Mailvelope

You thought encrypting your email was complicated and expensive? We'll show you how to send your first encrypted email in just 2 minutes!

Select the appropriate icon to install Mailvelope on your browser of choice:

Chrome_Store

Google Chrome

Firefox Get the Addon

Mozilla Firefox

Once you answer the browser security questions during installation, Mailvelope will be installed and you will see the Mailvelope welcome page:

Mailvelope Willkommensbildschirm

After you select the Mailvelope icon Kryptografie Icon you can begin the initial configuration of Mailvelope.

Mailvelope Willkommensbildschirm


You will be redirected to Key Management in order to create a PGP key for your email communication:



Keine Schlüssel im Schlüsselbund


After you select "Generate Key" the following dialogue will pop up:



Schlüsselerstelllungsdialog


Mailvelope needs your name (or your nickname) and the email address with which your new key should be associated. Lastly, pick as complicated a password as possible. Remember it. It cannot be reset!

For ease of use, Mailvelope requires your key to be automatically uploaded to the key server. We therefore recommend you tick the appropriate box and provide your consent.

After you select "Generate", Mailvelope will notify you of the the successful creation of your key.

Schlüssel erfolgreich generiert

Great! You now have your own PGP key! Now all you have to do is verify the email address that you used on the Mailvelope key server so that other Mailvelope users can send you encrypted emails.

Log in to your webmail provider. You should have a new email in your inbox from the Mailvelope key server.


Verify Key Mail

Open the email. You will see that it contains two attachments. Klick on the one named "encrypted.asc". Mailvelope automatically recognizes the content as encrypted and marks it accordingly. Your email provider may not be able to preview the file. In this case, please follow the instructions in our FAQ.


Encrypted content

With the click of the symbol, decryption will begin. You only need to input the password that you created earlier...

Password Window

Simply click on the link in order to confirm your email address.


Keyserver Mail with Link

Your key is now verified!

By the way, did you notice? You've already decrypted your first email successfully. The procedure will be the same for all other emails that you receive in the future.


Open a new email in your webmail as usual.

New Message

Warning: In order to write an encrypted email, you must begin by using the Mailvelope editor, whose icon Editor Icon can be found in the top right corner. Open it by selecting the icon and then compose your email:


First Message

As soon as your intended recipient has installed and configured Mailvelope, their email address will turn green when input. If not, the address is not yet available on the Mailvelope key server. In this case, ask if they have generated their key and verified it by email, as you have done, and confirm that the email they used is the same as the one you have entered in your email.

Now write your email.

Upon selecting "Encrypt", the Mailvelope editor will close and you will be redirected to your webmail editor...


Encypted message back to webmailer

Add a subject (Attention: This always remains unencrypted by PGP!) and select "Send".

Congratulations! You've now sent your first encrypted email!

If you like, the next section will introduce you to even more in-depth technical information about email encryption. Answers to further questions and information about more specific uses of Mailvelope can be found in our detailed FAQ.

Have fun with Mailvelope!

The goal of Mailvelope is to make the use of email encryption as easy as possible. However, a little technical knowledge will make it easier for you to use Mailvelope. We therefore recommend you take some time to read this introduction to the basic principles of Mailvelope.

In order to communicate through encryption, you have to "seal" your message in such a way that only the recipient can access it. You need the so-called "public key" of the receiver so that your message can be encrypted and sent securely.

Only the said recipient has the "private key" that belongs to this public key. This "private key" also allows the messages to be reopened. In PGP / Mailvelope we therefore always speak of key pairs:

How asymetric encryption works
  • Public Key - used to encrypt messages. It can and should be accessible to everyone!
  • Private Key - used to decrypt messages. It must be securely stored on your computer (this is handled by Mailvelope). Access to your private key is also protected by the password that you chose when creating the key.

This concept of encryption using key pairs is technically referred to as "asymmetrical encryption". By default, Mailvelope handles the exchange of public keys between sender and recipient behind the scenes, via the key server. For an introduction to asymmetrical encryption you should watch this 5 minute video.