Back to Fastmail?

My first annual subscription to Basecamp’s HEY email service is about to expire, meaning it’s time to decide whether I will be renewing.

I don’t think I will.

This makes me sad, because I really like using HEY for email. They’ve done a great job re-thinking how we interact with email and most of their decisions have been spot on.

I forward email from Fastmail to my HEY account and, now that they support SMTP forwarding, I can reply from there as well. Soon, they are likely to fully support custom domains, meaning I could move directly into HEY and be done with it.

And that’s where I have a problem. Email is the most important account I have. It’s the key to everything. HEY is not “normal” email. There’s no access to it via the standard IMAP interface or even POP3.

One of the reasons I like HEY is that I can’t change email clients. This is nice, because it means I’m not wasting time looking for the perfect tool. I just use HEY’s apps and that’s settled then. I trust Basecamp, but with HEY they control my email and it’s in a sort of black box, with no access to it outside of HEY’s own clients. This gives me hives and I’m not sure I can learn to be comfortable with it, despite appreciating the constraints.

Another factor is that I’m planning to move my wife’s email away from its current host and going to HEY might be too big a leap for her, workflow-wise. I can add her to my Fastmail account for $30/year where a new HEY account would be another $99.

I’ve got a couple weeks to decide, but right now I’m leaning toward sticking with a known, safe, stable quantity: Fastmail.


  1. @jack There seem to be quite a few thinking about it at the moment. I recently cancelled my HEY account. And since I haven’t paid for long, I got a full refund. I will stay with Classic email kept well and safe. With clean folder structure, good filters. It’s not hip, but it’s good and what I need and want. And @vincent‘s post you have already read and responded to.

  2. @jack I’ve decided to move to Fastmail after trying Protonmail for a couple of years. Hey was very interesting to me as a possibility, but the cost, and the limitations you mentioned, made me ultimately decide to go with Fastmail. 👨‍💻 📬

  3. @jack I haven’t tried Hey– but I wanted to throw in a word for Office 365 Family: for the price of one Hey account, you get up to six users, and can bring your own domain. (and everyone gets useful things like Office and 1TB of OneDrive)

  4. @jack I don’t see myself sticking with it either unless I have a change of heart. It’s a different and unique take on email, but it doesn’t really solve any problems for me or make anything necessarily better. And the functionality I like could easily be duplicated elsewhere.

  5. @jack Here’s the thing. IMO email as it is is great. If the internet consisted of nothing but emai (with some way of picking newsletters to same) l I would be perfectly happy. I think a lot of the fidgeting about email systems is a discomfort with the idea that everything is already FINE with email. Think of all your complaints about the internet: email solves or bypasses them all! I use Fastmail because I dislike Google’s monopoly, but if I just looked at functionality I’d have to admit that gmail is awesome. So, use that email and drop a lot of other twiddly things, is what I’m saying.

  6. @jack I tried Hey for awhile. As you say, it’s great, but I needed more flexibility. Esp. since I have multiple domains and scenarios. I’ve found both and excellent. MxRoute has been running a temporary lifetime special for unlimited domains, it’s down to 7 accounts left last I checked. A great deal IMO and very solid service.

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