Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

How do I forward my old email address?

One of my inactive email addresses is posted on someone’s web
page. It’s for a different ISP than I use now. Is there a way that if anyone
sends mail to that inactive address, the mail would be forwarded to my current
email address?

Changing email addresses can be a real pain, and this is one of the reasons
why. Be it on a web page that you can’t update, or in the address books of all
your friends and family, you know that someone will try to use your old email
address long after you’ve switched it. A forwarding service would certainly be
nice.

Yep. It’d certainly be nice.

But in general, while it’s possible, it’s not very likely, or it’s
going to cost you.

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!

When email gets sent to “someaddress@example.com”, the “someaddress” part is
ignored by everyone except for the mail servers at “example.com”.
Every mail server that isn’t “example.com” simply looks at the email and says,
in effect, “oh, this needs to go to example.com”, and sends it there.

It’s not until the mail actually gets to the servers at “example.com” that
the individual email recipient is examined, and the appropriate mailbox is
found, or other action taken.

The upshot is this: if forwarding is to be done, it must be done by your old
ISP. No matter what, they’re going to get all the email sent to your old
address since it’s “at” their domain. Only they can then forward it.

The problem is twofold: first, many ISPs and mail servers simply don’t
provide an email forwarding service. Hotmail is a good example. You can’t close
a Hotmail account and ask for all email that might come in on that account to
be forwarded to some other email address.

Second, for those that do support it, it basically means keeping your old
account open so that it can receive, and then forward, your email. Keeping it
open, of course, implies that it might cost you some amount per month.

There are various email forwarding services out there, but they basically
take the later approach: you give them enough information for them to keep your
old account open, and they manage the forwarding process for you. I typically
don’t recommend them – if you’re going to keep your old account open anyway,
why involve someone else?

What I do recommend is owning your own domain, and using email
addresses on that domain. When you purchase a domain name, most domain
registrars will allow you to specify email addresses to be forwarded, and where
they might forward to. So, let’s say you purchase the domain
“joe-example.info”. When you register your domain, you can then set up the
email address “joe@joe-example.info” to forward wherever you like … your
Hotmail account, your ISP-based email account, or whatever. You would also
configure your email program to send from “joe@joe-example.info”. Then, when
you change from Hotmail to GMail, or from one ISP to another, you simply
reconfigure the forwarding to the new service. Everyone using your public email
address, “joe@joe-example.info”, sees no difference, and all your email arrives
at your new service.

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Tech problem solving & safety tips with a weekly confidence boost in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow

Slow Computer?

Speed up with my FREE special report: 10 Reasons Your Computer is Slow, now updated for Windows 10.

No strings. No email. Here's the direct download. (Just right-click and "Save As...".)

46 comments on “How do I forward my old email address?”

  1. You purchase domains from any of a number of different registrars. I recommend SimpleURL.com, and others have great success with GoDaddy.com. There are (many) others.

    Reply
  2. Dear sir
    in fact my old email wely_2000@hotmail.com has locked out so that i just like to get it back tell me what should i do ? i have got a lot of an impotant massages in it , please help me i am looking forward to receiving your prompt reply .

    Reply
  3. We’ve switched isp’s at our office today and are paying to maintain my boss’s old email account until we wean people off of it. We are planning to send a blanket email to his address book of the change in address. Is there some technology we can utilize to notify people continuing to use the old address (because they are not in my boss’s addressbook or because they haven’t updated their addressbook) of the new one? I hope this qualifies as being on-topic. Thanks!!

    Reply
  4. Not that I’m aware of, no. I would leave the account active with an auto-reply if at all possible for a few months, and then turn it off.

    Reply
  5. My aol shut down last nite. I cancelled it but it said I could keep my addresses and info? How do I get that? AOL wont even work as a web browser??

    Reply
  6. recently my old email address and all email messages were suddenly taken away without my consent. How do I get both of them back.? I do not want a new email address.How can I forward my old info. to my new information?

    Reply
  7. I couldn’t log into my old account as it said I used the wrong e-mail address or password to many times. This happened the first time I tried and I suspect someone was trying to guess my password. Anyways, I got a new e-mail and want the original one back as it has all my contacts on it. I want the original one back with a new password. Can I do this??? thanks, Martie

    Reply
  8. —–BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE—–
    Hash: SHA1

    I’m not aware of a way to do it automatically.

    Leo

    —–BEGIN PGP SIGNATURE—–
    Version: GnuPG v1.4.7 (MingW32)

    iD8DBQFHKqMYCMEe9B/8oqERApc5AJsFq8/Rhv+F4THJ+IgX3yt96gRFBQCeN4Nx
    f+4Ub6rUlCTzlKsUxdqRxaY=
    =33QU
    —–END PGP SIGNATURE—–

    Reply
  9. Domain ownership needs to renewed. This means you MUST remember to pay the fee. If you forget/ignore reminders, an energetic scoundrel can purchase ownership. Then, you gave to bargin with the “person” to regain what Was yours.

    Reply
  10. The best way is to go into your address book or old saved emails and send your new email address to all the contacts you want to keep. Then be thankful that the spammers that were sending spam to your old address can no longer fill up your inbox. You can go to the emailchange.com but that only works if your contact goes to that site looking for you. It doesn’t hurt to put your old info there, but remember that the spammers will look for you there also. At least you do get an email asking your permission to give your email to the person/company that is requesting your new email address information. I have been through this a few times, and it is not as bad as it seems at first.

    Reply
  11. Having big problem in getting my old e-mail from verizon.net I was canceled I have no land line, so now I have a new acct with yahoo.com called a dry loop NO land line req. The probem is I lost my Husband e-mail with verizon. But my old e-mail messages show up on the New Yahoo acct. How do we get the other e-mail link.? or in other words my husbands e-mail,The acct is in my user acct. HELP Thank You M.

    Reply
  12. What I suggest is get an email address which is NOT tied to an ISP. I know with Gmail you can have outlook express or thunderbird as your reader, rather their proprietary web interface.

    Right now I have a Gmail account and can access it from pretty much anywhere in the world. I don’t have to worry if I move to across the country or across the world, (though I do remember an example of a friend studying abroad living in Dunedin, New Zealand who could only access New Zealand web sites, though that was back in 97 and probably not an issue now.) I can use it with pretty much any ISP, whereas if I moved to a place where I couldn’t get Comcast, Charter, Verizon or even a dial-up ISP which didn’t offer service is your area, you’d be SOL- can’t use it anymore. This doesn’t require you to own your own domain which can cost you money, it’s free. I don’t know what to do however, if you give up a free email service for some reason because you don’t like it, in my case it has been because I’ve switched ISP’s. Gmail works fine for me.

    There is also ef.bigfoot.com which you can have forward your email to any email address. You can get a me@bigfoot.com address and tell it where you want the mail sent.

    Though, I just wish I had known this earlier. I have two accounts with @charter.net email addresses and now I suppose I will HAVE to use a forwarding service to have them forwarded to my new address as I plan to replace them with Gmail addresses.

    Reply
  13. i opened a new account with yahoo. i would like to get my old yahoo email trasferred or switched over to my new yahoo email. i would love to know what to do so i don’t loose my mail.

    Reply
  14. Somehow I deleted my old e-mail address, trying just to delete Yahoo Groups and somehow I deleted my whole account. Is there aqnyway that I can retrieve my old e-mail addresses ? Thanks

    Reply
  15. Sir, I registered my e-mail when I was in Nigeria, West Africa. It was [email address removed] @yahoo.com. In short to open my mail, [email address removed] then my password.Since then, I have never changed it. Recently, my credit finished as I connected to Optus broad band internet in Australia, it tooks few weeks before I recharged. To open my e-mail, I was closed and hard to open, this took me to beat around the bush till led me to Australian yahoo with different page. So, please, I need my old page and old e-mail as I maintain my password.Even though, I am now living in Australia.
    Thank you to show me this page to complaint.

    I wait to hear from you soon. You have sent me to [email address removed]. But I need my old e-mails, please.

    Yours,

    Barh Ricky Nyondy

    Reply
  16. I’ve got the same problem,please help me recover my old yahoo mail account.I have created a new yahoo account not knowing that I can’t access my old email account.Thank you.

    Reply
  17. My old address on facebook, was changed because i changed servers. My friends that i had on my old server didn’t come with me when i changed to my new server. how do i bring my friends back

    Reply
  18. I have an old E-mail address {email address removed}. I stopped using it some time ago (2008). Telcel was bought by Movistar.
    Some people is sending messages to the old E-mail right now. Is it possible to recover them?
    Thanks and Regards
    Francisco

    Reply
  19. My first email address is *********@cs.com (compuserve)This is where most of my email goes to. Right now, compuserve charges me 4.95 a month for this email address. I no longer use compuserve to access the internet, and switched to verizon to connect to the internet. I also have a gmail address which is free. I want to drop compuserve all together and just use gmail. I need to make sure any mail that may still go to compuserve will forward to gmail. Right now I have it set up for everything that goes to c.serve to be forwarded to gmail, but as I said it is costing me 4.95 a month to do so. Until I can notify everyone of my switch to the gmail address, how can I get any last emails that may happen to go to the c.serve address once I drop c.serve?

    You have to keep paying for it to keep it active. More here: Is there a way to keep my email address when I change my ISP?

    Leo
    19-Aug-2011

    Reply
  20. my old email address was locked dont know why cant access,old address can you tell me how to get my information pictures and etc.it was a yahoo address

    Reply

Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.