Paid E-Mail Service Recommendations

I’m looking to switch over from Gmail to a paid service for my personal e-mails. I want to get some privacy back so want to limit how much data I give to google and I don’t like how they tie your various accounts to your actual identity.

My priorities in order - privacy, functionality, value. Have got a bit of experience with O365 and Exchange so happy to get in and tinker myself.

I’m sure this has been asked before but couldn’t find any recent threads in search.

Comments

  • You can use PGP or similar if you're that concerned about privacy. Any email provider can read your emails, and can be compelled by law to do so. With PGP, the bad people have to deal with you.

    • I'm not too worried that the service provider has the ability to access my e-mails so much, just don't want AI being run over my e-mails and used to create a profile for me.

      • I didn’t neg you.
        You mentioned your priority is privacy, this is only possible with self hosted email server.
        No matter what any paid email providers say, they always mine your data.

  • If privacy is the priority start by checking out this list: https://www.privacytools.io/providers/email/. Some of the solutions come with tradeoffs in terms of functionality and value though.

    If your priority is as stated: security (btw security and privacy are two different things), functionality, value, then look at Exchange Online plans. But bear in mind this option might be somewhat worse in terms of privacy compared to the above list as you will be sharing information with Microsoft. Another option to look at is Fastmail, seems to be a popular compromise between privacy and security.

    At the end of the day it really depends on your appetite to share information. And also make sure you read each solutions privacy policy :)

    • Yes thanks updated my post. Cheers for the link, looks like a great resource for what I'm after.

    • "a popular compromise between privacy and security."

      I'm genuinely curious about the trade-offs between the two here. To my mind, FM offers a good mix of privacy (eg scanning policies, no marketing based on data or mining, off-client image fetching & pixel blocking, and a good policy on warrant access) and security (policy, technical stack, and 2FA - were one of the earliest mail implementers of Yubikey and app-specific passwords).

      Im not saying that it's a security and privacy utopia, but more that decisions made in both domains don't really seem to compromise each other. Of course there are always more private and less private models (and more secur/less secure) but I feel they're not intrinsically affecting each other to the same extent as commercial model and cost drive these.

      • That’s well said and is my point as well. Hence it was included as a recommendation :)

        Areas where FM is still behind are:
        1. Supports only legacy email protocols that don’t support modern auth - IMAP/POP/SMTP. Would be good is they implement a protocol with modern auth. This is where Exchange Online edges. A workaround is to disable the legacy protocols and access the mailbox via the web browser only.
        2. Malware/phishing/impersonation protection is behind the big names. This is where both Microsoft and Google are ahead. A workaround is to use a dedicated third party spam filtering service such as Mimecast or similar.

        Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to go or not go for a particular service. I think the list I linked above and the multitude of reviews out there should be able to help OP choose the right product based on their requirements.

        • Really pertinent points - thanks for the considered reply. Agree OP would be well served by the link above.

  • I definitely recommend O365 suite for paid services. There is a increase email security option if you want to pay extra.

    • OP wants some privacy. Microsoft is also reading your email and profiling users.

  • I use Zoho with my own domain. It's pretty cheap and offers a great app.

  • +2 votes

    I've been using iiNet's hosted Exchange service for six years+, it's been solid; I've had no issues over the duration, their support is decent, and matters such as the recent three CVEs for Exchange were dealt with promptly.

    I pay $6.95/month for a 50GB mailbox. Highly recommended.

  • VentraIP's (ventraip.com.au) email hosting is cheap and very good in my opinion. All of it is locally hosted and although it's not Exchange-based, they do offer CalDAV and CardDAV too.

  • never used but have heard about it
    https://protonmail.com/

  • +4 votes

    Fastmail is a popular option, and its an Australian company…

    • Uh… I hope you know that being Australian based is actually a pretty big negative when the topic is privacy with how open the government is with anti-encryption laws and backdoors. I understand that not everyone sees the government as a threat to their personal privacy but it's still a fairly significant consideration.

      • If you care about privacy for a message/content, you aren't using regular email…

        Most people aren't going to bother with PGP , and it's less user friendly than other non email based secure/private messaging alternatives.

        • Email is used for more than just communication. I don't need people snooping to find out every service I decide to sign up with.

          • @CircularIllusion: Online services wont utilise PGP encryption for sign up emails anyway, in which case you have zero control of what servers your email transits from source to destination, and no guarantee of any inter-email server transit encryption etc

            therefore, sure, if your mail hosting server is located in Australia technically, if you were for some reason on a watch list, your email content could be more easily subpoenaed etc etc.

            But even if its not, you cant guarantee your un-encrypted email doesn't transit through any other possible logging/scraping/governmental-y accessible if it wants to hop in its transit.

            Or maybe I'm just not seeing the government threat enough :)

            • @SBOB: I started reading your reply with my fists up ready for a fight but I ended up agreeing with pretty much everything you said.

              By the way, there is no such thing as in-transit encryption when it comes to inter-server emails. SMTP was created in a time when privacy wasn't a huge consideration (more than 20 years ago).

              I agree with your earlier comment about not using emails for private conversations. It drives me nuts when organisations don't provide a way to speak privately. I have the opinion that every organisation should have a webpage like many news organisations do.

              I once dealt with a hospital where the receptionist sent me some forms to fill in digitally and to send them back. I sent them back in different ways where one such way being an passwords protected ZIP file. They couldn't figure out how to deal with any of my methods so instead, I went to the hospital and handed it to them in person. 😫

  • Having administered Fastmail, O365 & gSuite, I think you'd be happy with either non-Google option.

    Fastmail probably has the slight edge on privacy, and their domain name/multiple from email addresses feature is stronger for one/few user scenarios.

    Both offer contact & calendar sync and while Microsoft slightly ahead I don't think you'd really notice a difference.

  • +1 vote

    I've gone back to hand writing letters and using Australia post.

    email is just a fad