Mailfence announced a partnership with Thunderbird on the company's blog just a few days ago. Mailfence is a secure and private email provider headquartered in Belgium promising a tracking-free privacy-preserving email service that is protected by Belgian privacy laws. Security-wise, Mailfence supports encryption (OpenPGP) and digital signatures.
Thunderbird users may create new email addresses directly from within the client; this can be done in addition to adding existing email addresses or as the first step after installation of the client. While it is possible to do so from email provider websites as well, creating accounts from within Thunderbird has the advantage that they are set up correctly right away and that the project team may get a small financial contribution from the email provider in question.
Mailfence's integration in Thunderbird enables the synchronization of all of the organization's tools with Thunderbird according to the announcement:
The collaboration between the two organizations will deepen the integration of their respective services to improve user experience. Later this year, users with a Mailfence account in their Thunderbird, will benefit from an automatic sync with all of the Mailfence tools: email, calendar, contacts, and encryption keys. They get a highly secured email solution with full respect for their privacy.
The full integration will become available to all Thunderbird users later in 2021; a specific release version or date has not been revealed.
Thunderbird users may set up a Mailfence account already in the client, however. To do so, select File > New > Get a new Mail Account from the main menu, or Account Actions > Get a new Email address.
Setting up the account is straightforward. Just keep the default suggested name or type any other name that you want as the username, and hit the search button to find out if the username is still available and get a list of alternatives.
Select the Free Trial / €30 a year button to pick an address; this redirects you to the sign-up page in Thunderbird. All you have to fill out at this point is the desired account password, and a second email address for recovery purposes and activation.
The "Free Trial" part makes it look like as if it is a paid-only service, but that is not true entirely. Mailfence has a free plan that you may use and three commercial plans. Problem is, the free plan does not support POP3 or IMAP, and that excludes it from being used in Thunderbird.
If you sign-up to the service in Thunderbird currently, you sign up for a trial of the Entry level plan. Sign-in on the website and you may switch to a different plan but free is still not an option as it does not support syncing.
A welcome email provides new customers with the information, stating that the account will be downgraded after the trial period to a free account if the order is not completed, and that it will stop working in Thunderbird afterwards because of the limitations of the free account.
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