With Tormail gone there are still a few alternatives if you want to use an email service that will not reveal your location
Use an anonymizing service that provides email if possible, if not you should choose a traditional SMTP mail service that does not log IP addresses and whose mail servers are outside of your country. If you are using a mail service with servers located in the USA never leave messages on the server because there is a high risk that the server could be compromised or seized.
Even outside of the USA it is good practice to always download all your mail messages to your computer using a local mail client. Protecting your mail client by encrypting your computer is also recommended.
If you are using a mail service that allows access by Tor consider using the FoxyProxy addon for Thunderbird to route your email through the Tor network; if Tor is not an option you can use a good VPN like Private Internet Access instead.
Anonymizing Services with Integrated Email
i2p – the second largest anonymizing network after Tor. Free to use and provides anonymous email either through an SMTP server or an internal, distributed email system called i2p-Bote. The i2p SMTP server can be reached through a webmail interface called ‘Susimail’ or an email client like Claws Mail.
All messages on i2p-Bote are encrypted end to end removing the need to use PGP or other privacy software, and since the user can configure variable hop relays i2p-Bote is arguably the most anonymous email service available, however, email can only be sent within the i2p network between users of i2p-Bote.
Freenet – anonymous network with decentralized data storage and anonymous Freemail email plugin. While Freenet provides an http interface for browsing freesites, unlike JonDo and i2p a proxy to browse the web is not available. Like i2p-Bote, Freemail only works within the Freenet network.
Mail Servers Outside of USA – Tor Hidden Service
Lelantos Mail – a well regarded mail service on Tor hidden services with servers outside of the USA. A lifetime subscription is less than $35 in bitcoin. Use PGP for sensitive email. Similar to Tormail, you can be reached from the web at your <email@example.com> email address. Find Lelantos mail on Tor at lelantoss7bcnwbv.onion.
Mail Servers Located in USA
Riseup.net – a collective based in the US that provides online communication tools for people and groups working on liberatory social change. Requires application and approval or invitation codes. Free email service does not log IP’s or embed IP addresses in mail headers. Also provides a free VPN for members.
Riseup can also be reached over Tor, see the chart:
VFEMail – free and paid email provider with the option to use a Netherlands server. Gold ($30/year) and Platinum ($50/year) plans automatically obfuscate metadata, a valuable option. VFEmail can also be reached via TOR at 344c6kbnjnljjzlz.onion.
Mail Servers Located in Europe
ProtonMail – free, end-to-end encrypted email service based in Switzerland.
Autistici/Inventati – A/I is an Italian collective similar to riseup.net that is dedicated to providing a full range of free, privacy aware internet services including webhosting and email. No logging of IP addresses. Requires application and approval. Recommended.
OpenMailBox.org – free email service based in France accessible by webmail, IMAP or POP3. Strips IP from mail headers and does not log. The volume on the server that stores messages is encrypted with LUKS. Now includes 1 GB cloud storage with a free email account.
Bitmessage E-Mail Gateway – Bitmessage E-Mail Gateway is a free service located in Switzerland that allows users to send and receive email to/from bitmessage addresses and also from/to any other email address. You do not need an email address to register and can access your mail through a webmail interface, Thunderbird or Outlook. It also provides an innovative ‘localhost access’ feature that allows you to hide your IP from the server and sent emails. Using the localhost access option you can connnect anonymously to the server without using Tor or a VPN, giving you anonymous email cheap and easy right from your browser. Can be accessed over Tor at bitmailendavkbec.onion.
Vmail.me – Vmail.me is a free service located in France offering webmail with IMAP and POP3 access. IPs are stripped from mail headers but the service does keep IP logs.
Have a look at the features page for more options. Service in beta.
Mail Servers Located in Middle East
Privat DE Mail – free EU based email service that does not log IP addresses with mail servers in Egypt. Email to Israel is blocked, which also blocks mail to and from Safe-Mail.net. Open registration. Uses a self-signed SSL certificate which can cause browser errors; install the ‘Skip Cert Error’ add-on to correct in Firefox or register with Internet Explorer instead.
If using Firefox once the ‘Skip Cert Error’ add-on is installed go to Add-ons Manager in Firefox > Extensions > Skip Cert Error 0.3.4 then click on ‘Options’ and add mail.privatdemail.net to the domain whitelist and you should be able to register.
Privat De Mail can also be accessed over Tor at ybfg5ma65ug63ipj.onion using the webmail interface or an email cliet like Claws Mail or Thunderbird.
Other Tor Hidden Service
For more information, or to signup for your free @mail2tor.com account (webmail, smtp, pop3 and imap access)
Please visit our tor hidden service at http://mail2tor2zyjdctd.onion
You will need to have Tor software installed on your computer to securely access Mail2Tor hidden services.
The Mail2Tor hidden service and SMTP/IMAP/POP3 are on a hidden server completely seperate from the relays.
The relays do not know (and do not need to know) the IP of the hidden service.
Because the communications between the relays and the “dark server” occur through the tor network, without using traditional internet protocols (ip).
This hidden server is not one of the Tor network nodes/public servers, whose IPs are known.
It is a private server that does not route traffic for tor users, but it is devoted exclusively to exchange data with Mail2Tor relays.
The entire contents of the relays are immediately deleted and it is not possible to “sniff” data because transmitted in encrypted way.
Sinbox – http://sinbox4irsyaauzo.onion
Paid Email Providers
Promising Start Ups
Other privacy aware email startups in order they will probably be available:
Startmail – https://beta.startmail.com/
Mailpile – http://www.mailpile.is/
LEAP Encryption Access Project – https://leap.se/en/services/email
TAILS is a live operating system that you can start on almost any computer from a USB drive and routes all your traffic through the Tor network. Because of the way TAILS is designed it leaves no traces of your internet activity on the host computer. Free i2p mail is integrated into TAILS as is the Claws Mail client. TAILS makes it easy to use free i2p mail. You can also setup Claws Mail to access your Lelantos Mail, Privat DE Mail or any other mail account accepting connection by Tor like Riseup.net or bitmessage.ch.
Always use PGP encryption for privacy
Using an email service that will not reveal your location in the mail headers provides anonymity but not privacy! For sensitive email, you should always encrypt your email with PGP unless you are using i2p-Bote or Bitmessage, both of which transparently encrypt your email for you. Consider all those Tormail users whose plain text emails were seized by the FBI when the server in Ireland used by Freedom Hosting was taken over