoy the privacy laws that Switzerland or even Germany does.

Secondly, they log your IP address and don't allow for anonymous sign-ups. So keep that in mind, and definitely make sure you use a VPN if you want that extra layer of security.

Also, despite having seen some mentions of free accounts, the website does't currently seem to be advertising this as an option outside of a two-week free trial.

So why bother then? HushMail accounts are roughly the same yearly price as ProtonMail's premium account, and it gives you double the storage capacity (10GB), as well as a load of useful features.

There is also support for IMAP and POP3 without the need for a bridge - which is often a huge point of contention for people when it comes to ProtonMail - especially as they charge extra for the service.

Pros:

  • Lots of storage space
  • Supports IMAP and POP3
  • End-to-end encryption (see note below)
  • Two-factor-authentication
  • You can bulk-import you contacts
  • Unlimited aliases
  • Business accounts available
  • Spam filters

Note: End-to-end encryption will work with non-HushMail recipients, you just need to tick an encryption check box within the email. You can also set a security question for an added level of protection. These recipients will be able to read the email on a secure web page.

Cons:

  • IP addresses are logged
  • No free account option
  • No Android support
  • You must provide and alternate email address and a phone number when you sign up
  • No cryptocurrency payment option

You can check out the pricing here.


Comments

Be the first to comment on this story!

Trending Stories Right Now