Alternative to Fastmail: 2021’s Email Providers that Compete
Is that spam folder driving you mad?
Privacy settings too vague?
Tired of using Fastmail with a slow and glitchy desktop app, like Outlook?
“It forgets rules randomly and puts some emails in folders and the very same sender it puts in the spam folder. We have worked with them to try to correct this to no avail and have given up.”
“It’s an intuitive, easy, robust package but ONLY if you routinely send one-to-one emails and don’t carbon many people. If your email needs are more than that, save yourself the headache, and look elsewhere.”
There are likely a number of reasons an alternative to Fastmail is on your radar. The main thing is, you’re looking for email that is safer, faster, and easier to use.
If that’s indeed the case with your inbox, it is time to consider two options:
1. Choose a new email provider.
We’ve done the grunt work of analyzing three alternative providers: ProtonMail, Tutanota, and Posteo. After trying them out, reading reviews, and studying policies, we can help you find the best email provider with a modern interface. We’ll discuss which one has the best basic free plan and which has the most encryption features.
2. Pair Fastmail with a high-performing email client.
You may be fed up with using Fastmail through your browser, phone, or worse — with a malfunctioning desktop client.
Using Mailbird with any supported email provider will make a difference in your workflow. Once you compare it to sticking it out with Fastmail on its own, you won’t look back.
Email Provider Criteria
There are basic functions an email provider should do — for instance, send and receive your messages. If that was all you were looking for, you can choose any free email provider and call it a day.
But take a feature like calendars or setup wizards. Not every email provider has these assets. If you’re concerned about staying organized and quick onboarding, you should add these to your checklist.
There are dozens of provider features that improve your daily communication. As email experts, we’ll divulge what we look for in a Fastmail alternative.
Many users want to feel confident that their email provider can wholly protect its users. Here are some security characteristics we encourage you to look out for:
- Two-factor authentication: It will put a second level of security in place to protect your inbox.
- End-to-end encryption: This keeps your messages private so that your email provider or unwelcome visitors cannot read your emails.
- PGP encryption: Anybody receiving your encrypted email will need to exchange a keypair to read the contents.
- Metadata is private too: You may want to look into how much of your inbox is private. Your email subject lines and signatures aren’t always encrypted.
- Open-source: This allows you to look at the history of the software and know who is working on bugs and when.
- Anti-spam technology: This screens for phishing scams and other malicious emails.
- Server location: Depending on where the server is located, the laws around who can request access to your emails vary. The most user-friendly server laws are in Belgium, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland.
Having a lot of emails with large attachments can take up a lot of space. Most email providers have options to upgrade if your storage is not enough.
For reference, the average email is around 75 KB. To that end, it’s safe to say 1 GB of data is sufficient for a slow inbox (for business, 5 GB).
Customization and Tools
This category encompasses lots of the ways your provider will make your email easier to use.
- Multiple Platforms: It’s a good idea to think about where you will access your email. Make sure, if you need your email on your phone, the provider has an app for Android or iOS. We also recommend looking for one that enables email protocols like IMAP, SMTP, and POP3. That way you can swiftly add your email account to Mailbird.
- Setup Wizard or Easy Configuration: It shouldn’t take hours to set up your email account and import your contacts and calendar.
- Custom Domain Email: It looks professional when your email address matches your domain name. Picture email@example.com rather than @fastmail.com. Isn’t that much nicer?
- Alias Email Addresses: This gives the user an alternate address, but emails still go to the same inbox. For example, emails for both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com can go to the same place.
- Layouts and Themes: Adjust the layout of your inbox to suit your preferences and change elements of the page, like having a dark theme.
- Calendar: If your email provider can help keep track of RSVPs and events, it’s going to make scheduling your time a lot smoother.
- Task Management: Some email providers also come with customized rules and reminders you can set. This helps you stay on task and organized.
Our criteria for this category is twofold. First, the email provider’s support should be quick to respond. Secondly, they should be actively working to resolve all issues permanently.
Email providers range in price depending on various factors. Here are a few factors that influence the value of your plan:
- The total number of users on one plan
- The total available storage space
- The length of the plan
We look for email providers that accept different payment methods. We also appreciate any savings the company can offer for expanding or continuing a subscription.
As you can see, there are lots of elements to consider in an email provider, but fear not — we put Fastmail, ProtonMail, Tutanota, and Posteo through this criteria. Here’s how they measured up.
Know enough about Fastmail? Select one of the other providers from the table of contents to jump ahead.
We played around with the latest version and read up on recent reviews in order to give you an accurate comparison with its competitors.
There are a number of security enhancements offered with Fastmail:
- Encrypts email while in transit
- Secure webmail (a result of a recent collaboration with Vivaldi)
- Isolated domains are used to open your attachments. This is to prevent unauthorized or malicious users from accessing your data.
Some Fastmail customers are starting to stray because of privacy concerns. As an Australian company, it is a part of the Five Eyes Intelligence Alliance, so your data may at some point be privy to certain authorities.
Is Fastmail Encrypted?
While your messages are confidential when sending and receiving, Fastmail is not PGP encrypted. It does not have a zero-knowledge policy, and some of your metadata (like subject lines) still pass through the servers unprotected.
Here’s the storage you’re given with each Fastmail plan:
- Basic: 3 GB storage
- Standard: 30 GB storage
- Professional: 100 GB storage
You’re also given a Files folder, which has a separate quota from your emails. This serves as a space for photo galleries, web pages, presentations, and other documents you’d want handy. The amount you can store varies based on your plan.
Customization and Tools
- Available via webmail, mobile app, and tablet. Many users want to work offline, so the fact that it supports IMAP is a great advantage.
- Custom domains are available for Standard and Professional plans.
- Email aliases
- Topicbox: a library that stores and organizes files you share with your team
- Pobox: an email forwarding and filtering service
- Inbox rules. Fastmail has a variety of filters and notification settings. Unfortunately, they take a while to get the hang of.
There are a number of reports of people waiting a long time for their support ticket to be answered by Fastmail.
On the other hand, the Help Center section of the Fastmail website has many guides, which are more than adequate for basic troubleshooting. It’s a good start for a user in need of assistance, but there is work to be done.
How Much Does Fastmail Cost?
Fastmail Basic starts at $3 a month and has limited features compared to the Standard plan ($5 a month) and the Professional plan ($9 a month). All prices are per user.
A few more details to note about the affordability of Fastmail:
- A phone number and credit card are required to sign up.
- Does not accept cryptocurrency payments
- Limited storage on the basic plan
- No advertising
- Mix and match accounts. For example, your kids could have basic plans, and you could have a standard plan.
- Special discount for non-profit organizations
Is Fastmail Good?
Overall, Fastmail is a very good email provider. It has custom domains and aliases, which are great for business email. Fastmail subscribers could look into a desktop client to heighten their email experience, but this is only available on the Standard and Professional plans.
On the other hand, it doesn’t offer the entire suite of security features that many users who have left Google are looking for. The overall consensus comes down to how important zero-knowledge policies are to you.
Not interested in Fastmail? As promised, here are three alternatives to review.
Top Alternatives to Fastmail
ProtonMail — Best Modern Interface
ProtonMail is a popular Fastmail alternative these days because it is a modern answer to those looking for a secure email provider. The company is known for cool features (like self-destruct email), a super sleek interface, and Swiss privacy laws.
ProtonMail is a 100% open-source company, so it’s relatively easy to see what changes are being made and how they might affect your email use.
- End-to-end encryption
- PGP encryption
- Metadata like contacts or subject lines are not encrypted.
- Self-destruct setting. Emails will disappear after 28 days.
Based in Switzerland, ProtonMail operates outside of US and EU jurisdiction.
We did note that users are asked to verify themselves via SMS in order to prevent spam. ProtonMail says that they only save a cryptographic hash of your email or phone number, and it’s not permanently associated with your account.
ProtonMail’s storage doesn’t make a splash in terms of a Fastmail alternative. Starting at 500 MB and going up to 20 GB, they don’t really emphasize this feature. However, it’s easy to add additional storage at $1 per month per GB.
Customization and Tools
ProtonMail has a sleek, customizable layout on webmail, Android, and iOS. Here are a few of their tools.
- Dark theme
- Supports IMAP/SMTP
- Advanced search for addresses, attachments, dates, and subject lines (You cannot search the message body due to encryption.)
- Custom domains
- Email aliases
- Calendar. An encrypted calendar was released in beta this year for Android and web, but Mac users are still waiting on a calendar.
- Administrator role. Easily assign, add, or delete users.
Free accounts get limited user support, but other subscribers benefit from 24/7 email support.
Due to its open-source nature, the customer service team is always quick to resolve technical issues but slow to introduce new features their fanbase is waiting for. (For example, many ProtonMail users want a first-party secure web browser.)
ProtonMail is a little bit expensive if you require a lot of storage. It’s also a much better provider when paired with an email client, because there aren’t a lot of bells and whistles (for example, spell check).
Keeping that in mind, one of the biggest perks that ProtonMail provides the highest paying customers is a VPN service. This enables its users to block malware and ads easily with a sophisticated and secure VPN.
How Much Does ProtonMail Cost?
ProtonMail has four plans to choose from. The free version has limited features (no custom domain, only one email address). The lowest paid plan is ProtonMail Plus, which starts at $5 a month and gets you 5 GB of storage, as well as five email addresses.
ProtonMail Professional is $8 a month and gets you two custom domains, up to five email addresses per user, and unlimited messages.
ProtonMail Visionary is a service created for avid supporters who want to help fund further development of ProtonMail. The perks on this plan for $30 a month are fairly extensive, ranging from 20 GB of storage to the VPN service included.
Is ProtonMail Good?
For a provider that can handle sensitive information, ProtonMail is a solid option. The fact that it is a Swiss company built by engineers focused on privacy and security doesn’t go unnoticed. It is a good Fastmail alternative for businesses, especially because of positives like the ProtonMail Bridge (an app that decrypts and encrypts the mail on your desktop).
Tutanota — Best Free Plan
Like ProtonMail, Tutanota has four different plans to choose from. With more storage and a lot of similar perks, like iOS and Android apps and spam protection, the free plan is slightly stronger than the one from ProtonMail.
In addition, Tutanota is known for being an environmentally friendly platform (using renewable energy) and has some strong encrypted features, like their zero-knowledge calendar.
Tutanota is based in Germany and is completely open-source. It is known for a number of security aspects.
- Total end-to-end encryption, including metadata
- No PGP encryption; however there is development of an API that will make it easier to communicate with external parties
- Secure password reset system
- Remotely close a session from any device
Here’s the storage you’re given with each Tutanota plan. It’s considerably less than what Fastmail offers. However, they do have à la carte options to add more storage (up to 1 TB):
- Free: 1 GB storage
- Premium: 1 GB storage
- Teams: 10 GB storage
Customization and Tools
Tutanota is available on web browsers, Android, and iOS. It also has a desktop application available in beta. It does not support IMAP protocols, so you’ll only be able to use your Tutanota addresses there.
The other noteworthy tools are:
- Custom domains
- Email aliases
- Encrypted calendar and contact forms
- Encrypted search function. Tutanota’s index decrypts your content for you locally so you are able to search your inbox. For those on the free plan, this search is limited. You can only go through the last month’s emails.
- Custom logos and colors (Teams subscribers)
- Administrative dashboard (Teams subscribers)
Tutanota offers customer support to its Premium and Teams subscribers via email. You can also find lots of the employees active in the Tutanota subreddit.
We noted from Tutanota users that there is a 48-hour hold on your email account when you first sign up. The reason for this is to prevent spammers from using the service. While it’s a worthy cause, it seems like other email providers have found alternative ways to deter spammers.
The free plan is suitable across multiple platforms with 1 GB of storage, in addition to many encryption and privacy options.
The provider has very competitive prices for the paid plans. At the time of writing this, we converted euros to US dollars. So, for $1.43 a month, with Premium you’ll get a custom domain, 1 GB of storage, unlimited searches, and other perks like inbox rules.
The Teams plan is $5.73 a month and similar to the Premium plan. It adds 10 GB of storage, and you can share your calendars with other members.
On top of that, there are many à la carte options, like event invites or more custom domains to add. You can mix and match these for those in your organization who need them and not pay for wasted features.
Is Tutanota Good?
Considering the different security measures and the opportunity to mix and match different features of the plan, we recommend Tutanota as an email provider. We think it’d be an even better option if it supported IMAP.
Posteo — Best Encryption
Posteo is a frontrunner as an alternative to Fastmail because they really understand the concept of a secure, easy-to-use email provider. It is available on multiple platforms and has the ability to encrypt all incoming messages with OpenPGP. Posteo also has a very nice tool called the Email Collector that is used for migration.
Posteo, which is based out of Germany, has a long list of privacy and security features. The most standout is probably that they put a lot of effort into reducing how much information they store or collect. Here are a few other details:
- Posteo doesn’t collect IP addresses, and you can even pay for the service anonymously.
- End-to-end encryption
- PGP encryption
Posteo has one standard plan, which comes with 2 GB of storage. For additional storage, you simply add 0.30 USD for every GB you’d like to add.
Customization and Tools
Posteo is available as webmail, as well as with any email client for Windows and Mac via IMAP and POP3. For customization and tools, here’s what you need to know:
- No custom domain option
- Two email aliases with your account (add up to 20 more with an additional fee)
- Easily sync your calendars or merge up to five external calendars.
- The Email Collector. Posteo developed this tool to automatically migrate emails over to your Posteo account from another provider for up to three months.
- No spam folders. Instead, they have strict filtering that alerts the sender that the message was rejected. You can also assign Sender Filter rules that will mark unwanted addresses and automatically discard their messages.
As for the interface, it feels a bit old-school, and users would benefit from using Posteo with an email client instead.
There are mixed reviews regarding customer service with Posteo. The provider states that there are office hours and regular email support. The company is not particularly active on social media, so there is definitely room for improvement.
The one thing we’d definitely commend Posteo for is the Help section of the website. It answers a lot of questions and provides detailed information for troubleshooting on your own.
Posteo may not have a free account, but they do have one of the cheapest plans available. At $1.13 USD a month with 2 GB of storage, it’s an easy sell.
In addition, the funds you spend on this service won’t keep you up at night. The company is debt-free and dedicated to ethical and sustainable business practices. They do all sorts of things for their employees to help them reduce their carbon footprint, like free vegetarian lunches and free bicycle repairs.
Is Posteo Good?
Posteo is a strong alternative to Fastmail. You’ll get more ways to encrypt your data and stay away from advertisers and spammers. It is a very transparent company that cares about their mission statement, as well as the climate.
We will say, for business use, Posteo is a decent option only if you are not client-facing. Without custom domains, it’s hard to make a case for this provider.
Bonus Content: Improve Your Email Experience — Add Mailbird!
Many email providers, including Fastmail, don’t have their own desktop apps. The good news is that if they allow for email protocols like IMAP, they can support email clients, like Mailbird.
Let us walk you through the benefits of using our software paired with your favorite email providers.
Manage All Your Accounts
The beauty of an email client is that it is not exclusive to just one email provider. In other words, you can add your Fastmail account and that Hotmail account you use for junk mail and sweepstakes.
With Mailbird you can add an unlimited amount of email accounts and view each inbox separately or together with our Unified Inbox feature. You’ll also gain access to some tools, integrations, and storage your email provider doesn’t have.
Advanced Customization and Tools
There are many aspects to our software that are specifically designed to bring organization to your workflow. Here are a few ways you can redefine the email experience with us:
- Advanced Search: Look up a word, attachment, or contact across all of your emails with our search tool.
- Design with Themes: Choose a dark theme or even set the backdrop of your email with images of your own.
- Notifications: Assign rules or create custom sounds for different incoming alerts.
- Snooze Button: Take action or not with this button to remind you about unread emails.
- Speed Reader: A unique feature we built to help you quickly get through wordy emails.
- Group Conversations: Enable all of your unread emails to remain at the top of your inbox.
- In-Line Reply: Respond to the precise topic you’re covering.
- LinkedIn Lookup: Very quickly add any contacts to LinkedIn.
- Keyboard Shortcuts: A convenient way to hit reply, compose, trash, or archive emails with a single keystroke.
If you have tried Fastmail with Outlook, you’ll know that you get a lot of plugins (or apps) to enhance your workflow, but they really slow down your email.
Much like Outlook, we have a large selection of integrated apps you can use for project management, file storage, chat, video conferencing, to-do lists, and more.
You can use Dropbox, Telegram, Slack, Asana, any of the G Suite tools (like Google Calendar and Google Drive), WhatsApp, Twitter, and FormSwift to make remote work feel more connected.
Access your apps within Mailbird, so you don’t have to open new tabs or log in every single time.
The best part? Unlike Outlook, our platform doesn’t constantly freeze or stall on you.
We pride ourselves on being a competitively priced email client. Our Personal plan is $3 USD a month, and you may add unlimited email accounts.
Our Business plan has everything the Personal offers, plus it supports Exchange and includes email tracking and additional app integrations for work. You can get it for $6 USD a month.
Payment in cryptocurrency is available. We offer a 14-day money-back guarantee.
We’ve made it super easy to set up your email providers like Fastmail, Posteo, GMX, Gmail, and hundreds more.
If you’re ready to give it a try, follow these simple steps to get started.
- Download Mailbird.
- Go to Settings, then select Accounts.
- On the right-hand side, select Add.
4.Add your email address and email password.
- Mailbird will automatically detect the IMAP/SMTP settings for you and configure your email provider to the platform. It’s that easy!
- If you need to manually input your settings, this window will become available:
- You will need to look up the IMAP settings for your email provider and enter them into this form.
- After you refresh Mailbird, your inbox should appear.
A Quick Recap
Hopefully you’ve found this article a helpful step towards finding an easy and trustworthy email provider. To give you the full scope of what was discussed, here is a chart with all of the features the email providers do or do not offer.
One Tool to Rule Them All
With the exception of Tutanota, you can use IMAP protocols to connect these email providers to an email client. By enlisting the help of Mailbird, you’re on your way to an organized, well-managed inbox.
Get started with a free trial and discover which integrations, custom settings, and tools have been missing from your email experience!