What is Reasons to Ditch Gmail for ProtonMail

By | March 14, 2021

You can assume that you have to depend on Google, Apple or Microsoft for fast and free email, but this is not true. If you want to be different from the big tech giants, there are other options. One of them is ProtonMail.

Many Gizmodo employees rely on Gmail, but few of us even use ProtonMail, and we think it’s worth highlighting this lesser-known service. ProtonMail may lack the polish of its rivals, but has some advantages.

Let’s start with the basics: ProtonMail has a free tier, and you’ll get your messages quickly. They are the two most important aspects of any email service, and it checks those boxes. The interface is slow and simple, even if it is slightly more basic than the app offered by its big-name rivals. It’s simple and clean, and keeps it focused on where it should be: on your messages.

ProtonMail makes its money from paying customers. A premium membership includes features such as more storage (only 500 MB free) and multiple email addresses associated with an account. Without these extras the service is fully usable, though, and as long as you want to put years and years of email on file every year, you’ll be fine with the free tier.

There are lots of free email services around, but often you have to leave a measure of privacy and control. Some, such as Google, have historically submitted targeted ads based on the content of your email (although the company has stated that it no longer does so). Other people, such as Apple, want to lock you into their ecosystem so that you never buy a device or subscribe to a service offered by another company.

There is a refreshing change to using a “neutral” service like ProtonMail (bonus: the company is actually based in Switzerland). When you are checking your messages, you are not being pushed to use any particular browser or smart assistant or chat service. ProtonMail is an option if you feel that tech giants have already claimed enough of your digital life.

End-to-end encryption is one of the key features offered by ProtonMail, with a zero-access setup ensuring that ProtonMail can’t even see what your messages are. What’s more, the code and cryptography that ProtonMail is built on is open source and available for anyone to see, so there is no possibility of any back door being hidden.

On top of encryption, the service offers other features designed to protect your privacy. When you sign up, you are not required to provide any personal details, for example, and ProtonMail does not keep IP logs of your account access. There is also an option to set an expiration date for sent email messages, so you can use your email account like you use Snapchat.

We have already mentioned ProtonMail’s independence and neutrality, and it is also available on any device. You can use the Webmail client on desktop and laptop, and on mobile you can use the app for Android or iOS. For third-party clients, IMAP and SMTP support is available for desktops, but you must be a paying customer to use it.

Mobile has a lot of useful privacy and security features. You can, for example, protect apps with biometric security, so no one else can read your emails even if they are in your phone. If you look at the iOS app, you will see that there is only one entry in the privacy label: diagnostics (which is not linked to your identity in any way).

ProtonMail is much more than a bare-bones email service. You can view conversations, Gmail-style email, and use a combination of both labels and folders to keep your messages organized (although these are limited on the free plan). On the security side, there is support for two-factor authentication and easy access to your login history.

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