MacMost Now 655: Five Reasons Not To Use Your ISP’s Email Service

When you sign up with an ISP like a cable modem, DSL or mobile provider you are often given a free email address using the domain name of the ISP. Many people use these as their primary email address. Here are five reasons why that is a bad idea and you should instead use a portable free email service like iCloud or Gmail, or get your own domain name.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: MacMost Now 655: Five Reasons Not To Use Your ISP’s Email Service.

Hi, this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode, let me tell you why you shouldn't use the free e-mail address that comes from your cable modem or DSL provider.
I get a lot of questions by e-mail and I'm amazed by how many people have e-mail addresses that are from their cable modem or DSL or even mobile internet provider. It's not a good idea to use these e-mail addresses. Let me explain why.
The first and most obvious reason is portability. Say my e-mail address is Well, what happens if I change to, say, using the DSL provider on my area or what happens if I move to an area that have another cable provider? I'd lose that e-mail address forever, there's no way I could keep it. So I would have a problem with having to update everybody with my e-mail address and what happens if I use that e-mail address to sign up for different services, like online sites and different things, I'd have to update all those and if I forgot one and and then lost the e-mail address I'm having trouble reestablishing the service.
So it's not a good idea to have an e-mail address with somebody unless you know you can take it with you anywhere you move, anywhere you go no matter what internet service you're using.
Another reason is these e-mail services usually lack a lot of the features you could find elsewhere. One of the most common ones that I find is people that are stuck using POP e-mail. POP e-mail is old-fashioned e-mail where one client, say, computer, is expected to pull the e-mail off the server. Now, what happens if you have an iPhone and a computer? Well, the iPhone gets the e-mail first and you don't see the e-mail in your computer, or vice-versa. A more modern way to read your e-mail that's been around for a while now is IMAP, and I'm amazed by how many of these free ISP e-mail services only offer POP and not IMAP.
A third reason is a web based interface. While some of these ISPs I mentioned do offer web based interface, it's probably pretty primitive, and some of them don't offer it at all. Most other e-mail services offer some sort of web based interface: this could be very handy even if you check your e-mail through your e-mail client on your Mac and, say, the mail client on your iPhone, every once in a while you're in another computer or you're travelling and it's great to have that web based interface to be able to access your e-mail far easily even if your computer is not around you.
Now, ISP e-mail services often don't deal with spam very well either. Even then they have no filters at all, so you just get everything addressed to you, including a ton of spam in your inbox. Or they filter some stuff out and you just don't happen to get e-mail. A lot of problems, even in the last year with ISPs filtering out newsletters and legitimate e-mail from friends and you just never see them. With most modern spam filters, these things are put into a spam folder and you can look at them if you want to and they're very good at detecting spam.
And the fifth and final reason is these e-mail addresses don't look very professional. Now take it from me, I'm a professional geek: when I see a business card or a resume or something and it has an e-mail address at the top that's from a cable modem or DSL service I immediately think that the person probably isn't very internet savvy, which is probably a bad thing no matter what sort of job you're applying for or business contact you're trying to make, so having an e-mail service that is more respected or having your own domain is a lot better than using one of these e-mail addresses and putting them out there in the world.
So, what are the alternatives? While there are tons of free e-mail services, the biggest one I would recommend is probably Gmail: it has all the features that I've talked about before and it's pretty well respected, has a great web interface, you can use it as IMAP across all your devices and it's pretty decent. Now another one you may want to look at is iCloud. Of course you get your e-mail address, which is independent from all the services and has a pretty good web interface and, in addition, showing that you may be a little more internet savvy that somebody that has a cable modem or DSL e-mail address. It also shows you're an Apple user.
Now, there are plenty of other services as well. For instance, Yahoo! e-mail is very popular, but I don't like them so much because they charge for a lot of things that are free in other e-mail service providers. And there are plenty others out there, so find out one that meet your needs and switch to it.
In addition, you could go around and get your own domain name. So, this costs a little bit because you have to register the domain name, so that's ten bucks a year, but when you have it you can actually put the e-mail service anywhere you want: you can get your own server and pay for that or you can use a free service, like, for instance, Google has Google Apps for Domains or you could basically have Gmail at your own domain.
So, I hope you've found this useful! 'Til next time, this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 18 Responses to “MacMost Now 655: Five Reasons Not To Use Your ISP’s Email Service”

    7 years ago

    how would you suggest to change to a web base email, i have a gmail account, but everyone uses my cable address….?

      7 years ago

      Well, email everyone in your address book and anyone else you can think of, of course. Then think of all of the online accounts where you have your ID set to that old email address. Go to each account and start the process of changing it to the new email address.
      Then see if the old email address has an option on the server to forward email to another address. Set it to do so.
      But keep the old address around and check it every once in a while, at least for a time.

        7 years ago

        thats why i do not like hotmail because they use pop

    7 years ago

    Thanks for this podcast that rolled on nicely from a question I’d asked last week. As always, most enjoyable :)

    7 years ago

    Is there somewhere I could find a hard copy or at least the text of the Five Reasons Not To Use Your ISP’s Email Service?


      7 years ago

      Not at the moment. Eventually there will be a transcript here. Check back in a week or so.

        7 years ago

        Thanks, Gary, GREAT JOB!

    7 years ago

    I do have a Gmail account but my main account has always been through Road Runner, Gmail is to restrictive for somethings I need. In my work I had to sometimes receive and also send out files that may be of the executable type for testing or setting up equipment. Our company email was through Gmail and I could not send these even when sent as ZIP format. Gmail would not allow them to go through their system. I would use my RR account with no problem. I know that is not necessarily a good thing but it works for me and I am always aware when, from who and what file is coming if I am receiving one so I am very careful on that respect.

      7 years ago

      What I would do is to use a service like Dropbox or an FTP server to send those files. Even if you can send them from your end, the receiver may not be able to get it on their end. Better to send them a link to the file instead.

    Don Yaworski
    7 years ago

    I have found that when I send an email from my domain name email to someone at certain companies, it is screened out, I guess as spam and they do not get my email. I do not know why since I do not send out mass emails. But when I send email from my isp email account, these very same people receive the email. What could be going on here?

      7 years ago

      Could be many things. Your domain could be blacklisted for some reason. Or more likely the server block where you have that domain hosted has been blacklisted. I’d consult with an email deliverability specialist to sort it out.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    7 years ago

    This is a minefield.I had a hotmail account for years,until one day i was receiving emails from the adobe forum. These kept on coming in,as fast as i was deleting them,the faster they came in. I asked for help and Hotmail said we do not support Safari or Apple. I was sick of deleting them,and it went over a thousand. Someone else was having the same problem,and they told him to find the answer on the Hotmail forum. I just left,and i am using my ISP`s email. I have been thinking to have a Gmail as you said Gary.

    7 years ago

    Here’s a good one for you Gary. A year ago I moved house, thus losing my cable provider, and thus their email addy as per your video. I advised friends to use my hotmail account (which btw, I believe don’t support IMAP) while I get my old email account back (via a mobile service with same telco which I’m don’t use)…the short of it is, one person is *still* using my hotmail, even close to a year after telling her to go back to my old ISP account (which her husband quite quickly switched back to !)…so the plan now is to delete my hotmail account and hopefully this will force her to use my preferred account. I do have several gmail accounts, though prefer my old ISP one as I’ve been using it for 14 years. Oh, and while I think of it, these same friends who cant send me email on my preferred account couldn’t figure out how to empty trash and junk folders on gmail, which was taking a few hundred meg, so they bought some more storage space when they didn’t have to – so a word of advice – if you’re using a web based mail account (eg: gmail), know where all your space is going, and how to empty it if the usage seems too high.

    7 years ago

    Thanks for posting this, Gary! I’ve been telling people this for years. I myself use Inbox, a free web-based e-mail that comes with lots of storage space but you can add more at a nominal price. PLUS, you can add-on any features you like for free. They are not thrown in your face the way G-Mail does. Hope this helps!

    Michael A.
    7 years ago

    Another reason not to use ISP email is that some ISPs don’t allow you to send email when you’re not at home; more precisely, their SMTP servers reject connections from IP addresses that don’t belong to their customers.

    7 years ago

    if you switch to a new account (say gMail or iCloud) then set up a ‘Vacation Message’ at your old address to automaticly reply to incoming mail (at your old address) with a message saying you have stopped using this account and can be reached at your new address (XYZ123).
    In this way people who are not personally invested in dealing with you personally won’t pick up the message and won’t send stuff to your new address ie you won’t be bothered by idiots. The exception to this is of course email newsletters sent by robots, so obviously you should check your old address inbox from time to time to see if there is anything important you’re not getting. It may mean unsubscribing your old address and resubscribing with your new one.

    Ron Chatham
    7 years ago

    good info. I have had e-mail sending probs with my macbook air since day on. It is off and on and not reliable. This happened with (yahoo) and

    Not sure how to fix but evidently I need to not go through What should I switch to?

      7 years ago

      You should call your ISP’s tech support and walk though the settings with them.

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