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Switching email addresses is a headache, so avoid ISP email addresses

When you move to a new home, you need to tell people your new address. It’s a headache, but it can’t be avoided.

The same doesn’t have to be true for email addresses, though.

ISP addresses don’t “move”

You might move to a region not served by your ISP. You may need to switch ISPs for other reasons. And when you do, you may lose any email addresses those ISPs provided.

When that happens, you go through the same busywork you need to do when you change your physical address. Unless you don’t use your ISP’s address at all.

Fortunately, you have options:

  • Sign on to a free email service like Google’s GMail or Yahoo Mail.
  • Use email addresses attached to your own web domain, if you have one.

These will serve you better than ISP-provided email addresses for several reasons:

  • Non-ISP email addresses can “move” with you. In other words, you can access them regardless of the ISP you use.
  • You can set them up in your email client (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird) just like your ISP-provided addresses.
  • These addresses are often part of other, more extensive services. For instance, using your Google ID, you can access calendars, online office tools and other things, most of which are free.

Worried about spam? Most major ISPs are vulnerable to it, and few filter spam as well as services like Google’s Gmail.

ISP addresses: a cautionary tale

In the early 2000s, many Canadians used “” email addresses. The company that offered these addresses was bought by a company called Rogers, and email address owners lost their “” addresses, all of which were replaced by “” addresses. Imagine all the business cards that became invalid overnight, and all the other headaches owners of these addresses experienced!

How you can use this tip

  • Visit sites like or and sign up for an email address.
  • Sign up for as many addresses as you’d like (you can have multiple addresses with the same service, or one address from each of a variety of services).