Stable email address?
November 28, 2006 6:08 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to achieve a stable email address, one that is not at the mercy of merciless ISPs? Does one use a domain or would gmail or a similar service be better? If a domain is the answer what are the dos and don'ts, how much should one expect to pay, are there free ones and are domains really stable in the long run?
posted by flummox to Technology (21 answers total)
This one uses a domain and a second address on Yahoo.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 6:19 PM on November 28, 2006

What is the best way to achieve a stable email address, one that is not at the mercy of merciless ISPs?

Buy a domain name. Once you buy it, it's yours and as long as you pay your yearly fee for it, it's all our and you use pretty much any ISP. Just make sure YOU buy it with your CC. I've seen examples of an ISP buying it for you and then when you want to leave that ISP, they charge you a fee for turning it over to you, which is bull.

I bought a domain name based on my real name. It costs me $8.50 a year with

Does one use a domain or would gmail or a similar service be better?

I run my email through for $40 a year. I get 2 gig storage, spam and virus protection, multiple accounts and IMAP (which stores my email on fastmail's server, so I access my email from any internet capable machine). I never got into GMAIL, as I wanted my email to reflect what I wanted it to reflect and not be advertising for some company. and I don't trust free stuff, nothing is free, there's always a catch.

For $10 bucks a month I host the domain name (i.e. have a website) through, who freaking great, with excellent service and I will never leave them.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:36 PM on November 28, 2006

I think that if permanence is what you want, your own domain name is the way to go. But it costs, of course. I remember when I got my Hotmail account, I thought that was it for life. Then as it started sucking, and gmail popped up, I switched, and who knows, 5 years down the line, the Next Big Thing may warrant another switch.

Some colleges/universities will offer alumni "email for life." My college does it, but they don't promote it, you have to ask for it.
posted by Brian James at 6:44 PM on November 28, 2006

I've used yahoo for a long time; but i've switched as much as possible to gmail and I love it--so much more customizable i feel like!
posted by uncballzer at 6:50 PM on November 28, 2006

I love my University of Toronto Alumni account. If you have ever attended a college or university, it is something worth looking into.
posted by Chuckles at 7:04 PM on November 28, 2006

Use gmail.

I used to use my private domains for email, but spam's a real problem, as are budget-webhost outages.
posted by unmake at 7:18 PM on November 28, 2006

register a domain with With them you get free email forwarding. Just have it forward to your free-web-based email of choice (gmail, yahoo, hotmail)

$9 a year. forwards to

you can change forwarding settings at any time. Say gmail tanks. All you do is switch it to your yahoo mail. No need to change business cards or mass mail everyone with the change. From their point of view, nothing changed.

I think gmail even lets you mask the :from" and "reply to " fields to whatever you want.

(FYI, i do this with multiple domains, but have them forward to my ISP mail address. Its worked great for years)
posted by sandra_s at 7:27 PM on November 28, 2006

Also, fwiw, if you get your own domain name A) you can be, whereas with, say, gmail, you've got to take what's left. I was setting up a backup gmail address for my wife--who has a relatively unusual name--and it took several tries before I found some permutation of her name that hadn't been taken. I'm pretty sure people have registered all the good ones.

If you have your own domain, you can always forward it to gmail if you choose, and stop using gmail if you get sick of it without changing your address. If you just get a address and get sick of gmail, you need to change your address.
posted by adamrice at 7:45 PM on November 28, 2006

I do both... but, I'm certain I will eventually stay with Gmail... Too many bells and whistles with a gmail account to ignore the advantages...
posted by HuronBob at 8:02 PM on November 28, 2006

I've had my Hotmail account for nine years. I've just started using Gmail, but I love it. Who says web-based email can't be reliable?
posted by youngergirl44 at 8:06 PM on November 28, 2006

I'm a bit of a domain whore. I've stopped using all of my domains in favor of Gmail.
posted by FlamingBore at 8:06 PM on November 28, 2006

b1tr0t writes "Gmail works very well for me."

Hotmail worked well for this purpose too until the Borg bought them out. IE: you have no control at all over your address unless you own the domain.
posted by Mitheral at 8:07 PM on November 28, 2006

Seconding the idea of checking if your college has alumni accounts. Often its just a forward - so you can still use Gmail as the back-end. But the alumni address will likely remain stable over your lifetime as an address people can always find you at.

Neither Gmail or even Hotmail have been around long enough to make any conclusions about their future.
posted by vacapinta at 8:29 PM on November 28, 2006

Does one use a domain or would gmail or a similar service be better?

You can do both easily enough. Buy your own domain and set it up with Google Apps. If Google stops offering their service, you can switch to another one without changing your address.
posted by cillit bang at 9:32 PM on November 28, 2006

I've used Pobox for 8 years now, and expect to use them for the rest of my life. They exist solely to fill this need.
posted by tkolar at 9:45 PM on November 28, 2006

I use Nearly Free Speech and their email forwarding facility with my own domain. Works out at about US$14 per year. And seem to be very honest and straightforward.
posted by singingfish at 1:55 AM on November 29, 2006

Gmail has been plenty stable enough for me for the last (quickly checks "oldest" link on Gmail "All mail" page) two and a half years.
posted by flabdablet at 3:52 AM on November 29, 2006

Seconding Pobox. As tkolar said, permanence is its main draw. Plus you can create other throw-away addresses to suit your purposes, then delete them when you no longer need 'em.
posted by war wrath of wraith at 4:13 AM on November 29, 2006

The big danger with the popular e-mail sites - yahoo, gmail, etc. - is that unless you have a really weird address (i.e. not dictionary searchable, no common first/last name (and common means pretty well anything in the phone book)), you are soon going to become a spam trap. Same if you go for your own domain. Like Brandon Blatcher, I use, as well as using gmail and my own name as a domain, and is the only one where I get virtually no spam, even though my fastmail name is fairly obvious.
posted by TheRaven at 5:34 AM on November 29, 2006

Even gmail is "at the mercy" of Google. They really have no obligation to continue the free email service in its current form (or in any form) for any length of time.

You can't just offer the most perfect email service and then kill it without repercussions. This gmailer thinks that, at the minimum, pitchforks and torches come to mind.
posted by cowbellemoo at 7:11 AM on November 29, 2006

Go for your own domain. Really, there's no reason Google can't pull the rug out from under everyone at any time. At least with your own domain, you're in control over it. Why hand over *everything* to what is basically a faceless corporation?
Besides, if you own your own domain and want to throw up some fun web pages, you can have unlimited subdomains. ie and, etc.

At least with your own domain, if something happens and Gmail/etc tank, you can host your own email if it came down to it.
posted by drstein at 11:32 AM on November 29, 2006

« Older What to do around SLC?   |   Do any pro athletes blog? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.