FastMail Rocks

November 21, 2016

Being a typical internet nerd I of course have my own domain name: macinjo.sh. I am a pretty big Apple fan especially the Apple circa the early 2000s (lately, I’ve started to wonder). At some point I combined my own name and Macintosh into ‘macinjosh’ and began using that as my online handle. I was lucky enough to get this vanity domain.

My main reason for getting my own domain is to have a website, blog, Git hosting, and custom email address. All of this comes at a cost. You have to pay for web hosting and email hosting. I have used many different solutions for my hosting needs over the years including a colocated Mac mini, virtualized OS X Server, and DigitalOcean, among others. These services all cost somewhere around $25 - $75 per month. Over time that can really add up. A year’s worth of service at $75/month comes out to a whopping $900!

Lately I have been looking for ways to cut unnecessary costs in my personal life. I will admit I didn’t save much money throughout my twenties and as I approach my thirties I want to change that. Eliminating the $40/month I was spending on hosting would let me save an extra $500 this year. That’s nothing to sneeze at.

I began looking for some more cost effective options and I stumbled across FastMail. They offer email, contact, and calendar hosting for $5/month. It also includes 25GB of storage and no ads or tracking (looking at you Google). Most importantly it allows you to use your domain!

I signed up for their 30 day trial and I was hooked nearly immediately. They have a great tool for importing all your email from your previous server via IMAP. It copied my 8GB of email and attachments in less than 15 minutes. Beyond that there are so many details they got right. You can login via your domain, the UI is not branded, they have great support for aliases, they will host your DNS; I could go on.

After about a day I decided Fastmail was for me. I signed up for two years and got a discount. It came out to $90 for 25 months of service or $3.60 per month. I sometimes spend more than that for a latte.

The real bonus though was their file storage which has the killer feature of being able to expose any folder to the public Internet as a website. For free. My website is just a couple static HTML files and this blog is statically generated with Hugo. I have no need for a database or application server so this was perfect. I configured the websites, setup the DNS in their system, and I was in business.

The only missing piece was Git hosting. However, that would be a little out of scope for Fastmail. I don’t like GitHub for many reasons especially because private repos are a paid feature. I used to host my own GitLab server and so I simply switched to GitLab.com. I don’t get to use my own domain with it but I am the only one who uses it so the vanity domain isn’t really necessary.

All in all I am very happy with my move to FastMail. If you have your own domain for email and web hosting check them out!

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