back to article I feel a plead... a plead for speed: FastMail naps amid network blunder

Email slinger FastMail took some time out to smell the roses this morning, much to the dismay of its paying users. Problems for the Melbourne-based mail provider began at 07:39 UTC this morning, with FastMail admitting that it was experiencing network issues. These "issues" took down pretty much the entire service, as users …

  1. DJV Silver badge

    "we need updates every 5 minutes on your progress"

    Ah, the old "demanding more and more progress reports" on why things are taking longer and longer to fix. I wonder if Charl Botha meant to have <sarcasm> tags in there somewhere...

  2. ma1010

    I like Fastmail

    I've used Fastmail ever since Bluebottle went out of business. It works very well, and, AFAIK, they don't read all your email like Google and such. The price is very reasonable and more than worth it for the privacy. As they say, if it's free, then YOU are the commodity.

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: I like Fastmail

      Exactly the reason I've migrated away from gmail myself. Plus the Web UI is far better than Google's.

      My other issue is that Google is famous for yanking your account if, for example, it doesn't like your name or something you posted to Google+ or YouTube... and there is NO customer support to get it fixed. (I've had people in real life tell me my name "isn't real")

    2. oiseau
      Thumb Up

      Re: I like Fastmail

      I held a Flashmail account for almost 12 years but what was at first an excellent free service eventually became a paid service after they were taken over by a large regional ISP and then gradually become a rather expensive and not very good/reliable service, at least for the type of account I had.

      After looking around for options, I left them and signed up with FastMail.

      I've been a paying customer with them for the last five years and aside from this morning's partial outage (I could access my account via webmail, just not with my POP3/SMTP client) I cannot recall having had any significant issues.

      They have an excellent customer service with very prompt replies to question/issues.


    3. paulf
      Thumb Up

      Re: I like Fastmail

      I've been with Fastmail for 4 years now (I have two accounts, with a third for the parental units) since I moved away from the "cost free, and privacy free" services like Gmail and Y! Mail. They've been spot on with reliability which makes yesterday mornings near three hour total collapse stand out all the more.

      Yes, it costs money, but the web interface is pretty slick, and they allow lots of stuff to be configured far beyond the free services do. Also their support is pretty damned good - not something you can say about Google!

      As an aside, about three years ago I had a complicated support problem which ended up getting third line tech support from Bron Gondwana (yes he did resolve it). Hopefully this means he's not just a random suit but understands both the business and the tech side.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I like Fastmail

      FastMail might not be reading your email, but when many of your cheapskate correspondents are using “free” GMail (or similar), or using Android devices, GRUgle (etc) will nevertheless get to see the messages at the other end, unfortunately.

      (Not to mention that most email is still sent across the net unencrypted, anyway. It really is long beyond time for email to be replaced by a new and also non-proprietary standard that is end to end secure.)

  3. Brian in Seattle

    Still more reliable than O365 or Gmail

    Paying FastMail customer for well over 10 years. I also use gmail for some personal email, and O365 at work. Even with this outage, FastMail is still far more reliable, with far fewer instances of downtime, than either Gmail or O365. And when things go wrong, the folks there are very transparent about what did go wrong and how they will change to make sure it doesn't happen again. Unlike Gmail and O365, who may (if one is lucky) say "we had a problem, but we fixed it" and nothing more.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    moved to zoho for mine...

    Been pretty good so far for mail services but its for a vanity domain and i've only used it since my last work finally cut me off (after a year of not noticing the domain quietly working in the background...oops). Been good so far and the price very reasonable. Also good support and documentation to get issues sorted.

  5. Len
    Paris Hilton

    Doesn't three locations mean three net providers?

    How does this work? If they have operations in three locations across the globe, presumably for redundancy purposes, how come they have just one network provider? Won't the three locations each have its own links to the outside world? Anyone who knows more about this who can explain?

  6. teknopaul Silver badge

    nice outage

    After reading this I'm switching to fastmail.

    Sick of Google owning my identity. They have threatenend to close my email account before due to a policy change.

    I've tried running my own email server: it is more effort than 30€/yr.

    1. Dr Who

      Re: nice outage

      Running a mail server is relatively easy (although as you say costs a good deal more than $30 per year in time and infrastructure). Where the pain and the cost really kicks in is with maintaining decent virus and spam filtering, and reputation management.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: nice outage

      You don't need to run your own mail server (though I have done for decades, it's not that hard and pretty low maintenance once it's up).

      Buy a domain with email forwarding.

      Use that domain for emails.

      Forward them to... whoever... Google if you like. And then when they annoy you, switch the forwarding.

      Literally a few quid a year, a domain of your own, someone handles all the mail stuff, you can switch at any time, and configuration is "sign in and put your mail forwarding destination address in this box".

      Hey, presto, problem solved. Even if the domain hosts give you gip, just transfer the domain out to the other million-and-one companies that have this.

      I do that. But I just push the DNS for the domain to my mail server, which checks the basics (postfix + postgrey + spf checks, there are a thousand one-page tutorials on setting it up - no need for AV on mail unless you're an idiot, or you're forwarding to a private mailbox, and if you forward to something like GMail they'll check it for you anyway), and then forwards the mail to both a GMail account and an internal account that I can get via IMAP (so even if I realise Google stopped working last week... I just pick up all the missed email from that secondary account).

      Honestly, it was an hour or so to rent a VPS (I actually have a dedi from Kimsufi now, ridiculously cheap), set up Postfix, and then a couple of days of casual testing (i.e. send myself an email at my different domains from work, home, friends, etc. and check they arrive as intended). That was 10 years ago last time I did that, and the config has moved through four machines (on different hosts) and never needed more than tiny tweaks (i.e. I blacklist certain emails that escaped into the wild using a Postfix virtual alias to REJECT *just* that while still forwarding anything else

      I reckon you could own a domain and forward to any webmail you like (and keep that target email secret) for the price of a UK domain - what... a tenner a year? Or less.

      You could run a VPS for the same price. I've seen them being £1 a month or less, and email forwarding doesn't take any resources at all.

  7. Michael Strorm Silver badge

    "I feel a plead... a plead for speed"

    Thank you, Richard Speed(!)

  8. hypnos

    Same here! Fastmail rocks and it deserves a day's rest in more than 10 years

    I have been a happy customer of Fastmail for almost 11 years. It simply rocks. Since last year my son is also a customer in a family plan. Worth every penny!

  9. Harmless Drudge

    No problems here

    Fastmail user since 2002. I have Tuffmail on my backup MX with everything forwarded to Fastmail. Works for me. This guaranteed continuity twice. Once during a DNS outage at my then university that blocked Fastmail but not Tuffmail when I had a time critical need to get something out of my inbox, and then during this outage, though the downtime didn't matter so much (nothing urgent pending).

    Fastmail is ethical, responsive and good value. Very happy it's an employee-owned company again.

  10. Harmless Drudge

    Customer since 2002. I have my backup MX pointed to Tuffmail with everything copied to Fastmail. This works for me and has guaranteed continuity twice. Once during a DNS problem at my then university about 10 years ago when I needed something time-critical from my inbox, and again during this outage.

    Happy that FM is again an employee-owed company. It's responsive, ethical and good value. Also transparent. Highly recommended.

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