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  E-Mail Options  
     

When changing your Internet Service Provider (ISP) your existing e-mail address will usually stop working.  This is because providing it costs money, and if the supplier is not receiving income, even if only by your dialling 0845 numbers, they will eliminate their unnecessary expense.  In this case the options are to either:

  • pay for continued provision that has previously been included in your connection package or

  • use the services of the new ISP or

  • engage a different organisation to host your e-mail storage

I generally encourage people to use a different independent provider, as this then frees the subscriber to change ISPs in the future without the inconvenience of contacting all their correspondents and asking that a new e-mail address be recorded.  At the time of writing, Googlemail is the provider of preference as their service is free, the spam filter is good, they are dependable and with about 7GB storage space most people never need to delete a mail message again. 

With most e-mail providers, you may download all e-mail to your own PC (using a client program such as Outlook Express, Windows Mail or Thunderbird) or use a Web based application.  Probably the best way of working is to combine both, so that you have a permanent record of mails on your PC and can send and receive from your own account using webmail when you are away from home.

One further level of refinement that is recommended, but not necessary, is to use a domain name of your own.  This enables addresses such as YourName@Your_Own_Domain.com   and gives a further level of independence as by keeping your ISP and e-mail provider and e-mail address separate, you are free to switch any without affecting the other or having to ask all your correspondents to change their record of your e-mail address.

Apart from the cachet of your private and unique domain, unlimited addresses are available without additional cost, so each family member could have an address such as TheirName@Your_Own_Domain.com 

To have your own domain name and address you need to register your choice of name.  1ComputerCare can suggest a few possibilities that are available currently (by visiting registration agents such as 123-Reg), but your imagination may well be better able to come up with a name you would like.  There are three parts to an e-mail address:     individual@domain.realm     and each part can contain any standard letters or numbers, periods, hyphens or under_score characters.

The 'individual' can be anything you like.  There is no limit to the number of different names you can have, so one for all family members and pets is no problem as it only has to be unique within your domain.realm.  There is no cost associated with this.

The 'domain.realm' is anything that you like as long as it has not already been registered by someone else.  The 'realm' is the part that determines the cost.  The following are typical realm prices at the time of writing excluding VAT per year. 

2.99 .co.uk   .org.uk   .me.uk
10.99 .mobi
6.99 .eu
9.99 .com  .net  .org  .info  .biz  .name
14.99 .eu.com  .gb.com  .gb.net  etc.
29.99 .uk.net  .uk.com  etc.
12.99 .me

When using your own domain.realm you have extra control over spam.  You may choose to use a unique individual@ address for each recipient or web site you order through.  This makes setting up spam filters easy - as soon as you no longer want to receive mail from a recipient, you just create a rule to block it.  However, there is one drawback to this approach.  If a spammer chooses your domain.realm to masquerade as the sender, then your mailbox will fill up with many rejection and 'out of office' mails from spam recipients that can not be filtered against. 

Therefore,  setting an appropriate catch-all address is important.  Often, the best choice is to reject all mail to unknown individual@'s but return an automatic message containing a genuine individual@ as humans will easily read this whereas spam bots will not.