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When I send a message on protonmail, does my IP address show up in the header or any other place? Will I need a VPN to be completely anonymous?

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No. No user IP information is included in the message, ever. Source: I work for ProtonMail and am deeply familiar with this code.

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  • Simply answering "No. I've seen the code" is of little usefulness. Can you provide anything to help support your answer? Traces, examples?
    – schroeder
    Commented Dec 24, 2017 at 8:48
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    1. Send a message from a ProtonMail account to an external account that you control 2. Check the headers for any client-identifying information. You will not find any such information. Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 1:30
  • @BartButler Is this "still" the case for ProtonMail? To other safety mechanisms such as VPN or TOR, just a basic ProtonMail email sent from a web browser will not reveal IP address and thus you cannot even tell which country it is being sent from, correct?
    – Mary Jane
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 12:31
  • Yes, it's still true. There's no reason to provide this information and every reason not to. Commented May 10, 2019 at 23:08
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    That evaluation looks faulty. Try this one: hardenize.com/report/protonmail.com. Also we can't require TLS for email delivery, too many mail servers still don't support it. But we always use it if available or required via DANE or MTA-STS. Commented Jul 29, 2021 at 22:26
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Just run it through TOR and you will not have to worry about IP leakage. Almost all email message servers will leak whatever IP you provide them. To get security and anonymity, you need both encryption and some sort of anonymizing service that you can trust. I certainly would err on the side of caution and perhaps use a VPN and a bridge with TOR if you are this concerned about IP leakage.

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The simple answer is NO. The easiest way to test is send an email from Protonmail to a Gmail account. Then go into Gmail, open the message, click the 3-dot menu in the message and choose "show original". There you can see all of the meta/header/etc. The only IP address you will see is the IP of the Protonmail mail server in Switzerland. You can Ctrl+F to search for your IP... you will not find it. Protonmail would have to deliberately add code to attach your IP to the header. I don't believe that would work with their business model.

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