This article will tell you how to get started using the PGP encryption method with StartMail.
For a video explanation of this article, please click here.
You can send PGP encrypted emails to recipients who also have a StartMail account, or who use any other email service that offers encryption. If you wish to send an encrypted email to a recipient who does not use PGP encryption, you can use the Q&A encryption method instead. More information about Q&A encryption can be found in this Support Center article.
To start using PGP encryption with StartMail, please follow the steps below:
1. Generate your public key
To encrypt the contents of your email using the PGP method, you must first generate your public key and PGP passphrase. Here is how:
- Sign in to your StartMail account at https://startmail.com/login on your desktop or laptop.
- Navigate to Settings > Mail Encryption.
- Click Configure PGP.
- Choose your PGP Passphrase: Create a unique passphrase. Do not use the password you're using to enter your StartMail account. Instead, you could use a line from your favorite song. Please note that spaces, capital letters and punctuation will be taken into consideration. StartMail will determine your passphrase strength. Try to get it to "very strong".
- Confirm your PGP Passphrase: Enter the exact same passphrase again.
- Click Generate public key.
- It may take a few seconds for your public key to be generated. Wait until it says "You have succesfully generated your key!". Then click Continue to inbox at the bottom of the page.
- If you already have an existing key pair, you can skip steps 4 to 7 above, and click the "If you already have an existing key pair, you may choose to import it here" link. Then paste your key pair into the box, and click Import.
- You can set how long StartMail remembers your passphrase by going to Settings > Mail encryption and selecting a value for Remember my passphrase for.
2. Sending a PGP encrypted email
Sending your first PGP encrypted email to a StartMail user is slightly different from sending your first PGP encrypted email to a non-StartMail user. Please make sure to follow the correct instructions in step 1 below:
- To send a PGP encrypted email to another StartMail user, they will first have to set up PGP encryption as well. (If they need help setting this up, you could send them a link to these instructions.) Once they have set up PGP encryption, you are ready to send and receive PGP encrypted messages. To view a video about sending PGP encrypted emails to another StartMail user click here.
To send a PGP encrypted email to non-StartMail user, you must first add their public key to your keyring. Click here to learn how.
- Click the Compose button.
- Enter your recipient's email in the "To:" box and provide a subject (optional).
- Check the Encrypt this Email box below the subject.
Type your message as you would normally. You will also need to enter the PGP Passphrase you have created in step 1 above.
- Click Send.
- It may also be helpful to select Sign with my key pair and Attach my public key. Attaching your public key is helpful for recipients who do not already have your public key. (You may first need to click "more options" to reveal these two settings.)
4. Reading a PGP encrypted email
- Open the message as you would normally and supply your PGP Passphrase.
- For more information on your digital signature, follow this link.
- For more information on exporting your public key, follow this link.
- For more information on how to change your PGP Passphrase, follow this link.
- For more information on setting up PGP encryption using your email client, follow this link.