3 steps to your first encrypted email!

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

Step 2: Configuration

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:


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

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. Mailvelope automatically recognizes the content as encrypted and marks it accordingly.

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.

Key server 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.

Step 3: Your First Encrypted Email

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: The subject always remains unencrypted by PGP!) and select "Send".

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

Should you be interested, 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!

Understanding the Basics

The goal of Mailvelope is to make 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.

How Mailvelope Works

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 recipient so that your message can be encrypted and sent securely.

Only this recipient has the "private key" associated to this public key. This "private key" allows the recipient to decrypt and read the message. 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.

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