To start using webmail (web based email) decide first whether you want to use a free or a paid service. Most people start off with a free service, which will cover the basics, and sometimes upgrade to a paid service as their needs develop.
Choose a webmail provider
The three biggest webmail providers are Google Gmail, Microsoft’s Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail. Their websites will give you an overview of the features they offer including the amount of online storage space you’ll have, the maximum attachment size they’ll support and the security methods they use. You can check the details to see which takes your fancy, but since they’re free, you can set up email addresses with each of them to see which you prefer.
You can access any type of email account via your smartphone, but you may find it easier to use the provider that also created your phone’s operating system – Gmail for Android phones, or Hotmail for Windows Phone devices.
Create and email account
Once you’ve chosen your provider, you’ll need to enter details such as your name, email address, password and security questions (in case you forget your password). For a free service, you shouldn’t need to provide any credit card or banking details. The provider will check that the email address you’d like is available and that the password you’ve chosen is strong enough. Choose a memorable password that contains both numbers and letters in a mixture of upper and lower case to make your password as strong as possible.
Protect your email
Only give your main email address to trusted sites and contacts. For sites that you’re less comfortable with, set up a separate account. This way your main email address is less likely to become a target for spam or virus emails.
Organise your email
Once you’ve set up your email account you can access it by logging on to the provider’s website. But there are also programs which can download and organise your emails, from all your accounts, on your computer. The most popular is Outlook, a basic version of which comes free with the Windows operating system on most PCs. You’ll need to input your email address and password into the settings, then you can choose whether to download your emails or leave them online, sort them automatically into different folders and organise templates and signatures.