Switching from Gmail to Fastmail

Fastmail.fm page header

Large image

Three months ago I decided to try out fastmail.fm after having used google's gmail as my primary email for a number of years. I kept seeing a number of people moving away from google after the NSA revelations and the admission that gmail users cannot expect privacy.

I have no complaints about using gmail all these years, for a free service it is better than most other free options and their service has never been down or caused me any issues.

However you do end up living in this google product world, an all encompassing world in which they will end up knowing more about you than even your family will know about you.

If something is free is it really right to expect privacy? Which goes along with the saying:

"If you don't pay for the product, then you are the product".

Maybe this is true, in which case you need to look at other options, fastmail.fm was one of those options. Their offer of Providing a Reliable and Clutter-Free Email Experience who take privacy seriously, was attractive. While they also suggest that being an Australian company, they fall outside the (US) NSA's jurisdiction.

So I initially signed up for a free trial account on the Enhanced ($40 a year) account, which includes:

  • 15 GB email storage
  • 5 GB file storage
  • Use your own domain
  • No included SMS
  • Advanced anti-spam
  • No ads

You can choose an email address from a substantial (~115) list of fastmail like top level domains, a selection being:

  • fastmail.fm
  • fastmail.to
  • fastmail.us
  • fastmail.cn
  • fastmail.com.au
  • fastmail.jp
  • fastmail.net
  • fastmail.es
  • fastmail.co.uk
  • fastmail.in
  • fastmail.im
  • fastmail.nl
  • fastmail.se
  • fastmail.mx
  • fastmail.tw
  • fmail.co.uk
  • sent.com
  • myfastmail.com
  • speedymail.org
  • fast-email.com
  • fastimap.com
  • fast-mail.org
  • fastemail.us
  • operamail.com

After which I set up my fastmail account to use my own domain name, simonsblog.co.uk. So I switched my DNS MX records via my dnsimple DNS hosting provider to point to fastmails servers. Fastmail do offer to handle DNS for you, but I'm already happily using the excellent service provided by dnsimple for all my DNS hosting.

simon@X220:~$ dig +short simonsblog.co.uk mx
20 in2-smtp.messagingengine.com.
10 in1-smtp.messagingengine.com.

Added an SPF record.

simon@X220:~$ dig simonsblog.co.uk +short spf
"v=spf1 include:spf.messagingengine.com -all"

I then added a TXT record for my DKIM key, retrieved via Fastmail.fm -> Advanced settings -> Virtual Domains

I also set up an alias (CNAME) to access webmail via my domain.

simon@X220:~$ dig +short mail.simonsblog.co.uk cname
www.fastmail.fm.

While under this free trial, fastmail.fm announced that staff had purchased the business back from opera which was getting noticed on twitter.

This is a key issue for me, for staff to un-acquire itself just shows the belief the team have in it.

So three months in and I'm happily switched to using fastmail.fm as my primary email address. Some nice features are:

  • Fast loading
  • Infinite scrolling
  • Extensive configuration
  • Ad free

Some not nice features:

I haven't totally unplugged myself from gmail, I still forward all gmail to my fastmail account, but these are becoming less and less as I move more accounts over to use my new address.

The process to switch has been relatively pain free and for $40 a year seems a small price to pay to have secure and private email.

links

social