Thoughts on Migadu and Fastmail.

This is a part of the 100 Days To Offload challenge.

A quick post on comparing the two, but not categorizing my experiences into cons or pros — everyone has their own needs. TL;DR at the bottom.

Fastmail.

Workflow.

Fastmail makes it easy to opt in to their workflow. It’s opinionated software. That can be good or bad. Depends on if their idea of email matches up with what you can accept.

You only get one mailbox. Everything has to flow to this one mailbox, regardless of how many domains you add. There are benefits to this, but it’s a strange sort of lock-in.

Another mailbox is another $30-$50/year. One user gets one mailbox. Simple. Yet, this is potentially my biggest regret with moving to Fastmail. I do like to have two mailboxes: all personal, and all work.

To some extent, you can use Folders (one email can only go in one folder) or Labels (one email can belong to many labels) to make this work. I use labels, though I am considering moving back to folders as they are simpler. You can switch between the two.

Pricing.

You get what you pay for. Still, quite an expensive offering. The team doesn’t look too keen on adding new features.

You could potentially have another mailbox at $30/year, but that’s still a bit steep. I guess you got to take the small win of $20. From what I understand, you can still share the domains and calendars with this new user even if they’re on the base plan and you are on the standard plan.

Ease of setup and use.

They try to set things up for you as much as they can. For example:

  • They’ll ask you if you want to set up sending from a Google or another IMAP account you’re importing from.
  • It automatically tries to set the correct “Send as” entry for you based on what/whom you are replying to.

Vacation responder/auto-reply/out-of-office mailer.

Vacation response/auto-responder cannot be customized per alias or domain. I have opened a support request — hopefully they’ll get this sorted out. Their response:

If I understand correctly, the goal is to set separate vacation responses for separate aliases. I’m afraid it’s totally correct that this isn’t supported.

I’ve made a feature request for our developers about supporting this. Please know that I can’t share a timeline as to when or if this feature may be implemented. We do try not to publish these in replies, as everybody (including us!) becomes upset if they’re not met.

Fastmail support team

Calendar and contacts.

Stick to a big three (Apple, Microsoft, Google) email provider if you collaborate a lot. It still makes the most sense, as all third-party integrations for calendars are first-class for them. Something to know if you’re a huge calendar user.

As much as I wish, CalDAV isn’t huge among “popular” tech tools. I’ve now eventually gotten around to just using their solution — in a browser and with their Android app. Thankfully, the latter has an “Agenda view.”

CalDAV and CardDAV are available. My phone contacts now sync to Fastmail instead of Nextcloud.

Public bookings?

I tried to use a calendar booking solution similar to Calendly and as one might expect — this just didn’t work out.

Using something like Zaiper is fine, but that’s just one more tool to take care of and maintain. I also opened a support request for this, and they said they’d be interested in working on this, but no ETA.

Design.

The user interface both looks “on brand” and modern. Maybe not quite as modern as some other apps, but I’ll take a brilliant combination of one’s own identity and a somewhat-modern UI over a generic UI like most webapps these days. It looks good and feels pleasant. Not to mention, it’s quite snappy!

I also like how they display quoted emails. It makes it easy and pleasant to walk through the history in a single email.

Sign up troubles and experience.

I couldn’t make an account and after a while, it stopped accepting my domain on the sign-up page. After contacting support, they made an account for me.

I asked them to use a friend’s referral link, and they instead applied a 20% discount for me. I mean, I’m very happy for the extra discount, but yeah…

Migadu.

Migadu is more of a DIY service.

Workflow.

You can duplicate the workflow that Fastmail makes easy to opt into. It takes far more work, but you can. Ideally, you’re the kind of person who sets it up once and then leaves it be. πŸ˜…

There isn’t a limit on mailboxes.

Pricing.

It’s cheaper. Costs $19/year to get started, as against $50/year on Fastmail. Huge difference. You can’t put a price on this! (well… you can, see?)

Setup.

Importing is not first class. Grab exports from your other accounts, and use a third party email client w/ IMAP to “import” them.

Calendar and contacts.

No calendar support whatsoever.

One-way CardDAV sync. Point to a server and get your contacts imported, ready to use. I had emailed them months ago, and they said a “real” sync was in the works. I lost hope.

User interface and design.

Dated theme and UI for the webmail. They’ve been working on it, but haven’t heard from them in some time. It was expected to go live September 2020 and here we are in August 2021.

I get that the pandemic is hard, and they’re a small team, but write some communication on your blog please?


TL;DR: Stick with Migadu if you can make the tinkering work and use another calendar solution, move to Fastmail if you like default experiences. Both customer support is brilliant.


Join the discussion on Mastodon, Twitter, or write me an email. Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash. Last updated on 27 August 2021.