Email in the new century
February 5, 2014 5:19 PM   Subscribe

I’ve been emailing like it’s 1999, and want to switch my main (personal) forever email account from Yahoo to a more secure provider. What’s the simplest way to do this?

I’ve also got a Gmail account for Android and organizational purposes only. This one’s got an ok, but not particularly professional-sounding address. I’m trying out the free version of the much-recommended, which looks ok to me.

(Is Fastmail still better than Gmail for ease of use, security, and privacy? I like that it might spare me from accidentally falling into ‘social’ stuff. Also, there are no short, sweet and professional versions of my name left on Gmail, which is reason enough to go to Fastmail.)

Old mail: want to move it to a safe place in such a way that I can see individual emails and access attachments. Do I want to store them FM or Gmail? Or do I want to archive everything from before e.g. 2005 to some other place? (I’m not really sure what archiving actually means, btw -- could I still open attachments if I wanted, or are they flattened, like a pdf printout?)

- I don’t have the Yahoo Plus.
- I have a MBP with Mail.
- Both the Yahoo and Gmail accounts are set up on the Mac Mail thing.
- I’ve gone through my Yahoo inbox on the Mail thing and have saved contacts from individual emails to Contacts on the Mac; I think moving them to FM from there will be easy, according to FM’s help pages.

Can I move my stuff using some combination of what I’ve already got going? I don’t want to get involved in too many applications. Since I don’t have Yahoo Plus, I thought:

1) From within Mac’s Mail, move Yahoo mails to the Gmail account
2) From Gmail, move all that stuff to FM (unless I should do something else with them)

Does this sound right?

I don’t see the ‘Accounts and Importing’ option in Gmail suggested here in 2012. Other related questions I could find were a bit older than that; I guess anyone else still on Yahoo wants to stay there.

posted by cotton dress sock to Technology (6 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Whatever email provider you choose, add it to Mail on your Mac via IMAP. Then you can just drag all your emails over directly. No need to use GMail as an intermediary.

I use, and I think they're good. But I thought they didn't have a free version any more, just a free trial. And if you're going to pay for email, you might as well pay for your own domain as well, so you'll have a permanent address and won't feel locked down to any particular email provider. I use a domain (that I've used since 1999 for mail) with Fastmail and it works just fine.
posted by zsazsa at 5:57 PM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

Best answer: To import mail to gmail, you go to settings/accounts, and then check mail from other accounts. Enter your details and server settings (gmail will populate with assumed settings, but you should double check), and then select the relevant options. (Do you want to leave the mail on the old server or delete it, do you want all imported mail archived or labeled, or whatever.) Press go, and it'll grab all your old mail, plus any new mail that comes in. If you'd like it to stop grabbing the new mail, you just delete the account after it imports.

Yahoo no longer requires Yahoo Plus to access pop3--see this page for settings, etc.
posted by MeghanC at 5:58 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Aha! I knew it had to be simpler than I was making it! Thank you both.

Since I'm exposing the full measure of my ignorance (well, maybe there are depths yet to be plumbed, I don't know): by domain , do you mean website, zsazsa (or anyone else who can answer)? Is there one that's likely to hang around for a while?

(Yes, I'm on the trial version of Fastmail; thinking of getting the $40/year subscription.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:10 PM on February 5, 2014

By domain means signing up for, so your email could be something like This is both a blessing and a curse. It totally belongs to you, and you can assign as many email addresses as you like (,, but when you're telling people or writing it down, it's much easier for people to make mistakes. Everyone knows or But even two easy words will get screwed up and you'll have to spell it out over the phone And you'll have to find a domain name that's not already taken. It's kind of nice having my own domain that's my wife and I's last names combined, but it's a drag having to constantly spell it out.
posted by rikschell at 6:31 PM on February 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks rikschell! Useful and vivid description -- I'm already annoyed ;)

So that means that with this domain (url) I would get 1) a website and 2) endless email configurations attached to it, correct? I don't anticipate wanting to bother with a website (would it be public, by default? I'm kind of wanting to go more underground), but maybe I'll need one in future. Or is it that I'm just getting the url?

Really, I'm just an ordinary citizen wanting to hang on to a small number of important documents dotted sporadically through the years (but mostly sentimental things). (Probably, the prototypical Yahoo user.)

I apologize for the dumb follow-ups; Google search results assume I know more than I do. (There was one caffeine-informed day I figured out how to fiddle with IMAP, and I've been thrilled to forget about it since.)
posted by cotton dress sock at 7:54 PM on February 5, 2014

You can have a domain and only use it for email, and not set up a webpage on it. But, really, there's no need to bother with your own domain if you'd rather not. While a domain gives you more flexibility there's definitely more complexity in setting things up that may not be worth it to you.
posted by zsazsa at 10:13 PM on February 5, 2014 [2 favorites]

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