I was one of the first on the Gmail bandwagon. Back when the only way to get an account on the service was to receive an invitation code from somebody else already using it. I remember desperately asking around my networks, until I finally found somebody who was able to supply me with a code - I was in!
Having an @gmail.com address was a point of pride. You were a cool kid with a cool email address, and not one of those sad hotmailers, embarrassing yahooligans, or a joker advertising your local ISP. Using Gmail was also transformational. It was probably the first web app that was genuinely better than desktop software. It was fast, had quick keyboard shortcuts, huge storage (1Gb at launch!), and of course your email archive gained the power of Google search.
Times were good. Google kept adding features, making the service better. It added storage so you really could just archive email. But over time, Gmail began to acquire cruft. It became less efficient and it started to frustrate me. The tagging system impacted IMAP compatibility and caused annoyances syncing with local mail clients.
The most frustrating aspect for me was it’s half-hearted approach to supporting custom domain names. Early on, it seemed as though Gmail were onboard with people using custom domains. As time passed though, the business imperative took over and they shifted full custom domain support to their GSuite paid service. So my @andrewcanion email would generally reveal its true Gmail nature, which annoyed me.
A couple of months ago, I decided enough was enough. It was time for a change. I wanted to find an email service that supported custom domains, that would support proper IMAP, offer push email, that would respect my privacy and not sell advertising based on my email, and be a reliable and good service. All of this necessitates payment, and at this stage of my life, I’m okay with that.
After reviewing a few options, including GSuite, Office 365, Zoho and Rackspace, I ultimately chose Fastmail. Their service ticked all the boxes and offered one extra bonus - they are an Australian company. So I could buy local (albeit in US dollars).
So far, the service has been brilliant. Their web app is great, their documentation brilliant, and their customer service quick and accessible. It’s amazing how much better a service can be when you are a real, paying customer.
I’m at the point now where I actually want more email! I don’t think I’ve ever said that before.
If you are looking to upgrade your email experience, I highly commend Fastmail. If you use my referral code to sign up, you also get a discount. I am sure you will not be disappointed.