How to use PGP Encryption

PGP Encryption

If your concerned about the security of your messages you may have heard of encryption, but what is it and how do you use it? Encryption is used to convert your normal text into unreadable gibberish through the use of an algorithm, in cryptography this is known as ciphertext. The original message is still contained within the cipher but becomes unreadable to anyone without the means to convert it back, a process known as decryption.

If this is starting to sound complex, don’t worry!

You certainly don’t need to be an expert in cryptography or understand the complexities of the algorithm at hand in order to encrypt your communications, you just need to understand the process involved – that’s where this guide comes in!

So how can you start encrypting your messages? That’s where PGP Comes in.


PGP stands for Pretty Good Privacy and is the most widely used software for encrypting communications being used around the world for whistleblowers, drug purchases, privacy advocates and those simply wanting to ensure their own privacy when messaging family and friends.

PGP uses a key-based form of encryption where there are 2 keys, a public and a private. You use a public key to encrypt messages while a private key can only decrypt the messages sent to the corresponding public key, therefore you need to keep the private one secret to prevent anyone from reading your messages, and encryption becoming pointless.

If you’re new to this it may sound complex and strange however it should start to make sense as we set it up.

To use PGP you need to install GNU Privacy Guard (Sometimes simply GnuPG) which is free open-source software available on Windows, Mac and Linux for you to download and start encrypting.

This guide will focus on getting set up on Windows (Even though I’d reccomend you use a different system that actually places value on your security and privacy) however its what most readers are probably using so it’s what this post will focus on. I may publish other editions for different operating systems such as Linux in the future though.

How to set up PGP on Windows

To get started you need to first download Gpg4in, It is the Windows version of GNU Privacy Guard.

How to download Gpg4win

Once you’ve downloaded the file and clicked through the user agreement you’ll be greeted with this screen. The software comes with various components that you can choose whether to install as part of your installation. It is important that before clicking next make sure to GPA is ticked, which is often not selected by default – which is what we’ll use for this tutorial!

How to install Gpg4win

After you’ve correctly selected all the components simply continue with finishing the installation. Once it’s completed you’ll then need to launch the GPA application (It has a key chain icon).

You then need to set up your private key, you’ll be prompted to generate once, click to do so.

How to set up Gpg4win

The private key needs to contain details about the holder, for this you will be asked to enter a name followed by an email address.

Gpg4win setup guide

It is important to note these do not have to be correct, nor does the email address need to be valid. If you’re wanting to communicate anonymously, obviously don’t put in your real name! Instead use a new online identity, and not one you’re already well known by such as your gamertag (As explained in the Deep Web Security Guide) as well as using a made-up email too.

You’ll then be asked if you want to back up your key, I recommend doing so before continuing. Make sure to store it somewhere secure, remember if somebody gets their hands on you’re private key, your encryption is useless.

Next enter a passphrase, I suggest you use a secure passphrase of at least 20 characters, aka don’t be that guy who just uses 1234.

Setting up Gpg4win tutorial

Sending Messages

Hurray, you now installed the software! But dow the hell do you use it?

Presuming everything is going successfully you should then see a screen something like this

Gpg4win set up guide

By right-clicking on your key you can then copy your public key and then paste into a notepad to view it

PGP guide

This is what other people will use to send messages to you, so if you want to be contacted you need to make sure you place this where people can see it. You can upload it to a key directory to help people find you as well as making your job easier by simply directing people to a URL rather than having to paste the entire key block yourself every time.

To start encrypting messages simply click the clipboard icon, a pop-up will then appear where you can begin typing

Guide to PGP Encryption

When you’re done, simply click to encrypt it, then select your key from the list, and there you go, your encrypted message.

Guide to PGP using Gpg4win

This is great, but all we just did was encrypt using our own key! If we want to send encrypted messages to others we need to use their key instead. To do this you need to copy and paste the key, and then save it to a notepad file a bit like we did earlier when we created our own.

You’ll then need to click import key, and select the file you just saved using notepad.

If everything went correctly, you’ll get a pop-up like this:

How to import a Public PGP key

Now follow the steps as above, but instead of selecting your own key from the list, choose the one you just imported.

If you need a public key to try, and want to test it out. Feel free to send me a message using the key below at

Make sure to include your own public key as part of the message so I can respond.

Version: GnuPG v2



4 comments for “How to use PGP Encryption”

  1. Lilly Lyons's says:

    What’s up people what you all interested in

  2. Secret steve says:

    I need a pgp encryption program like kleopatra but for android? The closest I’ve found is APG ,although it gives you a fingerprint and encrypts mail and messages there’s no public key? Any help?

    1. Hmm I’ve never tried on Android myself, OpenKeychain seems to be the recommended app by GnuPG if that helps.

      1. secretsteve says:

        Yeah, I have had a look at open key chain previously but It still doesn’t seem to give you a public key. The security seems to be around the fingerprint and a number from 1-10 which you and your coressponder both see and have to enter into the app therfore if the other guy enters the wrong number you know you’re not encrypted or safe. Still no public or secret key though. Which you mostly require for using the market! !!

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