An email account is one of your most important assets to hold as it plays an important role to bridge an instant way of communication to the world.

Choosing the best email provider is important because providers today offer much more than just an ‘inbox’ for a bunch of emails to sit in.

Whether you have an email account or even multiple accounts, I suggest you make sure one of them is from a provider listed below.? You may be missing out on all the opportunities and features currently available.

Email inboxes are the new filing cabinet of the modern day computing world.? They hold documents and information that you completely forgot about, you continue to just build on top of the old stuff and most importantly people always forget to clean it out. If you have yet to do so with you email accounts, I suggest you read a previous post on how to clean up your email inbox.

An email account today should (at minimum) have:

  • Sort-ability- the ability to sort emails by name, date or time…etc.
  • Search-ability- the ability to sort through hundreds of emails by keywords, names and phrases.? This is extremely useful to those of us who have very large email accounts and need to sift through them quickly to find an email that was sent or opened from a previous time.
  • Folders- sorting email into folders.? Use this feature to create custom folders for managing work emails, personal emails, important documents and files you need to save that will not be accidentally deleted or create folders to subscriptions from websites you have are automatically sent to the folder and do not clutter up other emails.
  • SPACE- space is cheap.? Every email provider you sign up with should be offering at least 2 GB of storage minimum for your inbox.? While you may never end up coming close to this limit, it protects you in case any of your silly friends to try email excessively large files multiple times, such as pictures and music or video clips.? Storing those emails take up space and if your inbox is full, it will no longer be able to receive new emails.

There are hundreds of email providers out there, but currently the best, free personal provider has to be Google Mail (Gmail).? While there are viable options with providers such as Yahoo! or MSN, Gmail offers integration with their other services such as Google documents which allow you to collaborate with others on documents simultaneously and instantly.? Google supports their own version of an ICQ chat with Gchat which is integrated right into your inbox as well.? Several businesses run their own work business email accounts through Gmail, plus it has a great spam filter!

My second option is a new Windows Live account.? It’s clean, lean and integrates better than any other client with native Windows operating systems.? If you’d like to have an email account that syncs with Outlook the easiest, Windows Live is definitely an option to explore.

Now that the basics are covered, you may be ready to switch over to a better provider.? Each email client above allows you to forward or import mail from another account.? Think of it as them wanting to steal your ‘business’ from another provider, so they offer you the ability to forward mail to another account or import mail from another account.

You may see terms such as POP3 and IMAP as methods to connect to your previous account:

POP3- it downloads the email into what ever the new inbox is and then deletes them on the old account so there is no duplication of emails.

IMAP- puts a copy on both accounts, but once it is deleted from one account, you have the ability to delete it from the other simultaneously so it does not cause duplicate work when you are ready to clean your inbox.? Delete it from one, both or neither!

Each provider has the ability to also forward over that email address so you can still look as if you are sending it from that account.? This is great for students in college who have email accounts that might not offer a lot of storage.? Providers like Gmail will actually let you port over the name too, so you can choose which address you would like to email to appear from when composing a new email.

Start consolidating the amount of email accounts you have to sign into and check…porting all your accounts to one email provider will make your life much simpler and much more efficient when it comes to internet communication.