ProtonMail is one of the only email providers that offers email access over Tor. We launched the ProtonMail onion site last year as an extra way to fight surveillance and censorship. Since then, ProtonMail has become banned in at least one country with an authoritarian government, and our onion site provides an important means of access to encrypted email from countries with strong online censorship.
For extra protection, we also use HTTPS encryption for our onion site. Earlier this month, we renewed the SSL certificate for our onion site, protonirockerxow.onion. Since we launched our onion site in January 2017, leading SSL certificate provider Digicert has provided us with.onion SSL certificates. Digicert supports strong encryption and is one of the few Certificate Authorities to support onion sites. We are glad to continue our partnership with them.
What is an onion site?
An onion site is a website that can only be reached by using the Tor anonymity network. Tor encrypts your internet connection and routes it through several random servers before it reaches the secret server that houses the ProtonMail onion site.
In this way, internet service providers and governments cannot easily check what’s your IP and location. It also adds a layer of encryption to your internet connection, above the end-to-end encryption we useto secure the contents of your messages. We recommend our onion site for users with heightened concerns about surveillance and attack, and also for users in places where the main ProtonMail website is blocked, such as Turkey.
While the Tor network automatically encrypts the connection between users’ devices and our servers, we decided to add an extra layer of encryption. The HTTPS encryption we provide in partnership with Digicert offers redundancy in case Tor is ever compromised. It also allows us to protect traffic internally between our servers. You can learn more about our onion site and our decision to use HTTPS encryption here.
With the SSL certificate renewal, users will not notice any changes to their service. When you access protonirockerxow.onion, you will see the green text and lock icon in your browser, indicating the website belongs to Proton Technologies AG and that HTTPS encryption is enabled.
The ProtonMail Team
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