Most internet users are satisfied with an email account from Google, Yahoo, or Microsoft. You get more than enough features and functionality, all wrapped up in a user-friendly interface. Plus, you don’t have to pay a penny for it.

But what about your privacy? Sure, you might feel as though you have nothing to hide, but your email is probably tied to most of your other online accounts. If someone gains access to it, they can easily get into everything else. Only you know just how catastrophic that could be.

It’s also worth noting that some providers collect user data for advertising purposes – and who knows what else. Switching to more secure email service is worth it for the assurance alone, never mind all the additional features.

With that said, here are your 5 best options for 2020.

ProtonMail

  • Servers located in Switzerland
  • Affordable pricing plans
  • Two-factor authentication
  • Unique password system
  • Clean user interface

There are several features that make ProtonMail stand out from the crowd. This includes the fact that it’s open-source, which means anyone can gain access to and edit the code that makes up its framework. It’s also free to use, with end-to-end encryption and a host of additional security measures that make it impenetrable to hackers.

The free version comes with a generous 500MB of email storage, but you can only send up to 150 messages per day. There’s also a signature on each email that cannot be removed unless you upgrade. Fortunately, the paid plans are reasonably priced. ProtonMail also has some handy keyboard shortcuts to make composing its rich-text emails easier.

Upgrading gives you access to even more features, including additional aliases, custom filtering, and automated responses. You also get built-in VPN protection. Professional plans are available for business owners as well.

Hushmail

  • IMAP and POP support
  • Two-step verification
  • CSV contact imports
  • Automated responses
  • 10GB storage as standard

This encrypted email service is one of the oldest, dating back to the turn of the century. Hushmail prides themselves on the fact that not even they can read your messages – only you. Despite being around for over two decades, Hushmail has a modern interface on its web-based client, where you can email recipients regardless of which provider they use.

You can choose from several different domains for your email address, including @hushmail.me and @hush.com among others. There is an iOS app, but you can also access your account on the mobile-optimized web version. Email signatures are supported and you can make unlimited aliases to hide your identity.

You can’t use Hushmail for free. Fortunately, they offer a two-week free trial. From there, you can choose between a personal and business account – neither of which are particularly expensive.

CounterMail

  • Automatically deletes IP address logs
  • Built-in password manager
  • Full encryption
  • Servers based in Sweden
  • Email filter support

CounterMail might not win any UI design awards (it’s fairly outdated), but it gets the job done. Your emails aren’t stored on any servers, which helps to mitigate the risk of data leaks. While there is encryption, it’s worth noting that you can’t send encrypted emails to recipients who use other email services.

A unique feature here is that you can use a USB drive as the sole storage location of the decryption key required to log into your account. This adds a physical element to the security factor, which goes a long way in preventing criminals from gaining access to your email – even if they have your password.

There’s no free version of CounterMail, but a one-week free trial is available for you to try it out. This comes with 100MB of space, while the paid version brings that up to 250MB and the ability to buy more.

Mailfence

  • Two-factor authentication as standard
  • Built-in spam blocker
  • Calendar and document storage
  • Contact sync with other services
  • End-to-end encryption

This is another security-focused email service with a plethora of useful features. Only you and your recipient can read the emails, which are fortified with OpenPGP public-key encryption. Just like CounterMail, your recipient needs to be using the same service for the encryption to happen, though.

Mailfence makes up for it with some additional bonuses, including the absence of ads and a wide range of customization features for a more personalized experience. You can also pay to send faxes and text messages, which is completely unique in this category. So is the ability to send messages through the email you signed up with.

With a free account, you get up to 500MB of storage and access to most features, including the ability to use your own domain name. One downside is that the software isn’t open-source. Perhaps this is made up for by the fact that Mailfence is Belgian, which means that only a court order from the country’s government can compromise your data.

Tutanota

  • iOS and Android apps
  • 1GB of storage space
  • Open-source software
  • Spam filtering
  • Simple design

Once you manage to pronounce the name, Tutanota is one of the easiest security-focused emails to use. It’s similar to ProtonMail in this manner, as well as its safety features. All emails are encrypted with a private key, rendering them inaccessible to anyone else. It also allows recipients to reply securely through a custom password system.

In addition to having native apps, Tutanota can be used through a web browser, making it accessible on any device. For whatever reason, there isn’t a search function, which is an anomaly in its otherwise user-friendly interface. Being located in Germany, said country’s regulations apply to Tutanota, making it all-the-more secure.

The free version of Tutanota gives you access to most features – but not all of them. Paid plans provide more storage and additional functionality without asking too much in return.

Additional Steps to Take

So, there you have it – five great email services to choose from. Using one means taking a major step forward in terms of improving your safety and privacy online. There are some additional steps that you can take, however.

Perhaps the most important is getting VPN security. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) allows you to hide your location and encrypt your browsing data, making it impossible for others to see what you’re doing online. Most users tend to see better network performance as well, not to mention being able to access region-locked content.

You can learn more about VPN security through online resources and ensure you’re clued up on all you need to know about online safety. Find out which are the best VPN services out there and choose one that suits your needs.

Don’t forget to remain vigilant when it comes to receiving emails from unknown senders. This is especially true for anything that arrives in your spam inbox. It’s probably there for a reason. If you receive anything asking for your personal information, ignoring it will be the best option.

Finally, avoid writing down your passwords or typing them into a notes app. There are secure password managers that can help you store all of your passwords in a safe, encrypted environment instead.

Which secure email service will you opt for? Either way, you’ll benefit from a great deal of peace of mind knowing that your email communications and online accounts are as safe as they can be.