Changing Email Address the Easy Way

January 26, 2016

Sometimes I’ve found myself getting into a situation where in discussions with colleagues it appears that a great solution to their email “problems” is changing email service problem. The “problem” often is that the person is using the mail server connected to their internet service provider (ISP), e.g. Verizon, BTInternet, or whatever. They notice (or I notice when trying to send them email) about the unreliability of their email account. Sometimes mail just gets lost on the way. Sometimes the ISP mail is blacklisted due to malware reports, e.g. Yahoo.co.uk is notorious for that.

ISP’s are also notorious for not providing proper email service. Mail is not their core business. They don’t care. For example, IMAP was designed in 1986–30 years ago, yet it was only relatively recently that BTInternet offered this to their customers. IMAP, compared to deficient protocol POP, allows email clients like Outlook, Apple Mail, etc. work like people expect them to work. Yet sometimes they cannot or will not use it for reasons unknown to me (other than like with BTInternet, just not available). I’ve seen people hesitate or be nervous to use IMAP and then I hear their complaints about how the mail on their iPhone is different than on their PC. Yeah, that’s the cost of not using IMAP.

Worse, when someone uses email service and email domain address “hooked” to their ISP it means when they their ISP (because of poor service or they moved residence/business to another area), their email address is no longer going to be of any use to them.

The Better Way

A better approach is to use a great quality email service and a service where it is likely you’ll never have to changed your email domain.

Some options:

  • Get your own domain. That email address(es) and domain are yours to keep for as long as you keep the internet domain active. Registration of an internet domain is low cost, e.g. from Hover.
  • If your email is to be used for business purposes, absolutely use a domain for the business becuase to use any other email domain address, especially with a retail ISP, e.g. “@btinternet.com”, makes the business look amateurish.
  • Get an email service from a quality vendor, e.g. FastMail. Their costs are very reasonable, has great support, and many ways to set things up–with your own domain, or use one of their many domains. Quality of service is essential, especially for business use of email.
  • Use something like Google, Apple iCloud, Microsoft 365, or similar. Free and great quality (for now) service.

All the quality email service providers will use IMAP (Google’s is reported to be slightly difference, but you’ll not notice) which you would use to setup access on your PC, smart phone, and tablet. IMAP keeps all the mail in sync. They also will provide a web site interface which requires only a login via your browser using any device. Some even have dedicated “apps” for portable devices which bypasses the native mail applications you might have. Due to extra complexity I don’t recommend using dedicated “apps”, but if that floats your boat go with it.

Going about Changing Email Address

Set up your email client, e.g. Outlook, with the new account. Keep the old accounts in your email client for as long as you want. Continue to monitor them.

Be polite and send everyone who is important to you a simple email to tell them you have changed your email address. Send out this email to everyone using BCC and to “TO” so that you are not broadcasting everyone’s private email address to everyone else.

For the accounts that you already setup on your email client, change the “reply-to” field in the client configuration for all those accounts to the new email address. That way when people send you mail to your old account, when you reply, the “reply-to” field in the mail your friend receive will be the one that you want them to use. If they reply, it will go to the new address.

Some of these people will update their contact lists. Some won’t both. This isn’t a problem, as many people don’t bother looking up emails and simply “reply” to the last email. Some look for an old email and copy/paste that email into the new email. As they will find your “new” email address first, or if they hit the “reply” button, they will send to the correct email address.

And, since you are not going to stop monitoring (until you have to) the “old” addresses, you will not lose email even if sent to the “wrong” email address.

Log in to any internet services where you have registered email address and change to the new account. While you are at it, use 1Password (or similar, and if not done already) to develop an inventory of internet sites and their login ID and password. Use 1Password’s feature to create complex passwords as way to enhance your internet security.

Job done.