Leaving ProtonMail For FastMail

For six years I’ve been using a paid ProtonMail plan to provide my personal email, on my own domain. This month I’ve switched to FastMail.

My first proper email address was Gmail, in 2004. (not counting a few short lived Hotmail addresses). I’ve therefore always excepted things like threaded emails to be a part of email.

For a long time Proton didn’t have any kind of threading, it was always “coming soon”. Eventually their web interface sort of got something like it (that doesn't work that well). The Android version never did.

A few years ago I also moved the majority of my files out of Google Drive and into Proton Drive. This has been an absolute pain as you can only upload and download files manually in the web interface (or on mobile apps). There’s no desktop sync - that too has always been coming soon. It’s been several years and you still can’t do it on macOS. So a couple of months ago I moved my files to Filen, an end-to-end encrypted service that was developed and launched in the time since ProtonDrive launched. It includes desktop sync apps for Mac, Windows and Linux.

I greatly respect Proton and their vision and have been proud to support them as a paying customer. But I’ve never known a company to be so painfully slow at progressing.

So I switched to FastMail.

I did consider Tuta for a while, I had another domain’s email with them for a couple of years but always found the service a bit low quality and difficult to use. It too lacked mobile threaded conversations at the time.

Even after just a couple of weeks, FastMail has been a breath of fresh air: I snoozed an email! Contacts just sync with the MacOS address book. I wondered how much an additional domain would cost, turns out you’re allowed 100 at no extra cost!

With Proton, adding another domain would have required upgrading to a plan that was more than double the cost, and even then I’d only be allowed 3 domains.

What if I want to add my wife to my domain? With Proton that’s either 6x the cost (the family plan) or I set up a business account at 2.5x the cost. What about with FastMail? They let you add an account on their cheapest plan to your domain, so it starts at 1.5x the cost.

FastMail seems to let you have unlimited calendars too, something Proton strangely limits, so I may finally be able to move my calendars away from Google if I do sign my wife up to FastMail’s cheapest plan.

With Proton I never felt like a valued customer, it always felt like they wanted me to upgrade upgrade upgrade, rather than valuing that I was already a paying customer. Whereas with FastMail it seems more like this: “Oh you want us to do your email? Ok done. Have all the stuff you’ll ever need”. I’ll see how that goes after a while.

I will however miss the end-to-end encryption Proton provides, but even with Proton, almost all incoming email is received unencrypted, as is most outgoing email (unless sender / recipient has public PGP keys).

But right now, I’m happy I made the switch.


Since writing this post I've discovered FastMail do referral links, so here's mine for 10% off your first year (I get some sort of account credit too).