E-Mail Accounts



Mail Systems


Basically there are two types of e-mail. Or you could say two ways to send and receive your mail. One is called "POP3 Mail", the other is known as "Web Mail". As you will see, both systems have some advantages and disadvantages, depending on your personal needs and the way you use your e-mail.

So, sometimes web mail will be the best choice, while at other moments, POP3 will be far more convenient. In fact, many people have one or more accounts to the both systems, using them depending on the situation. Then there are still some other e-mail features and possibilities, such as redirecting your mail from one address to another ("mail-forwarding"), and using different ways to retrieve your mail. We'll discuss some of these below.


POP3 Mail


If you have, let's say, a standard account at an internet provider, giving you access to the internet, most certainly you will have a POP3 e-mail account. So, we could say a POP3 account at your provider is a paid account, nearly always included in your internet subscription. Then you have at least one e-mail address, provided by your provider. Many times it will look something like this: "your.name@your.provider". To change it, either you can visit the website of your provider and log in to your personal account, or you can mail or call the helpdesk for info about their e-mail procedures. Sometimes you can get more e-mail addresses without extra cost, let's say two, three or five addresses. Those are called "aliases" and they all make part of the same account. When you retrieve your mail, connecting to your provider and logging in with your e-mail password, all mail send to your "main" address and to the aliases will be retrieved.

To read, send and receive your POP3 mail, you need a program installed on your computer. Such a program is called an "e-mail client".

Well known e-mail programs are -amongst many other- Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Outlook Express, and Eudora. Outlook Express is incorporated in Windows, so you don't need to install it separately and you don't have extra costs. Microsoft Outlook is part of the Ms Office Suite. You can also find a lot freeware e-mail programs on the web.

Advantages

- more privacy, "safer" in a way
- suitable for professional use
- you must not be online to read, compose and arrange your mail
- more features in (automated) e-mail handling, replying, forwarding
- more features in address managing, bulk mailing, and lots more
- works fast and very reliable
- no publicity, no pop-up windows and so on

Disadvantages

- not free, you pay for the account (although it's included in your internet-account)
- the program (an "e-mail client") must be installed and confabulated on your computer
- you must learn to use a program (depending on the features, this can be very simple)
- you can only send and retrieve your mail from "home" (the configured mail-program)
- addresses are provider dependent, when you change provider, your address change

This scheme shows you how it basically works.

 
 
 

Web Mail

 
Instead of using an e-mail program on your computer, you surf to a website to read, send and receive your mail.
 
Advantages

- you can read, send, receive your mail from anywhere in the world
- addresses are independent from your provider
- no extra programs needed, nothing to install or configure
- very easy, if you can surf the web, you can mail
- most of the time it's free (but advertising sponsored...)

Disadvantages

- quality and features may vary a lot, so check some services out
- the mail storage room (disk-space) you get also varies importantly
- you must be online to read your mail (although you can save all items to your local computer too)
- less features, although many services are complete enough for private users
- not very suitable for professional use
- less privacy, many sites collect personal information about you
- free services are virtually always sponsored by advertising

this can be done in a relatively "discreet" manner, but it can also be done in a very aggressive and irritant way, things can vary from a simple advertisement message to windows popping up all the time, making you waste a lot of time when using e-mail
 
This scheme shows you how it basically works.

 
 
 

E-Mail Forwarding


E-mail forwarding is not another mail system, but rather another way to receive your mail. To use e-mail forwarding you already must have a "standard" e-mail address, whether POP3- or web-based.

Then, at an e-mail forwarding service, you get another extra address. All mail send to this extra address will be automatically "forwarded" ("redirected" or "re-send-further") to your "standard" address (also called "primary" address).

In some cases and for different purposes, this can be very useful. Let's say you change providers, and you can't take your POP3 address with you. Then you'll have to give your new address to everybody you know. An independent, unchanging address "for life" should be better (of course you could have this also using web mail, but here we talk 'bout a different (POP3) situation).

No matter how many times your standard address will change, you can always make the extra address at the forwarding service point to it and handle your mail the way you do with your standard account, either POP3 or Web Mail.

Or suppose you want to keep your "standard" address more or less "private". At least, you won't give it out to anybody out there, which is a good idea to avoid lots of "spam"-mail (spam-mail is unsolicited, unwanted mail). Then an extra address to distribute freely will be a fine. If after a while, too much spam-mail is received on the extra address, you can simply delete it and take another.

So mail forwarding has nothing to do with web mail. You don't surf to a website to read your mail there (although some forwarding services also offer web mail, and/or other features).

Advantages
 
- depending on your personal needs (redirecting, avoiding spam,...)
- address "for life", independent from your provider
- no extra programs needed, nothing to install or configure
- very easy, if you can surf the web, you can mail
- most of the time it's free (but advertising sponsored...)

Disadvantages

- quality and features may vary a lot, so check some services out
- mail can be slower, this also varies from service to service
- not very suitable for professional use
- less privacy, many sites collect personal information about you
- free services are virtually always sponsored by advertising
(some forwarding services will attach a publicity message to your mail)

This scheme shows you how it basically works.

 
 
 

Disposable Mail (Anti-spam)

 
A system to avoid unwanted mail (spam). An overwhelming part of all mail send is unwanted, unsolicited junk mail, this slowing down the servers and being a constant enervation for everyone using e-mail. To keep spammers from using your e-mail address, do not give it away at each place on the internet. Keep in mind that everytime you write your address somewhere on a form, it could be used to send you unwanted mail. And the address will going to circulate, mail-address listings are sold and used by many fraudulous persons and organisations. Once your address is on such a list, you get mail... and there's no way to get off it. No way.
 
Using some different addresses for private, work, and other uses is a good idea (see above). But sometimes you only need to use an address once. Let's say you want information from a certain site, and yeah, here we go again... They want your name, address, age, marital status and the whole rest... and all that just because you wanted twenty-four lines of information from them. The whole registration procedure, and of course you must fill in your "real" e-mail address on the registration form. You can't fill in a fake address for they will send you a confirmation mail to check your address is valid. O well... give them a valid address then, but without the chance to get tons of unwanted mail afterwards.
 
A working address, created on the spot, destinated for only one or a few uses, or a short-time use, that would be perfect. Well, thats disposable mail. You can instantly create one or more adresses, read and reply to your mail on a webmail-server (see webmail above) or have the mail forwarded to you (see e-mail forwarding above). After a certain period of time, mostly very fast, the address will "die". No way to send you spam.
 
All you need is a "disposable e-mail" server. There are many good ones on the internet, which offer their services completely free. You find some servers in the bookmarx section on this site under the e-mail topic.
 
Advantages
 
- depending on your personal needs (privacy, avoiding spam,...)
- no extra programs needed, nothing to install or configure
- easy, if you can surf the web, you can use it
- most of the time it's free
- many features depending on the server (check some out)

Disadvantages

- practically none, only you must do a little reading to get familiar with it
(as services may vary, read the info and help on the server's website)
 

 


 

Related topics : File formats and extensions - Image formats - E-mail security and privacy - The "potentially dangerous file" list

 


back to the top

MAIN INDEX COMPUTING INDEX

 


All info provided on an "as is"-basis, without any warranty and/or further responsibility whatsoever.
All texts are free for personal non-commercial use. Copyright by the NightOwl.