Email Anonymity and Safety: How to Find the Best Free Anonymous Email Accounts?
Do you need to send sensitive information or files via email? In that case, you should know that email wasn't designed to be private and there are a lot of ways it can be used to identify you, such as:
- The sender address
- IP address lookup
- Reverse email lookup like Spokeo
- Using Facebook to reveal your identity (works if you signed up to FB with that email account)
- Copy/paste the email address into Google
- Being exposed in a data breach
All of these are excellent ways to uncover spam emails, but we're sure you're not a spammer and just want to keep your privacy. So, we're going to show you a few ways to find and create anonymous email accounts.
Is Gmail Anonymous?
What about popular email service providers that we use every day, like Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft Outlook?
Are these email services private and can they be?
Unfortunately, no. These email services were intended to be convenient and they do a very good job at that, but are not meant for privacy. All of them are owned by big companies (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft respectively) that want to collect your data and serve you advertisements.
Here are all the private data Google collects when you use its many services (not just Gmail):
- Google Profile (first and last name, gender, password, birth date, email address, phone number)
- Google Chrome (web browsing history, downloaded file records, permission lists, usernames, location, data saved by add-ons)
- Google Search (typed data in the search bar)
- Gmail (sent and received email messages, names, email addresses and phone numbers of your email contacts)
- Google Maps (locations you've been to, locations you've searched for online or via app, travel dates)
- YouTube (watched videos, uploaded videos, liked/disliked videos, comments)
- Google Ads (topics you are interested in, ads you click on)
- Google Photos (tagged people and places)
- Google Pay (your financial information)
- Google Calendar (past and future schedule)
And so on.
As you can see, there's no hiding from Google if you're using its services. So, let's see how to find the best anonymous email accounts.
How to Create an Anonymous Email Account?
Is sending anonymous emails illegal?
Sending email anonymously is perfectly legal. However, keep in mind that what you send in the email may not be legal. For instance, don't use anonymous email to send spam or threaten someone.
Can I create an anonymous email address?
We'll show you three methods to create anonymous email accounts, as well as discuss some problems with each, starting from the least and moving up to the best anonymous email solution:
1) Use False Information to Sign up to Gmail
You can use false personal information to create an account with Gmail, such as a fake name, birth date, etc. This won't provide the level of anonymity as some of the other methods, but it's better than nothing to protect your identity.
And yes, this is perfectly legal to do.
However, keep in mind that Google can still trace your cyber movements and IP address in particular through all of the methods listed above, so this method isn't nearly as anonymous as the others.
2) Use Burner Emails
The next method to create anonymous email accounts is to use burner emails.
What is a "burner" email?
This is an email that you can use temporarily, after which the email address expires.
Say, for instance, that you need to register to a shady-looking website. If you do it using your regular email account, you risk getting spam emails. So instead, you can use a burner email to sign up for the website without worrying.
The problem with temporary emails is that they are typically only useful as a one-time solution to send anonymous emails. In fact, some burner email providers only allow you to send and not receive emails.
Other burner, or disposable, email services do allow you to also receive emails. However, the problem is if you forget your password. In that case, there's little chance that you'll be able to recover it.
In other words, use a burner email only if you know you won't use it more than once.
3) Use an Encrypted Email Address
Finally, if you want to be truly anonymous, use an email provider that offers end-to-end encryption.
You can use an encrypted email just like a regular one. The difference is that the added end-to-end encryption will make it much harder for cyber criminals and the government to spy on you and find out your financial or personal information.
Today there are plenty of options to choose from, but to find the best anonymous email, you should follow these rules:
- Can you sign up anonymously to the email service?
- Can you pay anonymously
- Where is the mail service located?
- Do they retain any data?
- Do they trace your IP address and store it?
- Does it use PGP encryption?
As you can see, you'll have to research a little before you can find the best end-to-end encryption email service, but that's a small price to pay to protect your personal information.
How to Hide Your IP Address?
One of the main ways that someone can use to identify you from your email address is to trace your IP address.
What is an IP address?
This is a unique address that identifies a connected device on the Internet. You'll normally see the IP address as a string of numbers such as 126.96.36.199. This is called an IPv4 address (there are also IPv6 that are a bit longer and more complicated).
IP addresses aren't private, however, and cyber criminals (or tech giants for that matter) use a variety of methods to look them up.
One way is to examine the header of the emails that you sent them. This method is why using Gmail as an anonymous email service doesn't work.
In addition, they can also use an online IP lookup tool, like WhoisXMLAPI.
How do I Make My Email Untraceable?
Fortunately, there are ways to create a private email account that is also untraecable.
For this, you will need to hide your IP address and the two best ways to do this is to:
1) Use a VPN
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a service that will encrypt your Internet connection and route it through its own server. What this does (most of the time, at least) is that it hides your real IP address from those on the other end and instead shows the IP address of the VPN server.
The problem with VPNs is that a lot of websites, especially streaming services like Netflix or Hulu, have become wise to them so they block users who try to use a VPN.
Another problem is that some VPNs log your data, which completely negates their purpose.
2) Use Tor browser
Another method to hide your IP is to use the Tor browser.
Using the Tor browser, your connection passes through several "nodes" before reaching the end-point. Since there is no real correlation between these nodes and the connection is passed randomly between them, there is no reliable way to trace your traffic.
Still, keep in mind that even Tor browser is not entirely anonymous, as we explained in this article.
What are the Best Anonymous Email Services You Use in 2021?
Now let's finally take a look at the five best anonymous email platforms that can protect your privacy and freedom of speech. Naturally, there are a lot more options than just these, but we feel these five will do the best job at keeping your email data private and secure.
CTemplar is a fast-rising end-to-end encrypted email service provider based in Iceland that offers 100% audited and open-source code, no IP logging, no data retention, anonymous payments and a strong off-shore jurisdiction.
- Fully open-source
- Built-in support for E2EE emails and strong (4096-bit RSA) encryption standards
- Iceland has some of the strongest privacy laws in the world
- Zero Knowledge-protected passwords
- IP stripped from emails
- Ability to send encrypted emails even to non-Templar users
- Anti-phishing support
- Anonymous payment option (Monero)
- No IMAP/SMTP support (work in progress)
- No metadata encryption (also work in progress)
- Email subject line is not encrypted in the free plan
ProtonMail is probably the best-known encrypted email provider and one with a long tenure. The company is based in Switzerland (which is a good sign since it's outside the 5/9/14 Eyes).
- Open-source code
- The IP address is stripped from emails
- Based in Switzerland and all data is stored there (outside 5/9/14 Eyes)
- You can import emails and contacts
- End-to-end encryption for email, calendar and contact information
- You can use ProtonMail Bridge to use ProtonMail with 3rd-party email providers
- May require personal information to verify a new email account
- Pricing is on the more expensive side
- May require a phone number to sign up
- Does not encrypt email subject lines
Tutanota is a secure email provider founded in Germany in 2011 and is today one of the most popular discreet email solutions on the market.
- Open source code
- IP stripped from emails
- You can send encrypted email messages to non-Tutanota users
- 1GB free accounts
- Encrypted messages (including email subject lines) and contacts
- Custom domain support
- Based in a 14 Eyes country (Germany)
- Doesn't work with PGP
- Doesn't accept crypto, only PayPal and credit card (no anonymous payment option)
- Cannot import existing emails
Guerilla Mail is a free anonymous email platform that allows you to both send and receive emails, which is not often the case with burner emails. In addition, the service also doesn't use a signup process and you have an inbox ID.
- HTTPS-protected connection
- Email messages expire after 1h
- Customizable inbox ID
- Can send files
- Can be confusing if you're using it for the first time
- Need to scramble emails for inbox privacy
Private-Mail is a secure email service made by the same team behind TorGuard VPN and TorGuard Email. Additionally, Private-Mail also offers encrypted cloud storage for secure file sharing.
- Cloud storage encryption
- Strict no-logs policy
- Encrypted messages are sent as plain-text
- A little pricey
- Setting up encrypted messaging a bit difficult
As you can see, there are plenty of options to protect your privacy on email. That means you don't have to stress out every time about your sensitive information and privacy as you use popular email platforms.
Instead, you can use one of the secure email solutions we listed here.
What is the best free anonymous email account though?
That's a tough question and depends on your needs. We recommend trying CTemplar to see if it's a good fit for you, but if not any one of these will keep your email data secure.