3 Simple Strategies for Managing Multiple Email Accounts

Updated: 12th February 2017


Because we use email for many different purposes we often have to deal with multiple email accounts, and addresses.

For example, you may have a work email account, and also a private email account that you need to access.

What is the best way to manage these accounts?

Here we will look at 3 simple strategies you can use to manage and access email from multiple accounts.

So for illustration purposes lets take Joe.

Joe has three email accounts and three email addresses.

  • A free Yahoo account and the address is- joebloggs@Yahoo.com
  • An ISP (internet service provider) account, address – joebloggs@BTInternet.com
  • A business account (private domain), address-joebloggs@onlywidgets.com

There are various ways that Joe can manage and accesses these accounts.

What will be the best way depends on what email client Joe wants to use, and whether or not he needs to keep the email in the accounts private and/or separate.

Strategy 1.-Manage Separately Using a Web Browser

Joe could simply access each mailbox separately by using Webmail to login to each account.

The accounts would all need to support Webmail access.

Using this method the email management and access is kept completely separate..

If the email accounts are from different email providers then you can open all mailboxes at the same time, each in a separate browser tab as shown in the screenshot below:


If you have multiple accounts from the same provider i.e. 2 Gmail accounts then you cannot open two accounts at the same time in the same browser.

A simple solution is to use a second browser e.g. Chrome to access one account, and Firefox to access the other account.

If you use the Google Chrome browser then you could create two chrome accounts and use one account for one mailbox and the other chrome account for the other.

Strategy 2.- Manage Using a Single Master Mailbox

If you want to access all of your email accounts from a single
login/location then you need to consolidate the email accounts.

Although certain methods will keep the email separate there are privacy issues when you consolidate email accounts.

There are three main methods available:.

  • Use a client to consolidate the emails
  • Use a Mailbox Account to consolidate the emails.
  • Use Email forwarding to a single account.

Using a Desktop Email Client

Desktop email clients like outlook,outlook express and Apps (tablets and phones)  can be configured to access multiple email accounts.

They do differ in how they present the email. Some clients keep the emails separate while others use a single universal inbox.

The screens hot below shows Thunderbird configured to access 3 mailboxes using IMAP4. Notice how the inboxes are kept separate:


Here is outlook express being used to access 2 separate mailboxes using POP3:


You should notice that only one inbox is present even though the client is accessing multiple mailboxes/addresses.

All mail appears in the Universal inbox which means that you will need to find another way of separating it (e.g. message rules).

Note: The access protocol POP3 or IMAP4 affects how the email is presented.

Using an Online Provider or Mailbox

This method is similar to the client consolidation except it is done on the email server.

You can also use a Gmail account, Yahoo account or outlook.com account  to consolidate email. All providers will let you access and consolidate email from other accounts.


In essence they function as POP3 email clients by reading the email and placing the email into the account inbox.

In our example above Joe could use his Yahoo.com account as the single location for his email.

He then configures this account to read email from the
other two email accounts and place it into his Yahoo.com inbox.

Using Email Forwarding

This is a common technique when moving email addresses and is normally used as a temporary measure.

It can also be used for consolidating email into a single mailbox especially for email accounts that aren’t used very often.

You could arrange for all email to the different addresses to be automatically forwarded to a single address/account.

Using Joe’s email addresses as an example we could forward all email to

joebloggs@onlywidgets.com and joebloggs@BTInternet.com to joebloggs@Yahoo.com

You now need only to access the Yahoo.com account using either Webmail or an email client, and you can read and respond to email sent to any of the three email addresses.

See Automatic mail forwarding for more details.

3. Use a Mixture

Joe could choose to consolidate the Yahoo email account and the ISP email accounts as they are personal, and don’t need to be kept private or separate.

Joe could use the Yahoo Email service to consolidate the email or an email client like outlook.

Joe could access the business account using webmail or a email client App that wasn’t being used for accessing the other accounts.

General Security Considerations

If you consolidate email accounts using a master mailbox then the master account contains all of your emails, and would allow an hacker easy access to all email accounts if it were compromised.

Common Questions and Answers

Q- Is it better to use an email client rather than a master mailbox to consolidate email accounts?

A- It all depends on your preferences, but using an online master email account means that all your email is available in one place and from anywhere in the world.

Q- If I consolidate the email in a master mailbox what happens to email sent to the original mailbox?

A- It depends on how you setup the master account to access the mailbox. Usually you will leave it in the original mailbox.

Q- I’ve consolidated all my email on Gmail but my email messages take a long time to appear.

A- This is normal as Gmail needs to connect to the original mailbox to retrieve the mail. It does this on a scheduled basis which you cannot change.

Q- If I consolidate all my email on Gmail where is the email that I send stored?

A-When consolidating email addresses you need to send email from a single account.

Related Tutorials and Resources:

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