I am increasingly often asked if I can recommend any IMAP email providers — usually as an alternative to Gmail. Although I have no affiliation or experience as a customer I have most often replied that Fastmail seems to be a good alternative. They still seem to be in good shape, but my answer was primarily motivated by the fact that I didn’t really know any other IMAP email providers. Well, I didn’t know any providers that had not added support for IMAP as an afterthought (Gmail, Yahoo, GMX, and now Outlook), and although free most of them were either primitive or buggy.

Recently I became aware of a couple of alternatives. This happened when a MailMate user was not satisfied with my standard Fastmail reply. Among his most interesting findings were Cotse.Net and LuxSci. They are interesting, because they use two of the most reliable IMAP server implementations. They use Dovecot and Panda, respectively. Dovecot is my personal favorite and it’s running on my own server. Panda was created by the inventor of IMAP, Mark Crispin.

In the future I’ll link to this blog post when someone asks for alternative email providers. You are welcome to add your favorite in the comments.