I have had my private email handled by RackSpace for many years now. I never really had a major problem with RackSpace, offering quality email hosting at a very low cost ($2 per mailbox per month), and a nice web interface as well as secure IMAP access.
I utilize wildcard email addresses – (*@mydomain goes to a single mail box) when I sign up for services. This way I can track who sells my data (and some of the big boys have been found out over the years) and more importantly shutdown the email if it no longer serves the purpose.
It is with this last requirement that RackSpace struggled with. Something changed, somewhere, but their incoming rules and spam filters weren’t really doing the job any longer. Maybe it was time to have a look around.
I had three main requirements from my email host (outside of the usual security)
- Support secure IMAP
- Provide wildcard/catch-all email address
- Provide alias support that can email external email addresses
I have been keeping my eyes open as various email providers pop up, especially in the light of the whole Edward Snowden, claiming to be super secure. However, even they lacked the ability to support my 3 requirements. Enter FastMail.
FastMail was previously owned by Opera (the browser people) and then it was spun out as a separate entity, based down under in Australia. They are a subscription only service, which basically means, no free-loaders and therefore earning enough money to stay in business without relying on advertising.
I am currently trialing their service for free for 30 days, then it will be $50 a year (for 25GB). This is definitely more expensive than RackSpace ($24 per year for 10GB) but still around the ball park for email services. In addition, FastMail can also host your domain with that price. They do have a $30 per-year 10GB service too, but no custom domain.
With respect to security, they are outwith the reach of the US government for any inspection of your inbox as well as pre-loading any remote images on their servers so you won’t get dinged with unnecessary tracking or snooping by remote loaders. Speaking of security, the standard username/password gets you into the website, but you must create separate passwords for any application wishing to access your inbox via IMAP. I really like this extra touch – including all the tracking of who/what has been accessing your inbox.
I am actually going to try and live with their web-ui and stop using Thunderbird as my email client. I like their UI, extremely fast and responsive. It interacts with the desktop beautifully so we will see. They have a dedicate mobile app that is very sweet. So no complaints on my tablet or phone.
But what really swayed it for me, was their rule filtering. They give you access to the underlying Sieve scripts. This makes it extremely powerful and flexible to do whatever crazy ass rule concoctions that I can dream up.
Couple of other nice features are popping up as I use it more, including 2-way synchronization with Google Calendar, custom login screen and extremely easy to import data from another IMAP provider.
I will see how it goes. I am not deleting my RackSpace account just yet, but gut tells me I will be sticking with FastMail.
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