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How to set up a private, professional email account
Don't use the "free" email from your broadband supplier. If you depend on your broadband provider's email service -- such as @comcast.net, @sbcglobal.net, @verizon.net, @att.net, etc. -- you will probably lose your email address if you move to a new area or change broadband supplier. Unless you are using POP-based email (where all your email is downloaded to a program running on your own computer, such as Outlook) you will probably lose your address book and all your old emails. Another issue is that ISP-based email addresses don't last forever. For example, a terrible mess ensued when the Houston cable franchise was sold.
In a few minutes, you can get a free advertising-supported Internet email account (accessible via any Internet-connected computer -- whether at work, at home, or at a library) from Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, or Apple. With some suppliers, you can pay a nominal amount for ad-free email.
A free Microsoft Outlook.com or Yahoo Mail account may be upgraded to a paid ad-free account for an annual fee.
We don't recommend using one of these unreliable types of email account for personal email – for one thing, you may not receive all HPAA emails:
Choosing a professional email username
If available, get a username that incorporates your name -- like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com .
Cute email addresses or ones related to your spouse, business, pet, hobby, politics, former employer, age, birth year, or retired status can be a problem later -- and tend to get wearisome over time. You need a name that will work for many years and that works for both personal and professional use.
If your name is already taken, experiment with your middle name, your initial, or add a word -- something like "john_robert_smith."
Some people use their zip code as a differentiator, but that's hard for people to remember, a privacy issue -- and a problem if you move. Using your birth-year as a suffix telegraphs your age.
If you wish, you can have your personal email address forwarded to your email address at your employer. But company email systems often have crude anti-spam mechanisms that reject email newsletters you signed up for -- and you still have the privacy and data-loss issues.
Personal domain name for email
If you buy a domain name from a domain registrar, such as Google Domains, you can have a personal email address -- for example, firstname.lastname@example.org. (When considering domain registrars, be sure to compare annual renewal rates -- not just the introductory first-year rates!)
Questions or comments to: email@example.com (Updated Mar 2, 2020.)
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