We are happy to announce that the Proton Mail secure email service now has an official release date!
Proton Mail will be launching on January 26th, 2016 with our first non-beta release. In the last couple months, our team has been working very hard to prepare and we are currently targeting January 26th, 2016 for the official launch. We originally anticipated being able to launch in early-December, but unfortunately the DDoS attack against our infrastructure(new window) set back our schedule by approximately 2 weeks. This additional time was needed to fully harden our infrastructure against all future attacks of this sort. This effort has been successful and in the past few weeks, we have been able to successfully defend against continued DDoS attacks in the 40-50 Gbps range without service disruptions.
While it would still be possible to launch in the second half of December, this is unfortunately too close to the holidays and we won’t be fully staffed. We also want to avoid the first half of January due to Orthodox Christmas. While these factors do unfortunately push the launch back quite a bit, we will take the additional time to build more features into the launch version of Proton Mail.
The Proton Mail launch will bring five major changes. First, we will be releasing Proton Mail 3.0, which will be the first non-beta version of Proton Mail. The Proton Mail secure email service has been in beta since May 2014 and during this time we have come a long way, with the last major milestone being the Proton Mail 2.0 beta release in August(new window). With 3.0, Proton Mail will finally be ready to leave beta after nearly two years.
Second, Proton Mail 3.0 will bring with it a host of new features. From a tech perspective, Proton Mail 2.0 was our largest update so far, but most of the changes were invisible to the users – the look, feel, and behavior was largely consistent with Proton Mail 1.0. Proton Mail 3.0 will bring a complete transformation of the user interface which will make Proton Mail’s usability competitive with the best email services out there. We want to make the Proton Mail encrypted email service not only the most secure email service out there, but also the most easy to use one.
Third, our launch will also be accompanied by huge increases in our backend infrastructure(new window). We have tripled our server capacity, which means we will finally be able to invite everybody on our waiting list, and even remove the waiting list itself. We hope to be able to permanently eliminate the waiting list with our launch.
Fourth, we will try to launch our iOS and Android applications in the App Store and Play Store at the same time as webmail launch. The Proton Mail iOS and Android secure email mobile apps have been in beta since August 2015(new window) and during that time, we have had thousands of users sign up to be beta testers. This group of early adopters have provided valuable feedback which has allowed us to dramatically improve the apps in the past couple months. We anticipate that both iOS and Android should be ready for public release in January. In the meantime, interested users can still sign up for the secure email mobile app beta here(new window).
Finally, Proton Mail 3.0 isn’t just about a new look and new features, it also signals the next phase of our journey towards bringing easy to use secure email to the mainstream(new window). Proton Mail primary source of revenue has always been donations and our strength really comes from the amazing community that has been supporting us since our first crowdfunding campaign(new window). During the attack against Proton Mail last month, our community pulled together and raised $50,000 to protect Proton Mail against that threat(new window). The top voted request was for us to introduce paid accounts so that Proton Mail has strong financial resources to fight against forces which may try to stop the spread of private email.
Last month, we saw just how far certain groups would go to try to shut down Proton Mail and in response, we will be strengthening our financial resources in 2016 by introducing paid accounts for the first time ever. We will of course continue to offer free accounts since that is a core part of our mission, but for users who would like to support us financially by purchasing additional storage, this option will become available in Proton Mail 3.0.
At the same time, we will also be adding support for custom domains (such as email@example.com), which will for the first time make it possible for enterprises around the world to secure business email(new window) with Proton Mail. These first business offerings will also be part of Proton Mail 3.0.
Proton Mail 3.0 is a truly massive update, and over the next month, we will continue to be working very hard to finish everything. We would like to thank all of the supporters who have been with us from the start, or have joined us along the way. Proton Mail isn’t just a software project, but it is a community of nearly one million people united by the common vision of protecting privacy online. None of this would have been possible without your support and we are proud to continue serving the community.