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Should you switch to online e-mail?

E-mail was developed in the 1970's, more than a decade before the Web developed.

For most of that time, we only connected to the Internet for short periods of a time. Therefore, it made sense to "download" your e-mails in one go, disconnect from the net, then start reading them. You would write your replies, and then reconnect to the net so they could be sent.

But now, in our "always connected" internet age, it's not only possible, but preferable to manage your e-mail through your web browser.

The advantages are as follows:

  • You can check your messages anywhere - you don't need to set up your account details on every computer you use
  • Your messages are backed up by your service provider. Most people don't back up their e-mail, so if their computer breaks down, they lose everything.
  • You don't have to download or update any software. As long as you an up-to-date web browser, you are good to go.
  • You can search your messages easily - most desktop e-mail software does a pretty bad job of this, and relies on folders to do this.
  • You have a lot of space to save your files and other attachments - which follow you wherever you go.

And you don't even need to change e-mail address. Most online providers allow you to set up your POP mail accounts in them - so you can use your online webmail like it was your desktop client.

The three main online e-mail providers are Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Hotmail.

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