Attendant standing in front of a carnival hall of mirrors

Early Fastmail impressions:

I secured a new domain today that’s quite similar to but more easily pronouncable/understandable than I’m rearranging ‘net presence stuff in a small hurry so I can turn my attention to actually using it.

All the shuffling offered a chance to ditch the hosted provider I’ve had for almost 20 years – the one I got after the server I had in the soon-to-be nursery threw a fan bearing and caught on fire in the closet. (Really nothing gets you out of the self-hosting business faster than nearly setting your soon-to-be-born child’s nursery on fire.)

Fastmail came so recommended by enough non-overlapping-social-circles people that I decided to just go for it after a few hours of poking around.

Stuff that impressed me:

  • I thought I’d have to live out of a few inboxes, and wasn’t looking forward to the rigamarole of multi-identity life. Fastmail seems to understand that’s just reality and makes it easy. I set up a sending identity for my old domain without realizing I’d done it.

That matters because my old provider became sort of horsey about forwarding addresses, refusing to leave SMTP open if you’ve got a forward only address and leaving you to trust an opaque forwarding filter system that guarantees you’d miss an edge case otherwise. Not really “hostile,” because it’s just sysadmins trying to provide a commodity to abusive cheapskates, and I am professionally obligated to side with the sysadmins over abusive cheapskates (even when they’re me), but neither is it friendly policy.

Anyhow, I label the mail from the old address and will be able to slowly migrate to the new identity over time and do it all from a single inbox.

  • Legacy mail import from vanilla IMAP and Gmail IMAP just worked and was sort of considerate: Just toss it all in the pot or segregate it.

  • Documentation was on hand specifically for Cloudflare DNS. Generic instructions would be fine for this kind of thing, but it’s nice to get something specific.

  • Choice of folders or labels for organization. (Chose labels. Google won.)

  • 1Password integration to generate single-use addresses. I’ve never bothered but now I might.

  • Account provisioning for iPhone and Mac: Really nicely done using a profile generator. You just run a little configurator, click on a profile file and load it from Settings, and your calendar, IMAP, and contacts are provisioned. No pecking in server names and ports, etc.

  • Super friendly failure when I tried to migrate my Sanemail account using my account credentials. A very polite automated mail landed in my inbox telling me what I’d done wrong and providing documentation to do it correctly with an app-specific password.

All in all, just a thoughtfully executed service with nice polish and pleasant affordances.