Free email addresses are everywhere these days, but which one to choose? There are so many! Below I’ll talk about some of the more popular free email sites out there and how to sign up for them.
1. Hotmail: Hotmail is run by Microsoft. This email integrates perfectly into all of Microsoft’s products like MSN Messenger (soon to be replaced by Skype), Bing and the MSN games site. But aside from easy integration with other products and services, having a Hotmail address also gives you access to SkyDrive (free online storage space) and easy access to your email 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
To sign up for a Hotmail address simply go to the Hotmail website click where it says “Sign Up Now”. Fill in the information it asks for and click “submit”. The hardest part of this process is coming up with a name for your email. You’ll have “somename”@hotmail.com or “somename”@hotmail.ca but because Hotmail has been around so long the easy ones are already taken. It’s likely you’ll be putting in a fair amount of numbers and special characters to find one that’s not taken.
Hotmail has terrific up-time and it will integrate with your smartphone nicely. That said it has a very high rate of spam. The junk filter does a good job of filtering most of it, but it’s not perfect yet. This definitely isn’t recommended as an account for children to have access to, but if you can deal with the spam, it’s a good, stable choice.
2. Gmail: This is a Google product and will give you access to all of Google’s services and apps. Much like Hotmail you will have constant access to your email and Gmail will work with your smartphone without a problem. Google is also not nearly as prone to spam as Hotmail is.
To sign up just go to the Gmail website and click on the link that says “Create a New Account”. Again you’ll follow the prompts and have to come up with some name for your account. Your address will be “somename”@gmail.com. This can be a difficult process as well because of the number of Gmail accounts that have been created. Just use numbers and underscores to find one that works for you.
3. Yahoo Mail: This is run by Yahoo. The nice part of this one is you can use it to access all of Yahoo’s games! It will also integrate with your smartphone and is accessible from anywhere with an Internet connection.
Yahoo hasn’t caught up with all the services that Hotmail and Google have, but the email is straightforward to use. You can even use a Hotmail or Google address to sign up with Yahoo and it’s available under the Yahoo Canada website which will give you a Canadian email address.
If you’re just getting started with email, Yahoo is probably a good choice. It’s just email. There is nothing extra to it. It’s simple and easy to use and won’t overwhelm you with a whole bunch of products or services you don’t want.
Most emails, these three included, will ask you for a secondary email in case you lose your password and need to recover it. If you’ve been using the email that you can get from your Internet Service Provider (ISP), you can use that as a recovery email. The other option is to sign up for two free email accounts so that you have a recovery email for both. If you don’t provide a recovery email and you lose your password, it usually means you have to create a new email address.
Once you’re signed up all you have to do is share your email with your friends and start using it. Free email is a great alternative to the email provided by your ISP. In the next article we’ll talk about the reasons why you should use a free email address instead. Happy emailing!