When you sign up with an ISP, you will be given an e-mail ID too. It will look something like this: a.n.other@ISP name.com .. If in Canada, .ca, in the UK, .co.uk, in Australia, .au and so on. I always use my ISP mail account as my primary mail in/mail out box because it looks better, especially when sending mail to sensible people and institutions like banks and insurance companies. Mail ID’s like hot_diggety-dawg@web mail.com just don’t have the air of sensibility required for some messages.
So, the cable guy has called, or maybe the DSL provider has sent you their DIY kit, and you are ‘net ready’. How do you get to your ISP mailbox?
ISPs generally provide a way via their home page which can be accessed from your home computer or any computer anywhere in the world. All you have to do is find the link on the page and then type in your given e-mail ID and password, details of which will be in the manual given to you by the cable installer or included in the DIY package.
Personally, I don’t like accessing my mail via a homepage. It is ok if all else fails, but the best way to get mail is through an e-mail client installed on your computer. Windows XP comes with the Outlook Express client, Vista with Windows Mail (pretty much the same as OE), and Windows 7 comes with no e-mail client at all.
Setting up a local e-mail client is not difficult, but does require that you have ISP specific connection information to hand, and setup is much the same regardless of mail client. Apart from your mail ID and password, you need to know the server address for incoming mail, outgoing (smtp) mail, the ports through which the e-mail flows, and whether or not it all requires a secured logon. This information is generally available on a web page which you access by typing into a search box ‘<ISP name> mail setup’.
If you want to make mail account setup easy, the best way is to call your ISP and ask the operative at the other end to walk you through the process. Making notes along the way will make it easy for you to do it yourself in the future, or in fact for the next part of this piece.
ISP’s don’t just give you one e-mail box. There will be others allocated for your use, maybe as many as eight, but they will not be setup yet. Note that you can’t just make one up and expect it to work. You have to make the ISP aware of the proposed names. What you have to do is to log into the ISP members area of the homepage, and find the part where you can add secondary mail accounts. Having found it, enter the new mail ID;s into the appropriate boxes, and you are done almost.
Next, go to each computer which requires one of the new mail ID’s setting up in Outlook Express, Windows Mail or other preferred mail client and, using notes taken during the walk-through, set up the mail account. It is that simple..
Secondary accounts are also useful if you want personal and business account names or maybe just two personal accounts coming into the same mail client but to different inboxes. What you do in this case is set one mail ID as a POP3 account, and the other as IMAP. Setup is more or less the same, but the incoming port for the IMAP account will be different. IMAP accounts are handled differently to POP3, but they are easy enough to work.
A final note..
At the end of the account setup, you will see checkboxes relating to leaving messages on the server. ISP mailboxes are nothing like as large as webmail based boxes like Yahoo and Hotmail, so check the box to leave messages on the server, but also check the box relating to erasing messages when the ‘deleted items’ folder is emptied, and remember not to leave too much in your inbox and to empty your deleted items. Deleting messages removes them from the inbox, but does not delete them from the server until you empty the folder. If you want to save e-mail, create mail folders in your mail client and move stuff to save into them. This keeps your inbox level down, and you will not incur warning shots from the ISP about overfilling their mail server..