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FastMail has a number of tools for managing your own domains and the web sites, email accounts and DNS settings associated with them. This is not available for accounts on our Basic plan.
What we can do
The obvious one, but there are quite a few options. We make it easy to set up email and channel it into your main or other FastMail Inbox. So if you have domains that you haven't bothered setting up with email because you thought it was too hard, try it with FastMail. See the Setting up your domain help page to get started.
You can accept email for specific addresses (e.g.
email@example.com) or for all addresses at your domain. You can direct email to any account, local or remote. We can also handle sub-domains, so you can use addresses like
firstname.lastname@example.org to more easily classify your email.
We can host DNS for your domain regardless of which registrar you've registered it with. We set up sane defaults so email and websites (in your file storage) just work. We give you a simple control panel to set A, MX, CNAME, etc. records to any values you want. For more complex scenarios, there's no arbitrary limits on how many of each record you can create.
You can publish websites to your whole domain, or a sub-domain, or an arbitrary path within a domain one of three ways:
- Host a simple website with static HTML pages and linked images from any directory in your file storage area.
- Create an instant photogallery just by uploading photos into a directory of your file storage area.
- Create a redirect to another URL (either a regular redirect or a "cloaked" redirect inside a frame).
Our default DNS will point http://mail.example.com to a login screen where you can login to your email account.
Users in your domain
Create users in your own domain, so rather than email@example.com, you can create an account directly in your domain as firstname.lastname@example.org.
What we don't do
FastMail does not sell domains. You'll need to purchase a domain from a domain registrar. A registrar is a company that manages the purchase and ownership of internet domain names. If you're looking for a registrar, we recommend Gandi.
Webhosting with database/scripting/PHP/etc
You can publish any directory in your file storage area as a website, or have it display any uploaded photos as a photo gallery, or set up redirects to other sites. We don't do any dynamic sites that require server side scripting (e.g. PHP, ASP.Net, etc.) or databases.
FastMail domain management advantages
There's a number of reasons to host DNS for your domains at FastMail and also to point your MX records directly to our servers:
Better spam protection
We go do a lot of work at the SMTP stage (when email is transferred from an external system to FastMail) to try and identify spam bots and block them while letting legitimate email through. Unfortunately many of these processes can only work when the MX records for your domain point directly to our servers. If you point the MX records to another system, and forward from that system to FastMail, we can't do the spam bot detection, and so more spam will get through.
To give you an idea of how effective this is, one of our users — the author, Simon Cann (http://simoncann.com/) — changed over the MX records for his Noise Sculpture domain (http://noisesculpture.com) to point to us instead of using a forwarding service. After doing so, he had the following to say:
As you suggested, I pointed the MX records for the Noise Sculpture domain at FastMail and have been blown away by the results. I'm now getting maybe three or four pieces of spam in a day and the few pieces of spam that are getting through are being correctly identified as spam and put in the Junk Mail folder
Simon went on to explain why he hadn't made the change sooner:
I came to FastMail a year ago following an unexpected and highly inconvenient melt down of my web host who was also by default my email host for my domain. This was embarrassing and potentially lost me business (I was in the middle of pitching a book proposal to a group of literary agents).
On signing up with FastMail I immediately pointed the simoncann.com MX record at FastMail. My other website for my music-related books (Noise Sculpture) was hosted by a different web host and so I forwarded all of my email from that domain to FastMail. I didn't see a need to change the MX record — the web host was working well (still is) and I couldn't be bothered to start hacking the DNS records.
Long story short, as the simoncann.com and noisesculpture.com emails were sent to a single FastMail account, I hadn't realized how much simoncann.com spam was getting killed by FastMail. However, now that I have changed the MX record for noisesculpture.com, I can see just how much spam was getting through from that domain because I was using forwarding rather than pointing the MX records.
This change has stunned me (in a very good way). I'm so impressed with the change (allied with your excellent service) that I've just renewed my FastMail subscription to cover the next few years.
Fewer places to deal with
If you point the nameservers for your domains to us (i.e. we host DNS for your domain), you can use the Custom DNS screen to set up whatever DNS you want for your domain, removing yet another middleman (e.g. no limited registrar DNS panel or ZoneEdit required). This also means if there's any problems, there's one place to go to: us. It makes it easier to see that the DNS is all correctly set up and working for your domain, and means that you can't get into a situation where each side is passing the buck to the other.
Alias resolution occurs directly in the MX servers and is forwarded out independent of the IMAP servers. So if you set up a domain and aliases at FastMail, and have external targets on those aliases for backups, even if the IMAP servers are down for some reason, the expanded alias on emails will still be forwarded out of FastMail to your backup.