moving over to FastMail

I’ve been gradually working on moving all of my active online accounts over from Gmail to FastMail this week. I’d say that I’m maybe 60% done. (I have a lot of online accounts.) I’m liking FastMail and will likely pay for an account within the next week or two, before my 30-day trial ends.

FastMail has, so far, been entirely reliable, which is probably the most important thing with email. It’s easy to take reliability for granted if you’ve been using Gmail for years, but not all email providers are as reliable as Google can afford to be. FastMail has occasional problems, but they have a status page that they use to log any issues, and they seem to have been doing well recently.

As I’ve moved stuff over, I’ve been setting up rules in FastMail to file stuff into folders and keep my inbox clean. I should be able to use FastMail rules in place of OtherInbox Organizer. (Of course, I could also have used Gmail rules for that purpose, if I’d stuck with Gmail.) FastMail’s rule system is reasonably powerful, and compares well with Gmail’s system. If you really want to get fancy, you can actually write scripts in FastMail, though I don’t think I’ll need to do that. I do miss the flexibility of Gmail’s labels (vs. FastMail’s folders), but I think I can make a folder system work.

On iOS, I’ve been using FastMail’s iOS app. It’s good enough that I haven’t bothered setting up my FastMail account in the regular iOS mail app. I had always intended to do that at some point, but now I think I might just skip it.

I do want to add the account to Outlook on my desktop PC at some point, and I haven’t done that yet. I may do it at some point this weekend. FastMail uses app passwords for third-party mail clients, similar to Gmail’s system.

I’ve been reading through some old posts at MacDrifter to get some pointers on FastMail. Gabe has been a FastMail user for a while, and has blogged about it a few times, and also linked to other useful blog posts on FastMail.

When I’m done with all this, I should have a pretty clean system, and a pretty clean mailbox. I’m also using this as an opportunity to clean up my plethora of old online accounts. In cases where an account seems to be dead, I’m making a note of that in 1Password and moving the account to an archive folder. And in cases where I hadn’t updated my password in a long time, I’m trying to do that in addition to updating my email address. So that’s all a bit of a process. But it’s probably worth doing.

I’ve been thinking about the possibility that my new email address, since I’m using my own domain now, may be my last email address. Over time, I’ve gone through email addresses at CompuServe, GEnie, an old dial-up ISP, my current broadband ISP, Yahoo, and Gmail. The last three of those are all technically still active, though I only really use the Gmail account. But all of those have been my “primary” account at one point or another. I’m not sure how long I’ll stick with FastMail, but I think I’m likely to stick with my personal domain email for as long as I can, even if I switch it over to a different provider. This makes me think a little more about safeguarding it more than I ever did my Yahoo Mail account, for instance. There’s always a brief period, with a new mail account, where it really doesn’t attract any spam. We’ll see how long that lasts with my new account, and how good FastMail’s spam filters are, once the spam does start coming in. And we’ll see how long the account stays off Troy Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned. I’m not too optimistic about that, but here’s hoping.

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