Tuesday 6 September 2016

Choose Your Email Provider Wisely

Most internet service providers (ISP's) offer their clients free email, and I know several people who have taken advantage of this because the ISP makes it so easy.

But it's a trap.

Once you start using the ISP's email, it becomes much more difficult to leave that internet provider, and the ISP's know. I've heard that when you attempt to renegotiate your internet package with your ISP (Something everyone should do on an annual basis, it can provide big savings) one of the things they check is to see if you're using the email account they provisioned for you.

If you are then they know you'll have to reach out to everyone you converse with, friends, family, businesses etc, and get them all to update their records if you decide to leave.

It's a huge pain, and often people will take a bigger bill or less consistent service because they just can't take on the hassle.

It doesn't have to be that way. Google offers gmail for free, and Microsoft offers a live.com account for no cost, which is basically the latest version of the Outlook Web App.

Both have great features, solid security, support 2-factor authentication (2FA) and give you the freedom to use any ISP you like. Don't get bullied by things like "But we provide free anti-virus on your email!" from your ISP. Google and Microsoft do too, and probably to it better.

If you use an Android smartphone like 80% of the world does (Recent numbers have Android at 80% market share, Apple at 18%, and "other" at 2%) the integration with gmail for email, calendar, and contacts is quite impressive.

There are a bunch of other free providers out there, but as with most things on the internet, if the service is free that means you are the product. You'll have to accept a little targeted marketing in the side panels as the price of the account, which really isn't a big deal for most people.

If you're uncomfortable with that you can consider purchasing an Office365 account from Microsoft for about $4/month, or Google Apps for Business for about $5/month. f you're really security-minded you could even purchase a Protonmail paid level account starting at €5.00 /mo.

So if your current email address ends with something like @rogers.com, @shaw.com, or @comcast.com you might want to start making the transition to a new provider now. this will let you get people used to the new address while still having access to the old one for stragglers.

Internet providers and technology change so rapidly now that typing yourself to one specific provider can be short-sighted. Why not do what you can to give yourself a bit more choice?

Happy surfing!

-The Home Geek

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