Since the dawn of the World Wide Web in 1991, e-mail has become so commonplace in our lives that we tend to use it more than we use postal mail. There are tons of e-mail services available for people to use on the Internet; some are free and some have premiums, some focus on security and some don’t. With this guide, you’ll be able to get an idea of some of the more popular and free e-mail services available to you. You can then choose one that fits your style and mindset so that you truly get the most out of your e-mail experience.
You didn’t think we’d be able to have this guide not include Google, did you? Google has outdone everyone else with their Gmail service. There isunlimited storage, the power of Google search, and Google Talk is integrated into the e-mail interface. It’s easy to use, very powerful, and you never have to delete messages, which makes Gmail oneof the best choices for e-mail out there. Its extensive use of AJAX technology helps Gmail load quickly and lets you easily manage contacts and labels. You can even use Gmail to store files withthird-party applications and resources. It doesn’t get much better than this for e-mail. The cost is free and no upgrades are available, plus you’ll get awesome SPAM protection. You’ll sleep betterknowing you use Gmail. Yahoo! E-mail(mail.yahoo.com)
Yahoo! has been around forever and so has their free e-mail service. If you’re looking for great SPAM protection and an easy-to-use interface, Yahoo! is a great choice. You’ll get plenty of storagefor basic e-mailing (pictures, text, and documents) as well as functionality and great support from Yahoo! in case anything should go wrong. For $19.99 a year you can sign up for Yahoo! Mail Pluswhich takes away things like ads and gives you more storage. A nice feature included with Mail Plus is the ability to send 20MB files in e-mails. This feature is not really necessary though, so saveyour money and just stick with the free service offered by Yahoo! Hotmail (www.hotmail.com)
Microsoft’s offering of e-mail isknown as Hotmail, and there is a reason why you should avoid it: Hotmail is a mediocre e-mail service that will get the basic job done while doing nothing else. The biggest problem with Hotmail isthat it has become the #1 target for SPAM and phishing attacks over the years. If you get a Hotmail account, chances are (no matter how cautious you may be) SPAM will start flowing in your mailboxquicker than you can say “MSN.” Hotmail offers very few thrills with things like themes and emoticons being advertised as a reason to sign-up. Perhaps you should skip Microsoft’s service and head forthe “big G” this time.
For those of you using a Macintosh from Apple, consider trying out .Mac. .Mac is more than just an e-mail service, it’s an entire package from Apple. For $99 a year, you’ll net yourself an e-mail address that ends in “@mac.com”. If this cool moniker isn’t enough to turn you over to the side of Jobs, the additional features of this service will. You can publish photos for everyone to see, have a personal webpage hosted for you without the need to worry about bandwidth, keep multiple Macs in sync with each other, have blogging capabilities, get free storage with iDisk for backing up files, and a whole lot more. Though $99 may seem a bit expensive at first glance, remember what you’ll be getting with it. This e-mail service is not recommended for Windows users since you won’t be able to take full advantage of the .Mac services offered.
If security is your thing, you may want to give Hushmail a try. Hushmail encrypts all of your e-mails and automatically scans for viruses andSPAM. It’s free to sign up and get an account, but you can add lots of features to your account for a relatively low cost. You can even use Hushmail with your website to make sure e-mail is securefrom any address you use. Hushmail also encrypts files when sending them through e-mail so you’ll never have to worry about someone discovering your data again. MyTrashMail (www.mytrashmail.com) Sometimes we all see a promotion online that looks too good to be true. We give a company our e-mail address and a week later we have 1,200 newSPAM e-mails a day. Save yourself the hassle by using a disposable, anonymous e-mail address. MyTrashMail provides a great service for free that lets you use an anonymous address very quickly, withno password or sign-up needed. It’s perfect for things like e-mail verification, signing up for promotions, and dealing with people you’re not fond of. MuchoMail (www.muchomail.com) Not everyone needs a feature-rich e-mail service. MuchoMail is a very simple web-based e-mail service that will most likely suit your needs. Storageis lacking, though, with only 25MB of space available for users of the free service and 1GB for premium users. You get SPAM protection, anti-virus, folders, and a few other basic e-mail features likeattachments and an address book. Not everyone needs the power of Gmail or the security of Hushmail, so if you know someone looking for a very simple to use, free, robust e-mail service, tell them totry out MuchoMail. Sometimes having no frills can be a good thing. Lycos E-mail (mail.lycos.com) Yet another company that has beenaround for awhile, Lycos also offers free e-mail with some great features. You’ll be glad to know you’re heavily guarded from SPAM and phishing attacks and can block domains and e-mail addresses thatyou don’t want to receive messages from. Disk storage is upgradeable so that if you need more room, you can easily obtain it for a decent cost. You’ll also be able to compose e-mails with HTML whichwill give you the ability to make your messages look pretty and make them a little more personal. Their Lycos Mail Plus service allows POP3 access, no ads, and 125MB of storage. Don’t expect to besending files left and right with Lycos, but their service is pretty decent for free e-mail. Mail (www.mail.com) With a domain name like mail.com, you’d expect itto be the king of all e-mail. It’s not, but Mail does have a lot to offer you. Their free e-mail service includes the usual anti-virus and SPAM protection you’d expect by now. In addition, you alsoget some pretty handy features like a notepad, calendar, address book, and more. They’re also offering their Mail.com instant messenger, which lets you use services like AIM, ICQ, and MSN all in oneclient. Not too bad for a free service. They also offer a list of domains to choose from so that you can get an address that you like, just in case “@mail.com” is a little too plain for you. Mail2Web (www.mail2web.com) If you use a mail client on your computer for work, school, or other personal reasons, then you’ll love Mail2Web. Mail2Web gives you the ability tocheck your e-mail from any computer, mobile phone, or PDA with web access. No sign-up or registration is required and you can easily (and anonymously) check your e-mail just by providing your fulle-mail address and password for that account. The interface is nice and clean as well as easy to use. You can also use their chat service to combine services and buddy lists from AIM, Yahoo!Messenger, and others. Web2Mail is a great service and is free for all to use.