Let’s start with a quick poll: what email program do you use? Or is your email in the cloud?
There are two primary ways to store your email:
- On your computer in a program such as Microsoft Outlook
- In the cloud in a service such as Gmail, Yahoo! or Outlook.com
If you are already using a cloud based service then you’re done, you can stop reading! I will have posts that talk about making the best use of these cloud services and how to protect your email messages in these locations.
Why move email to the cloud?
If you have been storing years of email on your computer then you may want to consider moving to a cloud based service. Why would you want to do this?
- You keep online receipts and financial correspondence in your email – imagine the headaches if all of this was lost due to a failed hard drive.
- if the information is only on your computer then it’s only accessible when you’re home. Wouldn’t it be great to access all of your email history from anywhere?
For many years I kept all of my old emails in Microsoft Outlook on my home computer. I switched to Gmail so all of my new messages were easily accessible on my phone but old ones only at home. Since moving all of my emails online, there have been many occasions when I’m out that I need to find some old piece of information and have quickly found it right from my phone.
That’s great but I really like Outlook/Apple Mail/Thunderbird…
For several years I recommended to my cousin who has thousands of emails in Outlook PST files that he should move everything to a cloud based service. He much prefers Outlook over any of the cloud based services that he tried. I informed him that he can have the best of both worlds. With relative ease, you can still use your email program of your choice and connect it to your preferred cloud based service. The great thing about this is that when you are at home and filing or deleting emails, all the changes are simultaneously happening in the cloud based email too. You can work with whichever you want – the email program on the computer or the cloud based service.
Ok, you’ve convinced me, but how to I move my emails
Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Before transferring over your years of emails, you first need to decide which cloud based service to use. I will first tell you what not to use – your Internet provider’s email.
What do I mean by this? A popular provider in my area is Rogers. When signing up, many people have email addresses in the form of firstname.lastname@example.org. Rogers has a partnership with Yahoo! so you get a Yahoo! account branded by Rogers. In theory you could move all of your email here, but I highly recommend against it:
If you cancel or change your Internet provider, you will lose your email account that you have with them!
Years ago, the only way to get an email address was with your Internet provider. This is no longer the case. You can register your own domain (I did that years ago, more in a future post) or use a previously mentioned service like Outlook.com, Yahoo! or Gmail. If you are choosing to move your computer based email to an online cloud service, I highly recommend signing up for a free account with one of these email based cloud services. There are numerous advantages:
- assuming these companies stay in business, your email is for life
- they are free, and most have a paid service that gives you features like extra space or no advertising
- you can still use your Internet service provider email address with most of these services – more about that in another post in this series
In the next post, I will go over choosing from the online email providers and then talk about how to get your email moved online.