Thursday, June 16, 2005

Email addresses

All email addresses have the form name@domain-name. The domain-name is a name that is registered on the Internet, by yourself or by another company. Today it is common for all companies to register their own domain name and so all email addressed to that company would be addressed to someone@company-domain-name.
For individuals it is common today to use the domain name of your email provider, usually your ISP ,and the email has the form you@ISP-domain-name. So if your name is John Doe and you have an email account with Yahoo, then your email address would be:johndoe@yahoo.com.

Email Addresses and email accounts

An email address is not an email account! You can have an email address and not an email account, in which case you would use email forwarding to forward the email to an address that had an account. Without an email account you cannot access or store email. Email accounts are always linked to email addresses but the addresses are not always linked to email accounts. Addresses can and often are linked to other addresses (email forwarding).
As an analogy assume you live at No 9 bridge road (your address) and your house ( account) gets destroyed in a storm. You decide not to rebuild the old house; as it wasn't very stable anyway, and you move to a new house at 20 King street. In order to get mail that was addressed to 9 bridge road to come to 20 king street you go to post office and arrange for you mail to be re-directed. You can continue for this arrangement for as long as you want, normally until you have notified everyone of the change of address, but if your willing to pay you can do it for a lifetime.
Theme based or Personalised email addresses
Many companies offer email addresses (many free) with unusual domain names. Like you@smileyface.com or you@backstreet-boys.com you@Iluvyou.com. They can be very amusing and very easy to remember but maybe not an address for a lifetime.
Lifetime email addresses
Many of us use the email accounts that come, usually free, with our ISP (Internet Service Provider) account. The problem with these type of email accounts is that you loose them if you change ISP or the ISP closes. Changing ISP is very common, for cost reasons or because you move locations etc.
Lifetime email addresses are a great idea just like lifetime phone numbers. Unfortunately the definition of a lifetime varies! Usually if you no longer subscribe to the particular service your lifetime email address comes to the end of its life! My idea of a lifetime email address is an address that stays with me until I cease to exist and not the email provider! So how do you get a lifetime email address? and what methods are used to provide them.

Purchase an email account separate from your ISP

There are many companies offering email accounts that you purchase and can keep and use for a Lifetime form anywhere in the world. Many offer a variety of domain names to chose from and various email service like email forwarding web mail etc.
The problem with this type of arrangement all hinge around the fact that you don't control the email address and therefore must continue to maintain an account with them, if not your lifetime email address is over! So why wouldn't you continue to maintain an account with them? There a many reasons for wanting to change, such as:
* Price increases
* Service is not of sufficient standard
In effect they are little different from ISP email accounts, except that they are non-geographic.

Email forwarding

This is a popular technique for providing "lifetime email addresses". The email provider never re-allocates your email address and forwards all mail addressed to this address to another address (your current address) which you provide. This is commonly provided by universities and colleges for students.
The problem with this type of arrangement all hinge around the fact that you don't control the email address. There are things that could happen that would mean you don't receive email from this address; such as:
* The email provider changes its policy and decides stop the service or charge for the service.
* The email provider ceases to exists and hence doesn't renew its domain name.
* You change your email provider and forget to inform the other email provider to forward to a new address.

Register your own Domain Name

This is the only way to guarantee that you truly have a lifetime email address. Because you register your own domain name you have complete control. The advantages are:
* Complete control of domain name- you choose it and it's registered to you not to an email provider.
* Complete control of the email addresses
* Unlimited email addresses.
* Can be cheaper if you need lots of email addresses.
* You could have a domain name for all the family.
* You can use it for your Website as well.
The disadvantages are
* More complex as you have to a) register the name and b) find an email provider.- Most domain name providers will also provide mailbox space and forwarding services.
* Can be more costly.
* Need to renew the domain name each year or you will loose it.

This is my preferred method and so if you are Interested in registering your own domain name and using it for email I will be covering it in a future articles.




About the Author


Stephen Cope is a freelance trainer and the Webmaster at -
making a websiteand IncrediMail and Outlook Express Updates.