Today having a personal email address is essential.
Buying something online, booking a flight, even paying car tax all require an email address.
But where do you get an email address ? and how do you make one?
For personal email most people will choose to create a free account and email address using the free email services of Yahoo Mail, Hotmail (outlook.com), Google or an ISP.
These email providers provide excellent email services that can be accessed using a web browser,mobile App and desktop email client e.g. outlook.
However, If you need to create a new email address for a business then the free email providers aren’t the best choice and you need to look at getting your own domain name.
Email Accounts, Addresses and Mailboxes
Many people that are new to email seem to have difficulty understanding the difference between email accounts, mailboxes, and email addresses.
Here is a quick Diagram that shows how they are related.
An email account is a username/password combination that gives you access to a mailbox where your email is stored.
Choosing an Email Provider
The three main free email providers are:
- Yahoo Mail
- Google Gmail
- Outlook.com (hotmail)
Although they all offer good reliable free email services they do differ in features and ease of use.
It is important to appreciate that the perfect choice for a frequent email user is not necessary the best choice for a casual email user.
All of the email providers provide:
- A web based interface
- Access via POP3 and IMAP4.
- Mobile Apps for Android,IOS and Windows
- Generous storage.
- An email Address.
If you will be accessing the email using web mail (web browser) then for infrequent email users a simple web interface is preferred.
Google Gmail provides a much more feature rich interface, and makes a good choice for power users.
Here is a quick comparison chart I made to help:
ISP Email Accounts and Addresses
Almost all ISPs (Internet Services providers) provide email services as part of the Internet connection package.
In the early days of the Internet most people used the email facilities provided by the ISP (e.g. AOL-America online).
The main problem with ISP email is what happens if you decide to change ISPs?
In this case you will be forced to change your email address. It is for this reason that I don’t recommend using ISP email addresses.
Advertisement free Email
The main disadvantage of free email accounts is that they contain ads.
Also the email accounts don’t expire (provided you continue to pay for them).
Google’s paid option is focused more on small business, as it only works if you have your own domain name.
How Create an Email Address Example- Using Yahoo Mail
To illustrate we will look at creating a new Yahoo account and email address
First go to mail.Yahoo.com.
If you are outside the USA you will automatically be redirected to a local Yahoo site.
You should find a link to create a new account next to the sign in button.
Click New here and at the bottom of the login form is a create New
When you click the button you are presented with a form that you need to complete. There are a couple of important aspects to the form:
- It asks for your date of birth – I don’t give my exact DOB because of security concerns. If you don’t want to give yours then use a memorable date, and stay in the approximate year/month to your real one.
- I also don’t give my exact postcode but again it is near.
- Try to use a second email address if you have one, or use a spouses email as the alternative email. This is important for recovering from a lost password or hacked account.
- You will get a confirmation form with all the details that you have entered make sure you print it and store in safely you may need it at a later date if you have problems with your account.
- The email address and Yahoo id are the same below are some guidelines on selection
Email Addresses Guidelines
You can have the standard Yahoo.com or use country specific yahoo domains like yahoo.co.uk and yahoo.de (Germany).
When you sign up for the yahoo account you can select the domain name.
However all of the addresses belong to Yahoo as they use a Yahoo domain name. The format is:
The problem with these addresses is that it is very difficult obtaining a sensible address that doesn’t contain numbers Like:
This video illustrates the problem faced by many.
You can try prefixing or post fixing words/numbers to your preferred email address, but don’t use anything silly, and that you would be embarrassed with if you had to give your address to someone.
If your preferred name is email@example.com, but this is already taken. Then you could try to post fix the name with
- Your date of birth e.g. joecope1960@Yahoo.com
- a meaningful word like mail e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also separate names with a full stop so try joe.cope@yahoo .com and if you have a middle initial then you could try.
joewcope@ or joe.w.cope@
Case Sensitivity of Email Addresses
The domain name part of an email address e.g. Yahoo.com is not case sensitive- so
Yahoo.Com is the same as yahoo.com
The local part (before the @ sign) is case sensitive so
email@example.com is not the same as SteveMail@yahoo.com
Personal Email Addresses
If you don’t like the idea of using a domain name from an email provider like Yahoo you can create your own personalized email address.
To do that you will need to register your own domain name and get email hosting. -See setting up email on your own domain name.
You can expect to pay around $10 per year for a domain name and around $2 per month for the hosting.
The advantage of having your own domain name is that you can keep it for life, and don’t ever need to worry about changing email addresses.
Depending of your choice of domain name it can also be shared.
I.e. choose myfamilyname.com instead of myname.com
The setup process is basically the same as for business email See Setting up email on your own domain name.
Problems with Creating a Free Email Account/Address
There are several problems with free email accounts/addresses:
- The email address doesn’t belong to you.
- The email account/address will expire if you don’t use it!
- The domain name is that of your email provider e.g.Yahoo.com
- You will normally have to tolerate ads in the email, which can be annoying.
- The provider can change terms and conditions at any time.
- You usually have a very long and hard to remember name i.e.
Advantages of Free Email Accounts
- They all support web based access which makes it possible to easily access your email from anywhere.
- They are free!
- You can discard them when you don’t want them.
Creating Your Own Email Domain
For business email users then having a professional business email address means having your own email domain name.
This means that instead of having an address of
you have an address of:
Getting your own domain name is easy, and low cost and is not restricted to businesses as domain names can be purchased by individuals as well as businesses. See Small Business Email.
Here is a video I created that covers the main points above.
Common Questions and Answers
Q- Can I move to another provider it I am not happy, and what happens to my old email address.
A- Yes you can move but you will need to take steps to transfer your email messages, and contacts to the new provider. You will lose the old email address. See changing Email providers
Q– Can I create/make more than one email address?
A- Yes Yahoo Mail allows you to create an extra email address ona single account.
Q- Can I get my own domain name if I don’t have a business?
A- Yes. Domain names like .com can be registered by anyone
Q- I created my own email address but I don’t think it is suitable can I change it?
A- Yes there are several ways of moving to a new email address.As an example take a look at How to Change Your Yahoo Email Address.
Related tutorials and resources:
- Email Basics for beginners
- How to create a new Yahoo mail Account
- Managing Multiple Email Accounts
- Wiki- Email Addresses