Lately I’ve been having thoughts of leaving Gmail, mostly due to the fact that I didn’t like ads in my email and because the interface was a bit sluggish from time to time. The latest events with NSA spying had an impact too (not that I have anything spectacular in my email, but still). Another important fact is that I already own a domain name (this site) and I’d love to use that email as my personal mail. That way no matter what happens with the service I use, I still have the same email address. After looking around it seemed that FastMail was one of the best options (and cheaper than Google hosting your mail).
Registering with FastMail is easy, and setting up your own domain name mail it’s not a big issue once you follow the help pages (even though some screenshots wouldn’t be bad). I recon, though, that someone not too tech-savvy might find the process a bit complicated. My final step was to migrate my emails from Gmail and make it forward all incoming emails to my new mail. FastMail has an IMAP migration tool that usually works great, but in my case it gave me grief due to the fact that whilst my IP is from the UK FastMail is in the US; the result was Google blocking FastMail migration tool as suspicious behavior. All you need to do is acknowledge to Google that this is you and not a hacker, and you are done.
I’ve been using FastMail a couple of days now and I have to admit that I don’t miss Gmail too much. The two things I’ll miss the most is the ability to use the amazing Gmail app in my android (it seems like android lacks of good quality mail apps) and the easiness of creating email rules (it’s a couple of clicks away with FastMail). I love though the no-nonsense UI of FastMail, the lack of ads and the overall speed of the service. The price also is not too bad for the service, it’s 30$ per year which is more than fair.
As a final remark, I wish Google would let its users to pay an amount of money in order to get better service, and don’t have to deal with data collection (even if it’s metadata) and ads. Marco Arment wrote an interesting article, here, about those issues some years ago, it’s worth reading it.