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Why I Use Fastmail

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A couple of months ago, I “recruited” a friend to use the e-mail service Fastmail. And today, in a group chat, I “bragged” about me getting paid a sweet 50 cent (like it’s my birthday) for this! 1 🙌🏻

One of my friends, obviously very impressed by my business acumen, asked “Well, what’s your pitch for Fastmail?” — and this post is my answer to him! And if I’m lucky, I’ll get a whole dollar next month. 🙏🏻

The Fastmail logo.

Maybe you, the reader of this, want to try Fastmail as well? If you follow this link 🖇️, and end up becoming a customer, I’ll get 50 cent a month. (The service doesn’t get pricier.) Of course, this can colour my presentation — so keep that in mind!

What I don’t use it for

When asking, he specifically said:

“… as someone who’s switched mail app way too often — why should I switch again?”.

So the first thing I wanted to say, is that I don’t use their apps, really. Primarily I use them for hosting and as a backend — so where my emails are actually received and saved, and where I make addresses connected to my domains etc. They do have a decent web app and portal to it as “native” apps for all platforms — but I prefer things like Apple’s Mail.app or Spark.

Fastmail also has some sort of Calendar offering (that looks alright) that I don’t use either.

Then why do I pay them every month?

I get that “paying for email” is a strange thought for many people. I’ll still try to explain why I do it. These are their prices, by the way:

  • One person: $5/month
  • Two persons: $8/month
  • Up to six persons: 11/month

1) They’re not Google, Microsoft, Apple, etc.

I don’t fully boycott these companies. But as they have more than enough money and power already, I try to get my services from other companies if I can. There are other reasons why I prefer Fastmail of their offerings as well, but this does hold some weight in my calculations.

2) Fastmail has good privacy

A reason not to use Microsoft (Outlook/Hotmail) or Google (Gmail), is about privacy. And you should usually be skeptical when a crucial service like email is free of charge. Fastmail is better here — but I also like that privacy isn’t their main selling point, like with Proton and Tuta. 2 Like, we’re still talking about “email” here — so I think trying to make it as secure as Signal is a waste of dev resources. So instead of taking the privacy from “good” to “great”, I’d rather see this time spent making the service better to use.

3) Independent, and the best protocol support

Most email today is delivered through the IMAP protocol, introduced in 1986(!). So it’s not surprising that someone has had modern email ideas that aren’t supported by this. Gmail was one of the first with things like labels instead of folders, for sorting your email. Gmail does have a translation layer to IMAP (so that you can log into Mail.app with your Gmail account, for instance), but they’d rather run on their own, proprietary Gmail API. Apps like Mimestream use this, to access more advanced features. Microsoft also has something similar (their own API + IMAP support). So with these, you can use other apps, that don’t support the specific APIs, but you’ll lose some of the more advanced features.

I’m not sure if Apple (iCloud) has a specific API — but I prefer not to have my email connected to a platform maker like that.

Before Fastmail, I used Hey Email. And I liked it a lot! They have numerous good ideas, and have made a really clever email client. 3 However, not only is it pricier than Fastmail — all the smart stuff is custom, so you can’t use other clients.

Fastmail is both independent of platforms and clients — as they also support IMAP. But they’ve done what I wish Google had done: When building support for advanced features, like labels, instead of making a proprietary API, they contributed to a new, open standard, called JMAP. Like with all new standards, the problem is adoption — and currently, Fastmail is more or less the only service supporting it. 4 But I love it when companies try to lift all boats like this, so it’s something I want to support.

4) Good tools for administration of users, aliases, and rules

Fastmail has a very robust system for making rules, that helps you sort your incoming email. And as this isn’t in the client (but on the backend), it propagates to every client you use — so the system’s pretty portable.

It’s also easy to manage domains and aliases. My name is Erlend, and my wife’s name is Kristine — and our emails are erlend@lastname.no and kristine@lastname.no. It was also easy to set up an alias called post@lastname.no that forwards to both of us. Like most sensible people, my wife doesn’t care about here email server. But I like that it was straightforward to set up her account, that I can help her with it, and that I don’t have access to her emails. And she now has a nice address that has worked flawlessly with her client of choice. 5


You only pay for the actual amount of email archives (so two in our case), and you can make unlimited amounts of aliases. These can either be @fastmail.com addresses (or one of the many other domains they have access to), or connected to your own domain. You can also register domains through Fastmail! These aliases can both send and receive emails.

They also have a great system for masked emails. This means that you can easily make emails like keen.idea5636@fastmail.com that will forward emails to you. You can also ask for a prefix so that it could be youtube.flower9465@fastmail.com if you prefer. The nice thing about using these, is that if your email leaks, you can just turn off that one. When you create them, you make a little note saying what it’s for, so if you get spam sent to keen.idea, and you know that was for a specific web store, you know where the leak came from as well.

You can create, and manage, these in their clients (and the last version of the iOS app got Shortcuts support!) — but there are other nice options as well (that can be used in parallel):

And again, what’s really nice is that you can easily use all of these together, and just create with the most convenient option at the time. Here you can see how easily I made the address raycast.iozau@fastmail.com:

Hitting "Return" at the last image, will copy the new address to my clipboard. 👌🏻

So, to sum it up, these are the reasons I use Fastmail:

  • I like that it’s not from one of the tech giants. Email is so important (sadly) that I don’t want it connected to specific platforms or devices, but also not to a very small player (which Fastmail isn’t).
  • I’d also rather pay for email with money than with personal information. I like that their only incentive is to make it so good that I’ll keep on paying for it.
  • I have free choice of clients. 6
  • They front a modern email standard that I believe in and wish for to succeed.
  • Great tools for multiple users, domains and aliases.

So, if you want to give it a go yourself — here’s the link 🖇️ (again) that will provide me with a tiny kick-back. 7


  1. I think I’ll get it every month for as long as he’s a customer - so it’s not nothing! But kind of funny when it’s only him… ↩︎

  2. These services look alright, though - so I’d check them out as well! ↩︎

  3. If you use email a lot, I can recommend giving it a god. They also recently released a calendar app that looks good as well. ↩︎

  4. But the Mimestream creator shared, on Mac Power Users, that he would love to build support for it. (Some time after iOS support.) ↩︎

  5. And she just has to know that she must go to fastmail.com to access it on an external device. ↩︎

  6. Too bad I don’t really like any of them… But that’s a separate issue. ↩︎

  7. But as mentioned in the article about the ethics behind my blog, I won’t use links like this unless it’s for a service I pay for anyway. These can mess with incentive structures… ↩︎