I'm only just starting to look into email on Tor - and so far I'm only finding either email hosts whose sites (including webmail login) are hosted on .onion addresses, or whose POP, IMAP and SMTP servers can clearly be connected to in the .onion namespace (even from your thunderbird mail client) - but how about having a .onion address in the email address itself - and doing away with DNS entirely?

Is it possible to have an email address like [email protected], and thus have full .onion <--> .onion email address correspondence?

I can think of obvious advantages, such as avoiding privacy and security issues associated with the standard DNS infrastructure (with sniffable DNS lookups, or spoofing), as well as relying less on or even completely doing away with the less secure system of HTTPS SSL/TLS certificate trust validation entirely, as well as further obfuscation and safety (from both the Clearnet in general and specifically malicious Tor exit nodes required to use it), by being fully insulated within the Tor network itself - especially if the .onion email services were configured solely to be a hidden service and not be DNS-referencable at all.

Has it been done before - are their services that indeed offer it now - or has the idea not actually been explored before?

There still is a use and need, for non-real-time, long-storage (until message retrieval), text correspondence - so OTR instant message (or even IRC using persistent BNCs) surely cannot satisfy the need for all 100% Tor, DNS-free, reliable text communication of this type - especially when people are used to email and clients like Thunderbird.

  • 1
    You might be interested in Pond, which takes this idea much further. Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 18:21
  • Well yes, there's other advantages of alternative asynchronous (and so server-based) text messaging systems to email - one where you the sender could control the storage of (& delete yourself at any time) the message, so that at least by design there is no storage of messages in two locations (and its extra metadata) to be breached later by NSA, so thanks I'll look into Pond and also other 'OTR asynchronous' systems, though again email still has a lot of appeal and has the advantage of being a 'federated' design rather than systemically centralized.
    – user1006
    Commented Jan 13, 2015 at 22:26
  • Well, so far I have discovered, YES you CAN have a .onion username. sigaintevyh2rzvw.onion/faq.html shows that they offer an .onion email address for every account! But I still don't know whether the process between two 'Tor-enabled mail services' and Tor email addresses, GUARANTEES the avoidance of DNS, or not.
    – user1006
    Commented Jan 14, 2015 at 8:46

1 Answer 1


Yes it is possible. But if your client accept resolving Onion addresses through SOCKS proxy. As an example, if you are developing own code, here is the way you should build your socket using UnresolvedSocket.

If you are planning your own hidden mail server, you can configure hidden mail server behind TOR. My blog post about configuring hidden mail service.

And if you are planning to configure your mail client, you can configure thunderbird with TOR. My blog post about configuring thunderbird with TOR

Or my contribution in K9 Mail, Android Mail Client for adding SOCKS proxy support which can be used to connecting to TOR. My blog post about configuring K9 Android client for using TOR

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