Migrating To FastMail – Use the Forwarding Tunnel

Great, you’ve decided to migrate your business to FastMail.  Migrating email accounts from one system to another can be a dangerous process. To make it is easy as possible, and to avoid any chance of lost emails, we’ve setup many tools to make it as easy as possible.

An important help article outlines all of the necessary steps to perform: https://www.fastmail.fm/help/business_migrate.html

Another one of FastMail’s hidden gems is the forwarding tunnel.

The forwarding tunnel allows you to forward email from an existing service to an account with the same name at FastMail. e.g. Say you have the account john@example.com at an existing service. You want to create your account as john@example.com at FastMail.FM, but how do you forward from the old john@example.com account to the FastMail.FM john@example.com account while the DNS still points to the old server? This is what the forwarding tunnel solves.

It basically gives an extended email address syntax that you can forward email to, which will deliver to our servers, and then decode to the account name. There are 3 encoding options because some providers are limited by what characters you can put in an email address to forward to.

To forward email to the FastMail account john@example.com, you can forward to any of these 3 addresses

  • john#example.com@forward.messagingengine.com
  • john%example.com@forward.messagingengine.com
  • john@example.com.forward.messagingengine.com

By utilizing the forwarding tunnel, you can ease the transition from an old email system as it migrates to FastMail.  You can setup all the email clients to use FastMail and each business user will receive all their email from one place.

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FastMail and Apple Mac OS X – Many Synergies

Someone was asking me the other day if FastMail worked well with their Apple Macintosh.  Of course!

Here are some of the many reasons a FastMail account is the ideal companion to Mac OS X.

  1. The built-in Mail.app application supports IMAP quite well.  In addition, starting in 10.5.6, Apple Mail will automatically test multiple outgoing SMTP ports (25, 465, 587).  This can resolve many email troubleshooting headaches.
  2. Apple’s iWeb application has an option to use any FTP site to publish your new website.  Why not use FastMail’s file storage area?  It is accessible by using ftp.messagingengine.com and your credentials.  Set this up for each site in iWeb and you can save your site directly to FastMail.
  3. It is easy to import your addresses into FastMail.  Using the built-in Address Book application, it is simple to export your All group to a group vCard file.  Then, simply login to the FastMail website, click Address Book, and click the Import / Export button.  Simply point to the vCard file you created and you are done!
  4. Online Data Storage.  Take advantage of the File Storage area at FastMail.  FastMail supports WebDAV.  In Finder, click on the Go -> Connect To Server… menu.  The server name would be something like: https://dav.messagingengine.com/myuserid.fastmail.fm/   Great for keeping critical files always accessible!
  5. iPhone Support.  The iPhone should automatically synchronize your account information so you can use the Mail application built-into the iPhone (or iPod Touch).  Any changes you make using your iPhone are reflected at the server as well.

Of course, FastMail is the ideal email provider for users of any platform (Windows, Mac, Linux).   All platforms can take advantage of FastMail’s features.

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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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