This is a cross-post of an article we wrote for NYI's blog. NYI is the company we trust to host our servers, and we were one of their earliest clients.

Email is our filing system for life. Bank statements, doctor’s appointments, payment receipts, personal conversations and embargoed business discussions are just a few examples of the crucial information that lives in our inboxes. Most people want, or expect, to have control over their personal data online.

But for many email providers, competing business priorities cause them to devalue customer needs and be more loyal to advertisers. In this model, personal data is used to profile certain types of customers and serve targeted ads. And when the customer isn’t the customer, but the “product,” it’s possible for service to be less reliable or functional.

But email doesn’t have to be this way.

Fastmail is an independent, employee-owned email provider, offering what we like to call email on your side. Meaning, we put our customers first and are loyal only to you, with no advertisers in play. The service you receive is our number one focus.

We host with NYI because of many value alignments, but most importantly, we see eye-to-eye around customer experience. While we could pay anyone to house our servers, no one but NYI would look over them with so much attention and care — diligence equal to what we want for our customers and what our customers want for themselves.

As you are here, we imagine that you likely share our values around privacy and security and appreciate customer-focused services. Independent email could be right for you if you are ready for a better, more human-centered, future for email.

Control over your data

We know many email users are concerned about privacy. Email holds the story of our lives and that’s information we want to protect. Due to the amount of sensitive data they store, email providers should be providing transparency about who has access to your personal data.

Many of the large email providers use personal data to give advertisers what they want, but in doing so they do not protect the data of their customers. It’s important to look for independent providers like Fastmail that remove advertisers from their business model. Providers that are working only for you are going to be quick to find solutions to your pain points and put you first.

Powerful features

While you shouldn’t give up your privacy for email, we also don’t think you should compromise on features to get the privacy and security that you deserve. Fastmail offers desirable features and calendars to enhance your productivity. It’s easy to make the transition when you get email, calendars, and contacts that match (or exceed!) what you’d expect from modern email service.

Here are some of the features you should be looking for:

  • Easy setup and migration
  • Solid deliverability and reliable speed
  • 360 productivity with calendars and contacts included
  • A powerful search that produces better results in less time
  • Choice around your identity with aliases and the ability to use your own domain
  • Works the way you do by syncing with your favorite web clients or apps
  • Works across all devices with instant notifications to keep you connected

Excellent customer care

Everyone deserves to be treated fairly. As a customer it can sometimes feel like no one really cares about you. Poor customer service experiences can be frustrating or even hurtful. Some companies provide essentially no lines to get help.

We all know the difference between shopping at a family-owned boutique and a big box store. You can draw a lot of comparisons to how dissimilar experiences can be with small companies versus big tech online. Tech companies, no matter how big their team or capital, can act like a small company when they prioritize customer experience and show they care. You should be looking out for those who offer a direct line to support, useful help guides, and dependable responses.

Affordable and worth paying for

Just because something has a cost, doesn’t mean it’s an extravagance. Paid email is a sensible choice within reach of most budgets. Fastmail plans start at as little as $3/month. When you pay for email you take back control through your purchasing power. Free email services say they are “free,” but customers are really paying with their data, and that data is sold at a premium that is never shared back. Paying for email is a way to ensure that you are the main and only customer. With the focus solely on you, you also get the best service and features.

Independent email offers customers a unique email experience where the service is on your side. With Fastmail, you get a personal approach to email where you get control over your personal information, and you don’t have to compromise on efficiency or features.