setting up your own (non-plusnet) email domain
There's 3 approaches people seem to have towards email:
1) use Gmail etc
2) use your ISP's email account
3) get your own email address
Gmail is very convenient etc, as long as you don't mind Google reading all your emails (which they say they do, for advertising purposes). Personally, I don't want Google reading my email!
The problem with using your ISP's email is that if you change ISP, you have to tell everyone your new email address, and people won't do that (because they don't really know how), so you lose their emails. The end result is that you may be put off changing ISPs, because of the extra hassles
So, what about getting your OWN email address. Let's try and explain how this works:
1) Go to a place that sells and manages domain names, and find yourself a domain name. I use NamesCo for my domains, and their control panel gives me what I need.
My name is Paul Blitz, so our domain is "blitzfamily.<something>" (sadly "blitz.<most things>" was already taken!). Good ones to consider are something.uk, something.org.uk and even something.me.uk ... personally, I wouldn't use a something.co.uk for personal use, but that's just me. Ther's plenty to choose from, but some can be quite expensive.
2) Pay money! Many places almost give the domain names away fro free for the first year, but expect to pay around £10 to £15 per year after the first year. If you pay for 2 or 3 years, you'll get a discount.
3) create some email accounts at your (new) ISP: this is where the email ends up, but is NOT the email address that you give out to people. So, we set up "firstname.lastname@example.org", "email@example.com" and "firstname.lastname@example.org" for my son, my wife and me. We will never give these email addresses out!
4) go into their "control panel" and configure "email forwarding". With Namesco I can set up multiple forwards within the domain. So I can forward "email@example.com" to send to the "tom@..." account, "firstname.lastname@example.org" to "ethel@.." and the "catch-all" (ie "email@example.com") to my "paul@..." email account.
Thehe nice thing about this is that, if you move ISP, your public email addresses stay the same, you just need to now set up email at your new ISP, and change the email forwarding details.
5) on your email client, you start by setting up the email as per the ISP's instructions. Then, in your email client, you need to change the "email address" to your personal email address (rather than the ISP one).
So, in Outlook, I set up "Your Name" as "Paul Blitz"; "Email address" as "firstname.lastname@example.org", and the rest stays as the ISP tells you (ie the account type, the username & password)
So how does this all work? Well, when you CREATE an email, Outlook sets my "from" address as "email@example.com". It sends the email to "relay.plus.net" (the Plusnet SNTP server), which then sends it on to the recipient. When they hit "reply" they will send their email to "firstname.lastname@example.org", which goes (in my case) to namesco's email system, and then they pass it on to my "paul@..." plusnet email account, where outlook picks up the mail from.
A couple of years ago, we had several months warning that my brother would be moving house, so I got him his own domain name, and pointed it to a new email account... and told him to start telling everyone about the new account. So he now has 2 email accounts: the new on and the old one. He kept checking his old email, and after a couple of weeks, anyone still sending emails to there got a reminder to use the new account. A couple of weeks later, and all the old account got was junk mail, so he moved any emails across (cut & paste within the email program), and deleted the old email account
When he actually moved, his old ISP's email account continued to work , so he could still access his email on his phone. When he got the new broadband set up, we created an email account there, and changed his PC's email to point to it. Finally, a quick change of the email-forwarding details and his emails were flowing again... the whole thing took about 10 minutes to do.
Another good "use case" for you: I bought domains for both of my sons, and simply point them to their own choice of email account. One son has a permenant email account at his old university, so uses that. Other son uses a plusnet email account (ie part of my broadband emails). Both use IMAP on their phones, and (I think) POP3 on their Macs (so that they can keep their email long term). But, in the future, if their actual email account changes, it's not a problem, as their PUBLIC email account stays the same. Forever. Or untill the internet gets replaced. Or people use messaging services instead!
So go on, do it! If you get problems, we're here to help!