Mailfence: A secure & private Gmail alternative
If you are reading this post then you are probably looking for a Gmail alternative. You‘ve come to the right place because in this blog post we are going to breakdown why we believe Mailfence is the best Gmail alternative.
Why search for a Gmail alternative in the first place?
Gmail is an email service with tons of features so why would you search for a Gmail alternative? The issue with Gmail is that it does not use end to end encryption and does not respect your privacy. Google claims your emails are safe but only encrypts your emails via STARTTLS which is not true end-to-end encryption.
Google/Alphabet the Big tech conglomerate behind Gmail sells your data to advertisers and marketers. Moreover, these advertisers take the data, process it in order to understand you better and sell more to you.
This is the problem with “Free” services, if you are not paying a subscription to use the service then you are paying in another way. In Gmail’s case, you are paying with your data.
Security is at the heart of Mailfence
Mailfence offers two end-to-end encryption methods to encrypt your data. With Mailfence you can encrypt either symmetrically or asymmetrically. The main difference between TLS and end-to-end encryption (E2E) is that with E2E the data is encrypted directly on the machine of the user and no one in between the sender and the receiver of the message can read your emails. If you would like to learn what Mailfence protects you from and from what it does not please visit our Threat model page.
With STARTTLS however, the sender email service encrypts the data as it leaves their servers. Furthermore, the server of the second user decrypts the data and the encryption ends there. The company that controls the server can also view the data if they wanted to. The STARTTLS encryption happens only if both sender and recipient services support it. Most service providers support STARTTLS however smaller organizations that you might be communicating with might not support TLS. Not convinced? check our dedicated blog post on why end to end encryption is the way to go.
Combine end to end encryption with digital signatures to increase the security and the authenticity of your emails. By using a private email provider like Mailfence you can regain your privacy, say no to mass surveillance and start encrypting everything! If you still don’t prefer Mailfence and would like to remain with Gmail, check our blog post where we explain how to encrypt with Gmail.
How to disable Google tracking in just 2 minutes. Note: Even if you follow our steps on how to disable google tracking, Google has clever ways to get around this.
Privacy is a right, not a feature
You may have heard about Gmail’s confidential mode that allows you to send emails that self-destruct after the expiration date. I hate to break it to you but the confidential mode is not really confidential. The “confidential” emails you send through Gmail are sent in plain text which means that Google can still view those emails and can theoretically store them on their servers.
Wow, Google sure sounds evil, but really, it is just a business and it needs to make money somehow. Our business models differ quite a bit since we believe that privacy is a right and not a feature. Therefore we chose not to track users and make money solely through subscriptions & licenses sold to universities. In order to use some of our features, you have to subscribe to a paid plan. Currently there are 3 paid plans: Entry, PRO & Ultra. It is the way to support us and keep our business up and running. Plus we donate 15% of all revenues of the PRO subscriptions to EFF and EDRI.
This article is not meant to make Google look like a big bad wolf but rather to sensitize you about online privacy. If you don’t want to sign up for a private email provider, at the end of this article we will provide other alternatives so stay tuned.
Tons of features & functionalities
There is no denying that Gmail has loads of features and it keeps adding more and more however choosing a secure email provider does not mean you have to abandon many features. Starting off with the Mail, you can encrypt your emails either with symmetric or asymmetric encryption.
We also offer Two-factor authentication(2FA) for additional security. You can also set filters to set certain actions when you receive emails from a specific email address. If you think your email address was given to a 3rd party you can use plus addressing to track spammers. You can also sync your mailbox with other email clients to keep everything in one place with either IMAP, POP, and Exchange ActiveSync. Please note that each protocol has pros and cons. I highly recommend you read our protocol blogpost.
Use the Mailfence calendar as an alternative to Google calendar and boost collaboration and convenience without compromising security & privacy. What’s cool about the Mailfence calendar is that it has a poll function integrated into it.
As an alternative to labels you can use tags which will help you keep your folders nice and tidy.
Collaborate securely and efficiently
If you are a student or a business owner you might want to create templates for your emails so you don’t start from scratch every time. Moreover, you can share mailboxes so you don’t have to share your account credentials with your team members or colleagues. Speaking of colleagues and team members with the Mailfence groups function you can share data and collaborate securely. Some of the possibilities of the Groups functionality include: view the shared mailbox, view the shared group Contacts, share the group Calendar. You can also use the drop folder feature to securely send files without having to attach them to emails.
For the full list of possibilities check out our Mailfence Groups blog post. Wait, there’s more, Mailfence has an instant messaging chat where you can message your contacts directly. Mailfence Documents is our alternative to Google Drive where you can store, edit, and share files with your group members. What’s cool about the Mailfence documents feature is that you can create a virtual drive. That allows you to access the documents without even being in the application itself. Another really cool feature is the public folder that allows you to publicly share docs with non-mailfence users just sharing a URL.
Please note that: anyone who has access to that URL can view the contents of the public folder, please use it with caution.
Other Gmail Alternatives
Another Gmail alternative that you should consider in case you don’t want an email provider to handle your emails is to host your own email server. You can set up your own email server that way everything is in your control. The downside of hosting your email server is that it is time-consuming and you need to have a computer with server capable hardware which might be a costly endeavor.
Moreover, you need your own domain name which incurs extra costs and a high-speed internet connection. Finally, you need an email server software like PostFix to sort your emails. You should also consider spam protection software so you don’t overload your server with spam, SpamAssassin is a good option. As you can see setting up your own email server is not an easy task it requires a lot of resources and knowledge.
How to migrate from Gmail to Mailfence
If you are this far into the blog post then chances are you have decided that Mailfence is your preferred Gmail alternative. So how do you migrate your data from Gmail to Mailfence? First, in order to migrate from Gmail to Mailfence. Be advised there are different instructions if you are using a Free and a Paid plan.
If you have documents that you would like to migrate to Mailfence you can do so by following our instructions.
Parting thoughts on Mailfence as a Gmail alternative
There is no denying that Gmail is a splendid email service that offers great features and satisfies most users. However, how comfortable are you with Gmail being able to scan your emails at any time and sell data about you? You have to figure out whether you will appreciate the extra privacy and security Mailfence offers compared to Gmail. We hope that this blogpost made you realize that “free” email services aren’t always free and end up costing you more than you think.
Mailfence does not scan your emails to learn more about you, you can privately communicate with anyone you want. Moreover, you can send encrypted emails to non-Mailfence users to boost the security of your emails. StartsTLS is not enough, end to end encryption is the way to go to make sure nobody other than your intended recipient(s) can read your emails. Finally, Mailfence has an alternative for Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar & Google Contacts.
Gmail scans your emails to learn more about you and sell that info to 3rd party advertisers. These advertisers pay Google a hefty amount of all that data. Furthermore, the advertisers take the data and analyze it to determine how they can sell as many products as possible to you.
– Mailfence Team