The best anonymous email services for keeping data private

Yaron Dror

April 15, 2024

  • # Fraud Prevention
  • # Phishing Protection
  • # Account Protection

If giving out your email online — even for seemingly safe account signups and purchases — makes you cringe, you may have already begun using a fake address to protect your identity. 

But your identity isn't fully protected if you use a fake email account with an email service provider like Gmail. These email services keep personal data, like your name, phone number, and contacts, meaning your information could still be revealed to cyber criminals in the event of a platform hack. 

You need an anonymous email account to fully protect your data and ensure no one receives that information, including your email service provider. This guide will cover the best anonymous email services on the market, including how they work, their drawbacks, and how you can better protect your digital privacy. 

What makes an email account anonymous?

Anonymous email accounts generally require no personal information to create. These services run on no-knowledge policies, meaning they don’t store your name or phone number like other more traditional email providers do. So, if an anonymous email provider’s database gets hacked, there is no information on you for a hacker to get their hands on. 

Another feature of anonymous email accounts is that they often have no-log policies, meaning the service doesn’t track your activity. Who you communicate with, when, and how is entirely private.    

Anonymous email services also protect your identity at the message level. Emails with these services have no time stamp, IP address, or device information. The service also encrypts all messages, meaning anyone who intercepts them won’t be able to decipher the contents. 

Anonymous email versus disposable or masked email addresses

Anonymous email addresses are just one of a few options to keep your email information sealed. Other options include disposable (or temporary) or masked email addresses, both of which can afford you greater privacy. 

Disposable email addresses are “burner” services that provide a temporary address and inbox. Generally, burner email services run on web pages, and you click a button to generate a random address. The inbox for that temporary email address appears on the same page for a certain amount of time or until you exit the website. 

Masked email addresses, like the ones IronVest offers, link up with your actual email address but hide your identifying information. So, when you send an email with the masked address or use it to check out on an e-commerce site, the recipient or processor only sees the fake address — but any correspondence the masked address receives ends up in your actual inbox. IronVest allows you to toggle off any communication you no longer need or want, like a retailer sending too many marketing messages or a newsletter you’re no longer interested in. 

Top anonymous email providers

If you’re ready to try anonymous email, internet safety is likely among your motivations. Here are some options that many users have tested and trust as a quality, safe service:

1. Tuta

Tuta (formerly Tutanota) is a free, anonymous email service offering end-to-end encryption and loved by hackers. You don’t need to provide personally identifying information to create an account, and Tuta never shows IP addresses on messages. You can also use it to encrypt emails to non-Tuta users, which they can only open with a passcode.

Tuta’s anonymity comes at no cost unless you want more storage, several email addresses, and priority customer service. That said, if you stick with the free version, it only offers limited storage space, no custom domains, and limited customer support.

2. ProtonMail 

ProtonMail is an anonymous email service insofar as the application has a zero-knowledge policy. You don’t need to provide identifying information to open an account, but you can give the service your actual email for account recovery. The service uses audited end-to-end encryption, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t encrypt email subject lines, metadata, or headers, and it has limited customer support services.

ProtonMail’s free account gives you 1GB of storage and allows you to send up to 150 emails daily, or you can pay to receive additional features like unlimited messaging or several email addresses.

3. Private-Mail

This paid, encrypted email service offers the ability to send anonymous emails, but it only encrypts plain-text emails. Private-Mail has a self-destructing email and contacts feature, and you can use it on any device.

The most basic plan starts at $8.95 per month and gives users a generous 10GB of data storage and five email addresses — or you can scale up to $64.95 monthly for a business plan with features like secure file sharing, account collaboration, and synced contacts.

4. CounterMail

CounterMail is an anonymous, encrypted email service that doesn’t store any user data, including cookies and logs. CounterMail doesn’t use hard drives, offering diskless web servers instead. Unfortunately, it’s not free and invitation-only, so you can’t sign up whenever you please. 

5. IronVest

IronVest masked emails are one of the most robust and proven solutions on the market with over 3M downloads to date. Part of the IronVest complete security and privacy suite of services, IronVest offers a random email addresses that are automatically created to be used in place of your real email address. It keeps your real email address private so it’s protected in the event a site is hacked. It also helps you avoid spam as you can control which emails to have forwarded and which to have blocked and held in the IronVest masked inbox. Security As with all IronVest services, security is at the core. Masked emails protect your personal email from being leaked in data breaches. Hackers can’t trace the masked email back to your real email address, and helps you avoid fraud tactics like phishing and credential stuffing. Privacy IronVest masked emails keep spam out of your inbox. Companies won’t know your real email address and you will only receive the emails you want and block the ones you don’t. And if you’re receiving a lot of unwanted emails, it’s easy to turn off a masked email. Convenience Masked emails are easily created and autofilled with the IronVest browser extension, mobile app, or web dashboard. Secure your inbox. Protect your accounts. Start using masked emails now.

Choosing between free versus paid anonymous email options

The differences between free and paid anonymous email options generally center on access to advanced features, not basic safety ones. So, you’re not necessarily compromising your data’s security or privacy by using a free platform or version of one that offers paid plans. 

Typically, when you pay for an anonymous email service, you gain access to more storage, features (like file sharing, calendars, or VPNs), and additional email addresses. Some paid services will also provide quicker, better support as a perk.

Worried about privacy? Avoid these email providers

While popular email platforms like AOL, Yahoo, and Gmail aren’t necessarily dangerous, they do hold onto more user data. They’ve also participated in sharing information with third parties in the past and could continue to track behavior. 

These companies frequently change their privacy policies and update security features to keep users safer, but these email platforms aren’t for you if you consider going anonymous. At the very least, you must provide identifying information when signing up, so you will never be able to keep as tight a hold on your data as you would with a no-knowledge service.  

Other ways to protect your identity when using email

Getting a secure email provider you feel safe using is a solid first step in taking the reins on your virtual privacy. Here are a few more actions you can take to protect your identity when using email:

  • Use a VPN: A VPN (virtual private network) masks your IP address, which helps obscure your general geographical location since IPs can be traced to network locations. When you use a VPN along with a secure or anonymous email address, you help ensure that no one can see your location data.

  • Set up PGP encryption: PGP, which stands for Pretty Good Privacy, is the industry-standard encryption service for emails and files. PGP uses a complex encryption method that would require a hacker to have private and public encryption keys to “unlock” a message, which is next to impossible since you’re the only one with your private key. Some email services also let you download a third-party plugin to enable this kind of encryption.

  • Erase metadata from your files: Even if you use an encrypted email service, that doesn’t mean the metadata on documents you send is ciphered. Document metadata can contain the author, dates, and locations, so strip this information before emailing a file to maintain better anonymity. 

Enjoy safer, more private email with IronVest

Anonymous email is a sound option for private, secure messaging. But if you wish to keep using an address you already have, you may hesitate to switch to another service — no matter how safe it is. 

Get IronVest and mask your email address instead. No one will be able to see your real address, third parties can’t send pesky spam to it, and if a database holding your hidden email address gets hacked, malicious actors won’t get your actual information. IronVest secures all masked email data using industry-standard 256-bit AES encryption, ensuring your messages remain between you and your recipient.

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