Tutanota Email Review
Tutanota is an anonymous email provider with automatic end-to-end encryption. As with other such services like Riseup, they emphasize privacy. According to their homepage, Tutanota is “forever free,” although they do have two paid premium versions available as well, with extra features. The emails (and any attachments) are stored on their encrypted servers.
Tutanota Clearnet URL
Note: At present, Tutanota does not have a Tor hidden service, though this may change in the future (especially if people request it).
Tutanota has two standard plans: Free and Premium. The Free plan, obviously, is free, but is only for private use. The Premium plan costs 1 € ($1.13) per month, if paid in yearly installments, or 1.20 € ($1.36) per month, if paid in monthly installments.
There is also a third plan offered to nonprofit organizations (NPOs), although at the present time they must be located in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland.
With the nonprofit plan, you can get Tutanota Premium as a donation from their partner Stifter-helfen. If this applies to you or your organization, check out the following links:
With the nonprofit plan, there are several conditions that must be met:
- If you use Tutanota as a donation, their partners collect a small administration fee to cover expenses.
- The free or discounted offer is limited only to individual user accounts. Any additional upgrades must be paid at the standard user price.
- The donation offer only includes up to 50 user accounts. Therefore, if you need more than 50, you cannot apply for the donation version. On the other hand, you can still get a 50% discount by contacting the organization: Tutanota: Contact
As with other email services that advertise privacy, this email service uses end-to-end encryption when sending messages. To be more specific, they use 2048 bit RSA and 128 bit AES encryption. Unfortunately, Tutanota does not currently support PGP, although they have stated that they are working on adding this feature in the near future.
Beyond this, Tutanota also offers what they refer to as “hidden features.” These aren’t necessarily privacy related, but can be useful:
- Combining several different accounts: If you’re using a Premium account and have more than one “alias” (username), you can combine several of these together into one mailbox. Then you’ll only need to use one login for all of them. You’ll have to delete the additional email accounts, and then enter the address of your Premium account under ‘Unsubscribe.’ Following deletion, you can enter the deleted email address as an alias under the Premium account.
- Email header features: If you press Ctrl + h, you can see details about who sent an email to you. A scam email is likely to contain different ‘technical’ and ‘from’ headers; if this is the case, Tutanota will warn you about what it detected with a short notice. The notice will read: “The technical sender is different than the email address in ‘From.’ As ‘From’ can be faked, the technical sender is also displayed to understand who actually sent the email.” (As in the screenshot below)
Tutanota Free Plan
Cost: 0 € per month
As referred to above, Tutanota is free to use, but has limited features on its free plan. The free plan offers the following:
- One user
- 1 GB of storage
- No aliases
- Tutanota domain only
- No inbox rules
- No customizations
- Community support
While limited, it depends on what your needs for the email service are. If you are using it in a professional setting, the premium plan may be more appropriate.
Tutanota Premium Plan
Cost: 1 € ($1.13) per month (paid yearly) or 1.20 € ($1.36) per month (paid monthly)
- Add users (at cost)
- 1 GB (but expandable if necessary)
- 5 aliases (but expandable if necessary)
- Your own domains or Tutanota domains
- Inbox rules
- Premium support
Registering for Tutanota is very simple. First, go to https://app.tutanota.com/#register. Once there, enter the email address you want to create into the field that says “Desired email address.” The page will let you know if that email address is not available.
After that, enter a password into the “Password” field, and repeat that password for verification. Note: The site has a warning that says “Please store this password in a secure place. We are not able to restore your password or to reset your account because all of your data is end-to-end encrypted.” It’s similar to the mailbox password on ProtonMail, which also cannot be recovered if forgotten.
If you’re unsure as to how to create a strong password, Tutanota also has a link that says “How to find a good password?”, which links to the Wikipedia page Password strength – Guidelines for strong passwords.
Once you’ve filled out all this information, click the checkbox that reads “I have read and agree to the following documents.” If all of this is correct, you should see a “Create Account” button appear at the bottom of the screen. Click this, and your registration is complete.
Tutanota is web-based, but also has apps available for iOS, Android, and Amazon Echo. Download these apps at the following links:
Tutanota User Interface
Tutanota has a relatively simple user interface (UI). Your various mailboxes are listed on the left side of the screen: Inbox, Drafts, Sent, Trash, Archive, and Spam.
At the top right are Emails, Contacts, Premium, Invite, Settings, Community, and Logout. Your inbox appears to the right of this first menu, while messages are displayed on the far right.
When you select a new option from the top menu, the new window “slides” up from the bottom of the screen. All in all, it seems very easy to learn and intuitive, though it may take getting used to if you’re accustomed to a different email service.
Sending and Receiving Email
To compose a new email, click the button that says “New email” in the upper right-hand corner of the screen. A blank message field will appear below, in which you can compose your message.
Note: if you are sending email to an external recipient (i.e. someone who doesn’t use Tutanota), in order to have them decrypt the message, the two of you must have an agreed-upon password. Before sending the message, you must enter this password into the field that says “Agreed password.”
When entering your password, Tutanota will also test its strength (entropy), and indicate this with a little colored meter beneath the password field.
Alternatively, if a message is not confidential, you can choose to send it unencrypted as well. Click the green box that says “Encrypted” underneath the subject line, and it will change to say “Unencrypted.”
When finished, hit the “Send” button.
Pros and Cons
- Offers end-to-end encryption
- Basic account is free to use
- Completely open source
- Everything is encrypted (subject, body, and attachments)
- Non-Tutanota users can securely respond to messages
- Does not currently support PGP
- Basic account has limited features
- Limited support on free plan
- Does not currently have a Tor hidden service
Tutanota, on the whole, is a good basic privacy-centric email service. It offers end-to-end encryption for all aspects of email messages. To boot, the encryption works when messaging users outside of Tutanota as well. On the downside, it does not support PGP at present, does not have a Tor hidden service, and many of its better security features are only available in the premium versions.