Choosing an E-mail Provider

The ‘Internet service provider’ e-mail trap

When you sign up with a terrestrial Internet service provider, they’ll allocate you at least one e-mail address, and probably allow you to set up several others if you feel like it. If you later decide to switch to another Internet service provider, your old provider might allow you to keep your old e-mail address(es), but some of them deliberately don’t. For example, BT will kill off your e-mail address(es) after a while, unless you pay a small fee for their ‘premium’ service. It wouldn’t hurt them to let you keep any old addresses that you might have, but having a policy of taking them away discourages you from switching to another provider.

Ignoring your Internet service provider’s e-mail

Switching e-mail addresses isn’t hard, but it can prove to be a pain for the people with whom you regularly correspond. You can avoid this potential hassle by ignoring your Internet service provider’s e-mail service to the maximum possible extent and using a completely independent service for day-to-day e-mail. What you need is a new e-mail address that is not controlled by your Internet service provider, and can be kept forever irrespective of whether you stick with your current Internet service provider or decide to move.

Use your Internet service provider’s e-mail just for billing

Your Internet service provider might send you billing, service availability, and other important messages at the only or main e-mail address that they’ve allocated to you, but as far as the rest of the world is concerned they can communicate with you through another e-mail account that you keep permanently. If you set up an e-mail account with Google or Microsoft, you can be reached at either ‘’ or ‘’ forever, whether you decide to get your Internet service from BT, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, or some other provider.

Setting up a good free e-mail service

Google and Microsoft each provide a good free e-mail service and I often advise people to set up accounts with both. When you set up an e-mail account you will often be asked to nominate another e-mail account for recovery purposes. If you have a ‘gmail’ account with Google and an ‘outlook’ account with Microsoft, each account can nominate the other as a recovery account. If you’re lucky, and the names haven’t already been taken, you might be able to set up the same account name with each provider and be ‘whoeveryouare’ at both Gmail and Outlook.