Why You Should Never Use Your ISP’s Email Service

Last week, I put out a story about why you should never use your ISP’s hardware. And I explained a few ways of ensuring that you are not locked in by using your ISP’s hardware. But there’s another thing from your ISP that you should never use. And that thing is their email service.

Now every ISP has an email service as part of their offering. For example Bell and Rogers here in Canada both have email that ends in bell.ca or Rogers.com respectively. But that is only useful while you are with the ISP in question. The second that you leave that ISP for another one, that email address, and all the email in that account will disappear. Given that email addresses are like phone numbers, that’s bad as it would take a lot of effort to let your family, friends, and others know that you’ve changed email addresses. And losing the email in that email account could be catastrophic for some.

So how do you avoid this? I have two suggestions:

  • Use a “free” email service: Services like Microsoft Outlook and Gmail are “free” email services that you can use instead of your ISP’s email service. I say “free” because in the case of Gmail, it trolls your email to show you advertisements that are relevant to you. Other “free” email providers may do the same thing. Which is another example of if the product is free, then you are the product. Despite that, they do work well and allow you to access your email on a variety of devices as well as on the web. And they are easy to implement.
  • Register your own domain and set up your own email service: This is a bit more complicated, but still doable by most people. Using my wife and I as an example, we registered our own domain and set up our own email server. We did that when we got married in 1997 and have never looked back. The path of least resistance is to use a provider like GoDaddy, Rebel, HostGator, or Network Solutions that allows you to register a domain (mycooldomain.com for example) and set up an email server with a few clicks. To make things easier, some of these providers like Rebel or GoDaddy have people who will assist you with setting this up. Thus you may want to find a provider with that service if you are not all that technical. There are two downsides to going this route. One is cost. Registering a domain is a cost at about $20 or less a year. And then there’s the cost of hosting which varies based on provider and the quality of email hosting that you want. But it can be as low as $70 or as high as $200 a year. The second downside is that by having your own domain, you will be subject to more and more spam the longer that you have it as you’re basically a stationary target for spammers. You can mitigate this by tweaking the spam settings in the email service that your provider has. But it won’t go away. Thus you have to accept that.

By having control of your email, rather than your ISP having control of your email, you avoid being locked into your ISP and can freely switch ISP’s if the need arises. If you have any questions about, leave a comment or email and I will do my best to answer them.

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