What is Encrypted Email?

On this site, we’ve done many reviews and conducted a good amount of discussion about encryption, and the role it plays to provide internet security. So, what is encrypted email, and how is it any different from using a VPN service?

People may know, generally, what encryption accomplishes, but I’m asked quite often, “What’s an encrypted email?” People are becoming more interested in how it works so they can make more informed decisions when doing research.


Well, the difference is that a VPN service will protect your identity and internet connections, causing your activities to remain untraceable (provided you’re using a reputable VPN). All of your information is protected from the moment you are online. It is shielded through various levels of encryption, and other processes that keep you safe from prying eyes and hackers.

For more information on VPN’s, check out our “Best VPN Buy of 2020” page, or the review page we’ve done answering the question as to whether ProtonVPN is safe.

Encrypted EmailProtonMail Email

If you’re using a VPN, your online activity is kept safe private, and secure, unless you are exchanging information through an unprotected email service. By
unprotected, we mean not having the levels of encryption to keep your messages safe from being intercepted or broken into by undesirables.

Think of yourself as someone who is protected within the confines of an armored car. The armored car is the VPN in this example. You’re perfectly safe from intrusion, and nothing will penetrate the walls of the car.

But then, you need to open a window to pass a message to someone that’s waiting outside of your car. You stick your arm through the window to deliver the message, and someone runs by and snatches it. Yes, you’re still safe, but how safe are your messages to others? Not only that but are they receiving exactly what you sent them?

So, what’s an encrypted email? How does it work? Email encryption makes sure that whatever email you send is exactly what you intended, being received by exactly who you intend to receive it. It is a security measure that benefits you when you step outside of the confines of a VPN and keeps your information untouchable from intruders.

There’s a lot to it, but this at least gives you an idea of what encrypted email is about. It’s an extra layer of security against cyberattacks.

Now that we’ve got a better understanding of what encrypted email is let’s check out one of the most reliable brands in the market today.

ProtonMail Email Encryption Service

Encrypted Email

ProtonMail is the largest secure email service in the world and is based out of Geneva, Switzerland. They were founded back in 2014, by a group of CERN scientists who shared the common passion for making people’s time spent online more secure than it’s ever been. (CERN is one of the most sophisticated science research organizations in the world, for those who didn’t already know)

Is ProtonMail Safe?

Yes, it is. They use top-of-the-line encryption software, and being based in Switzerland, they are subject to some of the most strict privacy laws in the world.

Here is a list of what ProtonMail has to offer concerning security measures. The information in this list will help to answer why ProtonMail is safe to use and is more credible than others out there.

ProtonMail Features


  • End-to-End Type Encryption
  • Zero Access– Meaning that nobody will know the encryption keyword or the message in the encrypted email, other than the recipient and yourself. Even ProtonMail won’t be able to view your encrypted message.
  • AES Encryption– A symmetric block cipher that is commonly used by the U.S. Government to encrypt sensitive information.
  • RSA– A public-key cryptosystem that is used for the transmission of data.
  • OpenPGP– Delivers cryptographic secrecy and confirmation for data messages.
  • Open Source Cryptography– This is to prevent creating a system that could harbor “backdoors.”
  • Data Through Servers– Your information is never stored or passed through a cloud. This helps to ensure that there are no third parties involved with your information.
  • No Tracking or Logging– ProtonMail does not store or save any form of tracking information or metadata.
  • Self-Destruct Feature– There is an option to set a time before an email expires.
  • SSL Secured Connections– This is another measure to ensure that your connection is not being tampered with by a third party.

Every feature listed above are layers of security measures used to encrypt your messages to others. ProtonMail has four different plans to choose from. However, all of the layers of protection stay the same. So, just because you’re using the free account doesn’t mean that you’ll enjoy any less protection.

Their interface is designed to be simple to use, and similar to what people are used to as it relates to email provider software. Familiarity means less of a learning curve for the new user.

There is one more thing worth noting about a ProtonEmail account. Though it’s easier to correspond via email when both users have a ProtonMail account, ProtonMail has found a way to effectively send encrypted messages to people who are using popular email providers such as Google, AOL, Yahoo, and others.

Differences Between “Free” and “Plus” Accounts

For the purposes of this article, we’re going to see what they have to offer for free, and will also talk about their “Plus” plan, which is the first step up from free.

Free Basic Account

  • 1 User
  • 500 Megabits of Storage
  • 150 Messages per Day
  • Limited Support
  • One @protonmail.com Address
  • 3 Folders / Labels

Plus Account with Advanced Features

Price: $4.53 US Per Month

  • 1 User
  • 5 Gigabytes of Storage
  • 1,000 Messages Per Day
  • 200 Folders / Labels
  • Priority Customer Support
  • Email Filters
  • Autoresponder
  • 1 Custom Domain
  • Ability to send encrypted messages to external recipients
  • Up to Five Email Aliases

As we can see, for just under $5.00 per month, there’s a lot more room to breathe if you’re someone who does a lot of correspondence through emails. But not everyone requires all of the fun stuff that comes with the “Plus” program.

Two more purchase options are not covered here. One is for a business that hosts several accounts under one business name, and the other is a special account for people who monetarily support the company.

You don’t want this guy intercepting your email!!  

Email Hacker

 Get protected with ProtonMail today!


Millions of people worldwide are now using ProtonMail, and have remained satisfied in doing so for years. One of the best things about this is that there aren’t any risks to give it a shot. If you’d like to stick with the free system, there’s no trial period to have to worry about, and the service remains free forever.

If your needs change with time, you can upgrade. The bottom line is, your messages will remain secure, encrypted, and away from cybercriminals.

So, to sum it all up, what is encrypted email? It’s peace of mind and an additional layer of security that is becoming more and more necessary. ProtonEmail’s track record will serve you well. Ready to get started with your free email account? Get started right here!

Please feel free to leave us a comment or any input regarding VPNs or if you have further clarity to give on “what’s an encrypted email?” We’d love to hear from you. 🙂

Summer Home Security at Smarthome




  1. Very insightful, I didn’t really know the difference between VPN and encrypted emails. I knew it was an added layer of protection, but now I know. So am I right in saying you need both VPN and encrypted emails for the best level of protection? Very good review too, I got all the information that I was looking for from this article alone, well done.

    1. Hi Sharon and thanks for your comments and question! A VPN alone is great protection from those wanting to get into your computer using your IP address, however, email is an entirely different animal. It is delivered in such a way that it can be intercepted. The info could then be altered, or simply stolen for nefarious purposes. So, having both is the best solution.

  2. Well I guess it is true that you do learn something new everyday and today that was about having a secure email account.  I really had no clue my emails werent secure and just up for grabs by anyone who knows how to do it.

    I just cant believe how talented some people are but yet they use it for deceit.

    This was a great article that taught me quite a bit about a subject I really had no clue on.  Have a great day.

  3. If anyone can hack your email account or any account in general with or without encrypted services, how could I know that my information is actually safe with ProtonMail? I understand what encryption means but do they have any possibility of accessing your information theirselves just in case something goes wrong? 

    1. Hi Stephanie and tanks for your comments and question. They would have access to encrypted files that they could send you in the event you lost your emails. In fact, you would have the option to Dl them from the site through thier app at any time. But if you’re communicating with another ProtonMail user or someone using an encrypted email service as well, there is end-to-end encryption. ERvern ProtonMail couldn’t read it.

  4. Most of us really do take our mail security for granted. I always assume that it is secure. Thank goodness for you and this post. It’s going to be something we all need to think about now and in the future. I will start with the free service, but once I’m comfortable with the company, I will upgrade. Thanks for this very important information!

    1. Glad to help. If you would hit us back on here after trying ProtonMail for a week or two. We’d love to hear your unbiased input.

      Thanks for your comments!

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