Email communication is part of the Internet’s lifeblood. But there are times when you need to keep your emails anonymous for a wide range of reasons.
Most people are unaware that email clients, including web-based and desktop apps, include meta-information with the emails they send. This information can range from your IP address to date, timezone, and the different servers that processed the mail along the way.
Anonymous and secure emails are two approaches to securing your email privacy online. While secure email services focus on keeping the mail’s content private, anonymous emails focus on keeping the sender’s identity private.
Some of these anonymous services are one-way; that is, either anonymous sending or receiving of mails. While others let you have a proper account to both send and receive emails.
This post looks at the web’s best providers of anonymous email services. How they work, and how they can help you to communicate online while staying under the radar.
Best 8 Anonymous Email Providers
|ProtonMail||Swiss-based, zero info, encrypted||Freemium||protonmail.com|
|CounterMail||Anonymous, secure, PGP, SSL||$4/month||countermail.com|
|Tutanota||Encrypted, open-source, multi platform||Freemium||tutanota.com|
|Anonymousemail||Easily send anonymous emails||Freemium||anonymousemail.me|
|Fake Gmail+VPN||Crete using a fake identity||Free||mail.google.com|
|Posteo||Secure & anonymous, extras||1 EUR/m||posteo.de|
|MailDrop||Disposable email address||Free||maildrop.cc|
|Guerilla Mail||Temporary email (60 mins)||Free||guerrillamail.com|
- Pros: Swiss-based, zero personal information, encrypted
- Website: protonmail.com
ProtonMail is the most popular email privacy service for good reasons. First, the company is Swiss-based and hosts all its servers in Switzerland. And in case you did not know, Swiss privacy-protection laws are among the most stringent on earth.
This means that companies are required by law to protect their client’s data. And in addition, ProtonMail includes end-to-end encryption of your communications, does not require personal information during registration, and its basic accounts are free.
ProtonMail does not log IP addresses, so there is nothing to link you to any account. And in addition to using the OpenPGP open-source encryption standard, the company also uses 4,096-bit SSL encryption for online connections. With fully encrypted hard disks that are self-hosted in a 1,000-meter underground data center beneath the Swiss Alps.
But note that while ProtonMail does not log or include your IP address in email headers, you would still need to use Tor to guarantee 100% anonymity. That is if you should ever need that level of protection.
You get 500MB storage with its free account. But you are limited to 1 user, 1 address, 3 folders, and up to 150 emails per day.
To go past these restrictions, you can go for its Plus account with 5GB storage, up to 5 addresses, 200 folders, and a thousand messages per day. And for even more action than this, you will need a Professional plan. ProtonMail also accepts cash and Bitcoin payments.
- Pros: Fully anonymous, secure connections, OpenPGP, SSL-MITM protection
- Cons: No free plan, 14-day payment data storage, invitation only
- Website: countermail.com
If you are looking for an anonymous email service with lots of extra features, then checkout CounterMail.
It features OpenPGP encryption to protect the content of all your emails. CounterMail additionally adds extra protection layers to hide your identity from potential man-in-the-middle attacks. This brings the company’s protection layers to four; SSL, sessions, OpenPGP, and server-side disk encryption.
Then, there is an option to use a USB key and the web servers are diskless, meaning they always start entirely from Cdrom for security reasons. You also get anonymous email headers, no IP logs, no cookies, a password manager, an auto-responder, secure forms, Android compatibility, and IMAP access.
For downsides, there is no free plan. And CounterMail will keep your payment data for 14 days, before stripping it of your personal information. It is also currently available per invitation only. So, you must know someone with an account to get it.
Once invited, you can test-drive the service for 10 days before buying a subscription. CounterMail’s plans cost $4 per month when billed annually and $4.83 per month when billed every six months.
- Pros: Encrypted, open-source, multi-platform
- Website: tutanota.com
For a made-in-Germany anonymous email service, check out Tutanota. This company offers an anonymous and secure email service, complete with a free account. You should note that Germany has strict privacy laws, upon which most of the EU’s laws are based.
You get end-to-end encryption, two-factor authentication, and multi-platform access. This includes web, Windows, macOS, Android, iOS, and Linux. All these platforms get developed in-house by Tutanota and are open source, so security experts can analyze and help to improve the code.
Registration needs no personal information and no telephone number. There are no ads on the platform, even for free accounts, and all necessary steps are taken to ensure security and anonymity. This includes encrypted message bodies, attachments, and even subject lines.
Tutanota does not log IP addresses and it does not track users in any way. Yet, its free account offers 1GB of storage for private use. And for business use or more features, pricing starts from 12 Euros per year.
- Pros: Easy to use, no registration, free
- Cons: Only premium accounts get a sender address
- Website: anonymousemail.me
Situations like whistle-blowing or leaking enemy secrets anonymously do not necessarily require that you have an email account. All you need is the receiver’s address to get the job done, and that is what anonymousemail.me offers.
You can use it to quickly send emails without needing to log in or maintain an account. Just navigate to anonymousemail.me, enter the details, and off your message goes.
There is an email editor with basic features. These include text formatting, bullet lists, spell checking, text and image inserts, tables, and more. You can either enter a reply email address or leave it.
But to include multiple attachments in your email or to track when the mail gets opened, you will need a premium account. This costs $59 per year and lets you pay with PayPal or Bitcoin.
Anonymousemail counts over 2,000 premium users around the world and over 2.5 million anonymous email messages sent to date.
5. Fake Gmail+VPN
- Pros: Easy, popular, free & reliable service
- Cons: Needs a phone number
- Website: mail.google.com
You could also decide to register with a popular service like Google’s Gmail and give it a fake information But the only problem with this method is that Google will ask for a phone number to verify your identity.
The solution, of course, is to use a burner phone. This means any working phone that cannot be linked to you. Whether it is a prepaid phone or you got it through other means.
Simply provide any names that tickle your fancy when registering the Gmail account. Also, be careful to use private browsing to prevent their servers from detecting any cookies on your normal browser.
You can also consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to register and subsequently access the account, depending on the level of privacy you need. You should note that mainstream email hosts log your IP address. So, if you do not want your real IP logged, then use a VPN.
While free VPNs will get the job done, you may want to consider a paid VPN service if you are dealing with really sensitive issues. This is because free VPN providers will often wiretap your connection. You can pay for such services with Bitcoin.
- Pros: Secure & anonymous, extra features
- Cons: No free plan
- Website: posteo.de
Based in Berlin, Posteo is another impressive anonymous email provider from Germany. And it includes all the features you can expect from a modern and secure email service for just 1 Euro per month.
These features include being green, as Posteo is 100% powered by Greenpeace Energy’s green electricity. It also serves free and organic vegetarian lunches to its employees.
With Posteo, you can encrypt all your mail with a single button click. All the server hard disks are also AES encrypted against hackers. Plus, up to 50-MB attachments, 2 GB storage, a calendar, and an address book.
Posteo does not log user activity, so the company cannot recall your IP address later on. You can also pay with cash, credit card, bank wire, or PayPal. But none of the payment details is linked to any email account. And this makes your account truly anonymous.
Plus, Posteo requires no information at signup, does not serve ads, backs up daily, offers 2-factor authentication, and its servers are located in a highly-secured location in Germany.
- Pros: Easy email address, free, no limits
- Cons: No security
- Website: maildrop.cc
Another reason for anonymous email addresses is web-spam. Often, when you give out your real email address to a shopping site, newsletter, or download page, they start to flood your inbox with hard pitches and their latest offers.
MailDrop offers a solution.
Just visit the site at maildrop.cc, type any email address of your choice and click on “View Inbox” to view your new inbox. No registration or password is required.
This makes it easy to register or order whatever you want from the web without dreading spam. MailDrop even includes a spam filter, so you only receive as little irrelevant content with it, as possible.
8. Guerrilla Mail
- Pros: 60-minute temporary emails, sends emails without registration, free
- Website: guerrillamail.com
Guerrilla Mail is also a throwaway email address, just like MailDrop. But their difference is that messages into Guerilla Mail’s inbox get deleted after 60 minutes.
This makes it perfect for signups and all the other simple stuff you need emails for, but which often flood your inbox with useless promotions.
It also makes it ideal for slightly sensitive matters, because the 60-minute mail deletions help to keep your tracks clean.
Guerrilla Mail additionally lets you send emails from the inbox and they get deleted after 24 hours. They are not anonymous, however, as each outgoing email’s header will contain your IP address. But, of course, you can always use a VPN or Tor if you need to.
We have reached the end of this list of the web’s top anonymous email providers and as you have seen, there are many options out there for different situations.
Whether you need anonymity for whistle-blowing, fending off spam, or reporting from behind enemy lines, you will find a service above that best suits your needs. Just remember to use a VPN or Tor when necessary.