Do you need an expert sounding email address? NO: If you just need email for personal use or you are pleased enough with an address including me(at)gmail.com then I would propose that you stick with a free webmail email account provider.
Why? Firstly, they are free! They generally give you a large storage capacity (Gmail is 7.5 GB, Yahoo is unlimited, Hotmail is 5GB) and naturally you can access your bank account from the computer via internet. Additionally they offer you Charter Webmail. (In order to avoid confusion I am going to make reference to email clients that should be placed on a specific computer, like Outlook or Live Mail, as installed clients.)
YES: If you need a professional sounding address you can go for a hosting option by a third party provider or perhaps you can have your own server. Your Internet Provider (ISP) will generally host your email also. The fees are generally according to a package of hosting plus the space you use on your own mailbox. As soon as you hit the package limit you spend an extra fee per MB stored. (For this reason if you’ve ever worked in a big company they continuously send requests for you to clean out your email!)
Alternatively you can use a free Gmail account as the server. This really is particularly beneficial to small companies or work from home entrepreneurs. You can buy your own domain name that is included with multiple contact information for less than $10 annually. Check from the favorite domain address provider for prices. This way you can have your professional sounding email address forward or POP to Gmail and make use of Gmail’s free email client to manage your emails. You can set it up so it appears to be if the emails you send from Gmail are coming from your company address.
How do you want to view and manage your emails?
Again there are big differences between using a webmail client and and installed client. In order to handle the me(at)mycompany.com type emails, most people install an email client on the computers. Lots of people use Outlook or Windows Live Mail simply as this is this system that is included with their computer package. You can also find free email programs that will do the job just as well and that can work on Linux, Windows and Apple, so when you use various kinds of computer you can have the identical client to them all.
This email client regularly downloads the emails through the mailbox which enables you to work on your own emails while offline. A fantastic trick is to synchronize your webmail having an installed client so you can work on or offline but still obtain your emails from your computer.
Must you access your email from various locations?
It is rare for anyone today to simply ever access their email in one computer. The standard setup would be to download emails to 1 particular computer and view them with an installed program like Outlook or Live Mail etc. however you can also decide to leave the emails on the server. What this means is you will be able to look at them off their computers if you are on the road.
Most email account providers permit a webmail option so you can view any emails which have not been downloaded to the computer straight from the mailbox. Make sure you check with the email provider if webmail is part of the offer.
And, as stated before, you can synchronize your emails between webmail as well as an installed client which means you can access your emails anywhere, from the computer with internet access.
Have you been very likely to change address?
Many internet service providers provide you with a webmail address once you set up your internet account. It will always be something like me(at)verizon.com or me(at)bigpond.com From personal experience I suggest steering clear of these addresses because when you move or change internet provider you need to change your email address. A webmail address or a company address is vgncjo more portable because it can be utilized with any provider.
Do you really need lots of storage?
If you are an entrepreneur or you have a small company you can probably avoid the cost of needing to own and manage your personal server. Most email account providers offer a range of plans that you should pick from so that you can begin small and increase your storage as time passes. Tip: avoid plans which can be relatively cheap for small amounts of storage (many have 1GB as standard) but then charge you a high price per MB after that. Consider your needs with time, not just starting out.