When you originally signed up for internet access, you probably got email service and an email address like [email protected]. That’s fine, but you can do much better. Here’s how to move to a good email service. But before you choose a new email provider, you need a business strategy.
My internet provider started giving me terrible service about a year ago. I desperately wanted to change to another ISP, but I was intimidated by the number of customers, friends, business accounts, and new clients I might lose touch with. I was afraid I could lose too much business. So I stayed with the ISP. Many tech support phone calls later, our relationship became strained to say the least.
You may have had an old @twc.com or @aol.com email address ever since you signed up for cable internet years ago. It has served you well. But those cable company-provided email services are not the best. In some cases, they can disappear if you move or switch to a different internet provider. This can take years of history and saved emails with them. Fortunately I had my web site email video@videouniversity and a Gmail address. I’ll explain later how to get addresses like those.
Some internet service providers like Comcast and AT&T allow you to keep your email address when you leave, but many others will disconnect your email service the moment you jump ship. Some may forward emails to a new address, but read the rules carefully. One of the first things I did was to look at my long list of passwords and various accounts. Think of all the places you have entered your email address. This included some very important accounts. I had some 70 pages of notes and accounts.
I went through them one-by-one and changed my contact email from the old Cox address to my Gmail account. Some were difficult to change. Some use your email address as your user name whether that was a live address or not. But I was persistent. It took quite a while, but I still had my Cox address so there was no rush.
Even if you aren’t thinking about leaving your provider now, you may be forced to do so in the future. You would almost certainly be better served by a more modern, feature-filled email service like Gmail, Outlook or others. Portability is vital. Unfortunately, choosing a new email address means you’ll need to figure out what to do with all your old messages. And set up a new email account that isn’t tied to your internet service.
You’ll need to pick a new email service. There are many choices, but most will probably want to go with one of the following:
Google’s Gmail is a top choice for many. It offers a user-friendly interface, powerful search capabilities, and excellent spam and malware filtering. Plus, it integrates seamlessly with other Google services like Google Drive. It provides 15 gigabytes of storage for free, but you can also create a custom email domain for your business. Gmail is, however, well known for collecting a lot of user data, though it does offer some control through its privacy settings.
Microsoft’s web-based email service, Outlook.com, is a modern and clean option. It offers 15 gigabytes of storage and integrates well with Microsoft’s Office tools. It’s worth noting that Microsoft doesn’t scan your emails for ads, although it does scan for spam and malware.
If you’re an Apple user, iCloud may be a good fit. It works smoothly with Macs and iPhones, and there are no ads. However, it has a smaller storage limit of 5 gigabytes, which is shared with other Apple products. It isn’t as feature-rich as other options.
For those concerned about privacy and control, Fastmail is a paid service (between $3 and $9 per month) that offers a secure and ad-free experience. It allows you to create an email account with your desired domain like [email protected], and it’s an excellent option for those who want an alternative to big tech companies.
If privacy is your top priority, ProtonMail is a great choice. It provides end-to-end encryption for maximum security. However, it requires some setup and both you and your recipients must use ProtonMail for full privacy benefits.
Once you’ve picked the right provider for you, sign up for your account. Choose a user name you’ll want to stick with for the long haul. When you get your new email address, start using it exclusively. Send emails with it and include a note or signature with all emails you send. Please change your address book to replace my old email “[email protected]” to my new email “[email protected]” (or the new Gmail address.) Email everyone you know in the BCC column, so hopefully they will change your email in their address book.
Migrate Your Old Emails to Your New Inbox
Do you want to keep all your old emails? I’ve been using an email client called Pegasus Mail for decades. My inbox had 6000 emails, but it is easy to search and find a person or an email. This is a very good time to delete the unneeded emails. Try sorting them by “From” or by “Subject.” You’ll find hundreds you can easily delete. Making this list of emails smaller is going to help in this transition. In my case I disconnected Pegasus Mail, but kept it on my desktop so I always had an easy way to search for an email or person.
You may want to import them all to your new email client, but there’s no rush. Eventually you will have just one email client and one place to check and send emails. There are a few ways to do this. Some email providers, like Gmail and Outlook, allow you to fetch emails from more than one account. This uses a protocol called POP, and your old I.S.P.-supplied email address has to support it — many should — though you will have to read through its help documents or call customer service for instructions on setting it up with your new account’s fetcher.
When I started this transition I set up a new email client “Mozilla’s Thunderbird” and have been very happy with it. I use it only for my new emails. For the old ISP I check emails on their website. I sometimes have to forward one of those emails to the new address. But this messes up “from sender” field and has other negatives. But as time goes on I do not need to do much manual forwarding.
My goal was to not lose any new customer emails, any accounts or relationships. It is looking good. Thunderbird will soon become my sole email client. Pegasus is seeing a lot less action.
Forward New Messages From Your Old Account
Even if you tell all your family, friends, and business associates about your new address, occasionally someone may forget and email you at your old address. If your old account has become overrun by spam over the years, you may want to keep that account separate and check it only from time to time to make sure you aren’t missing anything important. If your inbox is pretty clean, though, I recommend setting up email forwarding, so any new messages sent to your old account will appear in your new inbox. I find that forwarding is not 100%, but is pretty good.
Not all I.S.P.(Internet Service Provider)-provided email services support this feature, but many do. Comcast, for example, allows you to forward emails automatically using these instructions. AT&T uses Yahoo Mail for its email service, so you can find information about forwarding email in Yahoo’s knowledgebase. Again, check the help documentation for your ISP-provided email. Some ISPs can put your account on “seasonal” mode for a couple months which saves money and allows forwarding.
In any case, this is a good time to future-proof your email account. Get a new independent email account that you control and can move to any I.S.P. in the future.
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