I signed up for a free personal email account at privacy-oriented email provider Tutanota.com and have been using it for some time now. Here is a balanced review of the free version of Tutanota email.
My main two reasons for getting an email account at Tutanota were:
- Wanted to gradually move away from Gmail due to privacy concerns. Although I don't plan on ditching my Gmail account, I'm trying to switch most things to my new Tutanota account. In particular, any shopping accounts I use I've moved to Tutanota so that Google doesn't know my shopping habits. Tutanota is privacy-oriented from the ground up.
- I wanted to get an email address related to my name that hasn't already been taken. Most of the other big email providers out there have most names taken, and I didn't want to resort to adding numbers to my name to make it different. This situation may be of interest to younger people getting their first email besides their school email account.
- The most basic level of service at Tutanota is free.
- Very privacy-oriented.
- You can pick from several different domains for your email, not just tutanota.com. So you can personalize your address even more, plus, you have chances of the username you want being available in one of the other domains even if it's not available in your preferred one.
- Nice modern clean layout both on desktop and on mobile. None of that spammy look that you get on AOL, Yahoo, and others.
- The Tutanota mobile app makes it easy to check your email conveniently.
- Comes with a calendar service in it, like Google Calendar (but private!)
- Besides the free level of service you can add other features or more storage with one of the paid Tutanota plans. Some of these features include: use of custom domains, allowing additional users, inbox rules, and customer support.
- More recently, it has less than perfect uptime. Most of the time I never have a problem, but every now and then it's unavailable, which is annoying. I've never had any email go missing - I've sent test emails to myself from my other account while the website is down, and they always make it through. But this is a strong negative for me. This is more of a recent issue.
- Spam detection system is not so good. It tends to label legitimate emails as spam. Even if you move the message out of spam into your inbox, Tutanota doesn't get the hint! Subsequent emails from the same sender will still wind up in spam. The only way to avoid this is to go to the recipient's email address and add them as a contact in the Tutanota app or website, AND also add a spam rule that their email is "never spam". This is frustrating and only helps after the fact. On a positive note, spam filters are something which Tutanota is working on and we can therefore expect improvements in the future. Still, at the moment, if you use Tutanota you will need to check your spam folder more often than you would have expected.
- The free level of service only allows 1GB of storage. It's pretty decent for a free account, but you have to pay a higher dollar amount than I would have expected if you desire extra storage. This is not a big drawback, since after all the free service is, well, free!
- No option for email recovery if you lock yourself out besides a special unlock code they give you at the start (it has lots and lots of digits, so keep it safely written down because you'll never remember it). So you can't nominate, for example, a parent's email as the recovery email address where they can send you a password reset code. Therefore if you lose your Tutanota password AND lose your unlock code you were given at the beginning, you're hosed.
Based on my experiences using it, Tutanota is a reliable and legitimate privacy-oriented email provider. Their free email is a great way to get started, and has the bonus that being a newer provider, you have more chances of your desired username being available. Tutanota has a few disadvantages, but for me these are outweighed by the advantages. I've also noticed that Tutanota is often rolling out new features or improvements. In particular, I'd like a better uptime than they have at the time of writing.