Gmail has been dominating the email market thanks to its intuitive interface, near unlimited storage, and a wide range of free productivity tools.
However, there are some serious concerns about how Google uses your emails and not everyone loves the Gmail interface. Hence One of the primary reasons for users switching away from Gmail is privacy concerns. Google was caught in 2017 scanning users emails for personal information and using it to serve targeted ads.
Lately, people are waking up and wanting to protect their digital footprint with a more secure email client. If you value your privacy, it’s time to join the wave of people turning away from Gmail.
The good news is that there are hundreds of secure alternatives available on the market to choose from. You might be surprised how much competitors have improved their services.
For instance, many email providers offer a similar browser-based experience and a modern design these days.
More importantly, they offer end-to-end encryption and take extra measures to ensure that all your correspondence is kept private. In this article, we’ll discuss our top 17 Gmail alternatives that are free and secure. Let’s dive right in!.
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Mailfence is a private email provider based in Belgium.
Its services are heavily rooted in online security, so it’s an excellent option if you’re concerned about Gmail’s practices. According to the Belgian privacy protection laws, only local jurisdiction can request your mail access, which happens under extremely rare circumstances.
Therefore, Mailfence can guarantee no surveillance and no selling of your data to third parties, which is not a promise that most other providers can make. Mailfence also uses OpenPGP encryption, which happens in the browser.
You can also set up a password and even an expiry date for your messages. This way, no one but you will be able to read your communications, not even Mailfence. Besides advanced security and privacy features, Mailfence gives you access to other essential tools.
For instance, you can manage your appointments in a user-friendly calendar or store and edit documents in the cloud.
- Digital signature
- Mobile access
- Easy contact imports
- OpenPGP key manager
- No ads
- Groups for secure data sharing
- POPS, IMAPS, and SMTPS support
Based in Germany, Global Mail Exchange (GMX) is a reliable Gmail alternative.
As it was founded back in 1997, it offers time-tested and high-quality services. For protection, it uses TLS/SSL, the same type of encryption that Gmail uses to protect your emails while they’re in transit.
Unlike Gmail, however, your emails won’t be scanned for keywords to be used for advertising purposes later. Together with a mailbox, users get to take advantage of a free calendar, spam filter, and foolproof antivirus.
As GMX now has over 11 million active users, it stands out as one of the biggest competitors to Gmail. After getting a GMX account, users can enjoy 65 GB of storage space per one account. Therefore, if you need more storage space, you can always create another GMX account.
Plus, the maximum email attachment size is 50 MB, so there are fewer restrictions if you’re coming from a Gmail account.
- A user can create up to 10 email accounts
- An online address book is included
- Attachments that are up to 50 MB are supported
- 2FA is not supported
- Interface could be more user-friendly
3. Yahoo Mail
Yahoo might not be as popular as it used to be before, but Yahoo Mail is still a neat alternative to Gmail.
One attractive aspect of Yahoo Mail is that it offers a whopping 1TB of storage to free users. However, the catch is that the maximum file size for an attachment is capped at 25MB. Apart from that, you can customize the look and feel of Yahoo Mail with themes.
Also, Yahoo Mail lets you manage all your email addresses in one place, use filters, group conversations, view emails by topic, and more. Moreover, you can use Yahoo Stationery to create attractive emails with templates at ease.
With all that said, do keep in mind that you will see ads on the free version.
- Customization features
- Google Drive/ Dropbox integration
- 1TB of free storage
Runbox is a user-friendly and provides majority of the features you would a private email provider.
The company is based in Norway, so it has strict constitutionally-guaranteed privacy policies. Runbox is also a socially responsible business that uses renewable hydropower energy. You can use Runbox or a third-party domain to create your email address, which will also work on a mobile app.
Importing your emails is also easy, but if you need any guidance, you can find more information in their dedicated How-to section. The company says they don’t monitor your activity or share any data with third parties. They also allow users to check its code as it runs on an open-source platform.
You can pay for your subscription in cryptocurrency or send in an anonymous cash payment. The only downside is that Runbox’s end-to-end PGP encryption isn’t on by default. You will need to set it up yourself, which might require some technical knowledge.
You can find a full guide on their website. Besides, Runbox automatically scans your emails for spam and viruses, which might cause some privacy concerns.
Unfortunately, the company doesn’t state whether this changes once you set up the encryption.
Yet another Gmail alternative email service from Germany is Posteo.
It lets you sign up without entering any personal information such as your phone number or address. The company also promises that it doesn’t track its users and is completely ad-free.
Notably, Posteo is committed to sustainability and uses 100% green energy to operate.
It’s safe to say that Posteo is a paid email service. Although you can use it for free, there are several restrictions in the free version, including 20MB storage, email support with select providers, lack of forwarding, address book, and calendar encryption.
However, these are all lifted when you get the affordable 1 euro per month subscription.
- Two-factor authentication (TOTP) available
- Comprehensive encryption
- Fetched by IMAP/POP3, 50 MB attachments
- Maximum privacy
- All saved data can be encrypted at the click of a button
- 2 GB email account, upgradeable
- Sign up without entering personal details
- Migration of address book and calendar data
- Calendar and address book (synchronisable)
- Ad-free website, ad-free email account
Russia-based Yandex provides a free web email service with 10 GB of free storage space.
It also offers an attachment upload limit of 30MB per file. Yandex mail offers a customisable interface for users to design the mail platform as they like.
Features include a timer, which allows messages to be put on a scheduled time and sent when required.
Similar to Mail.com, Yandex can also be integrated with other mail accounts to merge messages into one account. The security and privacy features are also quite good, with added built-in antivirus and protection against spam and fraud.
7. Zoho Mail
Our first recommendation is Zoho Mail, a feature-rich productivity platform for small businesses.
One of its services is ad-free email, which is suitable for personal use, too. Zoho Mail comes with a clean interface, which you can organize neatly with the streams feature.
It enables you to add comments to your email threads, exchange files, and assign tasks, which can be useful if you want to use the platform professionally. Both businesses and individual users will appreciate Zoho Mail’s calendar, notes, and bookmarks, which help keep your inbox more manageable.
Those concerned with Gmail’s privacy issues can also rest assured, as Zoho Mail encrypts your messages. Besides all that, Zoho Mail makes it super easy to set up a custom business email, so it’s an excellent option if you want to establish a more professional presence.
However, note that you’ll only be able to access it through webmail or Zoho Mail’s dedicated mobile apps unless you upgrade.
- Group accounts with user permissions
- Integrations with other Zoho products
- Email recall
- Mobile app
- Migration tool
- Mail retention and backup
- 99.9% uptime guarantee
- End-to-end and S/MIME encryption
- Access to 24/7 customer support
SmartMail is very comparable to Gmail.
It provides a polished user experience with full PGP integration if you’re privacy-conscious. This means that you can privately communicate with other users that also use PGP. This isn’t a true end-to-end encryption setup, as it’s only implemented server-side. However, it should be safe enough for most usage cases.
You can even add features like two-factor authentication to increase the overall security of your account. The email also has fully integrated burner emails. If you want to create an online account somewhere and you’re worried about spam, you can use them instead of your proper address.
That can also be useful for online stores, as well. The major drawback when compared to Gmail is that the service has no proprietary mobile apps. It does support IMAP and SMTP.
With them, you’ll be able to retrieve emails through Apple Mail or Outlook. You can test the service with a 30-day free trial. It includes 5 emails/day cap and 10 GB of encrypted cloud storage.
- PGP support
- 10 GB cloud storage
- Burner emails
- No free version
- No mobile apps
Mailbox is a paid email service, and the company is based out of Germany.
Since it is a paid service, you can rest assured that you won’t see any ads in your inbox.
The service uses PGP for encryption and even uses anonymized mail headers that remove details about users such as IP addresses and software clients used. The pricing of Mailbox starts at 1 euro/month and goes up to 9 euros.
You get two weeks of trial, after which you should pay to continue using the service. If you can afford to spend money on an email service, you should consider giving Mailbox a shot as an alternative to Gmail.
- No ads
- Paid service
- Spam-/ virus protection
- Full-text search
- Push notifications
- Self-learning tabbed inbox
The CounterMail interface might look a little bit outdated and not that user-friendly, but it has 10+ years of experience and some of the strongest encryption available.
Like its competitors, it uses OpenPGP, but only CounterMail offers 4,096-bit encryption keys along with their no-logs policy.
Your information is stored on servers in Sweden, which, like other European countries, has strict privacy laws.
This service offers a built-in password manager and an extra layers of security, i.e. their servers server have full disk encryption and your connection to the servers passes through a tunnel to prevent IP leaks and man-in-the-middle attacks.
However, all of these security features mean that CounterMail is one of the most expensive email providers on the market. It also supports cryptocurrency payments and custom domains.
- True end-to-end security
- Portable and secure email from any browser
- Use your own domain name
- Android phone compability (info)
- Dynamic aliases (info)
- Secure forms (info)
- Windows, MacOS X and Linux support
- IMAP server, if you want to use your own email client
- Anonymous email headers
This popular email provider is based in Switzerland.
It was founded and is still developed by engineers from CERN and offers a fully featured email client that fully integrates PGP encryption into the client.
ProtonMail is open-source, and it is packed with features that make it easy to control the flow of mail.
ProtonMail is privacy-focused webmail service designed to provide the functionality and ease-of-use of services such as Gmail but which is secure and does not spy on its users’ communications in order to flog them stuff, or to hand over to the NSA.
If you have your own domain name, you can use this to send and receive encrypted messages using your ProtonMail account. For example: [email protected].
For casual users, the free service will likely be more than sufficient, but for power users, the premium extras make a welcome addition. Remember, ProtonMail makes no money through advertising or selling your data to advertisers!
- Much more secure than regular email
- Emails are not spied on for advertising purposes
- Easy to use and looks great
- Completely open source
- Can send encrypted emails to non-users
- Improved web interface with drag-and-drop messages, contacts manager, authentication logs, and more
- Self-destruct emails
- Genuinely useful premium options
- End-to-end encrypted emails.
- Apps for Android and iOS.
12. AOL Mail
AOL Mail is another free email account option. The main page includes top stories from AOL.com, which can be viewed as a pleasant addition or seem cluttered, depending on your preferences. Like most email providers, you can filter your messages to only show unread or read emails or flagged or unflagged messages. With AOL Mail, you can block mail senders and set up filters.
Your AOL.com account comes with a calendar and to-do list that are accessible from the inbox.
However, some features, such as a chat room, require a paid AOL Desktop Gold subscription. The IMAP and POP server settings no longer appear in the AOL settings, but if you need them to use your email with other clients, you can get them here: IMAP and POP.
- A calendar and to-do list are easily accessible from the email page.
- Can check spelling before sending every email.
- Selection of themes to choose from.
- It’s easy to accidentally open the news section instead of your email.
- Some features require a paid AOL Desktop Gold subscription.
- Lots of ads.
If you’re already using Microsoft products, you might like our next recommendation.
The free version of Outlook is a new, revamped incarnation of Hotmail, which integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft services. In terms of integrations with other productivity and storage apps, Outlook is one of the best Gmail alternatives. For instance, you get extended storage space through OneDrive, a robust calendar with color-coding, and a task organizer.
It also enables you to assign emails to categories, much like Gmail. The interface is modern and easy to use, which Gmail users should adapt to almost immediately. Besides that, Outlook supports a generous attachment limit of up to 500 MB.
You can use OneDrive to send larger files, too. Outlook also prides itself on providing advanced security, which it claims is the same as its enterprise-level services. Therefore, you can rest assured the end-to-end encryption will keep your inbox and your messages private.
- Real-time chat via Skype
- Contact syncing options
- Spam and malware filter
- Accessibility tools
- Android and iOS apps
- Free access to Office 365 products
Tutanota is widely known for being the first email service to offer end-to-end encryption.
It was founded back in 2011 in Germany, and now has millions of users worldwide. A great deal of its popularity is because its software is open-source, and anyone can inspect its source code on GitHub. This transparency helps a great deal and makes this service trustworthy.
Moreover, Tutanota follows a business model that relies on user donations and Premium subscriptions solely. The company excludes earning money through advertisements. It’s one of the top choices for international activists and journalists dealing with sensitive information and fighting for privacy.
Tutanota also offers a business plan that helps NGOs and organizations ensure private and secure internal communication. When users get their Tutanota email, they get 1 GB of storage. However, due to email compression, free storage increases to 10 GB.
- End-to-end encryption on emails and calendar
- No ads
- Open source
- Top-notch security
- To get higher-quality services, you need to upgrade to paid plans
FastMail is a paid, fast and simple email service, offering both individual accounts and accounts for organisations. It is available on all devices, including browsers and desktop apps. FastMail is also available in multiple languages.
All features are similar to Gmail, with added two-step verification for security.
It also includes the ability to sync emails from other accounts including Yahoo and Gmail. Pricing starts from $3 (£1) per user, a month. It also offers a 30-day free trial.
- Fastmail web and mobile apps
- Full-featured calendars
- Privacy-first, secure email
- Masked Email
- Choice of email apps (Outlook, iPhone Mail)
- Mail import tool
Next, we have Mail.com, a free Gmail alternative that gives you a choice of over 200 domains to suit your niche or personality.
It’s an excellent option for freelancers who would like to look more professional without spending money on a custom domain. For instance, you can set up an email like [email protected] that’s completely free.
You can also choose something casual, such as [email protected], if you prefer to use it for personal communication. Mail.com also comes with powerful anti-virus tools to protect you from email-based threats. This provider ensures that its system scans for viruses only and that your email privacy is safe.
Furthermore, Mail.com offers a mail collecting service, making it easier to manage several accounts.
This way, you can set up a central Mail.com account and coordinate all incoming communications, whether they’re from your business or personal email address. Besides all that, Mail.com enables you to keep your inbox tidy, thanks to its intuitive dashboard.
It also comes with an organizer tool and an online calendar to track your bookings and appointments.
- Added security with 2-factor authentication (2FA)
- Generous attachment limit
- Dedicated Android, iPhone, and iPad apps
- Search and filter functionality
- Free cloud storage
- Chrome email notification
- Mobile web access
- Spam filter
Cloud Mail utilizes your Apple ID to offer email services.
It is an excellent addition to other services that you can already access via iCloud. You get 5GB of storage space along with a 20MB file size limit on incoming and outgoing messages.
That goes up to 5GB with Mail Drop. It goes without saying that iCloud Mail is the best-suited alternative to Gmail for users in the Apple ecosystem. Before you switch to iCloud Mail, you should also keep in mind that iCloud supports IMAP and SMTP protocols but not the POP3 protocol.
Another concern with iCloud Mail is that the spam filtering system in place is a bit tricky and might filter out useful emails at times.
- lean UI
- No ads
That’s pretty much it! So, there are Best Gmail Alternatives.
If you have any other favorite Best Gmail Alternatives then don’t forget to share them with us in the comment below. Also, if you liked this article, Share on your favorite Social media platform.