Quick Tutorial: How to Improve Junk Mail Filter Performance

One of the strengths of FastMail is our Junk Mail protection system.  We used a multi-layered approach.  We’ve learned over our 10 years that there is no single solution to solve the junk mail problem.  Fortunately, this is very easy to manage and control.  Every FastMail account has the ability to learn about mail you consider is junk or perhaps is legitimate.

Every subscribed account at FastMail has access to advanced levels of Junk Mail protection.

The first step is to enable more strict Junk Mail protection:

  1. Login to the web interface for your email account.  For example, http://www.fastmail.fm
  2. Go to the Options -> Spam/Virus Protection page.
  3. Be sure to enable Virus Protection.  As a starting point, you should set your Spam Protection level to Normal.  This will create the Junk Mail folder in your inbox.
  4. Press the Save Changes button

One of the more important measures you can take is to setup Spam Learning folders in your account.  You can setup a folder in your account to be none, As Spam, As Non-Spam.

You enable this feature by opening the Options -> Folders page.  On that page, you click the Edit link next to the folder name.

An example:

I normally set my Junk Mail folder to have Spam Learning equal to As Spam.  Whenever I receive new junk mail, I move it into that folder so that FastMail can learn what I consider junk.    In addition, any subfolders I have created to save important email are also useful.  For each folder of saved mail, I set the Spam Learning to be non-spam.   The beauty of this system is that by simply organizing my mailbox, FastMail gains a greater understanding of what should be considered safe or spam.

One note, any email address listed in your address book is also considered safe.  If you typically receive a mailing list, but it keeps getting flagged as Junk, simply add the email address of the sender to the address book.   For business/family accounts, any addresses listed in the Global Address Book affects all members of the business.

For more information regarding the Spam Protection system, the following help article is available:

http://www.fastmail.fm/help/spam_virus_protection.html

Remember to move items out of your Junk Mail folder that you consider legitimate email.  This will prevent FastMail from considering them as junk in the future.

By following these rules, the Junk Mail protection system in FastMail will very accurately keep your inbox free of annoying spam email.

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New Feature: Ability to Disable access to POP or IMAP

Have you ever seen people incorrectly setup their email program to use POP when they should have used IMAP?  We have a new feature to help protect from that scenario.

Some background:

Many email clients (Outlook for example), default their internet mail connection type to POP.  If you are a FastMail user, you would typically want to connect using the IMAP protocol.  IMAP keeps all your email stored at the server.  This allows FastMail to backup all your email folders regularly.  It also provides the ability to synchronize multiple computers (or devices) to the same account and they see the same email data.

Unfortunately, some users will skip through the setup screens on their email client too quickly.  The result, they’ve setup a POP connection.  Depending upon how they setup their client, it may download all their email from FastMail and remove it from our servers.

To Disable POP access:

Login to your account on the FastMail website.  Go to the Options -> Account Preferences page.  At the bottom of the page, there will be a section for Access.  Simply check the box next to a protocol you want to disable.

If you have disabled POP access for an account, any attempt by an email client to access via POP will fail.

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