How to Create a Free ProtonMail Account

ProtonMail sets the standard for privacy and security

ProtonMail logo and splashscreen

ProtonMail 

ProtonMail is widely regarded as the easiest, most secure way to send email privately and anonymously. The email the service stores on its servers is encrypted, and only you can decipher it. Messages exchanged with other ProtonMail users are automatically encrypted. Because ProtonMail uses a common standard for email encryption — inline OpenPGP — you can exchange email securely with people who don't use ProtonMail.

Your data is subject to the privacy laws of Switzerland where the service is located, not those of the European Union or the United States.

How to Get Started With ProtonMail

Setting up a ProtonMail account is easy, and you don't have to share any personal information at all, although the service may log the IP address of your location when you sign up.

To set up a new account at ProtonMail:

  1. Open a web browser and go to the ProtonMail sign-up page.

  2. Select Sign Up > Free > Select Free Plan.

    Free button on ProtonMail Account Type

    Or, choose a paid ProtonMail account plan to get more storage, filters, and other features, and to support ProtonMail development.

    You can change your account type at any time after signing up.

  3. In the Create Your Account screen, go to the Username and domain section and enter the username you want to use for your ProtonMail email address.

    Choose username field in Protonmail

    It's best to use lowercase characters in your username. You can use underscores, dashes, dots, and a few other characters, but they don't add to the uniqueness of your ProtonMail username. For example, ex.ample is the same username as example.

  4. In the Password section, enter the password you want to use and retype it to confirm. This is the password you will use to log in to your ProtonMail account.

  5. Optionally, in the Recovery email (optional) section, enter one of your alternate email addresses. If you need help remembering your account name or password, this is the address at which ProtonMail will contact you.

  6. Select Create Account.

Securely Access ProtonMail

When you use a browser to access ProtonMail, log in at https://mail.protonmail.com/login and make sure the browser shows a verified and validated security certificate for the site. Look for a lock symbol in the address bar.

Lock icon in Protonmail web interface

To access ProtonMail on a mobile device, use the official ProtonMail app for Android and iOS devices.

ProtonMail and POP, IMAP, and SMTP

ProtonMail does not offer IMAP or POP access, and you cannot send email using your ProtonMail address via SMTP. This means ProtonMail cannot be set up in Microsoft Outlook, macOS Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, iOS Mail, or other email clients. Similarly, your ProtonMail cannot be forwarded to another address.

Download Your Public ProtonMail PGP Key

Others can send you encrypted emails at ProtonMail as long as their email service provider uses inline OpenPGP and they have your public PGP key. To share your public PGP key, upload it to a key server such as the MIT PGP public key server. From there, email programs can fetch the key automatically.

To get a copy of the public PGP key for your ProtonMail email address:

  1. Open a web browser and sign in to your ProtonMail account.

  2. Select Settings.

  3. Go to the Keys tab.

    Keys tab in ProtonMail
  4. In the Contact encryption keys section, copy the Fingerprint link.

Turn on Authentication Logs in ProtonMail

To have ProtonMail log all attempts to access your account and the IP address of each log-in attempt, turn on authentication logs.

  1. Select Settings.

    Settings icon in ProtonMail
  2. Go to the Security tab.

  3. In the Authentication Logs section, select Advanced.

    Security tab, Advanced button
  4. If prompted, enter your ProtonMail account password.

  5. Select Submit.