From the first day I had the
brooksreview.net domain name, I’ve hosted the email myself in various forms — which has been about 7 years now. At first, I hosted with with Media Temple using their built in tools, then as I moved hosts through the years I moved the email hosting with it. Each move was a royal pain in the ass, and typically resulted in at least a long stretch without working email in some way, shape, or form.
About 5 times a year my email would also shit the bed in ways I didn’t comprehend. Plainly put: the advantages of hosting and “owning” my email system was far outweighed by the fact that my email was insanely unreliable.
When I moved my systems to a remote Mac mini server, I started using OS X, and even though this proved to be fairly good — I still can really fuck up a macOS server config, and thus my email remained highly volatile. Not to mention half the internet seemed determine to make sure my emails went straight to the SPAM folder. I spent countless hours tweaking and doing also sorts of voodoo to try and fix the problems, but the truth of the matter is: it was just more trouble than it is worth.
I documented all of the above back in September for those of you wondering if you are experiencing deja vu or not — you are not.
In moving to Fastmail last September I thought I was just going to put my stuff somewhere safe for a while. What I didn’t realize is that I actually have found an email service that is really fucking good. And I don’t mean “compared to the shit show that was me self-hosting” — I mean it’s really good compared to Google Apps for your Domain. Better than Gmail, that is.
At work we use Google, but I use Fastmail for my personal stuff. The difference is that using Gmail on iOS is like swimming all day in your underwear, instead of a swimsuit — yeah it works, but it’s rife with problems. You are trying to use something which just doesn’t really want to be all that helpful to you, but looks pretty similar to what you actually want. (Sure Gmail is good if you only use the web interface and Google tools, but again, that’s square peg in a round hole for me.)
Fastmail on the other hands feels more like a service that really just wants to make things work for you, in any way you want it to. It is monumentally good.
And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t even use most of the more advanced features. So, if you want to know what you should use for email, you should use Fastmail, and don’t be cheap about it — the difference is worth it.