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How to set up the ProtonMail Bridge on Linux

The ProtonMail Bridge allows Linux users to use their ProtonMail account with traditional email accounts. Even ones that do not support ProtonMail, or it’s sophisticated encryption features by default.

Setting up the ProtonMail Bridge on Linux is tricky for new Linux users, but not impossible. If you’re a fan of ProtonMail and want to use your account on your favorite Linux email app, follow along with this guide to get it running!

Note: using the ProtonMail bridge requires a paid account. To upgrade your account, click here.

Installing the ProtonMail Bridge app on Linux

On the official ProtonMail website, it states that there is a version for Microsoft Windows, Apple MacOS, and Linux. However, the Linux button is greyed out and unclickable. When you hover over it, it says to “email for details,” and it’s marked as a beta application.

While it’s true that the developers of ProtonMail Bridge do not make it easy to download the app from their website, there’s no need to contact ProtonMail to get your hands on the latest version of the Bridge app. Why? Someone has placed the program in the Flatpak app store, and it works quite well!

Note: if you do not like Flatpak and would prefer another way to install and use the ProtonMail Bridge application on your system, your best bet is to contact ProtonMail. Ask them about participating in the Linux beta! The contact information is located on this page.

To start the installation of the ProtonMail Bridge application on your Linux PC, start by launching a terminal window on the Linux desktop. Press Ctrl + Alt + T or Ctrl + Shift + T on the keyboard.

Once the terminal window is open, install the “flatpak” package on your Linux system with your computer’s package manager. Or, follow our guide to learn how to install it on various Linux distributions.

When the “flatpak” package is installed, the Flatpak runtime is ready to go. The next step is to add the Flathub app store to your Linux PC. To do that, use the flatpak remote-add command down below.

flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub https://flathub.org/repo/flathub.flatpakrepo

After adding the Flathub app store to your Linux PC, use the flatpak install command below to install the ProtonMail Bridge program. Keep in mind that when you run this command, the Flatpak runtime will also install various dependencies and tools that the app needs to function correctly.

flatpak install flathub ch.protonmail.protonmail-bridge

Assuming the flatpak install command runs successfully, you will have the latest version of the ProtonMail Bridge app set up on your Linux PC. Now, open it up by searching for “ProtonMail Bridge” in the app menu, or by running the following flatpak run command down below in a terminal window.

flatpak run ch.protonmail.protonmail-bridge

Set up the ProtonMail Bridge

Start the ProtonMail Bridge setup process by launching the app (if you haven’t already.) When the program is open, follow the step-by-step instructions outlined below to get it working.

Step 1: The first step in setting up ProtonMail is installing a compatible email account. As of now, the best email app that works with ProtonMail Bridge is Mozilla Thunderbird. Follow this tutorial to install the latest Thunderbird if you do not already have it installed.

Step 2: Go to the ProtonMail Bridge and log in with your account and password. Then, locate the “Mailbox configuration” button and click it. It will provide you with the correct configurations for Thunderbird.

Step 3: Launch Thunderbird on your PC. When it starts up, the new account wizard will appear. Enter your ProtonMail email address into the “Email address” box.

Step 4: Locate the “Password” box and copy the password from the ProtonMail Bridge mailbox configuration window. Be sure to check the box next to “Remember password” so that you do not have to re-enter the password each time Thunderbird is opened.

Step 5: Find the “Manual config” button and click on it. Selecting this button will reveal advanced configuration options for Thunderbird.

Fill out all of the text boxes in the Thunderbird with the information from both the IMAP and SMTP settings in the ProtonMail Bridge mailbox configuration window. All passwords must be set to “Normal password.”

Step 6: Find the “re-test” button at the bottom of the account creation window and click it. It will test the connection settings you have added to Thunderbird and assess if the information is acceptable.

Step 7: Locate the “Advanced config” button at the bottom-left section of the account creation window and click on it. Selecting the “Advanced config” button will force Thunderbird to accept ProtonMail Bridge’s unique account settings.

Step 8: When the “Advanced config” window appears, do not change anything, as your information is already entered. Instead, select the “OK” button to confirm the account information is correct to add your ProtonMail account information to Thunderbird.

Step 9: Upon adding your ProtonMail account to Thunderbird, you will see a pop-up window appear. This pop-up window says, “Add Security Exception.”  Select the “Confirm Security Exception” button.

Please note that there is no actual security concern. The address in Thunderbird (127.0.0.1) is the localhost, which is your computer, running the encrypted ProtonMail Bridge app.

You will need to confirm a security exception twice. One for 127.0.0.1, and one for 127.0.0.1:1025. Keep in mind that the 127.0.0.1:1025 security exception prompt may not appear until you attempt to send an email.

After confirming both security exceptions, your ProtonMail messages will load into Thunderbird. Enjoy!

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