An email address is essentially just what it sounds like -- an inbox for "mail" sent over the Internet -- and many free or paid options to provide email service crowd today's consumer market.
Choosing Your Free Email Service
For their personal email accounts, most people don't usually need the advanced features offered by premium, business-oriented solutions . Even in the case of people who do need and use business email, having a free personal account and a separate, paid premium option for business makes for a convenient mode of keeping messages separate.
Gmail, from Google, is one of the world's most popular email services and likely the first recommendation you'll hear. Because of Google's ownership of Android and popular services like YouTube, you may already have a Google Account, regardless of what you're using as your primary email provider. With Gmail, you receive most of the basic features you would expect out of an email client, as well as access to Google's own expansive feature set.
Previously called Hotmail, Outlook is another great, free email solution offered by Microsoft. Outlook is considered a close rival to Gmail in terms of feature-set and ease of use. Just like with Google's mail service, having a Microsoft account lends you access to their services, like Office Online or Xbox Live.
Yahoo Mail remains a popular, viable option in the email market, offering the same feature sets as any of the other big email clients. Yahoo also has a large amount of different services under the company's belt, including extensive news coverage and the Yahoo Answers service. If you find Yahoo's suite of services particularly appealing in comparison to Google or Microsoft's, you may be inclined to make an account with them.
Choosing Your Paid Email Service
Whether you require it for business matters, privacy, or the extra features, premium email options remain a good investment for those interested in what they offer.
Google Apps For Business
Like Gmail, but with a boosted feature-set for business users. Google Apps for Business also extends its feature set to include Google Drive and other Google Apps, which may prove useful in an office scenario. Costs between $5 to $10 per month, per user, depending on the specific plan, and the suite offers unlimited storage. If you have fewer than five users in your plan, each individual user will be subject a 1TB data cap for transfers made with their business account. If you're working in a field that requires large files being transferred regularly, this could be problematic.
Microsoft Office 365
Microsoft Office 365 is essentially just Outlook with added business-centric features. This option varies in cost between $5 and $12.50 depending on the specific package and has a 1TB data cap for each individual user. If you work in an environment where you are regularly transferring uncompressed or high-quality video or other such large files, this 1TB cap may affect you.
Worried about the NSA or people snooping into your email? Countermail offers some of the best in private email, as well as compatibility with custom domain names. Countermail offers a full year of service for $60, with an added one-time fee of $10 if you wish to use your own custom domain name in your email address.
Creating Your Account
Step 1: Filling Out Information
The first part of creating an account on any email service is to fill out the appropriate information on the sign-up page. This data generally includes your name, date of birth, phone number and preferred email address and password. Some services, like Google, may require you to verify your sign-up with a phone call or text message.
When choosing your account name, you should consider going for something you won't mind using for years down the line and that you're okay with sharing with many people. You don't even necessarily have to use your real name for an account name at all!
People using premium email services will need to fill out payment information as well, just like with any other online order.
Step 2: Verification
If you're required to verify your information using a phone, you may be sent a text message with a security code or given a call where you have to follow an automated speaker's instructions.