Almost everyone has at least one, and usually multiple, free email addresses from the tech giants like Google, Microsoft and Apple. It's generally mandatory to be able to use services from these companies, like the Google play store, or even just to install Windows and log in on your Windows PC.
Because you already have these free email addresses, it can be convenient to also use them as your main means to send and receive email. In this article I want to discuss a few reasons why you might want to consider a paid email service instead of using these free email addresses everywhere.
The famous saying “If you're not paying for it, you're the product” does ring true for me for most free email services. By scanning the contents of emails you send and receive, a lot of personal information can be gathered. Who you are in contact with, which sites and services you use and so much more. Google, for example, scans your emails for purchases you've made. You can look into the purchases information Google has gathered on you on this page. This information will most definitely also be used for targeted advertising. That's why I believe switching to an email service that respects your privacy is the biggest step you can take to protect your online privacy.
A business that provides a paid email service will have the incentive to keep their customers happy and paying, which in general results in better support in case you need help with your email service. for example, when you lose your password, or worse, when an attacker gains access to your account. It will also make sure that over time the focus of the business will be on improvements and new features for the email service that will better the service and attract more customers. This is in stark contrast with the free email services which force you to at least make an account to be able to use their services, and which keep optimizing their services to acquire as much data from you as possible, and trying to lock you in into their walled gardens.
In case you use your email address for business purposes, or even just when applying for a job, a paid email service can help you appear more professional and authentic compared to using one of the free email services. Most payed email services allow you to use a custom domain name for your email address, that's why you can for example reach me on a “verummeum.com” email address. But even just using an email address of a paid email service will show anyone you contact that you value a quality service and are conscious about the topics in this article.
Another benefit of using a custom domain name is that it becomes extremely easy to switch to another email service in the future. You can keep using the same email addresses because you own the domain, you'll just need to update your domain configuration to use the new email service.
If I peaked your interest, you are probably wondering which email services are available. There are a lot of paid email services all offering different features or limitations, which allows you to choose an email service that tailors to your needs. I have personally used Posteo and mailbox.org, and have been happy with both. If you would like to dig deeper into the available services, I suggest you take a look at the curated list of privacy conscious email services at privacytools.io.