Is there a way to keep my email address when I change my ISP?
Cell phone carriers are now required to let you keep your cell phone
number if you switch providers but unfortunately no such requirement
exists for ISPs. So probably not. But there are definitely a few
things you can do this time to make it possible to keep your email
when you switch next time.
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If your email address includes the name of your ISP such as
@aol.com, @msn.com, comcast, attbi, earthlink and so on, that email
address is tied to that ISP forever. The only way you can keep that
address is to keep some kind of account with that ISP.
You can however create an email address that is independent of
your ISP, and therefore one you can use regardless of which ISP you
have or use. There are several approaches.
Webmail: Services such as Hotmail and
Yahoo Mail are based on the web and are
accessible from just about anywhere. The basic service is also usually
free. The downside to web based mail services is that you are tied to
their service for all of your email needs. Your storage and other
capabilities might be limited and as discussed
here you probably won’t be able to
use your favorite mail program to get your mail. But as I said these
services are quick, free, and ubiquitous.
Mail Forwarding Services: Another approach is to sign up with
a mail forwarding service. When you sign up you are given a new email
address at one of the domains the service supports. You then configure
that service to forward all email received on that address to your
“real” email address at your current ISP. You never hand out your
ISP-based email address, only the one that goes through the forwarding
service. Then when you decide to change your ISP you simply
reconfigure the service to forward to your new email address. There
are many services around including Netforward
and Mail.com. A new spam protection service called
MailBlocks can also be used in a similar way.
Your Own Domain: If all you want to do is forward email
owning your own domain name isn’t very complicated at all. Most of the
domain registrars include mail forwarding as part of their service when
you register with them. In fact the most difficult part might be
finding a domain name you like that hasn’t already been taken! Once you
find that domain name then not only can you typically get email
forwarding for one email address, but ANY email address at that domain
– even made up ones – can be forwarded to the address you specify. There
are several low cost domain registrars out there and right now I’m
partial to Simple URL.