- Recovery: With everything client-encrypted, Proton's teams cannot restore an account, leaving you responsibility of key preservation. Depending on your level of anonymity required, you may choose email and phone number as recovery methods or, for the truly elusive, a recovery phrase and recovery file. At Proton, regaining account access and decrypting content are separate processes, except for the recovery phrase which manages both.
- Two-factor authentication: An obvious choice for most, unless you need your account to be entirely untraceable, in which case you may want to avoid linking a 2FA to your phone's authentication app.
- Security logs: By default, access logs don't include IP addresses, but you can enable this feature for more comprehensive records. However, if you want to avoid any potential traces to your identity, don't activate IP logging. You can erase logs at any time.
⚠️ Some important notes for Proton users:
- Account deletion is immediate and irreversible, unlike Google, Facebook, or Microsoft accounts, that afford a 30-day grace period. Tread lightly in the settings menu, as there are few steps before reaching the point of no return.
- Free accounts face deletion after one year of inactivity, with no hope of reactivating the username or restoring the content. Ensure you log in at least once a year, or subscribe at some point to guarantee eternal account life.
Email is the original core product of Proton, with a strong focus on extreme security and full client-side encryption. These folks won’t mess around with your correspondence.
Migrating all your email archive from Gmail, Easy Switch is, well, very easy, and its syncing functionality operates seamlessly. However, I found that Rules fail to apply to incoming emails synchronized via Easy Switch. To resolve this issue, I stopped the synchronization and opted for forwarding all incoming emails directly from my Gmail inbox to my new Proton address.
👉 The main differences that I noticed between Proton Mail and Gmail are:
- With paid plans, you can have up to 15 aliases, which is quite handy if you'd rather avoid juggling multiple accounts.
- You can also manage custom domain names, with strong security features (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC).
- On the flip side, due to encryption, Proton cannot read the content of the emails, which induces some limitations: no tabs in the inbox to automatically sort your notifications and newsletters, and no convenient “Smart Compose” feature.
Drive is the main reason why I migrated to Proton, to enjoy a secure client-side encrypted cloud space for my 200GB of files.
♥️ What I love:
- First and foremost, the fact that Proton has zero knowledge of the content of my Drive, including metadata such as folder and files names.
- A clean, minimalist, and highly functional interface.
- The absence of activity logs, which is a significant contrast to Google Drive, where metadata and logs are retained indefinitely. With Proton, once a file is deleted, it's as if it never existed. Rename a file, and its previous name becomes unknown.
- Thoughtful features for file sharing, such as the ability to add a password and set an expiration date.
🤚 Current limitations:
- No desktop application for local file synchronization as of now, but it's reportedly on the roadmap for 2023.
- Unlike Google Drive, there isn't a built-in file editor like Sheets, Docs, or Slides. When migrating, you must convert your native Drive files to Microsoft Office formats, and they won't be editable online.
Calendar and contacts
As of now, I haven't switched to Proton Calendar and Contacts, choosing to stick with Google, since Gmail remains my primary email address for interacting with the world.
I utilized the Easy Switch feature to transfer my archive from Google, but it serves more as a convenient one-time backup rather than to maintain an active sync.
Being familiar with some of its competitors, I have grown very fond of Proton VPN. Here are my take-aways:
- Connectivity: Crucially for a VPN, it offers a wide selection of 67 countries and 3000 servers with fast connectivity. While the performance of paid servers is good, I don’t know about the free servers though.
- Streaming experience: Many of their servers are not detected as VPNs by streaming providers like Prime Video and Netflix, so I no longer need to disconnect for streaming services, unlike my experience with Mullvad. But ChatGPT seem to dislike them, it disconnects at almost every prompt.
- Advanced features: All the advanced features of a serious VPN, multi-hopping for enhanced security, kill switch, several protocols including Wireguard, and an integrated malware blocker.
- Apps: The mobile and desktop app are stable, unobtrusive, with a clean interface and a range of options that you can play with.
- Chrome extension: They also offer a convenient Chrome extension with split tunneling, but I experience frequent disconnections, which is irritating.