2021 Review: AnonAddy & SimpleLogin
Disclosure: I have an affiliate link with SimpleLogin that gives me credit towards my own SL account. You do not have to use this link, I provide a non-affiliate link at the end, and I tried my best to be unbiased in this review.
In this review, I’ve decided to lump both AnonAddy and SimpleLogin into the same review because they’re so incredibly similar in their offerings and features, though I will note any differences between them. I don’t think of this blog as “AnonAddy vs SimpleLogin,” though I’m sure it will help anyone who’s on the fence decide between the two. Rather, I present this as simply two tools you can use to achieve the same protection. I keep referring to AnonAddy first because I’m listing them in alphabetical order.
AnonAddy and SimpleLogin are both email forwarding services. Having an account allows you to create an email address – such as “email@example.com” or “firstname.lastname@example.org.” These email addresses then forward any mail they receive to the mailbox of your choice, such as email@example.com. I highly encourage the use of one – or both – of these services or a comparable alternative (these are just the ones I’ve found that are the most feature rich and seem to be rejected less often on most of the sites I use). The practical reason is that for most of us, email is the central hub of our lives. Everything is managed from that one inbox, from newsletters and Netflix marketing emails to doctor’s appointments, job offers, and important correspondence. The compromise of an email account is the digital equivalent of getting kicked out of your own house. If your email address gets exposed in a data breach – which it certainly will if it hasn’t already – that’s half of the required login exposed, leaving only the password to be guessed for access. This can be mitigated by using strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication, but the exposure of an email address can still be used in other ways, such as tracking you across the various accounts and websites, leading to stalking by both individuals and companies.
Both services offer a free tier with premium, paid features. AnonAddy offers Lite ($12/year or $1/month) and Pro ($48/year or $4/month) paid plans, while SimpleLogin offers only a single Premium paid plan for $30/year (or $4/month). In addition, both offer F-Droid apps, as well as Play Store and App Store apps, allowing you to create masked addresses on the go. Both allow you to import your public PGP key, both support the use of custom domains, and both allow catch-all email addresses (meaning if I make up an email address on the spot, that email address will be created and forwarded to me as soon as the first email is sent without any interaction from me). AnonAddy offers you the option to replace email subjects (so that the true subject isn’t visible (a shortcoming of PGP). SimpleLogin supports hardware security keys (like Yubikey) and offers browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. SimpleLogin also offers enterprise solutions if you happen to be responsible for a company.
AnonAddy’s apps are fan-made and not officially supported. AnonAddy also has a limited number of custom domains, a limited amount of bandwidth (except for the Pro plan), and a limited number of email addresses you can receive to. The bandwidth thing is probably not an issue for most people, but keep in mind that if your bandwidth is exceeded that means they won’t forward any emails for you for the rest of the month. The bigger issue to me is the limited number of emails you can send and receive – 20/50. While most people probably don’t send 50 or even 20 emails in a single month, it’s something to be aware of if you’re a power user. The drawbacks of SimpleLogin are that it is less feature-rich than AnonAddy (can’t change the email subject, can’t disable catch-all). SimpleLogin’s free tier is also much more restrictive than AnonAddy’s (can’t use PGP, 1 recipient to AnonAddy’s 2). But they do make up for it by offering unlimited bandwidth and unlimited reply/send even on the free tier.
I use both of these services, and honestly I find them almost identical. Being that I consider a custom domain to be a valuable part of a privacy strategy, I think the average user could get away with AnonAddy’s Lite tier ($12/year, $1/month), but SimpleLogin’s Premium will be the better bang for the buck for power users with all the unlimited features. Neither service is bad and they really come down to what you want or need out of them and the price you’re willing to pay for those features you want. I’ve found both to be extremely user friendly and affordable, and I use them pretty interchangeably myself. I encourage you to explore their pricing options for yourself, and maybe even sign up for a free account for both to decide which is best for you.
You can check out AnonAddy’s Pricing here and SimpleLogin’s Pricing here and sign up for each service at their respective websites. If you decide to sign up with SimpleLogin, please consider using my affiliate link. I will not see any information about you, but I will get a few bucks added to my SimpleLogin account if you purchase a paid plan, which means more money I can put toward other The New Oil-related projects. Of course, I understand that not everyone is a fan of affiliate links, so no hard feelings if you choose not to use it. The important thing is that you use one of these services and start protecting yourself.