Remember the mid-to-late 90s when the internet started blowing up in homes across the nation, the days of dialing-in with a modem and tying up your phone line for hours after you receive the month's AOL disk, and having an email address ending in whatever Internet Service Provide (ISP) name you were using (i.e. @rapidnet.com, @aol.com, @compuserv.com)? Those were the days huh? Unfortunately many people today still rely on their ISP as their primary or only provider of their email. I see it all the time. I recently received an email from an online business with an email address ending in @comcast.net. A HUGE no-no. Even a Gmail, Yahoo, or Outlook (businessName@gmail.com) address would be better than using their ISP.
Nothing against your local ISP whomever they may be, but they change, get bought out, or fizzle up and die frequently. Take my city for instances. One of the local ISPs has changed hands around 5 times in the last few years. With each change an ISP makes, undoubtedly your email address with that ISP changes as well. Granted, they may configure mail forwarding for you but they don't have to, and if they only get bought out in your local area, they probably won't forward your email for you. This leaves you at the mercy of someone else when it comes to your email address. Here I'll tell you why you should change your email address.
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For starters it's easy to get a new, free, reliable email address. Not only is it easy, but if you are still relying on your ISP for your email needs, it's just time and Yahoo, Google, or Microsoft won't be going anywhere anytime soon.
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What you'll get:
- A more recognizable domain and professional email: No one should still be using 'firstname.lastname@example.org' for sending professional emails or applying for jobs.
- LESS SPAM: You'll never stop getting SPAM, but the longer you use and address, the more spam you will get and everyone could use a fresh start.
- WAY more space: Free providers like Gmail or Outlook will give you more space than you could ever use. You sill also get access to many other free services than just email.
- Manageable and flexible: ISP email doesn't always port over the best to all of your mobile devices and using a non-ISP provider allows you to use Single Sign-on (SSO) across a lot of sites. Which we will get into later.
- Your Own Domain: For 3 Starbucks coffees a year, you could go out and purchase your own Domain name and have emails for your entire family. (email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org) you get it. And if you are a fledging business, you better be getting your own domain name ASAP. We'll post instructions on how and why in the future.
Migrating your email to a new address may seem like a daunting task and I'll be honest, it won't be the easiest or funnest task, but you won't regret it. It doesn't have to happen over night. Your ISP probably isn't going anywhere soon so you will have time to slowly transfer over the email you want to keep and share your new address with only the people you want. You can keep using your ISPs email address for as long as you wish. If you are paying for it now, nothing changes. If you get rid of it, you'll start seeing a couple bucks savings every month.
There are some usage and security implications no matter which email provider you stick with or switch to. We will try to get into those in a few later posts. If you have any questions about changing your email address or need assistance, post your questions here. If you have some pointers or email horror stories, don't hesitate to leave them here in the comments as well.