ProtonMail Release Date Delayed Until February 18th

Due to some unforeseen circumstances, we have made the difficult decision to delay the ProtonMail release from January 26th until February 18th.

EDIT Feb 18, 2016: We have published a release update here: https://protonmail.com/blog/protonmail-release-update/

Back in December, we announced that ProtonMail would be officially released next Tuesday. However, after an extensive discussion yesterday with all of our teams, it became clear that the release date needs to be moved back. There were two primary factors that drove this decision.

The first was user feedback regarding ProtonMail 3.0 which we released into beta on Wednesday. While the vast majority of users welcomed ProtonMail 3.0, there were also a lot of people who disliked it. In the past couple days, we have read through over 1000 bug reports and suggestions submitted by users, and we now have good insight into many of the issues certain users are facing.

For the time being, users who are having difficulty with ProtonMail 3.0 can still use ProtonMail 2.1, which can be found at v2.protonmail.com. We are aware that there are issues with mobile responsiveness and smaller resolution displays, and we are making fixing that a priority. We would like to thank everybody who has submitted feedback so far. Please keep sending us feedback as you use ProtonMail 3.0 more and more. Our goal is to respond to the needs of the community that has always donated to support ProtonMail over the years. We do read and take to heart all of your feedback. The upcoming ProtonMail 3.1 will address many of the biggest issues that have been brought up this week.

On the other side of the spectrum, we also have a problem with users liking ProtonMail 3.0 too much. In the past two days, there was a 300% increase in ProtonMail usage, even though the number of users has not increased (we have not sent new invites in a while now). Many users have switched to ProtonMail as their primary email now, resulting in much higher than anticipated server load. Inviting all waiting list users and also opening to the public would likely stress our infrastructure. Thus, we also need some time to bring more servers online.

After much analysis yesterday, we anticipate we will need until February 18th to complete work for ProtonMail 3.1 so our release will be delayed by approximately 3 weeks. Other new features of ProtonMail such as custom domains, and the iOS and Android applications are in fact ready, but their public launch dates will also have to be moved until February 18th. We know this news will come as a disappointment for many users, but our first priority is to always offer a highly reliable and easy to use encrypted email service. To accomplish this, we have to focus fully on resolving existing version 3.0 issues before adding more features.

Users who wish to support ProtonMail and get the mobile apps now can still participate in the ProtonMail mobile app beta. We are also considering rolling out custom domains early as part of a closed preview for users who have donated to ProtonMail in the past, so stay tuned for more updates about this.

We want to thank our community for your understanding and your support of ProtonMail, from our initial crowdfunding campaign until now. You are the ones that have gotten ProtonMail this far, and together we are building a world where everybody can have online privacy. Our team will be working as quickly as possible over the next several weeks, and if there is any possibility to move up the release date, we will certainly do so.

Faithfully yours,
The ProtonMail Team

P.S. Even though ProtonMail won’t publicly release out of beta until February 18th, it is still possible to sign up for the beta at https://protonmail.com/invite. We will be sending more beta invites before the official release.

About the Author

Andy Yen

Andy is the Co-Founder of ProtonMail. He is a long time advocate of privacy rights and has spoken at TED, SXSW, and the Asian Investigative Journalism Conference about online privacy issues. Previously, Andy was a research scientist at CERN and has a PhD in Particle Physics from Harvard University. You can watch his TED talk online to learn more about ProtonMail's mission.

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60 comments on “ProtonMail Release Date Delayed Until February 18th

  • I say, good on you! While I am extremely excited about custom domains, importing from other accounts, the mobile client (please be on F-Droid!), and the option to purchase more space; I’d rather see a smooth roll-out when the product is ready. Thanks for all you do from this enthusiastic supporter and keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • I am also really excited about the custom domains. But I rather have an polished product. Then that is rushed to please us (me) . And the feedback from the other users can also benefit me, since I shall be using encrypted mail service more heavily once the custom domains are available.

    I say keep up the good work!

    Reply
  • No problem, stability and security are surely more important than releasing in a hurry.

    In the meantime, I’d suggest you updating your github, because, for example, your webclient’s source is stuck at version 2.1.8:
    https://github.com/ProtonMail/WebClient

    It is also not really reassuring to read statements like this in the source’s readme file: “There is a very good chance you won’t be able to use the app locally because of various security headers and such…”. This shouldn’t happen with open source software.

    Thanks and best wishes.

    Reply
  • Sad, but I think you made the right choice. It’s a good thing you released the 3.0 beta early so we could get an idea of the responses, instead of leaving us disappointed with a rushed version. Good luck as you make last-minute improvements and head for the final product. I look forward to becoming a paying user.

    Reply
  • The v3 improvements (specially threading) was the update I was waiting to finally abandon all other emails and move fully to ProtonMail. So far it’s working perfectly smooth for me. I can’t congratulate you guys enough for the incredible work you’ve done.

    If possible, could you guys give us some insight on how will the custom domains work? (prices, business model, etc).

    Reply
  • I’m exited to see the mobile apps, I’d no longer have to open it in my browser and type all the overkill passphrases every hour 🙂

    (BTW, please release it on f-droid. Ask the devs about “reproducible builds” it allows Protonmails devs to sign the Apk themselves and have f-droid ensure the apk is what the source code says it is without f-droid having to do the signing)

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  • I’m really exited to see the mobile apps (please sign them with a proper 4096 bit key!) Because I’d no longer have to type my overkill passphrases every time I want to check my mail.

    Also, If you guys are going to distribute it on f-droid. Make sure you use ‘reproducible builds’. This allows you to sign the Apk yourselves (using your 4096 bit key!) And have f-droid be able to verify the apk is what the source code says it is.

    Reply
    • Consider this, the majority of the apps are signdd using a 1024 bit key which is now obsolete. Changing the signing key is extremely troublesome since android doesn’t allow apps to be updated with a different signature/package name.
      So you better make sure the key lasts for a long time to come 🙂

      Reply
  • Will you include possibility to create aliases in near future? For example disposable aliases (where the address is system-generated and custom aliases (where you choose your address, within some parameters).

    Reply
    • This would be very useful when you buy premium account. Create a system generated alias that ONLY are for buying premium account and when done the alias can be deleted and a new alias is generated for future use. The system generated alias should never in any way be tied to the main account. Just like Countermail. Add this please 🙂

      Reply
  • Once again your website puts this latest news UNDER old news. Blogs should not work like this.

    I can wait for it, get it right.

    Reply
  • Bad news, which are actually good news 🙂 “We are also considering rolling out custom domains early as part of a closed preview for users who have donated to ProtonMail in the past” – does this include supporters of the original crowdfunding campaign? Custom domains are basically the one single thing holding me back from switching to ProtonMail as my primary email. Happy to pay a reasonable yearly fee for it.

    Reply
  • ProtonMail should stop thinking like marketing people and embrace the community a bit more. I am already sold on the importance of privacy and data protection and just want a provider that is reliable, dependable and approachable. I am going to entrust important data to them and I don’t want ProtonMail to end up like a faceless company along the way.

    Building up too much excitement, creating hype, being vague about what is going to be implemented, wondering why people are disappointed and then pushing back the deadline are not qualities I like in a company, at all. Earlier they said that version 3.0 was complete and that they even had time to add additional features and polish. This announcement today could have been avoided if they were just more frank about their plans, outlined what was actively being worked on, published a clear roadmap and pushed out new features incrementally for people to test.

    Take the mobile apps, for instance. I no idea what is going to be in it and which features it will support upon launch. I don’t even know whether it is a fully native app or a wrapped web app. ProtonMail feels distant and that is such a big shame.

    When I compare 2.1 to 3.0, I honestly don’t see much of a change. Just useless eye candy and just no useful additional functionality to speak of. It feels slower, I even lost several functions that I used and find the design not very pleasant or lightweight anymore. For me this update is not an upgrade.

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  • Looking forward to official release 🙂

    Will it be open registration without invite on February 18th? Can users delete account by itself? Will the deleted username be available right after deleted to anyone?

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  • I have been following ProtonMail for some time now and am very much looking forward to the mobile release. Can we have some clarification about what custom domains means and if this is free? Also, will it be possible to boost your email storage in future? I fully intend to use ProtonMail as my main email provider and am making steps to do this. On a side note: CSS themes that worked in the previous version of ProtonMail seem to break in the v3 beta.

    Reply
  • Will free accounts get the option of 1 additional alias? If not, will you please look into creating another method of becoming a paying / donating member that doesn’t rely on PayPal (demands personal data) or Bitcoin (too technical)?

    Reply
  • BIG love and respect. So much in awe of what you’re creating
    Need to respond to the impatience and frustration I am reading in the comments however – be grateful!!
    the team is doing an amazing job – more than we can ever really understand – they are no doubt working around the clock
    I am sure they are keen to make everything transparent and clear as soon as possible – I am sure they have more impatience than anyone. They are doing this for us!!! It’s an act of service!!
    If you read through the blog certain questions about custom domains etc are already answered in other posts/comment replies
    I am also guessing they don’t want to make hard stances on things before the software is up to speed
    Also given the focus on usability – it has to take precedence over features
    My question and request for Proton – some methods for
    assisting anonymous payments.
    I am not sure anonymous disposable loaded cards are available in my country. I was thinking of some kind of system that links an anonymous payment separately with a proton account already set up, by using a passcode. Make the payment under secure conditions, be provided with a a code, email that code from your proton mail to another proton mail account, to link your donation to your account upgrade.
    There are probably a lot of people whom wish to donate or upgrade their membership that want to remain anonymous – helping provide such a function will serve you and serve everyone
    Love you Proton Mail!!!

    Reply
    • My personal opinion, in homepage “Recent News” can be removed. Since latest news can be found in blog and “Blog” name is very much visible on top and bottom of homepage

      Reply
  • Can’t wait! Work up this morning anxious to see the release today! Oh well I completely understand why and it’s all good.
    I just wish they’d release the mobile version to everyone for beta testing without requiring a donation since technicality we were supposed to get the released version today 😉

    Reply
    • The problem with this is that the mobile apps have bypassing the waiting list enabled, so releasing the mobile apps publicly would likely bring enough new users to overload the servers. So we will need a week to add even more servers.

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      • Thanks for this information. I found it odd that the mobile app wasn’t being released on time while the other issues are worked out for February. Now I understand.

        Reply
  • This is all new to me, but I sincerely appreciate the effort that must go into such an undertaking. Time heals many things. Do it right. It was a privilege to make a donation.

    BTW, I’m not sure if you had considered this option for anonymous payment, but you might want to consider “paygarden.com”. I have no affiliation, but I have used it. Basically, you can purchase (or receive) a gift card from any number of vendors worldwide. It works great. It’s like paying in cash. The only downside is that you end up paying a small premium to cover transaction costs, but that is a small price for privacy.

    Reply
  • Bug report: Login failed – error setting authentication cookies on Tor browser. I am posting as a comment for I can not send a bug report when I am not logged in. Supporting Tor browser is important.

    Reply
  • Guys, while the 3.0 beta is still ongoing, maybe you could add a link to v2 somewhere on the bottom of the main mail page in 3.0, so one can switch without having to type the URL?
    And v2 could have the link for 3.0.
    Perhaps left bottom, below the storage indicator?

    //Matt

    Reply
  • Where is the button to change from conversation mode (i.e. all mails with same subject combined) to seperate message mode? Since the v3 version, it automatically combines messages which it thinks belong together. This makes finding the right email a complete nightmare. I wanted to find a mail i received on friday last week, but now i don’t even know where to start to look for it.

    I know you’re doing the best you can, but i really hate the V3. It is way worse than V2. Actually, I can’t find anything that is better than the old version. Please revert to the old version.

    Reply
  • Come on now, I love the product and the work that goes into it. And I’d hate to sound entitled, but do the phone apps really have to be delayed? I understood that there’s no particular reason from what I read, and to me it seems a bit disingenuous and a that its done in an effort to get more people to opt-in the closed beta which costs money? This is the umpteenth time the phone apps get moved back, and if there is no reason for it, why prolong it further?

    Reply
    • The reason is because the mobile apps allow direct sign up of ProtonMail, bypassing the waiting list, and this could overload the infrastructure.

      Reply
      • Why not just disable account creation remotely? Surely you built something like this into the app instead of hardcoding everything?

        Reply
  • Just heard of you yesterday in a mail from Tresorit.
    I fully agree with your plans. The system we have now with ‘free’ internet and mail services, but also with tracking and data mining, is wrong. 3 Questions:
    I have a MacBook, an ipad and a Jolla Sailfish phone and I wonder if Proton Mail also will work on Sailfish. Is there imap and smtp info for Protonmail?
    How much storage do we get with your mail service and how much will it cost?
    Can we also pay with creditcard or only with Paypal?
    (Paypal has 63 pages with companies where our data go to).
    Wish you success!
    Klaske Wijkstra

    Reply
  • Changing the web to be a better place, one day at a time. Thank you for doing this. It is needed. Well done, every one on the team.

    Reply
    • I agree that calendars have to be added at some point. Contact records also need to be expanded so that multiple phone numbers, multiple e-mail addresses and all the other stuff that gets stored in a contacts database is available there. Without this you have to go out to other solutions (e.g. keep calendar and contacts on Gmail–yikes) or move to a competitor like Tutanota that supports better contact records and is promising to add encrypted calendars soon.

      Reply
      • I agree about the calendars. They are vital. Ideally, the calendar would be:

        1. Searchable (not all email providers do this, not even Fastmail)
        2. Encryptable

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        • we are trying to move OUT from gmail 🙂 not INTO gmail.

          I don’t quite understand how hard is it to implement the calendar and the contacts, but i’m looking forward to find one in proton mail.
          It’s not a good idea to use mail box here, calendar there, contacts somewhere else.

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  • Maybe it wasn’t a good idea to open to the general public AND release your mobile app on February 18. It would have made more sense to get the app out of the way a month or two before the general release date.

    I say this because I suspect you are going to get A LOT of existing users switching to Proton as their primary email service when the app comes out. (I’ll be one of them. The app is the only thing that’s been keeping me back.) So if you thought the v.3 update put stress on your servers, wait until you see what the app rollout will do…

    Reply
  • I’m looking forward to it! I’d much rather have a product that’s ready to go day one than one that’s released early and half baked.

    Reply
  • I’m concerned about the release date of non-beta version that we were promised. you said first in January then in February but now when? Also I haven’t heard anyone discussing on this matter any more. correct me If I’m wrong. is my knowledge outdated?

    Reply