Fastmail vs Gmail
October 29, 2008 3:08 AM   Subscribe

I'm thinking of switching from Gmail to Fastmail, and would appreciate hearing from others if this is a good idea---and if so, why? and if not, why not? There was some debate on this on several sites a few years back when Gmail first launched, but I've not seen anything new on the comparison between these two services in a long while, and would appreciate some more up-to-date, informed opinions.

My main reason for considering this is because I really want IMAP mail that works well, but find there is enough strangeness in Google's implementation to stop things working as I want. Also, my favourite Apple Mail plugin (Mailtags) seems not to work properly with Gmail IMAP. And then of course there's the adverts in Gmail (which I mostly filter out on my home machine, but can't on every machine I find myself on)---I have no problem with Google displaying ads, but don't like to see them myself, and so consider Fastmail's ad-free-ness worth paying for. I'm told Fastmail's reliable and well worth the money. If you've tried both, I would love to hear your impressions.
posted by m4nju to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
I can't answer your specific questions about Apple Mail etc, but I have used a Fastmail 'enhanced' account for about 5 years and am pretty happy with the service. I don't however use IMAP at all anymore, only the webmail; this is more because I got sick of Outlook and early versions of Thunderbird; had various problems with my computer and just gave up on using a mail app altogether.

My SO uses it with Outlook through IMAP and is also happy with it. We both have Gmail accounts too but just for catching bacn etc. I don't really think I'd drop Fastmail for Gmail.
posted by 8k at 5:20 AM on October 29, 2008

Had FM - it was kind of clunky. Gmail - more streamlined and flexible. Gmail would be the better choice imho.
posted by watercarrier at 6:09 AM on October 29, 2008

I used FM about 5 years ago, and like a lot of the features (bouncing messages back to sender, bulk forwarding, etc.), but I like GMail's interface a lot more.

I'm not an IMAP user, so I can't answer that part of the question. But, GMail has a pretty decent support forum on Google Groups. Why not post your problems there and see if there's a workaround?
posted by reenum at 6:45 AM on October 29, 2008

There is a new FM webmail - poke around on their forums for the link - which is much, much nicer than the old one: I agree, I would always choose GM over the old FM, but with the new interface, the running's much closer. IMAP, though, is my main draw...
posted by m4nju at 7:33 AM on October 29, 2008

posted by grouse at 7:45 AM on October 29, 2008

I use both FM (using IMAP and web) and gmail (using web only). The FM IMAP just works, never had any problem other than client screwups. I prefer not to have the goog get all my email so gmail is a secondary system for me, hence I've never bothered setting up IMAP with that. Of the web interfaces I much prefer gmail, but FM is quite usable.
posted by anadem at 7:51 AM on October 29, 2008

I use both, via IMAP. The fastmail as my personal account and the gmail account for a number of mailing lists, when I have to sign up for something etc. I dislike gmails IMAP implementation in particular their use of labels for folders, it doesn't work at all well, so though I have it set up I barely use it, though I use folders a lot generally. I also get really annoyed with the 'deleting' mail procedures -- deleting in IMAP sort of works like marking as read, but not really and not reversibly, I get a lot of mail that has a short shelf life, and it a pain having to drag/move it to trash when I want to get rid of it. Searching mail is good, but I don't want the search results full of cruft, and this is what happens, unless I can actually delete mail I know I don't want. Fastmail works as a proper IMAP implementation so plays well with my mail client . I also really like their on server filtering (to folders) and their spam filtering matches gmail, but I get less in general. I use IMAP pretty much exclusively so I very rarely use a web interface, fastmail worked fine when I needed it.I got to really hate the gmail web interface when I used it, but I think I'm probably in a minority on that. For me Gmail is mostly good for storing large quantities of mail I'm not so concerned about, while I 've been a happy fastmail user for a while. If I had to chose one fastmail would defiantely be it.
posted by tallus at 8:04 AM on October 29, 2008

I haven't used Gmail (the ads were non-negotiable) but am a happy and long-term Fastmail user. I enjoy the pain-free IMAP and regularly read mail on my Mac, a PC laptop, and my iPhone wth no problems. I don't use the web interface except to set up filters.
posted by PatoPata at 8:21 AM on October 29, 2008

I decided on the back of these few recommendations, and everything else I've read, and a conversation with a friend who's used FM for years, to bite, and have setup a new paid FM account.

This is real lazyweb stuff, but I'm interested to hear from anyone who is using both FM and GM about how you do that. Did you use the IMAP import and transfer mail across so that all your old email is now in FM? I'm guessing you're now using the email addresses for different kinds of things? Or do you continue have the accounts mirror one another as a pure backup? Any help and tips very much appreciated!
posted by m4nju at 1:04 AM on October 30, 2008

« Older I know there's some sort of Law of Why This Shit...   |   I have always imagined that Paradise will be a... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.