Gmail to Fastmail

So I'm attempting to migrate my emails from Gmail to https://www.fastmail.fm.

Why? I don't like the privacy implications with Gmail and especially the new Gmail Compose UI.

Need some support

So I signed up for a Fastmail trial and the thing that bothers me is that you apparently don't get support unless you pay. But I don't want to pay until I know I can successfully "on board" to Fastmail.

PLEASE NOTE that we can *not* provide technical support to guest and
member-level accounts; if you require technical support (other than
billing/pre-sales support) with one of these accounts please click
Options and then Upgrade Account to upgrade to Full, Enhanced or
Premier level.

Tbh fastmail support have come through for me, despite not paying them yet!

Annoyances

The first annoyance I ran into is the ridiculous default fastmail footer, which I promptly removed. To those who have the same footer as defined your From: address, you're are creating noise.

A more serious issue is the Migrate IMAP UI wasn't friendly. Initially I wrongly used imap.google.com instead of imap.gmail.com and this message confused me:

Could not connect to remote IMAP server SSL imap.google.com: Invalid
argument at /home/mod_perl/hm/ME/ImapMigrate.pm line 269.

The Gmail server seemed to refuse access to the account because it came from a New York IP. This was eventually resolved, but it took some time. It's a bit unnerving that Fastmail is hosted in the US, though I wrote to privacy@fastmail.fm asking about it and they say although the NSA can physically seize their hardware, they would have to go through Australian law to access your account through Fastmail.

After "Migrate IMAP"

So this is a "one-time only action" and it doesn't do anything clever like keeping your emails in sync with Gmail. So if I don't switch my forwards, my emails will get more out of sync as everyday passes.

While the "Migrate IMAP" is happening, it looks rather strange, emails are constantly being injected into the DOM. However once this "one time" process finishes, I can't find my Gmail labels/folders of my mail!

Hello Spam

Despite using Fastmail's Global Bayes database, I am getting a lot of spam. Annoyingly sometimes from the SAME X-Mail-from: address. Fastmail argue after time your personal database will become trained.

It's a shame that somehow when you move away from Gmail you can't bring along your own "Bayes database".

Update: After using Fastmail for more than a month now, I can honestly say it's improved a lot, but not quite as perfect as Gmail... yet.

Goodbye filters, hello Rules

Gmail's filters work really well. I love the fact you can test and then apply them on email after the fact.

My experience with Fastmail's Rules has not been good! :( Gmail's UX is better.

No automatic addressbook migration :/

I expected Fastmail to migrate the addressbook. But it doesn't. And it doesn't seem to be able to gleam email addresses from my Gmail migrated mails. So at first I wondered how best to move my addressbook from Gmail to Fastmail

I've exported my contacts from https://www.fastmail.fm/contacts/ using vCard standard and imported them into https://www.fastmail.fm/contacts/. I have something like 6k+ contacts thanks to Gmail's automagic adding of contacts.

A lot of the contacts could be pruned, but there is no sane UI to do that.

Support replies not by email

If you get a reply from support, you will be shocked to see DO NOT REPLY TO THIS EMAIL. REPLIES WILL NOT BE MONITORED. in their email body. You need to click the link to use another form to reply. Face palm

The password field on support tickets is also quite jarring to me. I should be logged in already!?

Furthermore tickets are archived after 30 DAYS. Sorry for all the broken links. :(

Shift+PGDN does not work

Have to use shift+alt+down instead.

Mail iOS app push does not work

Btw their mobile Web client is pretty damn good!

From Fastmail's support:

Push on iOS is currently only possible using ActiveSync, a proprietary protocol from Microsoft that you have to pay licensing fees to use. We don't currently support ActiveSync and have no immediate plans to do so.

This is all really annoying, because there is a way for IMAP to support push, but Apple don't want to support it. Additionally Apple apparently have their own proprietary IMAP extension to do IMAP push (http://www.dovecot.org/list/dovecot/2012-August/067682.html), but it's not officially documented so attempting to use it might just end up in our servers being blocked.

So at the moment, I'm afraid a 3rd party service is required to do true email push:

http://blog.fastmail.fm/2009/07/20/nuevasync-com-imap-push-email-phones/

Having said all that, we're looking at another option, which is to create our own FastMail app which could support our own push protocol. Hopefully we'll have something by the end of the year.

Fastmail Notes are not compatible with notes from IOS

The "Notes" on the iPhone is a different thing and is not related to our notes in the webinterface. At the moment, we don't support the "Notes" sync feature on the iPhone. Its also not something we plan to support in the near future.

Things that Fastmail has that Gmail seemingly doesn't

  • I find the keyboard shortcuts much more usable on Fastmail
  • You can easily find the oldest emails, so I can see the first email between my wife and I from Aug 5 2005 in Melbourne!
  • The Fastmail.fm blog is a very good read
  • Their servers are in the US, but they are looking into ways of offering their service from non-US servers
  • Fastmail listens to you. However their support mechanism could be better and they also could be better with twitter support too.
comment 1

I made the switch and seemed to have much less trouble than you.

No automatic addressbook migration

I seem to remember reading somewhere that they are working on this, I think there's some standard which will allow them to integrate with smart phone/exchange servers..?

I can't find my Gmail labels/folders of my mail

This is odd, all mine came through. I wonder if it's because Gmail uses labels where each mail can have multiple labels and FM uses folders where you can only have one per email.

if I don't switch my forwards, my emails will get more out of sync as everyday passes.

Not sure what you mean by this, if you set up FM to fetch (ie, no forward involved) your Gmail emails I don't see a problem.

A few issues that I have with FM that you haven't mentioned:

  • You can setup alternate logins, but you can't remove/disable your main username/password and force the use of the alternate logins, like you can force two step authentication with Gmail.
  • It does seem a bit silly that you have to manually setup the bayes learning of spam and non-spam, once I'd done this my spam filtering was much improved, but I don't get why this isn't done automatically.
  • There's no "pinned" view, like Gmail's starred view. The best you can do is set pinned to the top, but then you can't see your new mail, and this is slow.
  • By default messages sent using their SMTP server will not get added to your Sent folder.
Comment by Jamie