How can I check my email?
There are three major ways to receive or "check" for email. Choose the one that works best for your lifestyle:
1. Classic POP or IMAP access
Configure an email application on your PC, phone, or tablet, such as Outlook, Live Mail, Eudora, or Thunderbird, Entourage or Apple Mail. These email programs don't use a browser to peek into an online mailbox (like gMail, Yahoo or Hotmail...that's the next method). Instead they actually retrieve your mail form the incoming mail server by using either POP or IMAP.
This is the "classic" way of receiving mail. But in recent years (as of 2014), the fraction of people using POP or IMAP has dwindled to just 25% or less. Some people prefer this method, because it guarantees that all of my email history is contained on a device that I own and not just on the mail server of a service provider.
2. Webmail Services
You can view and send mail from within your browser by visiting a web portal. This can be a popular free email service, such as gMail or Yahoo, or you could use the webmail feature of an email service that also supports POP and IMAP access, as described above.
Most mail servers, including those offered by your Internet service provider allow both access methods #1 and #2. Typically, the decision boils down to whether you expect to have constant Internet access, or if--instead--you prefer to pull mail into your device whenever you have access, and then have the luxury of working with your mail and attachments even if you are offline.
3. Finally, with most email services, you can simply forward all incoming mail to another delivery service--typically because you prefer the features offered by the final mailbox. For example, you might prefer the webmail interface or the fact that the service allows you to store far more data than the one that issued you the email address.*
For example, if you own your own domain, my_family.com, you needn't learn the nitty gitty of setting up an email server. You can simply forward your incoming mail to a "hidden" address at gMail or with your ISP service. In both cases, you must create an address with the other service, but you needn't give the address to anyone. It is just the "landing spot" for your incoming mail.
If you choose this 3rd method, there are a few things you should know:
a) The "real" mail server (the one that you are forwarding to) will have a process that allows you to send mail that shows the "FROM" address that you prefer. But they may require you to prove that you actually receive mail at that address. Typically this is done by clicking a confirmation link or entering a one-time code into an online form.
b) Sometimes the forwarding server (the one that issued your address), is not simply forwarding, but they are also depositing your email into a mailbox locally. That means that your mail is not only going to the final mailbox at which you receive it, but it is also accumulating into a mailbox that you probably never check. This presents both a security risk (someone may eventually see all of your mail) and the potential to begin returning mail (because the mailbox is full).
When you configure the email forwarding at the first service (the one that issued your email address), look for an option that might be phrased in either one of these ways:
Leave Mail on Server (un-select this option & save settings)
Delete Mail after Forwarding (select this option)
This is important, because you are not actually using the mailbox at this service. You only want them to forward mail but not accumulate it.
* c) Incidentally, with method #3, you are simply transferring mail between services. You still must choose whether you prefer to access your mail using method #1 or #2.
Ellery Davies is editor at awildduck.com
He is also an occasional contributor to Fixya
Jul 13, 2014 |
Computers & Internet