Thursday, May 02, 2013

How to Change Your Email Address and Service Gracefully

So you got the Internet, and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) sold you on 5 free email addresses, and you thought: "Free is good!". Then you read my post from a few days ago about how to use email, calendar and contacts across multiple devices, and realized that Free is good, but you need to choose the right free.
So now you want to migrate your email address to an or G-Mail account. Allowing you keep not only your email, but your calendar and contacts as well in "the cloud".
This is not only an invasive change for you, but it's also for your friends, and this post is designed to logically tell you how to gracefully switch to a new e-mail.
  1. Create your account on your new provider.  I would recommend, because, well I'm biased and I really like it.  You'll want to spend some time to get a username you're happy with.  On you can create aliases later on if you don't like your log in, for specific purposes.  So you can create your account as, but then create an alias of for your resume, and have both delivered to your inbox.
  2. Once you're happy with your new email address, you can log into it and you'll have no email.  What I did was export all of my contacts as a "CSV" file (Comma Seperated Values) from whatever email program I was using on my computer, then just went to the People tab, and chose Manage, then Add People  You can then choose to Import from file, and import that same CSV file.  (you can also import from Google, Linked In, Sina Weibo, Facebook).  Basically I get my contacts all squared away first (while still checking my old email).
  3. Ideally you want to set up e-mail forwarding from your old account to this new one you set up so when email arrives, it gets forwarded directly.  I can't explain how to do that on this post as each ISV is different.  You can call their helpdesk and ask how to do this.  The other option is to have your new account "check" your old email for new messages and download. can do this by going to Settings (the gear in the title bar), then More mail settings, then under Manage your Account, click Your email accounts, which allows you to add a POP account for Add a send-and-receive account, and provide your old email address server, username and password.  Then validate that it works by sending email to your old account, and making sure that you eventually see it in your new account (eventually if you chose to check your email, it could take some time for it to hit your new account)
  4. Once you're happy that your old mail is flowing to your new email.  It's time to make the switch to your new account.  You'll want to send an email to ALL of your contacts to tell them of your updated email address.  You'll also want to check any subscriptions you signed up for and unsubscribe from those and resubscribe with your new email address
  5. If you still have friends emailing you at your old address, simply reply from your new address and remind them of your email address update.  After a period of time (on the order of Months) when you feel comfortable that people are using your new email address, you can turn off the old POP account you set up in step 3.
  6. And you're done!
Lots of people ask me why not stay with their ISP.  Here are my reasons:
  1. ISP mail servers typically don't offer calendar and contact service, and are old archaic mail-servers that don't have any features that work with newer devices
  2. The use of POP or IMAP uses your data plan on a schedule to check your email.  That's a bunch of data eaten out of your data plan (on a phone for example) that will probably result in no new messages for you.  Newer protocols only use data when you have email
  3. The use of POP and IMAP run on a schedule and use data, and as a result, they drain your battery faster than newer protocols
  4. ISPs are typically networking experts, they run mail servers because it's common practice for them to offer an email account with your networking.  But it's not their expertise, why not switch to someone who focuses on making these services great?
  5. If you move homes to a house outside of a service area for your ISP, Or if you simply want to switch to get a better "deal", you'll loose your email address as a result, which causes your friends to go through the pain as it is.
  6. If you travel around the world, access to your email account is slow outside of your ISP network and native country.  World-wide enabled companies like Microsoft, Google, or Yahoo, optimize their service to be access world wide and your service will be far better outside of the country.
And if you aren't sure if you want to use Outlook or GMail, why not make it super easy and use your own domain.  I've moved my email account 5 times since I've had my own domain, and none of my friends are the wiser as the email address never changes, just the back-end service.  If you want to do that, I have instructions here.


Anonymous said...

Pretty sure every time you said ISV you mean ISP.

Sean Daniel said...

Fixed, ISV is meant to be ISP. Sorry!