Tutanota vs ProtonMail: Which private email platform should I use for "not committing crimes"?
Published 7 months ago | Last update 6 months ago
Well, of course, you’re not going to do anything illegal. Right? It’s very important to know which encrypted email service provider protects your data better for your non-criminal activities because normal email providers working on HTTPS are overrated.
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Well, of course, you’re not going to do anything illegal. Right? It’s very important to know which encrypted email service provider protects your data better for your non-criminal activities because normal email providers working on HTTPS are overrated. Understandable.
Tutanota vs ProtonMail: The Backstories
Tutanota means a secure message in Latin. Tuta means secure, Nota means message or note. Tutanota is a German email service (yes, it’s not from the Latin time because Romans were too busy conquering countries than developing email service, no matter how easy it would have made their strategy-making communication).
Germany is not usually trusted when it comes to privacy. The German government has extremely keen eyes on the internet and the information that the people transact. Fourteen Eyes countries exchange military intelligence, and Germany is one of them. However, Tutanota has clear policies about what can the government access and what it can’t. They also explain how they protect the data from agencies.
On the other hand, ProtonMail is larger and more popular. It is Switzerland-based, a nation is known for its very strong privacy regulations. The backstory of ProtonMail is solid. It was founded by three CERN co-founders. Some of the servers are even stored in a former military bunker, which is hidden, about a kilometer under granite. But well, it is connected to the internet, so granite won’t stop an attacker.
So, let’s see which private email platform you should use.
Technically, both service providers come with amazing security parameters. For Tutanota, it’s a combination of AES 128-bit and RSA 2048-bit encryption protocols. RSA 2048 ensures the authenticity of the sender. This is a pretty advanced way of signing emails that use complex mathematical algorithms. The AES 128 is not the best encryption for message encryption, sure, but it’s pretty flawless in the current technology.
End-to-end encryption is supported on both the services, so it makes sure that only the sender and recipient know the contents of the email. ProtonMail uses AES 256, which is a higher and more secure version of AES 128. Also, ProtonMail’s encryption supports OpenPGP, ensuring that users outside of ProtonMail client also interact without any problems if the recipient means to use an external component.
Even if an agency or hacker gets access to the mail database, they will get files that they cannot decrypt. ProtonMail or Tutanota can’t decrypt your mail’s contents themselves. As for ProtonMail, Swiss law protects privacy from a legal point of view because of the banking sector there. But it’s also in their moral thinking to do so. So, even if the information is demanded, ProtonMail can work on it, but you will still be notified.
Support for non-encrypted mail systems
If you send a mail to someone who isn’t using ProtonMail or Tutanota or another encrypted email provider, then what happens? ProtonMail has the upper hand here.
ProtonMail supports OpenPGP. So, any inbox only needs to configure OpenPGP and they will be able to see your encrypted mail. OpenPGP is, well, an open standard. So you don’t need to purchase anything. Yes, setting it up could be troublesome. However, OpenPGP cannot encrypt the subject line, keep that in mind.
As for Tutanota, if you send a mail from it to any non-encrypted inbox, they will be asked to be taken to the Tutanota website for the content’s decryption, including the subject. However, they can already decrypt the contents on that page using the password that you have to send them beforehand.
And if there’s no OpenPGP on the recipient’s inbox, then ProtonMail also does the exact same thing.
Both service providers cater to free customers. Tutanota gives 1GB storage and limited search to free users. ProtonMail gives 500MB and 150 messages per day to its free users. But for additional storage, you can purchase more add-ons. The monthly prices are too low, to be honest. But these add-ons are the real profit-makers for these services.
Less storage space but less pricing of the premium package – that’s Tutanota. And ProtonMail charges more but comes with increased storage.
And now, everything else...
When it comes to searching and email filtering, ProtonMail is more capable. It also has a number of convenient functions that are very readily available, not hidden inside menus, as is the case with Tutanota.
The premium version of ProtonMail also supports emails that self-destruct. But Tutanota comes free of data retention as Germany, unlike Switzerland, has no data retention law.
Anonymity is also important. Tutanota asks for no GPS phone number, it’s completely anonymous to use, unlike ProtonMail.
ProtonMail requires two passwords – one for login and another for encrypting your message. Tutanota has only one. As both services allow you to send unencrypted messages, having clarity about the status of the mail being composed is important. Tutanota takes the win here. It clearly and boldly states whether the encryption is on or not.
Passwords are also encrypted, sure, but ProtonMail doesn’t store your encryption password on their servers. It’s a web browser or device only. The login password is sent and stored on their server for validation. Tutanota has only one password, and it’s stored on their servers.
The Final Verdict
Confused? Well, it’s natural. Both service providers offer their own benefits and disadvantages. You might also be interested to read the feature-by-feature comparison done on Medium.
I’d recommend that you try both services. It’s easy and it’s free. Upgrading is incremental if you wish, and so it doesn’t create any burden. Both are secure. Both support the best security features. But unless you try them both, you can’t be sure which user interface suits you better.
If you’re looking for business services where multiple users will be using the emails, then both offer slightly different pricing which you can easily compare using these pages: Tutanota pricing and ProtonMail pricing. Support is limited for free ProtonMail users, but there’s no support for Tutanota free users, so keep that in mind when you try out. The community is good enough for both, so it’s okay.
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