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Comparing Fastmail and Skiff

Fastmail is a well known email service that has been around for over 20 years. How does it compare to Skiff Mail?
Skiff and Fastmail logos positioned horizontally.
Email has become one of the most important digital applications in our personal and professional lives. Email yields fast, efficient, and convenient instantaneous conversations around the world, for both close friends and family members or for critical professional discussions. In this blog, we’ll briefly review the most important elements of choosing an email provider, before comparing two popular ones: Skiff and Fastmail.Privacy and security: Email privacy is a fundamental part of choosing any new provider. In entrusting a new email provider with years of your personal communications, knowing how your data is stored, and who may have access to it, is extremely important. We’ll review different models for privacy and security, including end-to-end encryption.Speed and reliability: Similarly, choosing a reliable email provider is important to ensure that your communications are always received and sent as intended. Furthermore, email threads may be conducted over weeks or months, necessitating fast performance and reliability for searching through your previous communications. It also creates a formal record for your communications that can be usable for years into the future.Convenience: Convenience: Email allows you to communicate with people from anywhere in the world, at any time of day or night. All email providers are expected to have easy-to-use mobile apps, notifications, and calendar integrations for managing your schedule. With many different products to choose from, consumers also expect a top notch user experience from any email provider’s webmail and mobile apps.Product suite: Today, email is often used as our online identity - published on business cards, resumes, or social media accounts. As a result, integrating email into other products, including cloud storage, collaboration, or calendar applications is another important differentiator for choosing a new email provider. In comparing Skiff and Fastmail, we’ll give an overview of how each product integrates into other applications.


Fastmail is a web-based email service that was launched in 1999. It is headquartered in Australia and provides email services to users in over 120 countries. Given Fastmail’s age, feature updates, and additional integrations, such as a calendar, it has become a popular product for millions of users over decades of use.Skiff is a newer, privacy-first, end-to-end encrypted, and Web3 native workspace product that includes mail, file storage, and collaborative documents. Skiff offers cross platform iOS and Android applications, as well as plans for personal, family, and business use.In this blog, we’ll compare these two email providers in numerous categories, including history, functionality, features, privacy, encryption, and more. If you’re looking for a new email account, an additional email service for privacy, or a workspace product for your business, this article will provide critical insight into two popular products for communicating privately.

Fastmail background

Fastmail offers a number of convenience features that are critical for usability in web-based email services. These include the ability to use Fastmail with your own domain name, support for multiple email addresses, and the ability to set up email forwarding. Fastmail also offers a number of features that are designed to make it easier to use email on the go, such as the ability to access email offline and support for push email.One of the main reasons that people use Fastmail is because a lot of the company’s branding, features, and history focuses on security, privacy, and reducing tracking. Although Fastmail uses SSL/TLS encryption for all connections, including when you access your account from a web browser, it is not end-to-end encrypted, and it does not support PGP or OpenPGP for encrypting and authenticating emails. While your email is always encrypted when it is being transmitted, it is not end-to-end encrypted (keeping it private to you and intended recipients). Today, Skiff, Proton, Tutanota, and other email providers have begun to offer full end-to-end encryption - and many popular consumer messaging apps have also implemented end-to-end encryption as a major privacy protection.Fastmail has implemented more sophisticated account security features, including two-factor authentication and hardware key authentication with.a Yubikey. This means that in addition to your password, you also need to enter a code that is generated by an app on your smartphone in order to log in to your account. This makes it much more difficult for someone to gain access to your account, even if they know your password. Below, we’ll cover Skiff’s background before comparing the two providers on features, user experience, mobile apps, and more.

Skiff background

Skiff is a privacy-first, end-to-end encrypted email platform that also comes with Drive and Pages products for collaboration, file sharing, and document creation. Skiff provides 10 GB of storage space out of the box, as well as four free emailaliases for every account (paid plans can add even more aliases). Skiff has native mobile apps for iOS and Android, as well as a desktop application on Apple’s MacOS (with Linux and Microsoft Windows coming soon). Skiff is not yet compatible with IMAP for using another email provider built onto your device.Skiff provides full email functionality in a web based client, including the ability to use a custom domain, business email addresses across multiple users, and receive notifications via browser, desktop, and mobile devices. Skiff’s mail client is also fully open-source, enabling other users to review, test, and ask questions about the implementation. You can also sign up for Skiff without sharing any personal data, either with a new email username or with a crypto wallet.Across its other products for file storage, Skiff serves as a privacy-first alternative to G Suite with end-to-end encryption of all files, notes, and messages. For email users, Skiff does not support PGP, and instead uses an end-to-end encryption scheme based on elliptic curves; all messages to other Skiff users are end-to-end encrypted, and external messages are encrypted with users’ public keys on receipt. Read more in Skiff’s whitepaper.

Features and experience

Most importantly, Fastmail only offers a paid plan following a 30 day free trial. There is no completely free version. In contrast, Skiff offers a freemium business model, wherein many users can use a basic inbox completely for free (Skiff’s free plan also offers generous storage of 10 GB, which can be used across all Skiff Drive and Pages products as well). Even though it is paid, Fastmail’s most basic email tier ($3 per month) offers quite limited features, such as no custom domain access and limited features (no schedule send or snoozing).As a result, Fastmail immediately requires some sense of how you intend to use your inbox. If you definitely want to pay for an email product, use a custom domain, and employ sophisticated email management tools, Fastmail’s paid plans could suit some of these use cases well.Skiff has more flexible tiers; the free plan includes access to all workspace products, including Mail, Pages, and Drive. It also supports 10 GB of storage and four free aliases. Beyond that, Skiff’s Pro and Business tiers are geared more towards professional use, such as shared workspaces or accounts that require up to one terabyte of storage.Fastmail’s three tiers - Basic, Standard, and Professional - are all at a relatively low price point of $3, $5, and $9 per user per month (as mentioned above, no free tier exists). Although the features differ significantly from the Basic to Professional tiers, the core product experience is quite similar, wherein users can access Mail, Calendar, and Contacts at every tier.If you are looking to test out both providers, you could consider signing up for Skiff’s free plan and also enrolling in Fastmail’s 30 day trial. This should provide sufficient time to examine the different features, apps, and integrations that you may need for an email provider.

Security and encryption

Privacy and encryption are critical in choosing an email provider. First, email is often used to communicate sensitive or personal information. If this information is not properly protected, it could be accessed by unauthorized individuals. Second, email is often used to conduct business transactions. If this information is not properly protected, it could be accessed by competitors or other interested parties. Finally, email is often used to communicate with friends and family. If this information is not properly protected, it could be accessed by anyone who has access to the account.Skiff supports end-to-end encryption, while Fastmail does not. This is a critical security distinction as it massively changes how private your email is. End-to-end encryption ensures that an email provider does not have access to your inbox. For example, all messages sent among Skiff users remains private to senders and recipients; external mail is encrypted immediately on receipt with a users’ public key.In contrast, although Fastmail practices encryption in transit, which keeps data encrypted between a user and Fastmail, messages are not end-to-end encrypted, theoretically exposing your mail inside Fastmail’s databases, or to others depending on privacy laws and protections.Most of the largest email providers, including Microsoft Outlook, Gmail, and Yahoo mail, are also not end-to-end encrypted. This significantly limits user privacy in email communications, particularly since almost all messaging apps (Signal, Telegram, WhatsApp, iMessage, and Android messenger) have become end-to-end encrypted.End-to-end encryption is a critical tool for protecting our online privacy and security. When end-to-end encryption is used, our data is encrypted before it leaves our device, and can only be decrypted by the intended recipient. This means that even if our data is intercepted by a third party, they would not be able to read it. End-to-end encrypted email providers, including Skiff, Tutanota, and ProtonMail, have become increasingly popular in recent years, with hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide signing up to protect their inbox from any third party observation.Both providers support two-factor authentication. However, while Skiff focuses on authenticator app 2FA today, Fastmail also allows you to add a YubiKey hardware key to truly secure your inbox.

Mail, contacts, calendar

One of the most useful features of email is how it can integrate with our contacts and calendar. This means we can easily keep track of important events and dates, and also have all the relevant information about a person or organization stored in one place. This can be extremely helpful when trying to organize our time and stay on top of our commitmentsEmail integration can also help us to avoid missing important deadlines or appointments, as we can set up reminders which can be emailed to us in advance. Overall, email calendar integrations are very helpful for facilitating organization and collaboration.Email aliasing features are also extremely important for privacy-focused email service providers. In particular, email aliases help individuals disguise their true email addresses or personal identity from mailing lists or services. Because it is impractical to manage tens or hundreds of distinct email accounts, offering aliasing built into an email service streamlines many individuals’ privacy workflows.Skiff and Fastmail both offer robust email aliasing services, keeping your identity and true email address private. Of particular note may be Fastmail’s integration with 1Password, which allows for the creation of “masked email” addresses programmatically via one’s 1Password account. Although this may be useful for existing 1Password users, you can generally achieve a similar level of privacy by simply using multiple aliases on any platform.Skiff also allows you to identify addresses with optional dots or “+” terms, thereby giving users effectively infinite aliases. For example, if you set up the email address [email protected], you would also be able to receive mail at [email protected], or even at [email protected] (the terms after the +, like many other email providers, all lead to the same inbox).


Choosing a new email provider can be a big commitment entailing migrating previous email, informing contacts, and setting up applications and integrations (for tips, we wrote this blog with email migration tips). Choosing a provider with sufficient storage space to store years of personal communications, sensitive documents, and important contacts is a critical piece of the decision to select a new email address.Both Skiff and Fastmail offer different tiers of storage space. However, their storage amounts, product differences, and price points differ significantly, making storage a clear differentiator for anyone looking for a new email address.Fastmail’s lowest tier - the Basic tier - only offers 2 GB of storage per user. In contrast, Skiff’s free tier offers 10 GB of storage, which can be used across their Mail, Pages, and Drive products. While 2 GB may be enough for a casual mail service, significantly more storage is necessary for any drive or collaboration products. At higher tiers, Fastmail offers 30 GB and 100 GB of storage, which is likely more than enough for even tens or hundreds of thousands of emails.Skiff’s Pro and Business plans support up to 100 GB and one TB of storage - more than enough for hundreds of thousands of emails or thousands of files stored and shared in the Drive product. When collaborating with multiple users, each user in a workspace is upgraded to additional storage levels, making it possible to use the Skiff Drive and Pages products for professional cloud storage and collaboration.As noted in the discussion on privacy and encryption above, Skiff differs from Fastmail in that all stored files, messages, and notes are end-to-end encrypted, keeping them private to you and your shared collaborators. Without end-to-end encryption, is may be possible for an email provider, law enforcement, or hacker to access your data. If you are looking for a secure email and private file storage product, Skiff could check more of these security boxes.

Mobile and desktop experiences

Both Skiff and Fastmail offer webmail applications as well as native Android apps and iOS apps. While Fastmail’s mobile app integrates mail and calendar into a single experience, Skiff offers distinct mobile apps for email and calendar services. Both products have mobile apps that offer the most important mail features - checking your inbox, viewing mail, receiving notifications, and composing messages.Each provider’s mobile app also supports the more complex features that could be offered in their paid plans, including organizing mail in labels and folders, or scheduling mail for the future. In contrast, most native mail applications (such as Apple mail) do not allow providers to integrate these more advanced features.Fastmail allows users more degrees of granular customization, including custom swipe gestures with different duration. Skiff allows for greater inbox customization with folders, labels, signatures, auto reply settings, and mail import, which can all be managed from the Skiff Mail mobile app as well. For any users considering either email provider, it may be worth examining the different features that can be customized on either application and determining if your workflows have any particular needs (such as custom swipe gestures or signature settings).As a brief note, Skiff also offers a macOS desktop application, with Linux, Windows, and other platforms coming soon. This desktop app can be used for Mail, Drive, pages, and all other Skiff applications.

Snooze, schedule, and more

Both Skiff and Fastmail offer an exciting array of new email features for better managing your inbox, including snooze, schedule, unsend, and more.Schedule send: Skiff and Fastmail both support schedule send, with broad flexibility to choose any date in the future for scheduling mail. However, Fasmail does not support schedule sending mail on the free plan; only the Standard and Professional plans allow scheduling mail to send in the future.Undo send: Both Skiff and Fastmail support undo send as well. For a period of time after you send mail (ten to fifteen seconds), the email provider will display an undo button; clicking this button will revert the email to a draft and cancel it from being sent. Undo send is a helpful feature if you spot a typo, almost send mail to the wrong person, or simply click the send button unintentionally.Snooze: Currently, only Fastmail supports snoozing emails - but only for Standard and Professional plan users. Snoozing allows you to temporarily remove emails from your inbox, and then have them reappear at some later date, such as a few days in the future. Snoozing mail can be a helpful feature if you want to keep your inbox clear but do not want to respond in the moment. If you’re looking for a similar feature on Skiff, you can drag and drop mail into other folders.


Skiff Mail and Fastmail also differ in their integration of other privacy-respecting products and resources. While Skiff Mail has built in certain Web3 wallets and storage providers to increase user privacy, Fastmail has currently focused on alias integrations, including a partnership with 1Password to support more email aliasing features.Skiff’s partnerships include the ability to use a crypto wallet for login (MetaMask, Brave Wallet, Keplr, and more), as well as a partnership with the InterPlanetary File System (IPFS) for decentralized, end-to-end encrypted storage.Fastmail’s 1Password integration creates a simple and easy-to-use interface for generating completely disposable email aliases. When autofilling a new account username into a service on signup, 1Password will suggest a new masked email address connected to an integrated Fastmail account. From there, users are able to disable this address for receiving mail.This integration is similar to Apple’s Hide My Email product, wherein random, disposable email aliases can be generated to sign up for new accounts that all forward back to an original user email address.

Skiff sign up and paid plans

To sign up for Skiff, you can visit the Mail signup at this link. Skiff's Pro and Business tiers offer siginificantly more features across multiple products than Fastmail currently does, including up to 1 TB of storage and the ability to purchase domains in-app (Skiff Domains). For the full feature set, check out the table below.
Drive storage10 GB100 GB1 TB
Sending messages (limit)200/dayUnlimitedUnlimited
Folders and labels5UnlimitedUnlimited
Custom signatures
Auto reply
Schedule or undo send
Email + doc text search
E2EE link sharing
Document limitUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited aliases41015
Custom domains025
Workspace collaborators66Unlimited
Doc version history24 hoursUnlimitedUnlimited

Main differences

Ultimately, we recommend new email users use Skiff due to end-to-end encryption and integration into a suite of products. Although Fastmail offers high quality products with a long track record, our main hesitation to recommend the product as a primary email client is that it lacks end-to-end encryption, which Skiff offers as a cornerstone security feature. However, Fastmail is also one of the oldest email providers and remains a popular, feature-rich alternative, particularly since it has integrated 1Password for creating disposable aliases.If you are considering Fastmail alternatives, the key things to examine are differences in the free and paid plans, levels of security and encryption, and integrations into the mobile and notification apps that you use the most. If you are migrating for personal use or family use, your required feature sets will differ significantly from a business or organization looking to switch from G Suite or Google Workspace to a more privacy-respecting alternative.If you enjoyed this article, you may look at our comparisons of Skiff with Tutanota, ProtonMail, Posteo, and other privacy-first email providers. For any other questions, join Skiff’s Discord, follow us on Twitter, or feel free to reach out to us anytime at [email protected].

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