Well now you’ve gone and done it. Maybe you’ve finally taken that leap into the 21st century and decided that it’s time to get your own email address. Maybe you just like to be organized and have a different email address for each aspect of your life. Or maybe you’re like countless others who have forgotten everything about their previous email address and can no longer access it. Whichever category you fall into, you’ve got a potentially confusing task ahead of you. There are so many email providers out there that it can be difficult to figure out which one will best suit your needs. Here are a few things that you need to look for.
1) Usage: This is generally divided into commercial and non-commercial uses. If you’re simply looking for a personal email address then you won’t need to shell out a dime. You can, of course, pay for upgraded plans but you still have the choice. Commercial users do not; not if you want to prove your credibility to prospective clients. Businesses should ideally have an email address that reflects either the business or domain name. These commercial accounts are usually more secure and feature-driven than personal email accounts.
2) Availability: Pick a name…any name. Now try to sign up for a Hotmail or Yahoo email account with that name. Chances are if you can think it, it’s been taken. You have a higher probability of getting a short, easy to remember email address from a smaller, lesser known email provider. If you really want to open an email account with one of the larger providers, your best bet is a combination of letters and numbers.
3) Space: I’m going to let you in on something. I’m a freelance writer. I’m constantly in contact with the freelancing services and my clients. In my spare time, I volunteer as a beta reader so I regularly receive new chapters from authors. I can never seem to find the time to delete all my old emails so they keep piling up. Why am I telling you this? Because I’m using a whopping 0% of my 1GB limit. In the land of email accounts, size does not necessarily matter. Unless you plan on using the same email address for the rest of your life, never deleting a message or you’re actually certain that you will have use for the space, don’t limit yourself to the huge inboxes. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t sign up if you want to, but you’ll probably be fine with an inbox between say 100MB and 250 MB.
4) Security Tools: There are a lot of bad things out there and most of them find their way into your email. I’m not even going to tell what’s been popping up in my junk mail recently. This is not an option. If you’re considering an email provider that doesn’t supply the following, I have one word for you…don’t.
Anti-virus: No self-respecting email account should be without this. If you know that you’re going to be downloading anything at all from your emails, look for an email provider that offers scans uses some of the more reliable programs such as Norton or McAfee.
Anti-spam: If you’ve ever had a Hotmail account then you’re probably well acquainted with this. Spammers are everywhere and you need a service that can not only filter spam into a junk or bulk folder, but can also block the spammer’s email address. Yahoo Mail is quite good at this although errant spam can creep into your inbox from time to time. Mail2World is also adept at sending spam to a junk folder. An extension of this is the sender verification system used by email services such as Bluebottle. In this case, only emails from senders that are on you’re allowed list make it to your inbox. Anyone else receives a confirmation message that must be clicked on before the email is allowed. This eliminates the possibility of automated spam getting in.
5) Filters: Yes, sending spam to the bulk folder is a sort of filtering but that’s not what I’m talking about. What I mean is that you should have the ability to create folders and send relevant new emails there automatically. This saves time, especially if you receive a lot of emails.
6) Attachments: Not all personal email accounts allow attachments. For example, Walla has gotten good reviews from many users. Having used it myself, I can say that the service was quite satisfactory. However, while I was able to send attachments, received attachments could not be opened. There are two things to take into consideration: both the total size and the number of files you can send through your email. You’ll need to find a balance between the two. It doesn’t make sense being able to send unlimited files with a size limit of 2 kb per file, now does it?
So, taking all these factors into consideration, which email provider would I recommend? Well, none actually. They all have their advantages and disadvantages so I’ll leave it up to you to find your own email provider. I think I’ve given you all the advice you’ll need to make an informed decision. I will tell you that I am partial to Yahoo Mail, even though it takes forever to get a good name. I hope that this information has been useful to you.
R. D. Wylder is a freelancer who owns and operates RayneDesigns (www.articlesondemand.net).
She is also the driving for behind Elite Shopping Experience (http://ese.zlio.com).