Email is a wonderful invention, but it’s also become a bit of a burden. Sometimes you may want to send a message without revealing who you are. At other times, you might want to sign up for something online, without having to endure the subsequent barrage of spam messages.

The good news is that there are a number of excellent anonymous and private email providers. Many of them are also temporary mailboxes, which means you can’t use them as your primary email.

However, when you need to get the word out without also giving away your identity or getting your message intercepted,  you should look no further than one of these fine privacy-focused tools.

Guerilla Mail

Guerilla Mail isn’t the most attractive web tool out there, but it is one of the quickest ways to send and receive mail anonymously. You don’t need to sign up for an account and can immediately make use of a disposable mailbox.

The main idea is that you use one of their temporary addresses to sign up for stuff. You can confirm your subscription in the Guerilla Mail inbox and then banish it to the ether. Now your real email address will be mercifully free of spam emails, or worse.

You can also send emails anonymously and there is even a beta feature to attach small files, up to 150MB in size.

You may be thinking that using a disposable address might make it hard to do things like reset a password. In this case however, your disposable email address will remain forever, until you choose to click “forget me” that is.

The only potential downside is that someone might guess your mailbox name, which would give them access. So use a strong, random string of characters as provided by Guerilla Mail itself.

It’s a great free service that may need a little polish, but definitely gets the job done.

Mailinator

Mailinator has a great name, but it’s also backed up by a cool little service. Unlike Guerilla Mail, Mailinator email boxes are public and will auto-delete their content after a few hours.

You can’t send any emails with the service and all boxes are public. So you should not use it to receive emails that will contain personal information such as your real name.

This is a tool aimed specifically for those times you want to get past a wall that asks for your email, i.e. a download that requires an email. This is not for opening accounts or other long-term commitments. If you want permanence and privacy, they do offer a paid subscription as well.

ProtonMail

ProtonMail is free, but it requires that you sign up for an account. This means it’s not anonymous in the sense that the provider itself has information on you. So you have to trust the people behind ProtonMail when it comes to protecting your privacy.

The company is, however, based in Switzerland, which is known for its strong privacy laws. They use end-to-end encryption as well, which means that even ProtonMail doesn’t know the content of your emails.

It’s based on Open Source technology, so it’s been checked for hidden code and back doors by a community of independent contributors. To top it all off, ProtonMail doesn’t keep any logs, so no one can associate you with your ProtonMail account. It’s one of the most polished products here and an important tool in your personal privacy kit.

Just remember that, unlike the previous two services we looked at, ProtonMail protects your identity from outside snooping, but not from the person you send the message to, unless you refrain from registering using your real name, something we don’t recommend.

Mailfence

Mailfence is a lot like ProtonMail. It’s a proper cloud-based mail service that offers strong protection against your identity or message content being leaked. It’s important to note that if you register with your real name, the person who you message will see that name.

This service protects your emails from outsiders. So don’t use it to send messages anonymously unless you are also using a made up name. If you want MailFence to also protect your identity from recipients, then don’t give it any real information about yourself!

In terms of features, it’s a little more technical than ProtonMail, but also offers more fine options to control your experience. If you opt for a paid subscription, you also gain access to useful functions such as aliases and additional email domains.

It’s All About Priorities

In this modern day and age, few things are as valuable as your privacy and the choice to be anonymous if you want to. These four email services will help you keep unwanted eyes off your private correspondence or simply provide a way to get past annoying email spam walls. Either way, the power is now back in your own hands.