Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

A Review of Kolab Now

If you are concerned with the privacy of your information. (We’re looking at YOU Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and a bunch of other well-known privacy-invasive companies!) Kolab Now might be the perfect replacement for your present email, text messaging, calendar, address book, and other services. Kolab Now is an especially good replacement for Gmail, Microsoft’s email services (HotMail,, Microsoft 365, and others), Yahoo, and other services that read your email and other information in order to serve advertisements in your face and to sell information about your personal web surfing habits to any company that wishes to buy the information. Kolab Now also blocks spying by the U.S. government, the United Kingdom government, by China, and by a whole bunch of other governments that spy on their citizens.

There is one major disadvantage to Kolab Now, however:

Most of the above-mentioned services are available free of charge while Kolab Now costs a modest amount of money. For most individuals, Kolab Now monthly charges are about $ 4.50 US, £ 3.45 in the United Kingdom, and € 3.87 in all countries that use Euros. A free 30-day trial is also available. Group accounts, used mostly by corporations and other organizations, costs about $1 US more per month per user. That’s a lot cheaper than running your own in-house servers for email, text messaging, calendar, address book, and other services.

How much is your privacy worth?

What makes Kolab Now’s services worth the money?

There are several reasons but the most obvious one is that the company and its servers are all located in Switzerland, a country where privacy is taken seriously. Under Swiss law, it is illegal for any company to provide personal information to other companies or governments. Even the Swiss government is not allowed to see what is in your email messages or other online activities!

Now you know why Google Mail (GMail), Yahoo Mail, Microsoft, Facebook, and other large corporations that constantly violate your privacy don’t have servers in Switzerland!

Kolab Now services are not limited to email.

Users have full access to a whole package of ad-free online applications, including calendars, an extensive address book, optional sharing one or more of the entries in your address book, file editors, online office programs (replacing Google Docs as well as Microsoft Word, Excel, and other applications) and more, which can be synced with all your devices and accessed collaboratively the same way you presently use Google Docs, Dropbox, and other applications. Kolab Now also offers online versions of LibreOffice, offering secure online access to word processing, spreadsheets, presentation software, and more, all without installing software in your own computer. Chromebook users will especially appreciate that!

Again, all this is private; your information will never be given to any corporation or other group or government, and you never see advertisements displayed on your screen.

Minimal logging

The Kolab Now services only save your debug report logs when necessary. Otherwise, none of your history is ever logged or saved. The texts of your email messages are preserved only as long as you wish; when you click on DELETE, the entire email message, including metadata, addressee(s), title(s), and more is deleted permanently. There isn’t even any log file showing that you ever sent or received any email messages.

Open Source

In addition, the Kolab Now services are built on open-source software, the safest and most secure products available today. (In open source software, anyone can download and look at the source code of each and every program, looking for bugs or spyware or illicit logging of private information. Can you imagine Facebook or Google ever allowing you look at THEIR software’s source code???)

Supported operating systems

Finally, Kolab Now works on Windows, Macintosh, Chromebooks, Linux, and most any other operating system that supports a modern web browser. If you are in an Internet cafe, a library, or using any other borrowed computer, you can access Kolab Now simply by opening a web browser and going to the company’s web site. In addition, Kolab Now’s services are accessible from Android and iOS (iPhones, iPods and iPads) mobile devices.

What’s not to like?

Well, the only major thing missing (in my opinion) is encrypted email messages. While everything is safe and secure when stored on Kolab Now’s servers, once an email message or anything else is sent out into the wild and wooly Internet, it is subject to the same spying and privacy invasions that all the other companies perform.

For instance, if you compose a message on Kolab Now, it is safe and secure while you are creating the message. However, if you send the message to your friend who uses Gmail, your message will be spied upon by Google’s Gmail servers upon receipt as well as by various routers and other devices along the path between Kolab Now and Gmail. You can also assume that NSA, GCHQ, and others will be able to read your messages once they are received at GMail or other public mail servers or en route along the way. Your information will be safe and secure only while it is stored within Kolab Now’s servers, not once it leaves that friendly environment.

If you want complete privacy of your email messages, investigate Proton Mail, TutaNota, StartMail, Hushmail, or other encrypted email services. See my earlier article at for email services that offer complete end-to-end encryption and security for your messages. However, to my knowledge, none of these encrypted email services offer calendars, optional sharing of one or more of the entries in your address book, file editors, online office programs, and similar non-email applications.

My decision

I signed up for Kolab Now’s 30-day free trial and am experimenting with all the available services. So far, I like what I see.

If you would like to do the same, go to

Categories: Online Privacy & Security, Software

7 replies

  1. I will be honest, but please receive this with the humility that it has been written with.

    Kolab now is a service with a lot of potential.

    A lot more could be covered though:
    1. How stable is service? How many incidents in last three months? Three
    2. How does the service compare to others pricing wise like FastMail, mailbox.orgwho offer more value for money, more storage and also privacy
    3. How does the service compare to other services in terms of feature? Yes it has webmail; and open protocols (imap/sac/activesync) foe access. How good is imap? It has loads of groupware folders which aren’t filtered out. How good is the webmail client? It currently still can’t procide real-time push updates, because Kolab haven’t continued the work on roundcube next they said they would.
    4. Yes, there is a stunning desktop client, Kube, even though it’s only in beta, which makes the desktop experience great.

    I’m happy with the service and am using it as a test account, and excited to see where the potential goes, and though are improvements are trickling in, there leaves a lot to be desired, so they will be playing catch up for a bit – however they are working on it.


    • To answer your questions:

      —> 1. How stable is service? How many incidents in last three months?

      The only answer I can give you is “unknown.” It is a brand-new service and hasn’t been in business long enough to have a reputation yet. Six months or a year from now, we probably will know how reliable it is. However, nobody knows that today.

      —> 2. How does the service compare to others pricing wise like FastMail, who offer more value for money, more storage and also privacy

      There is no quick and easy answer that fits into one or two sentences. Each service has its own pricing and its own list of services. One service might be cheaper than another for a limited number of email messages and limited storage space and yet cost more for a large number of email messages or for corporate use or for some of the extra, optional services. Also, some sites offer free or cheap prices for unencrypted email but others charge more money for encrypted email. The comparison of various email services is similar to comparing oranges and apples. The only way to determine that is to look at the pricing for each service as listed on each service’s web site. In addition, prices change frequently.

      I could have done that and listed all the prices for all the email services except that the pricing information alone would have been longer than the entire rest of the article and then the pricing information would probably be out of date within a few weeks.

      —> 3. How does the service compare to other services in terms of feature?

      A similar answer to that of question #2. Each service is different from every other service. The name of the article is “A Review of Kolab Now” and I did give all of that information about Kolab Now. Since the name of the article was NOT “A Review of Kolab Now and Gmail and HotMail and and Microsoft 365 and TutaNota and Yahoo Mail and Proton Mail and StartMail and Hushmail and other email services,” I confined my review to the one service shown in the title: Kolab Now.

      I have written reviews of several other email services in the past, each one confined to a review of the one service at a time. Most of the email service reviews I have written were about encrypted email services since the name of this blog is “PRIVACYBLOG.” I generally don’t write about unencrypted email services simply because they are not private. I don’t recommend using privacy-invasive, unencrypted email services so I probably will never review them. You can find reviews of those other services by starting with a or search.

      You can find my reviews of encrypted email services by starting at or by using the search box near the upper right corner of most every page on this web site or by a or search. (I always recommend .)

      Thank you.


  2. I can only say this…We had a 1-year subscription with Kolab Enterprises and it has been a pain for all involved since the beginning. We are more then understanding when it comes to bugs, but what we don’t understand is the arrogant attitude of KOLAB employees. The mail responses are snappy, borderline insulting, calling them has resulted in them laughing on the phone while describing a serious situation regarding our mail accounts. Our experience clearly showed us that KOLAB can not provide quality services to users that send out more then a mail a day or that need shared calendars, or notes…or even sometimes just for users that want to receive mails in general.
    I can only recommend to avoid this company at all cost. Our experience with KOLAB has been disastrous and we are relieved that we finally switch to a professional service provider.


    • Oh yes, I completely agree with you. Working with Kolab EE with server on premises it’s just a pain. To administrate this software it’s just makes also incredibly difficult. Support… there are no support. Documentation…. if you call this documentation I’m daffy duck. They actually don’t care. Calendar will create you a problem if you have more than 10 meetings, sometimes it’s just stops to load or just doesn’t show them. Stability, forget about. Incorrect move and that’s it, your company will be without emails…
      It makes more sense to build your own solution, rather than go to Kolab. And it’s also expensive one if we speaking about Kolab EE, which has nothing to do with enterprises, it’s not ready enterprise tool at all. All our managers suffering on a daily basis thanks to Kolab and to their team.


  3. I have been using Kolab for approximately 4 months, having switched from Protonmail because of the calendar feature.

    The fee is nominal: as the saying goes, “If you’re not paying for it, then you’re being sold”.

    Of course, since it’s a much, much, much smaller company than Google, etc., there is less support (both user support and formal support) and it takes longer to see fixes. At this point, anyone using Kolab needs to be the type of person who is okay doing as much DIY troubleshooting as possible. Obviously, Kolab can’t provide Google-level documentation and support because they don’t have the Google-level revenue that comes from selling ads and personal data.

    And there aren’t extensive integrations, say, like Google Calendar/Google Maps. But that’s kind of the whole point, right? I don’t want one service knowing every move I make!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I use KolabNow and have for a few years now. I don’t have any complaints about it at all, except that – as mentioned above – I wish there were more employees on hand to speed-up development and to roll out new features. On balance though, the privacy is worth the money. They are based intentionally in a very privacy-oriented country. And the web client is great. Keep in mind this is a single user (albeit a power-user-type one).

    For those of us running Linux and want a traditional desktop client for email, there’s several options:
    1) Thunderbird
    2) Kmail / Kontact
    3) Kube (as mentioned above). Kube is a client for Linux that is a collaboration between KDE and Kolab, although there seems to be only one person working on it lately, which is a shame.

    In addition, the web client is full-featured, and full Android integration and sync is also possible with contacts, tasks, and calendar, as well as email.

    I’d say if you’re trying to get away from Google, M$, Yahoo, etc. give them a shot. What have you got to lose?


  5. Kolab Systems is the company that took $100,000 USD of indiegogo backers money and didn’t deliver a product. They’re notoriously slow and produce lacklustre software. Great marketing though.


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