Shelly writes, "I have an email conundrum. I have had Comcast internet for years but have decided to switch to another provider because I don’t get online that much or watch cable. The problem is that I don’t want to lose my Comcast email address. Is there a way to keep my same address even if I don’t have Comcast?"
Unfortunately, Shelly, email addresses are not like phone numbers: you don’t get to keep them if you switch providers. But we think we can make losing your email address a little less painful.
There are a ton of free email services out there that are not tied to internet providers. And, as it turns out, most of the free ones are better than the ones you pay for. These include Yahoo Mail, Outlook, and Mac.com. Far and away the most popular, though, is Gmail.
Gmail is also our personal favorite, because it's easy to use, has a lot of features, and (most important for you) it interacts well with other email providers. For instance, you can import all of your contacts from your old email account into your new Gmail account.
This process pretty easy. Once you have signed up for Gmail, click the settings icon (it looks like a gear), click "Settings", go to the "Account and Import" section and click the "Import Mail and Contacts" button. Then just follow the instructions.
Of course, you're going to want to send a message from your old email address to all of your contacts letting them know that you're switching to a different one. We would also recommend setting up email forwarding on your old address a few weeks before you cancel that account. This will automatically send new messages from your old address to an email address you specify (for example, your new Gmail address). That way, as messages come through, you can respond from your new account and let people know to begin sending emails there.
The hardest part about switching email addresses will be updating all of the online accounts you currently have linked to your email (e.g. your bank account, Facebook, etc). Unfortunately, Shelly, there isn't a quick and easy fix for this - you're going to have to simply login into all of those accounts and change them by hand.
This might seem like an arduous task, but we think it will be worth it in the end to have an email account that is free, can be accessed from anywhere, and isn't tied to whether or not you want cable.