Lavabit Review

Keep your email private wherever you are

Lavabit
Lavabit. Lavabit

Lavabit launched in 2004 as a free, secure and privacy-conscious email service. It was suspended in 2013 and then reopened in 2017, but is currently only available as a paid service.

The Lavabit email provider uses the Dark Internet Mail Environment protocols and works over POP and IMAP, as well as through a web interface.

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Pros and Cons

Here are some of the benefits and disadvantages of Lavabit:

Pros:

  • Provides email using an end-to-end encryption technique to prevent snooping
  • Is determined to keep your emails private
  • Your mail can be accessed in a number of ways
  • Lavabit includes solid spam and virus filtering

Cons:

  • The Lavabit free plan is no longer available
  • The web-based interface lacks convenience and features
  • The Standard account doesn't provide very much storage space for messages

More Information on Lavabit

  • You can buy a Lavabit email account for $30 USD for the Standard version or $60 for a Premier account
  • Lavabit only offers paid email accounts but you can get either for free if you have a promo code
  • The Standard and Premier accounts are similar in all ways but two: the Standard edition allows for 5 GB of space while the other supports 20 GB, and the Premier version has a 128 MB message limit while Standard limits messages to 64 MB
  • Lavabit employs various anti-spam measures including personalized Bayesian filtering
  • All connections (HTTP, POP, IMAP or SMTP) to Lavabit can be secured with SSL/TLS encryption
  • Mail stored in Lavabit accounts is automatically encrypted and only available in clear with the account password
  • You can have Lavabit forward incoming mail to a different email address

What Makes Lavabit Different

Security and privacy is at the forefront of Lavabit's ambition as an email provider.

It's commitment to keeping emails private is seen in the fact that the entire company suspended operations for years when it declined to give over private details to the US government.

Not only can you connect to Lavabit using encrypted connections and have it scan all your mail for viruses, messages are stored in a way that only the password holder can be granted access to the account.

The encrypted connection is not just for web access. Lavabit also offers handy POP and IMAP access from your desktop email program, and these connections can be encrypted as well.

Lavabit's rudimentary web client interface includes folders and filters and displays emails as plain text or without remote images, by default. However, it offers little comfort or productivity features. You cannot compose mail using rich text or check for spelling mistakes.

When it comes to filtering junk mail, Lavabit offers a host of options (from graylisting to DNS black lists) which you can configure individually if the technical terms don't confuse you.