Looking for answers on how to stop email tracking? You’ve come to the right place! There are no tinfoil hats here; email servers are owned and operated by private companies, and your personal communications and data are at their mercy. Read on to learn how to take control of your email privacy.
Imagine you have a mailbox outside your home. Inside it, there’s a micro-camera tracking your every action, whether you read the letter, throw it out, or glance at it for a second. Suddenly, you start getting more and more letters like the one you were caught reading. While this scenario more closely resembles an episode of Black Mirror than real life, it happens every day on the Internet.
Advertisers and spammers use emails as a way to place ad trackers on users’ computers. This way, they know when you open the email, your location, and even keep tags on your browsing history using cookies. This means that if you open one wrong email, your information can later be used in order to target ads to you or, even worse, hack your online data. In order to avoid this from happening, you’ll need a VPN. A quality VPN will ensure that no one, from your ISP to the government, will get their hands on your data. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most secure services on the market, explain how email tracking works, and discuss benefits of using a VPN.
Best VPN providers for complete online security
In order to stop email tracking immediately, you need a solid, secure VPN service. Below, we have listed our top 5 recommended VPN providers for secure email:
ExpressVPN is the best service if you want to disguise yourself online. With military-grade 256-bit AES encryption, it would take the world’s strongest supercomputer millions of years to crack into your data. ExpressVPN also offers a range of encryption protocols, including OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP. With these modern protocols, you will barely notice the speed difference between an encrypted and unencrypted connection, meaning that at no point will you experience delays or slowdowns. Furthermore, thanks to a solid no-logging policy, the provider doesn’t store any of your data for third parties to find. This includes DNS requests, IP addresses, browsing history, and even timestamps. So, if a cybercriminal or creator of spam emails gets access to ExpressVPN’s database, they won’t be able to find your online data there. In a nutshell, ExpressVPN offers the range of security features that will ensure your emails are never used to track your online activity.
In addition to ExpressVPN’s top-of-the-line privacy features, the provider, true to its name, offers one of the fastest services on the market. With a massive server network of 3,000+ proxy servers in 94 countries, you will always be able to find a node that will provide you with a fast, low latency connection. Moreover, there are no limitations on bandwidth, server switching, or speed, which means you can enjoy secure browsing for as long as you want. Heck, there’s even a built-in speed test to help you dial in the connection.
Whether you want to stay on top of your emails, stream Netflix content, or simply surf the web, you can do so without any lag or artificially imposed restrictions. ExpressVPN’s service is available on a wide range of devices and operating systems, and allows you to have three simultaneous connections.
Read our full ExpressVPN review.
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- Fastest servers we have tested
- Torrenting/P2P allowed
- Keeps no logs of personal data
- Live chat support available.
- Priced slightly higher.
NordVPN‘s service prioritizes beating censorship and providing users with the toughest online security. For starters, the provider uses 256-bit AES encryption that generates more key combinations than there are atoms in the known universe. Specific encryption protocols include OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP, which blends speed and security, as well as the flexible L2TP/IPSec. NordVPN doesn’t store any data logs, ranging from IP address, bandwidth, traffic, and browsing history. This adds a massive layer of security to your browsing experience since no one will be able to get their hands on your data, and, in turn, use it to track you online.
NordVPN offers more security features for ultimate online protection, including an automatic kill switch and a CyberSec module. The former shuts down your internet should you ever get disconnected, so at no point will your connection be unsafe without you noticing. The CyberSec module features toggles for ad blocking and anti-malware protection, both of which will protect you from online tracking.
While NordVPN has some of the most advanced privacy features on the market, the provider doesn’t fall short on speed or usability. First, NordVPN has one of the biggest server networks in the industry consisting of 5,100+ nodes in 60 countries at the time of writing and growing. There are also specialty servers you can select for extra security, including double VPN nodes, which route your data through two layers of encryption, and obfuscated servers, which hide the fact that you are using a VPN. With no limitations on bandwidth, speed, or server switching, you’ll be able to use the service any time, keeping your connection secure on the regular. NordVPN is available on all major devices and operating systems, including Windows, Mac OS, Linux, and more.
Read more in our full review of NordVPN.
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- Mind-boggling number of servers
- 2,048-bit SSL keys and DNS leak protection
- Retains no metadata of your browsing
- Live chat support is available.
- Not much
- Apps can be a bit cumbersome to use.
CyberGhost is one of our top recommended services due to its combination of ease of use and security. With this provider, you don’t need any complicated setting up in order to protect your identity online – the intuitive user interface will do it for you. Upon launch, you’ll be able to choose from six simple configuration profiles. These include “surf anonymously” and “protect my WiFi connection”, both of which are well suited for stopping email tracking. Additionally, these profiles can be further customized with simple toggles, such as “block ads” or “block malicious websites”.
With CyberGhost, you don’t need to worry about understanding any complicated technical terms in order to stay anonymous online; the service has you covered. Of course, if you want a little more control over your server connection, you can pick from one of CyberGhost’s 3,600+ nodes strewn over 59 countries worldwide. Whether you want to use the software at home, work, or on-the-go, CyberGhost is available on all major operating systems, including macOS, Windows, iPhone and Android.
In addition to its usability, CyberGhost has one of the most secure services in the industry. For starters, the powerful 256-bit AES encryption keeps your data safe at all times. Encryption protocols include OpenVPN’s UDP and TCP, as well as L2TP/IPSec, all of which will ensure that your connection is private, fast, and flexible at the same time. Moreover, CyberGhost employs one of the most complete logging policies in the industry. It ensures that no logs are stored on anything, not even your email address. So, even if your ISP or the government try to get their hands on your data logs, they won’t be able to find any. Finally, CyberGhost offers additional security features for ultimate online anonymity on desktop, including a connection guard, a kill switch, an ad blocker, and an online tracking blocker.
See the full review of CyberGhost.
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- Peer-to-peer (P2P) torrenting allowed
- 7 simultaneous connections
- Strict no-logs policy
- 24h support.
- WebRTC IPv6 leak in macOS
- Doesn’t work well in China.
PrivateVPN, as the name suggests, ensures that your privacy always comes first. Firstly, it uses incredibly powerful AES-256 encryption–no one, from cybercriminals to the world’s strongest supercomputer, could conceivably crack your data. PrivateVPN offers a wide selection of encryption protocols, from UDP and TCP, which combine speed and security, to the modern IKEv2 protocol. The company’s no-logging policy covers virtually all data, all of which makes PrivateVPN one of the more secure VPN services to date.
While PrivateVPN’s server network is more modest than others, consisting of 80 nodes in 59 countries, don’t let these numbers fool you. The company aims to ensure as much Internet capacity is purchased directly from the IP transit provider, rather than from crowded shared hosting platforms. In our testing, this network was plenty robust for heavy-duty tasks like P2P file sharing as well as everyday tasks like sending email and streaming.
Speaking of streaming, there are specially optimized servers for unblocking Netflix regardless of where you are located in the world. Even better, PrivateVPN offers all users unlimited bandwidth, traffic, and server switches, which makes it an ideal choice for always-on Internet privacy. The service has dedicated apps for all major operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and iOs, as well as routers and gaming consoles.
Check out our full PrivateVPN review for more details.
PureVPN is an excellent choice of VPN if you want a secure connection as well as the ability to bypass even the toughest regional blocks. The provider has a server network of 2,000 servers in a whopping 140 countries, which means that you can get an IP address from virtually any location in the world. So, whether you want to unlock international Netflix libraries or spoof an IP from a different location, you can do so within minutes with PureVPN. In addition to this impressive server distribution, PureVPN goes beyond traditional features with things like NAT firewalls, anti-spam filtering, DDoS protection, and even antivirus software. In addition, you can use split tunneling technology in order to route some of your data through your VPN rather than your ISP. This means that no one will be able to see that you are using a proxy service rather than your regular Internet connection.
In addition to the server network and advanced technologies, PureVPN has some of the toughest security features that come with every available plan. First, the 256-bit AES military-level encryption will allow you to stop any online tracking and ensure that your data is always protected. There’s also a generous no-logging policy which pledges to obliviate any and all logs on connection and usage metadata. There’s even a set of server connections that come equipped with the Ozone feature suite, which automatically enables URL filters, anti-malware, IDS/IPS, content filters, and app blockers. PureVPN has been on the market longer than most, and they’ve spent their time wisely assembling some of the most comprehensive cybersecurity software anywhere.
Who is tracking my emails?
Email tracking is most commonly used by marketers as a promotional tool to raise awareness of a product or service and get users to make a purchase or a download. However, no company or marketing specialist wants to be shooting in the dark. For example, why would they spend time and money sending emails to people who cannot afford their product, or aren’t in the right location to use their service?
This is where email tracking comes in. Trackers allow marketers to know how many readers are opening their email, how long they read it for, where they are located, and even the devices they use. This sort of data allows companies to then narrow down their target audience to specific age groups, income brackets, and interests. By narrowing down the mailing list to users who are more likely to purchase or subscribe, marketers directly increase their email conversion rate and, in turn, profit.
Another problem is that advertising networks don’t merely use this information for their own marketing strategy. Many companies gather this information to then sell it to advertisers for a lot of money. So, if you were starting to get uncomfortable with the idea of your emails being tracked for marketing purposes, think of the cycle your data goes through once you open an email.
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How does email tracking work?
Emailing is no longer a simple text-based letter you can send to family and friends online. Today, with the help of images, styling options, and even videos, the humble email has evolved into full-featured communication suite powerful enough to transmit all types of media, including embedded videos and highly customized .css sheets. Unfortunately, with this sort of technological advancement comes a range of consequences.
Email tracking is typically done with the use of an invisible pixel tracker within a message or attachment. Now that so many emails come with an image or attachment, this tracker isn’t hard to place, and impossible for you to find. As soon as you open an email, this pixel sends information about your location, device, and more, to the sender.
You may be thinking that it’s no big deal if it’s for market researcher, but here’s the thing. This sort of pixel tracker can be placed into an email by pretty much anyone. OMC, a New-York based company that focuses on technology behind email intelligence, found that 1.5 billion emails received by their clients since 2015 contained a tracker. In fact, they found that the number of tracked personal conversation emails doubled between 2015 and 2017. So, what about all those times you’ve attached sensitive information, such as your bank details, to an email?
RELATED READING: How to stop Facebook from tracking you?
How does a VPN help?
Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to protect yourself from email tracking without a VPN. But here’s the good news – we’ve carefully selected the best VPN providers out there that will protect your online privacy at all times. Below, we explain what these services will do for you.
Increase your security
Many people are unaware of just how much sensitive data they leave exposed online. From account information to credit card details, anyone from your ISP to cybercriminals can easily get their hands on your information and use it against you. Luckily, a quality VPN uses bank-level encryption in order to keep your data protected regardless of where you are browsing from. So, whether you are using a public WiFi network or are traveling abroad, the service masks your location and your data is encrypted against potential intruders. This is especially useful when entering sensitive information like your Social Security Number, payment details, passwords, and more.
Grant you anonymity
A VPN always allows you to remain anonymous online by masking your IP address. So, you can open emails, download content, and surf the web, without worrying about revealing your true location. VPN providers with large server networks also protect you from running out of IP addresses to connect to. So, for example, if your new IP is blocked out from Netflix, you will have a wide range of others to choose from. Since our recommended providers work on all devices and allow you to establish several simultaneous connections, you can browse and stream anonymously even on the go.
Enable you to beat geoblocking
A major added benefit to using a VPN is that it allows to overcome all geo-based restrictions and access content that would otherwise be blocked in your country. For example, if you are located in India but want access to U.S. Netflix, one of these VPN services will be your go-to tool. Additionally, a VPN will also expose you to the best online shopping deals. If a sale or special offers are available in Europe but not in Asia, you can simply choose to connect to any country in Europe and take advantage of the low prices.
Now you know how to stop third parties from tracking your email and, in turn, protect your data and identity. By choosing one of our recommended VPN providers, you’ll be able to stay anonymous online, and even bypass regional blocks, which will allow you to access the free and open Internet. Want to get started? Just pick a service that suits your needs best.
We’d love to hear what you have to say about your VPN experience. Leave us your comments and suggestions down below!
If you need a VPN for a short while when traveling for example, you can get our top ranked VPN free of charge. ExpressVPN includes a 30-day money-back guarantee. You will need to pay for the subscription, that’s a fact, but it allows full access for 30 days and then you cancel for a full refund. Their no-questions-asked cancellation policy lives up to its name.