I’ve been using the same Gmail account for about eight years now. I’ve had webpages come and go, and the emails at their domains have disappeared with them. In the past, I rarely used email accounts with my domains because sending around a mass “here is my new email” message to my contacts would seemingly result in folks not updating their address books. (At least, this is what I’m guilty of).
If you have been sending messages with an email account from your domain and have not been using a free webmail service (Gmail or Yahoo, for example), I highly suggest that you sign up for one today. A lot of folks get too preoccupied with the fact that an email from their domain looks more professional than an email coming from a free service. As a result, they overlook how they can improve their long-term email usage.
When your 80’s hair band ‘Bangers and Mash’ breaks up and you stop renewing the domain registration, what happens to all the emails previously sent to that account? What are you going to do with all of your old messages, and the contacts buried in them that never made it to your address book? Likely, they won’t matter to you at the time, but you may have years of messages that you’ll want to get your hands on down the road.
A similar situation could occur if you don’t have a domain, but instead have an email address through a phone or cable company that you are tired of paying for. This is why it’s important that your webmail provider is free.
Save all of your domain’s emails with your new webmail provider by setting up an email forwarder with your domain’s host to forward all incoming messages. This ensures that everything hitting your domain’s inbox will be stored away safely even if you stop renewing your domain. Beyond having them stored, I guarantee your messages will be more safely stored with Google or Yahoo than with your much smaller domain provider.
Finally, if you decide to start using your new email account as your primary account, you will have fewer email accounts to log into to read messages.
“Send Email As”
A bonus feature that goes hand-in-hand with email forwarding is the “Send Email As” feature. Webmail providers often allow you to setup your account to send email as another address (at least, I know first hand that Gmail supports this). For instance, I log into Gmail with my personal address, read emails that I get from Ralford.net, and reply to them within Gmail as my Ralford.net email. Using the “Send Email As” feature means you never have to login to another account to read email.
Since you are logging into your domains’ emails less frequently, make sure to remember the passwords for these accounts. You may also want to do an occasional check to make sure your email forwarders are not broken and that you are getting all incoming messages. The easiest way to do this is to send a test email to the account under question, and see if it gets forwarded to your free account.