Looking for a private email service? We break down the similarities and differences between Fastmail and Protonmail.


Fastmail puts your privacy first. It offers full email functionality and an easy-to-use app, all while protecting your data from advertisers. You’ll get no ads in your inbox and the comfort of knowing that your data is safe.

Similarly, ProtonMail takes your privacy seriously. Like Fastmail, ProtonMail provides a suite of apps you’ve come to expect from an email provider.

One of the main differences can be found in pricing. Both Fastmail and ProtonMail offer a tiered pricing structure with an increasing number of features, but Fastmail is less expensive with plans that provide far more functionality and flexibility.

While Fastmail and ProtonMail share a number of similarities, there are also some differences, especially concerning usability and features.

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We discuss Fastmail vs. ProtonMail below.

Ease of Use

Fastmail’s calendar, email, and contact features share information seamlessly. Additionally, the Fastmail mobile app for iOS and Android is fast and intuitive, making switching between the three modules as smooth as possible.

The sidebar displays relevant information while you’re reading an email. This includes contact details for people you’re talking to, other email conversations and events you have with them, and easy access to all the attachments in an email chain. The Fastmail sidebar puts you in control of your own data.

Fastmail’s email search features also allows you to search for emails based on their content or attachments; ProtonMail’s search function doesn’t let you search through email contents unless you ask it to download all your email to your browser’s cache.

Fastmail provides its own web interface and mobile apps. However, if you have a favorite mail client you can still access your email securely and easily through other desktop or mobile apps. Fastmail’s dynamic development enables our app to keep up with the most recent iterations of the operating systems.

ProtonMail’s interface is simple and plain—no one should have trouble navigating it. Compared to the more fully-featured Fastmail, though, ProtonMail is a basic encrypted email client with a few additional features.

ProtonMail also features a mobile app that works on both iOS and Android, but because of its encryption, cannot be used with any other apps unless you also install another piece of software that decrypts the mail before passing it through to the mail client (Whereupon you’re no longer end-to-end encrypted as there’s a decrypted copy being stored on your computer).

Organization

ProtonMail and Fastmail both use a combination of filters, folders, and labels to help shape the mailbox views you’ll work inside. If you’ve used any popular email client, you’ll be familiar with this kind of setup.

Unlike Fastmail, the basic ProtonMail plan limits the number of folders.

Calendar

Fastmail’s calendar feature is what you'd expect out of a digital calendar application and more. Turning text and dates in your emails into events is incredibly easy, and transitioning between the various modules in the Fastmail app is fast and responsive. Fastmail also supports CalDAV, which makes it easy to sync your calendar with other tools, such as booking systems.

In addition, Fastmail’s sidebar keeps events at your fingertips. You can see upcoming commitments at a glance.

ProtonMail also has a basic calendar that offers the standard calendar features but lacks the broad functionality Fastmail provides.

Pricing & Storage

Fastmail and ProtonMail pricing are both based on tiers, but beyond that have a few fundamental differences in the number of features per tier. Fastmail starts at $3 per user per month with the Basic plan, which includes 2 GB of storage. The Standard plan is $5 a month per user and comes with 30 GB of storage, and the Professional Plan is $9 per user per month with 100 GB of storage per user.

Fastmail allows you to mix users on different tiers into a multiuser plan. We allow over 600 alias addresses per plan and don’t charge for custom domains.

ProtonMail’s plans start at a basic free tier that offers 1 GB of storage and only three folders to organize messages. The Mail Plus plan is $3.99 a month and includes 15 GB of storage plus additional features. The Proton Unlimited plan costs $9.99 per user per month and includes 500 GB of storage per user with an upgraded suite of features.

Privacy

When it comes to privacy, Fastmail spares no expense to deliver a comprehensively private email experience to keep your data safe. Fastmail is always evaluating potential privacy threats and taking whatever measures necessary to keep our customers safe.

Fastmail also provides two-factor authentication to add an additional layer of security to your private data. When paired with the ability to view a list of login attempts made on your account, all of your data should be kept safe from prying eyes.

Finally, Fastmail gives you the ability to set up hundreds of aliases. This allows you to minimize the amount of exposure each email address gets, which protects you from phishing and spam.

ProtonMail also takes the privacy of its users very seriously. The service also doesn’t track IP addresses so no information is available that someone could trace back to your account. On top of that, ProtonMail includes two-factor authentication for an additional level of security.

Security

At Fastmail, we take your email security seriously. We regularly proactively develop new measures to meaningfully improve the confidentiality and integrity of our customer's data.

One of the major differences between Fastmail and ProtonMail in the area of security lies in the approach to alternate email addresses. As discussed previously, Fastmail has gone “all in” on email aliases, teaming with password industry powerhouse 1Password to give users easy access to hundreds of alternate email addresses, as well as the ability to use custom domains. The Masked Emails feature ensures users will never need to give their personal address to sign-up for any service, eliminating one of the most common security flaws in the email industry.

ProtonMail has a similar feature, giving users the ability to use custom addresses to avoid giving out their personal email addresses. But their feature is limited, ranging from 5 addresses for the lower-tier plans and 50 for the Visionary plan. ProtonMail’s offerings in this regard are not nearly as robust as the hundreds of alternate emails Fastmail provides.

Additionally, ProtonMail uses end-to-end and zero-access encryption to protect all emails, calendar data, and contacts. ProtonMail’s website claims that “... data is encrypted at all steps, the risk of message interception is largely eliminated.”

Their “zero access architecture” is secure enough that ProtonMail themselves can’t get into your account—if you lose your password, you lose access to your account and the data inside it. It’s also important to note that ProtonMail doesn't encrypt their email subject lines.

Ads

Neither ProtonMail nor Fastmail allows advertising on their platforms. Fastmail does not sell any personal information to advertisers, and ProtonMail also claims they do not sell their users’ information to outside entities.

Customer Support

Currently, both Fastmail and ProtonMail use online portals to offer support to customers. Both customer support portals can be accessed by visiting a user’s account page.

Fastmail, however, is known for our quick customer support response times. Our support team draws on more than 20 years of experience in the industry to provide expert-level help.

Conclusion: Fastmail vs. ProtonMail

Fastmail and ProtonMail both take privacy seriously, and both have built their services to protect user data. Neither allows advertising on their platform, and both are robust solutions that offer a number of useful features for both individual and business customers.

Fastmail, however, provides more of the features users expect from an email service, including an easy-to-use calendar and a powerful search function.

Another huge difference that sets Fastmail apart is that it offers users the ability to create hundreds of aliases. This allows you to decide which email address is used for what. This increases the level of privacy and puts more control in your hands. Also, Fastmail’s customer service and support are quick to respond, friendly, and are email experts happy to apply their knowledge to your situation.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to usability. Choose Fastmail for the email functionality you’ve come to expect coupled with customer-focused features that provide ease of use and ensure privacy.

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