The reasons behind my choice of Fastmail are both practical (the clean design, the not-messed-around-with IMAP, great support for other standards (calendars, contacts, notes)) and philosophical (no ads, clear and unambiguous about privacy, confidentiality, uptime etc).
My experience has been generally excellent and I run a number of different domains (with lots of aliases, in FM’s terminology) through my account with ease. Support is quick and efficient. No frills and no feeling that I’m paying for things I don’t need/want.
Pricing seems reasonable given everything I’ve noted above.
EDIT: I also use Fastmail to keep a check on old Gmail accounts too, pulling them into a subfolder. This is super-easy to do.
If I were not paying for the pro version of Yahoomail I’d probably be a Fastmail user. I also have an old Hotmail account - which I now log into at outlook.com - and it’s not bad. I have a gmail account, but … I don’t trust Gmail. (I don’t trust Yahoo either, but at least I don’t see ads with them.)
I’m grandfathered in at $20/yr, which I’ve paid since 2001, I think, but the regular pricing today is $35/yr. Gets you no ads, several light/darkthemes, a clean, fast interface, folders (I prefer those to tags), multiple alias addresses that can be added/deleted at will, the ability to use any email addresses from domains you own, offers something like 1Tb storage, and increased attachment size (I think free accounts have a 25Mb limit for any individual email, I don’t remember what the limit is on my Pro account). Last year(?) they added a Photos and Documents view that lets you see all of the attachments you’ve ever sent or received, be it a photo or a document, and it’ll label them appropriately. You can even preview these attachments in a side-by-side view.
I’d also give a shout-out to the Yahoomail iOS app, which is actually well designed and stable; I use it to incorporate my mail from my non-Yahoo mail accounts when I’m mobile.
Office365 is one of the best these days, and good value for money considering you are getting office on top of your email service.
It’s being used by huge corporations - this doesn’t mean it’s the best but means it’s capable.
GMail for me. I have been deep into the Google services for 15+ years now, and I have been really satisfied with the service. I originally went with GMail for the spam filter, and it has never been bothering me since. Their web interface is still the fastest and most efficient I have ever seen.
Yes, their bots are reading my messages to target ads, but I don’t see them.
I’m with @airwhale. Been using Gmail since the days when you had to get an invitation from a beta user to sign up. IMO, it has the best spam filter around. And its email search is second to none, both in webmail and their IOS app. Custom filters allow me to manage and file my mail with very little work.
"Yes, their bots are reading my messages . . . " True.
However, one of my duties for the past 25 years was administering email servers, and I can assure you that someone or something almost certainly can read your email regardless of the provider you choose. If not on your server, then on the servers and/or computers of the people from whom you send or receive email.
My advice is find a service that has the features you need at a price that is acceptable to you. If you purchase your own domain name, you’ll have the option to change providers without changing your email address. I host my domains at hover.com. Last time I checked they charged $5/year to forward an email address, like firstname.lastname@example.org, to an email provider.
I abandoned any regular use of iCloud mail in 2013 when it was revealed that Apple utilizes automated spam filtering that deletes mail without your knowing about it (as opposed to putting all spam in a spam folder), which led to people to not receive legitimate mail.
I was using a web/mail hosting company for my personal domain but kept running into problems so looked elsewhere. I gave FastMail a free try and decided to stick with them; essentially for all of the reasons others have mentioned.
I still have free accounts on Yahoo, Gmail, and iCloud but am working to consolidate to just checking one account for simplicity’s sake.
I’m back on GSuite. I have a personal domain (purchased through Hover) that makes it super easy to change providers should I choose to do so.
I was on FastMail for a long time but ran into a very strange problem where I couldn’t receive e-mail sent from my work domain. FastMail customer support tried everything they could but ended up surmising it was some weird setup on my work end, and suggested I engage with work support. However, my organization has over 300K personnel, and this issue would not rise to a level of importance to get looked at.
So I switched back to GSuite and haven’t had any problems since.
Bottom line — personal domain = freedom to move around as needed!