We have been using Gmail without any second thought, but with growing privacy concerns surrounding emails, many of us have doubts about which email services to use. Gmail provides ad-free email service with many other features, but their privacy approach has been frowned upon. On the other hand, ProtonMail has encrypted and secured email services, but with its limitations. Overall, there is a lot to know and compare when it comes to ProtonMail vs Gmail.
Although both are popular email services, they have many differences when it comes to features and services. We tried comparing these two mail services based on different aspects. You can go through the comparison and decide who has an upper edge for the email services.
ProtonMail vs. Gmail – The Battle of Privacy vs. Features
ProtonMail and Gmail both have their advantages and disadvantages, and therefore it becomes difficult when we need to choose one of them.
So, when it comes to ProtonMail vs Gmail, let’s see who wins? We have compared these two email services based on their user interface, privacy, security, app integration, collaboration tools, and other features. This comparison will help you in choosing the email service for your daily use.
The primary user interface is similar for both the services with a navigation panel on the left, inbox in the middle, and a compose window towards the lower right. Gmail does not have the reading pane enabled by default, but it can be done via settings.
In Gmail, you can easily manage and navigate the different categories of emails from the top of your inbox. The UI (user interface) is clean, and all the text, settings, navigations are readable and understandable. Although Gmail has a lot to offer, there is no clutter on the interface.
You can change the theme to dark or any other from the options they offer. There is also a provision to change your inbox looks and many different customization options with Gmail UI. You can also split your inbox to view your email and inbox in the same window.
The user interface of ProtonMail is clean, and the layout can be customized. However, we didn’t find any way to change the theme. The customization of the theme is meant to be available in ProtonMail version 4.0, which is currently in beta.
The interface customization options are less in ProtonMail compared to Gmail. You can easily navigate settings, custom labels, and other options with the simple user interface of ProtonMail.
What did we like?
We loved the customization options of Gmail; you can make it the way you want. If you like a simple UI, you can keep it simple. Whereas if you wish to play around themes and layout, then you can do it that way. For the user interface, it’s a +1 for Gmail from us in this ProtonMail vs Gmail comparison.
Privacy and Security
When it comes to privacy and security, ProtonMail has the upper hand on Gmail. ProtonMail is based in Switzerland and enforces strict Swiss privacy laws; this ensures user data protection. The emails are encrypted end-to-end, and even ProtonMail doesn’t have access to the encryption key. This means no one can read your mails except you, not even third-party apps or snoopers.
The encryption is not only limited to emails sent and received from ProtonMail users, but it is also done for the emails to and from other email users. You can guarantee safety, security, and privacy with ProtonMail encrypted email services. Also, the ProtonMail is open-source; it means their code is publicly available and can be read and reviewed by anyone.
ProtonMail does not log user activity, not even your IP address. It has a strict no-log policy, which helps users to surf and browse anything, without worrying about being tracked.
Google has access to the encryption key using which the messages are encrypted. Hence, if Gmail wants, it can view your emails and messages at any time.
While signing through Gmail, if you grant permission to third-party apps to access your email unknowingly, you will give them entry to read your emails. As it is, Google tracks all that you do on the internet, the browsing, surfing, and every other activity is monitored. Though Google now claims otherwise, your emails were subject to scanned by programs to gather data to target you with advertisements.
What did we like?
We liked the transparency of ProtonMail regarding the privacy and security of the users. You don’t need to ever worry about prying eyes on your emails with ProtonMail. The end-to-end encryption and zero access encryption eliminates the message interception possibility. In case of privacy and security concerning ProtonMail vs Gmail, ProtonMail is what we recommend.
Storage is an important part whenever we are using email services. The bigger the storage, the better it is for us. If there is a minimal storage space in our inbox, we may need to manage our emails now and then. And deleting and backing up emails frequently is a task, which not users might be up to doing periodically.
ProtonMail offers 500 MB of storage space in the free plan. In a paid plan, the storage space is from 5 GB to 20 GB, depending on the plan you opt for. Well, 500 MB is too less, and you will need a paid plan if you communicate more via emails.
Gmail offers 15 GB of storage space for free and provides 100 and 200 GB storage for a price. The 15 GB of space is enough to manage your emails.
What did we like?
Everyone will like their email service to offer more free storage space, and we are no exception. And therefore, with regard to ProtonMail vs Gmail, we are also inclined towards Gmail in terms of storage space.
App Integration and other Collaboration Tools
Nowadays, everyone wants more from all the apps and software they use. Well, this also applies in the case of email services. There are app and collaboration tools integrated into emails, which makes our life easier, as you don’t need to log in or sign up for other apps and services to access them.
Gmail has Google Drive, Docs, sheets, news, photos, and much more when you click on Google apps option in your Gmail window. You can click on any apps to use them without externally signing up or logging in for them.
The calendar can save your events from the emails you receive, which becomes convenient to remember events and meetings. With chat and meet, you can connect with friends, family, and colleagues with a single click. You can sync your notes and have access to them as well.
The app integration and collaboration tools like calendar and notes make Gmail much more helpful and useful. Gmail also provides support for Hangout, a widely used app for chatting. In brief, Gmail has a lot to offer under this category.
On the other hand, ProtonMail doesn’t have any apps or collaboration tools because it is a heavily encrypted system. ProtonMail calendar is in beta and pending public release to be available for all users.
What did we like?
The heavily encrypted systems have their limitations, and one of them is app integration. Gmail offers a variety of apps which can bring convenience in our life. So, with regard to ProtonMail vs Gmail, for apps and integration capability, the vote goes to Gmail.
The list of other features that can be included is mentioned in this section. Both the email service providers offer the attachment limit of 25 MB. Initially, ProtonMail didn’t have the search via message option, but now it does. You can find any message using the text in it.
And as we all know, Gmail has this search via message option for quite a long time now. Another thing is password recovery, if you forget your password, then ProtonMail will never be able to recover your data and password due to its encryption policy. On the other hand, Gmail can recover your password and data in a few minutes after you answer the verification questions.
ProtonMail and Gmail have cross-platform functionalities; apps are available for iOS and Android. Both offer the web interface as well. There is 24*7 customer support available for both the email services.
What did we like?
In this case of ProtonMail vs Gmail, both have all the other required features, which make our work and usage easy. Effectively, this point of comparison ends up in a Tie.
Gmail offers many features in the free version, but your privacy is at risk. The features are limited in the case of the ProtonMail free plan.
ProtonMail offers a free plan and three paid plans. As you know, the free plan has a limitation on storage capacity, as it is only 500MB/user. Because of this, many users opt for paid plans. The pricing of the paid plans starts from USD 4/month to USD 24/month. However, the paid plans also limit the storage capacity of each user.
The Professional plan is for corporate use, where you need to pay for each user who needs an email account. The pricing for the Professional plan is USD 6.25/month. And ProtonMail does not have any money-back guarantee, so you need to choose your paid plan wisely.
Gmail offers many features for free for individual use, but if you wish to use it for your business, then pricing plans start from USD 6/month. There are three plans, and each has different features. The maximum price for a paid account is USD 25/month. There are country-based discounts for Gmail, which you can check out on their official site.
When we compare ProtonMail vs Gmail pricing plans, Gmail has a variety of plans for business accounts, whereas ProtonMail has only one option. The storage capacity also differs a lot in both the email services. And if you are used to Gmail and have a habit of conversing more via emails, you may run out of storage. ProtonMail offers encryption, security, and privacy in the free plan as well.
What did we like?
We liked the promising security and privacy in the free plan of ProtonMail and the variety of paid plans offered by Gmail for Professional use. The free plan of Gmail provides many features and benefits compared to the ProtonMail free plan.
If you are looking for privacy and security, then ProtonMail is the one to opt for. Whereas, if you are looking for more features and storage space, Gmail is more ideal for you.
Is ProtonMail Safe?
People looking for ProtonMail vs Gmail, usually have a doubt in mind about ProtonMail safety. ProtonMail never compromises on user’s safety and security. As mentioned above, the Swiss government’s strict privacy laws applicable to this Switzerland-based email service. There is zero access encryption applied to all your messages/emails, which means no one can access your emails except you, not ProtonMail.
The encryption is end to end, and ProtonMail guarantees security. ProtonMail’s code is also publicly available, so anyone with the knowledge can check it. They use AES and RSA cryptography algorithms to ensure the right level of safety for user data. Their primary data center is located below 1000 meters of granite rocks and can also survive a nuclear attack.
ProtonMail has a strict no-log policy. They do not log any traffic and your IP address to serve targeted advertisements like Gmail. You can have emails which can be self-destructed by setting an expiry date for them. And finally, there is Swiss SSL to secure your connection between the ProtonMail server and your device.
With the above points, one can easily say that ProtonMail is safe and ensures user’s privacy and data security. In short, you are in safe hands with ProtonMail. You can check our ProtonMail review to know more about ProtonMail.
Our Verdict For Protonmail vs. Gmail
Based on the above explanation on ProtonMail vs Gmail, we think that the email provider’s choice depends on your needs. Gmail is a good option if you are a student, beginner, or a person who needs more fancy user interface and many apps along with email services.
Gmail offers a lot for free, which includes storage space as well. It is a complete package for many businesses. You can get apps for docs, sheets, meetings, chats, and all other business needs. Although Gmail is secured, there have been some issues with privacy in the past. You also need to be careful when you sign up for third-party apps using Gmail.
However, if you are only looking for an email service that gives privacy and security while comparing ProtonMail vs Gmail, ProtonMail is recommended. Your emails are secured, encrypted, and not readable by ProtonMail employees as well. Anyone who wishes to have a secure environment for their emails and are ready to pay the price for it can opt for ProtonMail.
If you plan to opt for ProtonMail, you should know that it does not guarantee refunds. We recommend monthly or free plans to start with, as this will give you a clear idea of features and usability of the service. So, for the final verdict of ProtonMail vs Gmail, when it comes to privacy, safety, and security, ProtonMail is the way to go. Whereas when it comes to having a feature-rich convenience, app integrations, and more storage space, Gmail should be preferred.