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Similar risks lurk with the free email addresses passed out by internet service providers. Change to a different telecommunications company, and in most cases those addresses vanish as well.
There are also no guarantees that freemail accounts such as Gmail will be available for all time, warn experts.
Meanwhile, EPFL Alumni, an organisation for professionals in research, management, industry and public service, provides an email address that members can use for an unlimited time to send and receive messages.
This address is: firstname. firstname.lastname@example.org.
This lifetime address has two advantages – firstly, it allows you to keep an unchanged address for life, even if you change your email provider.
For example, if you moved from Hotmail to Gmail, your firstname. email@example.com address remains the same. You would simply need to update your profile on www.epflalumni.ch.
Similar freemail services have been known to shut down in the past. The best way to make sure you have lifelong access to your email is to set up your own web domain.
It might cost a little bit each month, but it means all internet addresses in the domain belong to you.
But be aware, if you forget to pay your annual registration fee, the service provider will revoke it, and someone else might swoop in and grab the domain name.
And, even if you do set up your own domain, it’s still a good idea to set up multiple email accounts for yourself within it, so you can have different accounts linked to different online services.
Doing so makes it harder for cybercriminals to steal a user’s entire identity.
Domains can probably be registered via web and mail hosters or directly with a domain registrar.
Experts say it doesn’t really matter which route you take, so long as it is you personally who is registered as the “administrative contact”.
It is probably easiest to set up the domain with a service that doesn’t just register your address, but also offers an entire package that includes a functioning mail server.
Good services offer the freedom to use an email client programme, apps or webmail services at will. – dpa