Published on August 2, 2021 in Business Tools & Services, Web Design.
If you're concerned about online privacy as far as your email service goes, if you're looking for private, secure email, or maybe you want to move away from Gmail or other mainstream email providers then the good news is, there are quite a few private, secure email options available...both for personal use and for your online business. Once such alternative is Tutanota. Of course, that's what this post is all about -- a review of Tutanota!
Here are links and resources mentioned in today's video. Enjoy!
Setting up an account with Tutanota can be done completely free (although we'll discuss some pricing options later on), and it can be done totally anonymously, too.
So this means that you don't need to provide any personal information, like your name, address, or phone number like you have to do with other email services.
Further, Tutanota has a web-based client, which is accessible via any modern browser, a desktop client, and a rock solid app for iOS and Android, too.
And I've gotta say, what I love about their mobile app is that your email, contacts, and calendar are all built into a single, fast-running app.
Okay now, let's delve deeper into Tutanota. First we'll take a look at their core service -- encrypted email -- then we'll review the contacts manager and calendar service...both of which come with every account.
Sound good? Awesome, let's jump into it!
Alright now, obviously Tutanota's core service is secure, encrypted email. Free plans come with 1GB of email storage, which can be increased by upgrading to a paid plan.
Further, if this is something you're interested in, Tutanota supports both plain-text and HTML-formatted emails.
Okay now, let's address the biggest issue here, end-to-end encrypted email. What this means is, all email contents -- the subject line, the email body, and any attachments -- are totally secure.
This means that if you're emailing another Tutanota user, or a user of another encrypted email service like ProtonMail, then your messages are totally secure.
No one other than the sender and receiver can read the contents -- third party apps, the Tutanota service itself, and really anyone else cannot gain access to the contents of your emails.
How this works is, by default when you send an email, Tutanota will ask you for a password to attach to the email for encryption.
You can optionally send an email without a password if you like, but of course you'd lose any sort of security and privacy for your messages.
If you send an email that's password-protected, the receiver gets an email telling them that they've received an encrypted email from you, and to click a link to enter your password to view your message.
When they follow the link and insert the password, they're taken to what looks like a Tutanota account inbox, where they can read and reply with an encrypted response.
So whether you'd like to use and send password-protected emails or not is entirely up to you. Just know that if you send non-password-protected email to non-encrypted email users, your message won't be protected.
However over on your end, know that all of your emails will be stored and encrypted with the Tutanota service.
In addition to all this, you can expect a lot of common email features with Tutanota, including things like spam filters, email signatures, email folders, and inbox rules.
With a paid account, you can also set up custom domains for your online business's website-branded email, and set up email aliases.
One missing feature (which may be added soon) is auto-responders -- something that's definitely useful for business accounts. I'd also love to see canned responses, too.
Two other downsides, and this could just be me -- just personal preference -- but first, the interface feels a bit dated to me.
And beyond being able to switch between a "light mode" and a "dark mode" there's no way to customize the interface, apply different design themes, or anything like that.
That said, it is possible to customize the look and feel of the interface via Tutanota's whitelabel feature. This is an option that's available to business accounts to apply branding and other interface customizations.
Anyway, again, it could totally just be me and maybe you won't have any problems with the interface.
The other downside -- and again, this could just be me -- is that for personal use (which is what I'm using Tutanota for) I don't like the @tutanota.com email address.
It's simply too long...and anytime I'm giving out my email address I often get weird looks followed by, "How do you spell that?!" or "What the heck is a Tutanota?!"
Alternative aliases are available, tuta.io being the shortest extension.
My preference would be an alias that's super-simple and easy...like @nota.com -- that would be perfect!
If they could fix this and give us some modern interface themes to choose from...I'd have zero complaints!
Okay, I think that about does it for the email side of things with Tutanota. Hopefully everything makes sense. Now, let's take a look at Tutanota's Contacts manager.
Alright now, as you might guess, there isn't a whole lot to say about Tutanota's contacts manager...
...I mean, contact managers are simple and straightforward, and Tutanota's is no different...simple, clean, fast, and easy to use.
And of course, your contacts manager will be accessible via the web client, your mobile device, and so on...all totally encrypted.
Recipients who you send email to will be automatically added to your contacts manager, and of course you can manually add contacts, too.
Further, you can import contacts via vCard which is great, including from Gmail -- I did this, and it worked perfectly.
Beyond that, there isn't a whole lot to add -- it's a secure, encrypted contact manager that simply works. Now what's more interesting is Tutanota's calendar...
The third component to Tutanota's service is an encrypted calendar, which again comes with free and paid plans (free accounts come with one calendar) and a built-in Agenda, which works great.
Both your Agenda and calendar are available through Tutanota's web client or on your mobile device -- again, all bundled into a single app.
And as you might guess, any changes you make for example on your computer instantly syncs and updates with your mobile app -- zero lag, which is awesome.
Similar to a contacts manager, a calendar might not seem like a big issue. However, with calendars what I found is a lot of it comes down to interface and usability issues.
Before we get to these niggling issues, the good news is, coming over from Google Calendar, I was able to export from Google Calendar and import via .ics into my Tutanota calendar, no problems at all.
I was able to import not only all future calendar entries, but also all past entries too.
As for the niggling interface and usability issues, here's what I mean: In Google Calendar, I'm used to clicking on a date to automatically create a new event.
But in Tutanota, when you click on a date this changes to the "week" view. So instead, to create a new event, I have to remember to click the New Event button in the top-left.
This is just something I'll have to get used to.
Further, if more than one entry appears on a day, a "+1" icon appears. I'm used to being able to click on the day and get a pop up that lists all the events for that day -- at least, that's how Google calendar does it.
But again, doing that takes you to the "week view" in Tutanota. So the only way to see multiple entries for a specific day is to use Week View or the built-in Agenda.
Here's a few other downsides -- and once again, this could totally just be me. But there's no colour coding calendar events, which I use a lot.
Instead, if you need to colour code events, you'll have to create an entirely new calendar...but remember, multiple calendars are only available with paid plans.
Finally, the whole "Day view" vs Agenda is a bit confusing at first...but I think I can get used to it...and in fact, I think I'll like it quite a bit to be honest.
I don't mean to nitpick here...it's just difficult when you're used to doing things in a certain way. But that said, Tutanota's calendar is officially still in beta and is always improving...
...plus I'm willing to give up a little bit of convenience and usability in exchange for Tutanota's security.
In fact, if you remember, Gmail and Google Calendar weren't very refined when they first started. Neither were other services.
So I think it's safe to expect that alternatives like Tutanota will only get better and better as they grow.
Now with these minor issues out of the way, and now that we've addressed the core of Tutanota's services -- encrypted email, contacts manager, and secure calendars -- let's now take a look at their price tiers. I think you'll be very pleasantly surprised...
If you like what you see so far and you'd like to try out Tutanota for yourself, why not sign up for a free account? It only takes a minute, and your free account comes with 1gb of email storage, a contacts manager, and and a free encrypted calendar.
And, playing around a bit with a free account will give you a strong sense of how their service works firsthand.
As for their paid plans -- get this, they start at just 1.20 euros or about $1.50 per month (yup!).
Paid plans start with 1gb of storage, custom domain names, multiple calendars, inbox filters, and so on...and what's great is, you can add features and essentially customize your plan as you need -- Tutanota offers plenty of options and additions for you to choose from.
In fact, even though at this time I'm using Tutanota for personal use, and paying about $20 for an annual subscription for the options I wanted, signing up for a paid account was a no-brainer for me.
Plus, I want to support their service and see it grow and develop.
So if you think Tutanota sounds like it might be a good fit for you -- either for personal use or for your online business, give Tutanota a try. Hit those Show Notes below for a link.
Now before we wrap things up, here's some closing thoughts...
Overall, I'm very impressed with Tutanota and I've had zero glitches or issues with it. It's incredibly streamlined, simple to use, and runs FAST!
Further, Tutanota get's tons and tons of rave reviews. In fact, even though there are some missing features and maybe a lack of customizability, I can't find any negative reviews or people not happy with the service overall.
And really the only bad thing I have to say is the aforementioned interface and calendar usability. Overall, it feels pretty minimal and there isn't a whole lot in terms of settings and options...
...but again, maybe that's just me and maybe that's a good thing if what you're after is straightforward, simple encrypted email.
The only other gripe I have, which I mentioned earlier, is remembering how the heck to spell Tutanota whenever I'm giving someone my email address!
There are only two other outstanding issues I've come across with Tutanota. First, sometimes new accounts are blocked access for a short period of time. I haven't experienced this myself, but it could happen.
The reason for this is for Tutanota to make sure that spammers can't sign up. If this happens, all you have to do is wait a bit and Tutanota will verify your account.
The only other issue is migrating over from Gmail or another email service. Tutanota doesn't have any kind of auto-importer like ProtonMail does, but they are working on one which should hopefully be ready soon.
In the meantime, importing email to Tutanota is currently not possible...but again, this should change soon.
So, should you use Tutanota yourself? Well I think a better question is, "why not use it?" Or maybe even better, "is Tutanota better than any other current email services?"
If it's security and privacy you're after, then Tutanota's a far, far better option than any mainstream email service.
The only service that's even close is ProtonMail. I use both Tutanota and ProtonMail and I'd say that both secure, encrypted services are very, very similar to one another.
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