Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) gives you email addresses for free. Very nice of them isn’t it? Well in one way it isn’t! If you use these email addresses, then it makes it harder for you to leave them should you ever find a cheaper or better or more convenient broadband alternative, or should you just plain fall out with them. Think about it for a moment. All of the family, friends, business contacts and companies that use your current email address. It would be a nightmare to change all of that! Wouldn’t it? Well No! Actually it probably wouldn’t be, not if you can do it at your leisure, now, when there is no pressure to do it quickly. Simply create yourself a new email address on one of the free, independent-of-your-ISP sites, do a few simple things and run them both for a while, and you have freed yourself should you ever need to move, not only have you freed yourself from this ISP though you have freed yourself from ALL ISPs.
Where to go to for a new address?
Firstly remember that you can create a nice shiny new email address and it really doesn’t matter a jot unless you tell people. So register for an address, send yourself an email or two to your other address and reply a couple of times and see how it looks, some of them are confusing at first. If you stop using the address it doesn’t much matter if no-one knew about it anyway, the email company will just drop it after a few months of inactivity anyway.
So there are a few choices here, and I suggest that you have a look at at least a couple before you decide, because the screens where you access them are quite different, have a look and have a play before you settle on one. Hint – if you Google “Free Email Service” you will find loads of info, here’s just a few I got from doing that very thing. (the following are not my words but found online)
- Gmail – Short for ‘Google Mail’, they promise less spam than other free accounts, and also mobile phone access to the service.
- Freeola – Comes with an unlimited amount of inbox space, which is rare for most free accounts. You can also sign up for web hosting, which has no limits as well.
- GMX – Comes with an unlimited amount of inbox space, which is rare for most free accounts. You can also sign up for web hosting, which has no limits as well.
- Mail.com – Offers E-mail address that fits your personality, password protected, block Spam and more.
- Hotmail.com – All the normal features you expect from an email package as well as the ability upgrade to our premium email service.
- Hushmail – They state that their free accounts are secure, and that all incoming emails are scanned for viruses, Trojan horses and weed out automated spam messages.
- Yahoo.co.uk – Offers a fast and reliable service that includes a spam filter and the ability to upgrade to a premium service.
- Lycos.co.uk – offers blocking function for unwanted messages, large 15MB mailbox size, translation function, POP3 access and more.
I should quickly say that I am not personally recommending any of the above, some of them I have never even seen, however the point is that there is plenty of choice – try a few before you decide which one you like best. My only further thought is to choose one that you believe will be here to stay. You don’t want to find that your email address becomes useless because the company goes bust, but to be fair it probably wouldn’t matter, another company would most likely just pick up all the users and add them to their collection.
How to manage the change?
This is the important bit. Firstly you probably want to somehow export all the contacts that you are interested in out of your current system and them import them into your new system. This is remarkably easy for me to say, and very often easy to do, but there are thousands of combinations depending on what you are currently using and where you decide to go to give you the right answer here. Look around in the old system and see if there are any options for Exporting contacts. If you find one then look at the new system you have chosen and see what options there are for importing. Usually they are there somewhere and are manageable – if not you know where I am J. In the worst case scenario (and if you don’t want to call me) you will have to manually create your Contacts in the new system.
Family, Friends and Business Contacts that are people
OK so firstly you can, using your new email account, send an email to all of your family and friends and to those business contacts that are real people (that you want to tell) to say something like “I have changed my email address – can you start using this new one from now on”. That simple email usually takes care of the majority of your contacts that you need to tell. You may of course want to split this into a few emails with different wording for different groups.
This one is trickier. This category is where it can’t simply send an email and expect someone at the other end to update their records. This is for things like Banks, Utilities and Phone companies. Anywhere where you have either make a phone call to tell them, or log onto their systems and access “Your Account” and actually manually change the details to your new address. This is actually the one that causes grief, as there can be a few of them and you can struggle to remember them all and you worry about missing one or two. OK but his is the beauty of doing it NOW, when you don’t have to get it done by a certain deadline. If you miss any, then they will continue to send email to the old address, and as long as you are continuing to monitor that address you will get a reminder to make that change! So the sooner you start this process the better.
This one is the good one. Let’s face it, most of us get the odd email that we are not interested in reading. Guess where all those emails are going to be sent? So what are you going to do about that? Absolutely nothing. Let them go there, sooner or later we are not going to look at that account.
Future Spam? More than one address! A Spam account!
Ah but how can we try to avoid future spam? How can we prevent ourselves from getting our new email address onto spammer’s lists? Why not create more than one new email address? Create one for giving out to your trusted Family and Friends. Perhaps create another for Business contacts that are people, Maybe another for Businesses that your trust, and the last (and in my opinion most important for all the wrong reasons) the one you use when you are forced to give an email address to someone or something that you have absolutely no interest in having any contact with. This is in fact your new Spam email address! Perhaps email@example.com is a little too obviously named to give to people but you get the gist, firstname.lastname@example.org will do just fine, and of course when you start getting too much mail addressed to marksmail12 you can always create marksmail13! Oh yes!
Webmail is simply email that you access over the web. It’s pretty obvious really. It’s very handy to be able to do this because when you know how to do it on one computer you can do it on pretty much any computer, tablet, Smartphone, anywhere in the world as long as it has an internet connection and a browser. So why wouldn’t you want to use it? Some people still use Outlook Express, which has been phased out by Microsoft, or Windows Mail. There is a program called Outlook, which I use myself and find to be really excellent, however these programs have a drawbacks. They take the email off of the internet and bring them to your PC, where you can work on them and send replies to contacts that are also held on the PC. One drawback is that because all the information is held on the PC, you cannot go to any other device anywhere in the world that has an internet and a browser and get to your emails. Oh you could read and reply to the new ones, assuming you could remember how to access the Webmail version of the email accounts your PC was accessing, you could even send new ones assuming you knew the email addresses that you wanted to send to. The other big issue follows from this, if all the information is held on the PC, what happens if I have a PC problem, I can’t do anything until I have the PC fixed, or restored the data to another one. With Webmail I can do exactly the same thing I always do but just do it from another device, no data to worry about backing up, and worse still, restore!
Going back to the question, “Why wouldn’t you want to use Webmail?” Well the simplest answer is I think that you would have to have a really good reason to not want to use Webmail!
Some of you might already know the benefit of having your own domain name – e.g. Compulogix.co.uk. There are many advantages, such as a virtually unlimited number of email addresses. I still get a buzz out of giving an email address to someone at “The very long company name” company as email@example.com. One thing for sure is you could tell who the source of spam emails was if they started coming to that address, and you could just as easily block them!
So if any of you want help with domains names for email or web sites let me know, preferably not using firstname.lastname@example.org! 😉 I can see me having to block that one! Mind you it will be a good test of how many people actually read this far!
Don’t forget to use the Cashback sites when you buy stuff online. Someone else will get the money if you don’t!
OK that’s it for now, thanks for your time; I hope some of you found some of it useful. Feel free to forward this on to others if you want to.
As usual if your PC / Network / Internet / Email / Backup or whatever isn’t running smoothly at the moment, my number is below, or if you want to ask the odd question or have any suggestions for a topic for another Newsletter or you are finding something particularly frustrating / problematic on the computer front, why not send me an email.