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5 months with ProtonMail and I haven't looked back

I signed up for ProtonMail 5 months ago and I am very happy with what they have to offer. It’s time we start choosing encrypted, decentralised, open-source choices over Facebook, Google and the likes.

5 months ago, I decided to quit Gmail for good and move to an end-to-end (e2e) encrypted email service like ProtonMail or Tutanota. After thinking a lot over this, I settled for ProtonMail with a two years subscription. They had this nice Black Friday promotion from 2017 that I was able to redeem.

I have used Google’s services ever since I first discovered websites in 2004 (I think it was around that time, not very sure).

I wish I had realised the effects of using such services – giving up privacy, being tracked, not owning my own data, being targeted for advertisement amongst many other negative effects – much earlier though!

Signing up for an encrypted email service was the first step for a relief.

I use ProtonMail with a dedicated web domain, which means I don’t use their @protonmail.com address. I had been using the same dedicated email address on Google as well, via G Suite – so, using same with ProtonMail’s premium service was a natural choice and I didn’t have a reason to update my email address everywhere.

I did not explore an option to move all my emails from the previous inbox on Gmail to ProtonMail. I thought it would be a nice distinction to separate unsafe emails on Gmail from safe ones on ProtonMail.

While ProtonMail offers only a web UI and no native desktop apps, I am okay with it. They do offer a service called ProtonMail Bridge, for use with other apps like Apple Mail, Thunderbird, and Outlook. I am convenient with their web app though, for a few reasons below:

  • Automatically attaches my public key on outbound emails for others’ use – they can send me encrypted emails.
  • Can make use of the message expiration feature to send self-destructing emails.
  • Can have multiple ProtonMail sessions on the same browser, without using incognito tabs – each tab has its own session.

ProtonMail being based in Switzerland and using European data servers was another key reason why I preferred ProtonMail over Tutanota.

ProtonMail also claims they do not log IP addresses, but I have noticed that they do log the IP addresses by default. One only has an option to opt-out. I wonder if they can make that messaging clear.

“Think your email’s private? Think again.” – Andy Yen, ProtonMail

I don’t see myself going back to Google’s services or the likes, in favour for decentralised, open-source softwares and services. Especially in the time of unethical practices that companies like Facebook are involved in!

By Arun

Happiness Engineer, Automattic

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