Free online encrypted notepad keeps it simple

ProtectedText lets you store your text on the company's encrypted servers, which the company itself can't decrypt -- no registration or other ID sharing required.

ProtectedText home page
Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET

The biggest knock on the encryption offered by many cloud storage services is that the company itself can decrypt the data. The free ProtectedText encrypted online notepad claims it can't decrypt the text you save on its servers.

In addition, ProtectedText requires no registration, and the company promises not to track you. Nor does it display any ads, which do their own tracking. Lack of a business model aside, the new service appears to have a lot going for it.

You devise the text file's URL: protectedtext.com/[anyURLnotalreadytaken]. This gives you a second level of protection atop your password. Someone wanting to read your text would have to know both the password and URL.

As an added touch, ProtectedText lets you examine the service's code. You can even open the file on multiple systems simultaneously without losing any data, according to the company. This lets you collaborate securely.

Add and delete text, but no formatting allowed
There's only one option on the ProtectedText home page: enter your preferred URL extension. If the name is available, you're prompted to click the "Create site" button. If the name is already taken, you're prompted to enter the password.

(The home page also has links to the service's code and to a contact e-mail address. That's it. For the record, the domain was registered by ENOM Inc. for WHOISGUARD PROTECTED, both of which have addresses in Panama.)

Create an encrypted text file at ProtectedText.com.
ProtectedText lets you create an encrypted online text file that's safe, accessible, and easy to share. Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET

After you click "Create site," a big text-entry window appears into which you enter or paste your text. A button at the top of the screen lets you save the text with a new password. You can also reload the "site." Once you've applied a password, Save and Delete buttons are activated.

ProtectedText options
After you enter text and apply a password, options appear for saving, reloading, or deleting the text. Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET

When you enter your custom URL in a browser's address bar, you're prompted to supply your password.

ProtectedText password prompt to open your online text file
Enter your password to open your online notepad that's encrypted on ProtectedText's servers. Screenshot by Dennis O'Reilly/CNET

The downside of ProtectedText is the lack of any text-formatting options. You can add text and delete text, but you can't change the font type or size (apart from using your browser's zoom feature: Ctrl-+).

The ability to have an encrypted text file that you can access from any browser, that you can share quickly and simply, and that you can create without having to register goes a long, long way toward mitigating the service's lack of formatting options.

Besides, fancy proportional fonts like Arial and Times New Roman are overrated. I might even get used to Courier New.

About the author

    Dennis O'Reilly began writing about workplace technology as an editor for Ziff-Davis' Computer Select, back when CDs were new-fangled, and IBM's PC XT was wowing the crowds at Comdex. He spent more than seven years running PC World's award-winning Here's How section, beginning in 2000. O'Reilly has written about everything from web search to PC security to Microsoft Excel customizations. Along with designing, building, and managing several different web sites, Dennis created the Travel Reference Library, a database of travel guidebook reviews that was converted to the web in 1996 and operated through 2000.

     

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