What is Fastmail? I am always looking for alternatives to services in case I want to switch. However, finding an alternative that was as fast and smooth as Gmail was not easy. I tested various other services such as Outlook, GMX, as well as the now closed Lavabit service. My goal was to find a service that was reliable, secure, and more private than Gmail.
My Fastmail Review
I’ve been using Fastmail for a little over two years now, and I’m happy to say that it is a great alternative to Gmail. That’s why I decided to write a small review of some of its features.
Why leave Gmail?
Gmail, when it first launched, was a great service and I loved many of its features. However, companies such as Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are increasingly using services and adding requirements for people to give more of their personal information. Sometimes users aren’t even aware of how much data is collected about their online activities. I don’t want to rant too much about privacy, so I recommend people read the privacy FAQ on Reddit to learn more.
Fastmail is not free, but the cost is very reasonable. There are four types of accounts. Lite, Full, Enhanced, and Premier. Most people are only going to need the Lite or Full account types. The main difference is storage space and if you want to use your own domain names with the service. I think most users will be satisfied with a $10-20 a year plan.
The Fastmail service includes email, address book, calendar, notes, and a file storage locker. This can be really convenient if you’re switching from Google or Microsoft and want to migrate both your email and calendar data.
When registering an account, you can choose from a long list of different domain names, such as email@example.com, @fastmail.jp, @sent.com, and many more. I use the .jp and .fm domain names and as a result, I don’t receive as much junk mail as I would if I was using an address with .com.
A killer feature I like about Fastmail is its “alias” system, where you can make as many different email addresses as you like. This is great because I can create email addresses for different purposes such as subscribed junk mail, personal, business, and temporary ones.
Fastmail has options for both casual and advanced email users. There is an easier version for people that only need the basics, but if you click the advanced option, there are so many settings you can tweak.
The default interface is quite simple and elegant. I never feel overwhelmed by features and if I want to change something I can go back and forth between the simple and advanced preferences.
If you want to use Fastmail with your mobile device or favorite email application, it’s very easy to set up. There are also many how-to guides for different devices and software.
Fastmail’s Web Interface
Fastmail looks really great and is easy on the eyes when using the web interface. It’s actually better than Gmail because there are no additional services that are trying to be advertised to you. The interface is really fast and streamlined; I never have to be concerned about it changing dramatically or sudden new features being tested on me.
Of course, if you use an email program, you probably won’t use the web interface so much, and that’s ok. Fastmail works great with most mail clients, such as Apple Mail, Thunderbird, Outlook, etc.
When using free services such as Gmail, you can never expect to receive any support if you have concerns. Usually the thinking is “It’s free, don’t complain!”
With Fastmail, I can ask a question to the Fastmail support team and have a response from a real person within 24 hours. I haven’t had to contact support many times, but it is a nice feeling to know that as a customer, my business is appreciated and I can talk to someone if I have questions.
If you want a fast interface without clutter and advertisements, Fastmail takes the crown. It has better privacy policies than Google and there is no data profiling.
Gmail offers a ridiculous amount of space as well as additional ways to communicate. However, all of these free services come at a cost of privacy. Even if I delete emails, Google could archive and keep them forever.
In recent years, the originally minimalistic Gmail interface has slowly morphed into something too busy. If you yearn for minimalism and efficiency, give Fastmail a try.
Do you have a question about Fastmail or a recommendation for a great email service? Let me know in the comments!
For those interested, why not sign up for a trial of Fastmail and see how you like it?