All SSL certificates updated

Based on a recent security issue in the OpenSSL library, we’ve updated all our server software and taken the precaution of replacing all of our SSL certificates. Most users shouldn’t notice any difference, but if your email client/xmpp client/ldap client/etc reports a certificate issue, this is probably the reason why.

Posted in News. Comments Off on All SSL certificates updated

FastMail housekeeping – removing little used features and simplifying others

In maintaining a large system like FastMail, we often find ourselves coming across code or configurations that’s can be harder to modify and update than we expect because of the way they interact with some particular feature or features. Normally this just means finding a different way of doing it. However in some cases, the feature itself is used by such a small number of people and the original reason it was useful is no longer so important that we’ve decided to retire a few rarely used features or update them to work differently than they have traditionally.

Below we describe the features we’re removing or changing, the rationale, and an alternative if available.

We plan to roll out what changes we can on beta over the next month, and fully roll them out everywhere on April 30.

Update: These changes are taking longer than expected to complete, so only some have been done so far. Details inline below.

Removing WAP

We’ve had a WAP server at for many years. WAP was a vastly reduced markup and display system designed for accessing internet content on early feature phones that didn’t have the power or bandwidth to render full HTML pages.

With the rise of smartphones and full HTML browsers, the use of WAP has dwindled to only a couple of users. Because of that, and because in most cases Opera Mini (which can access the HTML classic UI) will run on the phones people are using WAP on, we’ve decided to completely shutdown WAP.

Update: May 8, the WAP server has now been removed.

Removing Email reflector

The email reflector was an interesting attempt to provide an alternative to email forwarding. Basically the idea arose because some work places didn’t like employees logging into webmail accounts at work. So what you could do was “reflect” your FastMail email to your work address, and when you replied to the email from your work account, it would reflect back via FastMail and all the email addresses and headers would be rewritten to make it look like it came from your FastMail account!

In theory this was a really neat idea, however in practice it never quite worked as reliably as we liked. It was always marked as “in early stages of development” and was prone to “leaking” strange email addresses or creating extremely bizarre results if reflected and non-reflected email addresses somehow ended up being used together (e.g. someone accidentally added a “reflected” address into their work address book and used that with a non-reflector email address). Internally the code and configuration to make it all work is complex and messy.

Additionally these days, many people with work places with restrictive web policies have a personal smartphone they can easily configure to access any email account they want. They seems a much more natural solution to the problem.

On April 30, we’ll remove all reflector rules for any people who still have them still setup. We recommend you manually remove them before then so you’re more in control.

Removing SMS Sending via the web interface or SMTP

It’s currently possible to send SMS messages directly from the FastMail compose screen. You have to buy some SMS credits first, but after that, you just include a number@sms email address in your to/cc/bcc addresses and it’ll convert the first 160 chars into an SMS to that number. This also works via SMTP, you send to You also have to set an originator phone number for the personality you are using to send from. In theory, this is the phone number the SMS will appear to come from.

When this was first implemented almost 10 years ago, it was a really useful feature. Most people had feature phones that were slow to type SMS’s on. Using this feature, you could quickly type a message in the web interface/email client, and to the recipient it would appear to have come from your phone, so if they replied to it, the reply would go to your phone.

Since then though, the usefulness of this has dropped significantly. Most people have smartphones where it’s now much easier to tap out a quick message. Also, mobile operators became much more strict about setting arbitrary originator numbers and now most block such messages. In it’s current state, most messages sent from FastMail now appear to come from a fixed number, not the originator number people have set the personality to, so if someone replies to the SMS, the reply disappears rather than going to the original sender.

On top of this, this feature has been an ongoing source of fraud issues for us. We still regularly see accounts signed up with stolen credit cards for the sole purpose of sending SMS spam, even with our heavy rate limiting.

Because of these flaws, we’re going to remove the ability to send arbitrary messages to SMS numbers altogether. Note that this will NOT affect SMS forwarding rules or SMS two factor authentication. Both of those are definitely being kept and will continue to work.

Update: May 8, the SMS sending via web interface/SMTP has been removed

Simplifying Pop Link retrieval

One of the features Pop Links have is the ability to set scheduled retrievals (every 1, 2, 3 or 12 hours, daily, or weekly). The minimum you can set is based on your current service level. In addition in the classic interface, you can perform additional manual retrievals from the action menu on demand. The fact the current interface doesn’t have this feature is regularly cited by a number of users as a reason not to switch interfaces.

The original reason for the different retrieval schedule limits was because we feared retrieval might be a resource intensive process with many users. What we’ve found is that almost all Pop Links are set to retrieve on the shortest interval possible for that service level and that they consume relatively negligible resources.

So what we’re going to do is remove the ability to schedule different retrieval periods, and instead just have a simple “manual” or “auto” mode switch. Respectively these will:

  • “manual” mode
    – No automatic checks
    – Classic UI: Can select from the action menu to manually retrieve
    – Current UI: (Update: This bit added based on user feedback, matches what the auto mode also does. If you don’t want this, you can still manually disable a pop link to stop this happening) If you click on a folder to go to that folder or ‘refresh’ the current folder, then any pop links that file into that folder get checked at that moment. Can go to the Advanced -> Pop Links screen to manually retrieve.
  • “auto” mode
    – Automatically checks every 1 hour
    – While logged into and active on either web interface, checks every 5 minutes (active is defined as performing actions which cause your browser to communicate with our server)
    – Classic UI: Can select from the action menu to manually retrieve.
    – Current UI: If you click on a folder to go to that folder or ‘refresh’ the current folder, then any pop links that file into that folder get checked at that moment. Can also go to the Advanced -> Pop Links screen to manually retrieve.

We believe this fits much better with what people actually want. Namely that emails are regularly retrieved from a remote service, that retrieves occur more frequently while you’re actually logged in and using the web interface, and that there’s an explicit way to perform a retrieve if you absolutely want to do one then and there.

Update: June 2, the “click on a folder to activate pop links filing into that folder” has been rolled out, the remaining changes will be rolled out soon.

Update: June 5, the remaining features have been rolled out and the Pop Links screen updated to allow “manual” or “auto” mode selection, as well as allowing an explicit “fetch” of a pop link along with the previous “test” of a pop link

Simplifying Personalities

SMTP FROM Envelope

Personalities have a option “SMTP FROM Envelope”. The fact that option says “Advanced: SMTP MAIL FROM envelope address to use. Leave blank unless told to” gives you some idea that this is a very rarely used option. Basically the point of it was to avoid SPF failures when sending email made to look like it came from an external service.

Realistically the amount of email blocked due to SPF failures is extremely low these days. SPF never really fixed any particular email problems (and added some really nasty ones like breaking forwarding without using a horrible hack) and ended up just becoming another scoring marker of little value in the overall judgement of an email’s spamminess.

The correct solution to this issue is to use the actual external server for that domain to send as that domain. In that case, the From address (in the header) and the SMTP MAIL FROM address (in the SMTP protocol) are the same, and so only the Email address field of personalities is required and is what will also be used for the SMTP MAIL FROM envelope.

Update: June 5, the SMTP FROM Envelope feature has been removed from the Personalities screen and disabled on sending


Currently there’s a separate signatures screen for setting your signatures. You then select which signature to associate with with each personality.

Most people don’t work this way and find this extra level of indirection annoying or confusing. So we’re going to remove the signatures screen and just allow setting/editing of signatures on the personalities screen.

The one thing this will affect is the classic compose interface. In the advanced section you can choose which signature you want to use separate to the current personality. This option will be removed. If you want to use separate custom signatures, we recommend putting them in the Notepad and using the “Insert note” feature before sending.

Update: May 22, 2015! After a long delay, this has finally been completed. Any orphaned signatures have been added as a note page in the users Notes screen.


Well that took longer than I expected. In some ways it’s sad to see some of these go (I wrote most of the code behind them!), but realistically the things being removed are little used and the proposed changes are small but neaten up some strange legacy edges and result in a better overall product for the majority of users.

Posted in News. Comments Off on FastMail housekeeping – removing little used features and simplifying others

Improved default search behaviour in classic interface

When we introduced the current interface, one of the features we were really happy with was our vastly improved searching. Basically we implemented a full text index that allowed you to search the headers and content of all your email in all folders for any words in a few seconds (in IMAP parlance, this uses the FUZZY SEARCH extension)

At the time, we decided to leave the search on the classic interface as it was (by default, search from/to/cc/subject headers but not the message content and search on substrings rather than whole terms).

However the general consensus from classic users is that they’d really like the improved search that the current interface comes with. So today we’ve rolled out a change that better unifies the search syntax on both the classic and current interfaces.

So now on both interfaces if you do a search:

dinner john

It will do a fast indexed search of the from, to, cc, bcc and subject headers as well as the message body content for messages that contain both “dinner” and “john”. This search is done on words/terms with stemming where possible, not sub-strings. This searches the current folder by default on classic, and across all folders by default on the current interface. On classic, you can check the “All” checkbox to search across all folders.

If you want to revert to the historical sub-string searching of headers, you can use the substr: modifier. Some more examples:

  • example – fuzzy search from/to/cc/bcc/subject headers and message bodies for the word “example”
  • body:example – fuzzy search message bodies for the word “example”
  • to:example – fuzzy search to/cc/bcc headers for the word “example”
  • onlycc:example – fuzzy search cc header for the word “example”
  • substr:example – search from/to/cc/subject headers (but not body content) for the substring “example”
  • substr:(dinner john) – search from/to/cc/subject headers for both substrings “dinner” and “john”
  • substr:(body:example) – search message body content for the substring “example” (warning: likely very slow!)
  • substr:(to:example) -  search to/cc/bcc headers for the substring “example”
  • substr:(onlycc:example) -  search cc header for the substring “example”

A complete list of all the search options can be found on our mailbox searching help page.

Posted in News. Comments Off on Improved default search behaviour in classic interface

Secure SSL/TLS access to LDAP and DAV now mandatory

Over the last few years we’ve been phasing in mandating SSL/TLS encryption on all connections between user machines and our servers, ensuring that no one can eaves drop on your username or password to steal your login credentials.

We’re continuing with that process today by disabling non-SSL/TLS access to all LDAP and DAV services. We emailed everyone we believe that was using these services a few weeks ago to inform them of the upcoming change.

This means if you use LDAP to access your address book, you must use port 636 with SSL/TLS enabled.

If you use DAV to access files in your file storage, you must use, not (note the additional “s” in https://).

Posted in News. Comments Off on Secure SSL/TLS access to LDAP and DAV now mandatory

Calendar now available on for testing

We’re very excited to have released the web UI for our new calendar on to our beta server for public testing at

To access, simply log in to your FastMail account at and select "Calendar" from the menu in the top left.

Note: The calendar is only available when you log in to the new user interface (the default). If you use the “Classic” user interface (by explicitly selecting it at login time or because you have an older browser like IE6/7 which doesn’t support the new interface) the calendar will not be available. We currently have no plans to port the calendar to the classic user interface.

Tips and tricks

  • Open the settings and select the new Calendar panel to enable a few advanced features, create new calendars and make sure your time zone is set correctly
  • You can drag and drop events to move them (or hold down alt whilst dragging to copy).
  • There are keyboard shortcuts for navigating (try j/k, or hit g), and also for the buttons in the action bar at the top (hover over the button to get a tooltip with the shortcut).

Sync to mobile/calendar software (CalDAV)

You can also sync your calendar with your mobile device as long as your device supports the CalDAV protocol (iOS supports it natively, Android requires a separate program, CalDAV-Sync works well, it costs around US$2). The required details are:

Most clients should correctly auto-discover your calendars. If that fails, you might need to setup the full CalDAV path in your client which is:

Make sure you replace fullfastmailusername@domain with your full FastMail username and domain.

Access restrictions

Not all service levels have access to the Calendar features.

Web UI

Available to all levels except legacy Guest and Member accounts (at the moment, the link is shown but events will not save; we will improve the UI here to make it clear that the calendar is not available to these service levels)


Available to:

  • Enhanced and Premier level accounts (Personal/Family)
  • Standard, Professional and Enterprise level accounts (Business)

That is, these levels do not have CalDAV access: Guest, Member (legacy). Lite, Full (Personal/Family). Basic (Business)

Current known issues and missing features

We’re actively working on all these issues.

  • There are currently some layout issues in older browsers. Supported browsers for now are: Chrome 21+, Firefox 22+, Opera 12.1+, Safari 6.1+, IE9+.
  • Alerts do not work yet (you can set them in the event editor, but no alert will be shown when they are triggered).
  • Email reminders do not work yet (you will not be sent an email).
  • Emails are not yet sent out to people invited to an event.
  • An email is not currently sent when you respond to an invitation in the calendar view.
  • Integration with the mail part of our web UI (save attached event to calendar etc.)
  • Support for files attached to events.
  • Support for calendar sharing between users in a family/business
  • Support for subscribing to public iCal files and showing them in your calendar.
  • An easy way to import/export calendar data.

Please post bug reports, feature suggestions or other comments either in the forums or email us at We can’t respond to everything, but we do read it all.

Posted in News. Comments Off on Calendar now available on for testing

Increased storage quotas and other service level changes

we’ve made some changes to our service levels. These changes simplify pricing, unify personal and family service levels, make it easier to migrate from other services to FastMail and give the vast majority of users an increase in storage at no extra cost.

All accounts

All prices have been rounded to the nearest dollar. The existing $x.95 pricing on all accounts made comparing prices more difficult for users, so we’ve changed to just using whole dollar pricing on all accounts to make comparisons simpler and clearer.

Personal accounts

  • Ad Free has been renamed to Lite. Now that we don’t have free Guest accounts, the name is an anachronism since no accounts have advertising.
  • All Lite (previously Ad Free) and Enhanced accounts have increased email and file storage quotas. Full accounts have increased file storage quotas.
  • The price of the Lite account is now $10/year. We will email all existing Ad Free users about this change shortly with information about how to lock in the existing pricing for some years.

The complete list of new quotas and names are:

    Old quota New quota
(was Ad free)
100 MB
2 MB
250 MB
100 MB
Full Email:
1 GB
100 MB
1 GB
1 GB
Enhanced Email:
10 GB
2 GB
15 GB
5 GB
Premier Email:
60 GB
30 GB
60 GB
30 GB

Family accounts

We’ve renamed all the family service levels to be the same as the personal service levels, and also have the same quotas as the corresponding personal service level.

This means that if you manage more than one account, it’s much easier to switch to a family account. There’s no concern about having slightly different quotas and having to deal with all the different service level names, it’s a straight forward conversion from a personal account to the corresponding family account.

So now the main differences with family accounts compared to personal accounts are:

  • A single billing cycle and credit card for all accounts in the family
  • Add/change/delete accounts in the family from your management accounts at any time
  • Ability to have account names in your own domain (e.g.
  • Ability to have your own login screen at
  • It’s an extra $5/year for the family "container"

The complete list of new quotas and names are:

    Old quota New quota
Lite Email:
200 MB
6 MB
250 MB
100 MB
(was Everyday)
800 MB
600 MB
1 GB
1 GB
(was Superior)
8 GB
6 GB
15 GB
5 GB
60 GB
30 GB

Business accounts

All Basic, Standard and Professional accounts have increased email and file storage quotas. The complete list of new quotas are:

    Old quota New quota
Basic Email:
250 MB
2 MB
500 MB
100 MB
Standard Email:
1.5 GB
100 MB
2 GB
1 GB
Professional Email:
15 GB
6 GB
25 GB
10 GB
Enterprise Email:
150 GB
60 GB
150 GB
60 GB

We’ll be emailing these details to all users shortly.

Posted in News. Comments Off on Increased storage quotas and other service level changes

Faster than native, introducing FastMail’s new mobile web interface

For the last few months we’ve been beta testing a new mobile user interface. We feel it’s now ready for general use and have just rolled it out to production.

To access the new interface, just go to in a web browser on your phone/mobile device and log in to your FastMail account. If your phone supports it (iOS 6+, Android 4+, Windows Phone coming soon), you’ll automatically get the new interface.

This new interface is built on the same underlying technology as our current desktop interface, and thus includes all the advanced features of that interface including instant actions, conversations and fast cross-folder searching.

We’ve also worked hard to make the new interface feel perfectly natural as a finger driven mobile interface. We’ve placed tap targets near where fingers are likely to be and added swipe actions to allow quick archiving or deleting of emails. Simple transitions make it clear where you are in the interface at any time making it easy to navigate.

But most importantly, the new mobile interface is fast! We’ve gone to great lengths to reduce the number of round trip requests between your phone and our servers, making the interface load and feel fast even over the high latency connections of mobile networks. In many cases, it is faster than a dedicated email app.

We’re pushing the limits of what’s currently possible with a web based application and think the results speak for themselves. Below we’ve created a short video showing a few key features. Take a look, then try it out by logging in or signing up at

Posted in News. Comments Off on Faster than native, introducing FastMail’s new mobile web interface

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 6,874 other followers

%d bloggers like this: