Fastmail review 2023: Premium prices, basic services

Abeerah Hashim Last updated: February 7, 2023 Read time: 12 minutes Disclosure
Facts checked by Abeerah Hashim

We were not impressed by privacy as we tested the Australia-based email service for this review. It's not end-to-end encrypted or a privacy-oriented one.

Privacy is a massive issue with the internet’s most popular email providers. We salute you if you’re worried about it but are not alone. Fastmail has been championing user privacy in email services since the last century. Because of that, it became a famous email service, and users seeking secure emails turned to Fastmail first and foremost for a long time.

The options for communication on today’s internet are manifold, including anything from WhatsApp to connecting Alexa devices. We are all used to instant communications across the world that costs us nothing. However, when the internet joined the mainstream, emails were the fastest, cheapest, and most reliable communication tool. It was the internet’s killer app at the time. And even then, users’ and activists’ privacy and security concerns rose.

So secure email services provide a method in which email communications remain private. This is a tricky and subtle task that is difficult to achieve correctly. But from Fastmail’s long experience at it and its old reputation, we surely could expect it’s managed to get everything right by now. Or have they? Let’s see.

The pros and cons of Fastmail

This is an email server that includes no ads. The spam filters are very efficient and highly customizable. The notification settings are very adaptable. And it supports PGP and IMAP protocols.

And what are the cons? There’s no free service, the security measures do not include end-to-end encryption, and the company is based in a Five Eyes Alliance country.

You can see that none of the cons are definitive deal breakers, but none of the advantages are all that thrilling either, so let’s dig deeper into this service’s features to see if it’s worth it.

So what is Fastmail, anyway?

Fastmail is an email service vendor whose emphasis is on secure emails. Unfortunately, if you are sick and tired of Gmail‘s unrelenting ads, you’ll also have to put up with some of those here.

There is no free service with Fastmail. Even for personal individual use. The business Fastmail service has different features, like using your domain and more.

The new Fastmail service features

Fastmail has been an independent company since 2013 (before that, it was owned by Opera). Fastmail Pty Ltd., the current company, is in Australia. However, the servers are distributed between New York and Amsterdam. The company had a complete rebranding campaign in 2019. It became Fastmail (from FastMail) with a new visual offering.

Fastmail develops its anti-spam filers in-house. It allows using aliases, has an app that includes contacts, calendars, and emails in a single package, and has customizable notifications. In addition, it can import and export from other email vendors.

Spam filtering

If a spam email reaches your inbox, the chances are that you are on a spam mailing list. Every provider tries to minimize your exposure to spam, and they come up with the most complicated filters. Fastmail lets you set custom rules to discard messages without seeing them first. Instead, they go into a spam folder.

If a message goes through Fastmail, it will escape Apache SpamAssassin, an anti-spam filter open-source project. Some of the analyses consist of a close examination of email headers. It performs a cross-examination of the headers in a Bayes database of known spam. And you, the user, have the chance to customize it.

The built-in search feature in Fastmail will let you find the email you want. You can also include advanced search parameters in the email heather using To and From. But that’s not all. Wait. Once your search is done, you can save it and add it to your sidebar, which is very useful when you know that you’ll keep looking for this or that email.