1. #1

    Question Is there any point in paying for an email service?

    Just out of curiosity I've been looking at non-Google, non-Microsoft alternatives for email, search, browsing and so on, mainly focused on privacy. There are some interesting email options out there such as Tutanota, Protonmail, Posteo, Mailbox, Fastmail etc that cost money to use but are ad-free and offer encryption and various other privacy bonuses.

    Prices for the basic packages range between 1$-4$ a month for about 1GB of storage. Some of them have a free option, the downside being that the amount of storage and range of features compares poorly to the free alternatives offered by the big tech companies. Some, like Mailbox, don't even have their own mobile app, forcing you to use webmail or a 3rd party email client such as K-9 Mail.

    Is there really any benefit for the average user in paying for an email service? I'm not an activist or dissident living in an oppressive state or a spy or investigative journalist who needs an encryption service, so while I like the idea of not having my emails scanned for advertising I'm not really sure if the benefits outweigh the financial cost.

  2. #2
    Please wait Temp name's Avatar
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    If you don't need any of the benefits it offers, then you probably don't need to pay for the service.

    It really comes down to how much you value your privacy. In your case: Do you value not having your emails scanned by a big tech company at 1-4 dollars a month? If yes, go ahead. If no, then don't. We can't tell you.

  3. #3
    Herald of the Titans Strawberry's Avatar
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    I'm using Fastmail. Been using it for a few years now. I love the look. It's minimalistic, no unnecessary clutter like Outlook (I don't use Gmail for more than Android store stuff).
    It's great but yeah, I wish paid email services would give more storage. I'm paying $6.25/month for 30gb on Fastmail.
    Would I recommend it? Absolutely, it's miles better than Outlook. I rarely if ever get spam. I think I get maybe one spam email every 3 months or so. On Outlook, I get like 50 every day, lol. Fortunately, Outlook has a great filter so none of it ends up in my inbox (except Apple phishing spam).

    Also, I use this app for my Android phone:
    https://mail.edison.tech/
    I connected both my Outlook and Fastmail to it. Another fantastic app.
    Last edited by Strawberry; 2020-02-21 at 09:25 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Strawberry View Post
    I'm using Fastmail. Been using it for a few years now. I love the look. It's minimalistic, no unnecessary clutter like Outlook (I don't use Gmail for more than Android store stuff).
    It's great but yeah, I wish paid email services would give more storage. I'm paying $6.25/month for 30gb on Fastmail.
    Would I recommend it? Absolutely, it's miles better than Outlook. I rarely if ever get spam. I think I get maybe one spam email every 3 months or so. On Outlook, I get like 50 every day, lol. Fortunately, Outlook has a great filter so none of it ends up in my inbox (except Apple phishing spam).

    Also, I use this app for my Android phone:
    https://mail.edison.tech/
    I connected both my Outlook and Fastmail to it. Another fantastic app.
    I've had an Outlook account for some time and I honestly can't even remember getting any spam. The only thing that pisses me off about it is the way I have to set up an alias - instead of just doing it from within Outlook I have to find the link somewhere else in the Microsoft ecosystem and log in, which then sends a code via text to my phone which I have to input before I can setup the damn thing.

    What would you say is the biggest benefit you get by paying for Fastmail as opposed to using a free service like Gmail or Outlook? The slick interface? Less spam?

  5. #5
    Herald of the Titans Strawberry's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    I've had an Outlook account for some time and I honestly can't even remember getting any spam. The only thing that pisses me off about it is the way I have to set up an alias - instead of just doing it from within Outlook I have to find the link somewhere else in the Microsoft ecosystem and log in, which then sends a code via text to my phone which I have to input before I can setup the damn thing.

    What would you say is the biggest benefit you get by paying for Fastmail as opposed to using a free service like Gmail or Outlook? The slick interface? Less spam?
    Faster, less cluttered interface.
    I use it mainly for my side business though, so it might not appeal to everyone.
    They have a 30 day trial, if you want to try it.

  6. #6
    Only reason I can think of would be protection through obscurity; nobody is going to hack the email servers because nobody's heard of them.
    If you are particularly bold, you could use a Shiny Ditto. Do keep in mind though, this will infuriate your opponents due to Ditto's beauty. Please do not use Shiny Ditto. You have been warned.

  7. #7
    The Unstoppable Force Ghostpanther's Avatar
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    I would never pay for a email service. I have two and do not pay a cent for ether. And have no major issues with spam. The occasional one I might get, only takes like 2- 3 seconds at most to block and delete.
    " If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher.." - Abraham Lincoln
    The Constitution be never construed to authorize Congress to - prevent the people of the United States, who are peaceable citizens, from keeping their own arms..” - Samuel Adams

  8. #8
    I am Murloc! Logwyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    Just out of curiosity I've been looking at non-Google, non-Microsoft alternatives for email, search, browsing and so on, mainly focused on privacy. There are some interesting email options out there such as Tutanota, Protonmail, Posteo, Mailbox, Fastmail etc that cost money to use but are ad-free and offer encryption and various other privacy bonuses.

    Prices for the basic packages range between 1$-4$ a month for about 1GB of storage. Some of them have a free option, the downside being that the amount of storage and range of features compares poorly to the free alternatives offered by the big tech companies. Some, like Mailbox, don't even have their own mobile app, forcing you to use webmail or a 3rd party email client such as K-9 Mail.

    Is there really any benefit for the average user in paying for an email service? I'm not an activist or dissident living in an oppressive state or a spy or investigative journalist who needs an encryption service, so while I like the idea of not having my emails scanned for advertising I'm not really sure if the benefits outweigh the financial cost.

    I know you can still do it with Gmail and Microsoft but one thing is you can have soandso@yourdomain.com. You also get admin over the boxes at a semi-server level. Mainly more useful for an organization or corporate setting. They sometimes offer more services than just email as well.

  9. #9
    I've been using Posteo for a couple of years now. I like their focus on security and transparency. They were the first german e-mail proviced to release transparency reports (https://posteo.de/en/site/transparency_report), showing how many requests for data they got from the government, and how many of those requests were illegal. At 1€ per month it's a no-brainer, really.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by thebdc View Post
    I've been using Posteo for a couple of years now. I like their focus on security and transparency. They were the first german e-mail proviced to release transparency reports (https://posteo.de/en/site/transparency_report), showing how many requests for data they got from the government, and how many of those requests were illegal. At 1€ per month it's a no-brainer, really.
    They don't have an app, how do you check your mail on mobile? I read one review that said their site is not mobile friendly.

  11. #11
    My problem is I don't get enough spam. I need my Nigerian Prince and Russian Bride emails.

  12. #12
    Stealthed Defender unbound's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    Is there really any benefit for the average user in paying for an email service? I'm not an activist or dissident living in an oppressive state or a spy or investigative journalist who needs an encryption service, so while I like the idea of not having my emails scanned for advertising I'm not really sure if the benefits outweigh the financial cost.
    If $1 to $4 a month causes concern, then you probably shouldn't worry about email.

    As for not being "an activist or dissident living in an oppressive state or a spy or investigative journalist", there are actually a lot of good reasons to not having your email scanned that have little to nothing to do with such scenarios.

    Do you have anything of interest at all? While much of the scanning is done by automation, it is not uncommon that some human can read them if deemed "necessary" (e.g. to train AI software, which is actually not nearly as smart as many companies claim and requires a lot of human tweaking to function well).

    Now think about any emails where maybe you had an argument, or admitted something embarrassing, or got angry and said things you later regretted. Are you okay with someone potentially reading those? Do you understand that this can (and usually does) happen without regarding to context?

    And while you may not currently live in an oppressive state, take a long look around. Several countries have made a frightening quick leap from democracy to authoritarianism, and several more are well on their way (yes, including the US). A country that makes that leap isn't going to have a grandfather clause to prevent them from reading old emails.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAmbient View Post
    They don't have an app, how do you check your mail on mobile? I read one review that said their site is not mobile friendly.
    They support the POP3 and IMAP standards, so you can access your mail with pretty much any mail client: https://posteo.de/en/help?tag=email-clients

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