How Changing Your Email Address Can Ease Your Pain
The short of this article is that we'd like to challenge you to reconsider your current email address. There's a few reasons why but the main reasons are specifically related to those of you with email addresses provided by your Internet Services Provider (ISP) such as firstname.lastname@example.org. These accounts are often a ticking time bomb of tears and stress that can be avoided. Let's delve into a few important questions and concepts to help you understand the importance of what we're about to tell you...
So why write an article about email addresses?
Fixing email is a common task we work on from transferring/recovering and setting up email accounts using popular software like Mozilla Thunderbird (free) and Microsoft Outlook (paid). This particular task can be quite stressful for many of our customers as they're naturally worried about their emails and what might happen if they can't access or recover them. We'd like to add that this concern is one with merit, the majority of people don't typically backup personal emails that contain years of important data. But then again, who really want's to be backing up emails? We sure don't and you shouldn't have to worry about it either!
Why are you singling out email addresses from my ISP?
It's not that we have anything against your ISP email account for many of us our first email address was provided by our early internet company. It's very convenient and you don't really need to give it a second thought but let's consider the implications of this. If for example I have a @bigpond or @optus or @iinet and so on account then you're tied in to that ISP. You can't really shop around for a better deal for fear of losing that account (and let me tell you, many ISP's certainly do cancel email accounts when you leave — you're no longer paying for it after all). Secondly many ISP's provide an email solution that is technically very basic - this might not sound so bad but when it comes to having your emails "backed up" this is a huge shortcoming. Many ISP's offer little support or inbox space/size and what tends to happen is your email account is setup using something called Post Office Protocol (POP). Rather than using the more modern multi device focused, Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP).
What is the difference between POP & IMAP?
POP and IMAP both allow you to receive email to your email client or mobile device. However there's one significant difference that you may not realise. To summarise, POP is like receiving a letter in the post, the letter arrived at your address and the post office have no idea if you've read it and don't much care either. Whereas with IMAP your mail server is staying in synchronisation with you keeping all of your devices talking for example if you delete or read an email on your phone it will also make that change to your outlook on the computer. IMAP is multi device synchronisation and a form of backup. POP is just like the post.
But my ISP offers IMAP can't I just switch to that?
In some cases your ISP may offer unlimited storage and this change can occur. However in the majority of cases even though they offer IMAP it's only a temporary solution for you as you will eventually run out of space given their typically limited storage size. You're also still stuck with that ISP.
So what does that have to do with backing up my emails?
If you're setup with a good email provider using the modern IMAP protocol then you can feel a lot more comfortable and at ease because you know that all of your emails are available online at any time. Should you lose your phone or your outlook software files corrupt — it's as simple as resetting up the email program and downloading all of those emails again exactly as they were. With POP you might get a horrifying shock when you find that all of those emails were being deleted on your mail server and when you try to get them back there's nothing for you. Not cool!
What can you do about it? By now you've hopefully realised that your current email account and setup may in the future cause you a whole lot of pain. Our recommendation is to be pro-active and get ahead of it. So how can you do this? First of all we recommend you sign up for an email account with a free yet more sophisticated mail provider such as:
Gmail and GSuite
Outlook (Reinvented Hotmail)
Mail.com (customised domains)
Is there anything I should look out for with a new email account?
Security - 2 Factor Authentication is an amazing feature. When signing in from a new location you must enter both your password and a number from your mobile phone. Without the phone you don't get in, protecting you from password theft.
Mailbox size - Most of the one's we've listed have very large or unlimited storage meaning you can rest assure that your IMAP setup will hum along happily.
Junk Filtering - Again many of the providers above do a good job of this.
Business Usage - Gmail in particular offers GSuite a solution aimed at business allowing you to use your @businessname.com.au domain.
So how do I migrate to a new email service? There's 2 parts to migrating to a new email address. The first is what about all those people with my old email address? And the second is how do I get all of my existing emails across to that new email account?
To address the first concern, we recommend the stress-free approach, you simply ask your existing ISP to redirect all of your mail from your current account to your new address. You can then begin to reply to those people from your new account and eventually they will get the message pardon the pun.
Secondly, this is completely optional, you may want a fresh start. However there are also other ways of bringing your emails across to your new email address. We can of course help with this process 07 5448 3096. Or you can follow one of the many guides available online. We've listed just a few for your convenience.
We of course don't warrant and are not liable for any mistakes made if you chose to take on this task. If in doubt we recommend the help of a professional (like us).