Written on: 19/02/2004 by flashman (3 reviews written)
Free or paid accounts
The free account has some limitations
Before signing up to Flashmail I had a period of moving ISPs a lot, and needed a way of keeping one email address that wouldn't change. I had Hotmail and Yahoo accounts but these were virtually unusable because of spam and not very pleasant to use on a daily basis because of messy site design. I gave a few other providers a try, and Fastmail were the unchallenged best.
The free account comes with a few caveats, such as one-line text ads in outgoing mail and no SMTP access. Your mailbox is limited to 10mb. This is offset however by some very useful features, like easy to use and flexible filtering, being able to 'bounce' emails, viewing html mail as text only (saves downloading all the junk you don't need in a message), etc. Spam filtering also works well.
The web interface is very clean and uncluttered and gives you quick access to all the features - I haven't used email client software for about 2 years, since signing up with Fastmail. It's also an IMAP account rather than POP3 which means that like Hotmail et al you can get to your mail from any computer, but it also lets you use it with the email software of your choice - Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird etc.
I upgraded to a 'Member' account a few months after joining for $14USD, and got rid of the advert in mail and gained another 6mb of space, virus checker and other features. You can buy more space for a low one-off charge. The little features that make it so good are too numerous to mention - for example when composing a message, if you put '#email@example.com' after the To: address, your message will appear to have come from firstname.lastname@example.org - useful if you use different addresses for different occasions.
What I like about Fastmail is that it's no-nonsense. It's a fast, high-quality system with excellent support - partly through their forums - and staff who listen to your comments and work to continuously improve the service. They're customer-focused in a way that brings home just how faceless and unhelpful the likes of Hotmail really are. Fastmail may not be for everyone, but if you want a feature-rich, solid email account with no annoying corporate blurb then this is the one to go for.