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Some Thoughts on Email Addresses

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A friend of mine has been with her email provider since forever but they're now proving unreliable so she wants to move on and was asking for my thoughts so here goes.

Finding a new email address

To my mind we're now at the point where you're giving your email address to so many people who are, in turn, using it as a way of helping to provide authentication if you have to log into your account with them then it makes your life a lot easier if you stick with one email address, forever.

There's two ways of doing this: the easy way ... and the right way.

The easy way

The easy way is to accept that there are just a few big players out there in the email world who are so big they're unlikely to disappear in our lifetime. To my mind that's really Google's gmail.com or Microsoft's hotmail.com (or, if you're an Apple fan, icloud.com). I favour the former, but that's just me and I do have as a backup email address.

The down side to this is that Google will then read all of your email, which you might not want. You also now have to be fairly imaginative to come up with a short and memorable email address.

The right way

The right way is to register your own domain. Then you have complete control: it will last forever and you can have as many email addresses as you want at that domain. It also means you can have an email address which means something to you.

So in our case Beth and I own the-hug.org so I'm and other people who use our domain are firstname@the-hug.org

We also have functional email addresses, so for mail issues relating to the domain, and for domain registration issues, and so on.

Now the problem with this is that it's more work. If you do it the way we do it, with our own mail server, then it's a lot more work and it gets trickier with each passing year, but some companies offer email hosting with your own domain.

So this gives you the combination of an email address that lasts forever but without the inconvenience of hosting it yourself.

There's lots of them out there. Here's TechRadar reviewing the ones they like.

All of this comes with a cost of course. Owning as domain can cost £25 or more a year (.scot domains are £25 + VAT a year from domains.scot for example) and then you've got to add the cost of mail hosting to that, and prices for that seem to be from about £1 per month upwards.

You can see why most people end up with the likes of gmail.

Moving to a new email address

Whichever way you go on this you now have a new email address, which is great, but what do you do with your old one.

Well, ideally, you keep it, for a year at least so that you don't miss emails from people who only email you once a year.

You might also, if possible, set up mail redirection on the old account so that email to your old email address comes directly to your new email address. That way you only have to check for email in one place ... but don't forget to tell everyone who mails you via the old email address that you've changed your email address.

Tags: internet Written 07/11/23

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