Over the years I have assisted users with their email accounts and in those years I have seen many different ways that a user can set up and manage email accounts and addresses. Some of them god and some of them bad and some of them very bad.
In this article I’m going to attempt to explain what an email account is and how it gets used as well as the different ways to manage your email account.
An email account is an email address that receives email being sent to it and stores the emails in a mail box on a mail server. An email address is not always an email account but an email account is always an email address. To check your email you will need an email account. Since an email account is on a mail server you will need to use an email client to check your email. Typically you have limited storage space available and email takes up storage space so keep that in mind when making your decisions on how to check/manage your email.
An email address is what is used by others to send you email. For most email service providers (i.e. gMail, iMail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.) you can only have one email address per email account. But for others you can create forwarders that accept email and forward it to another email address that may or may not be an email account. There is also an email address alias that may appear to be the same as a forwarder because the results appear to be the same. But the mechanics are different in that a forwarder re-sends the email to the new email address and an alias just receives the email in the account it is an alias of.
An email forwarder allows you to have an email account or address forward to any other email address. This can be convenient when you want to have multiple people receive email from the same email address. But this convenience comes with a price. When you forward an email it is being resent from our mail server so all email is being sent from mail.stnhost.com. This means ALL email is coming from our mail server including that SPAM email. So if you have SPAM filtering enabled on your email client and you are flagging SPAM email that was forwarded then you are flagging our mail server as the SPAM sender. This is bad for us and you. For example lets say you are forwarding to your Comcast, AOL, Yahhoo or GMAIL email account. Eventually if you keep flagging forwarded email as SPAM that email service provider will eventually add the main IP address of our mail server to their blacklist and email will stop forwarding. More information >>
An email alias on our mail server is an alias for you main addess/account. It allows you to set it up and address or multiple email addresses associated with an email account. So for example you could an account with the address of email@example.com and then you could create an alias firstname.lastname@example.org which if someone sent an email to email@example.com it would arrive in the firstname.lastname@example.org account. It may seem to be the same thing as a forwarder but it’s not forwarding. More information >>
An email client is the program you use to check your email with. There are many email clients/programs out there that people use to check their email. These of course include email programs on mobile devices. Each email client will need credentials to check your email.
On our mail server we have a webmail app (email client) that allows you to login and check your email. This is located here http://webmail.stnhost.com/ and requires your username and password.
One of the most common issues I see users have is when they want to check an email account from multiple computers and/or devices. The issue lies in how they are checking their email across all devices. You have the ability to set the email client (except for webmail clients i.e. gMail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) to leave a copy of the email on the server or not leave a copy on the server. I see users never remove email from the mail server which then you have to make sure you are cleaning up your email and deleting unwanted email plus remember to empty the trash to completely remove the unwanted email from the server. Email takes storage space and you have a limited amout of storage available on our mail server and typically on other email service providers.
I hate SPAM email and I’m pretty sure I speak for everyone. One of the requests I get daily is from people asking me to stop the SPAM. I wish I could stop the SPAM. I work to limit the SPAM but the way email works is that you accept email sent to you. On our mail server we use 3rd party services attempt to block SPAM. These services keep a list of IP addresses that have been identified as sending SPAM and if an email coming to our mail server is originating from one of those IP addresses it gets blocked and sends the sender an email letting them know that their email was blocked and why it was blocked with a link for more details. Getting your IP address on one of the SPAM lists is bad thing when it happens.
The way you can combat SPAM beyond the blocks that our mail server uses depends on how you check your email and with what email client you use. If you are using our webmail program then I suggest you turn on Spam Assassin and then start flagging email as SPAM when it comes into your mailbox. If you are using a different email client then you will need to look at it’s SPAM filtering options or addons available for that specific client.
Internet Service Providers
In all of this email clutter internet service providers also play a part. Internet service providers can control what ports you can communicate with. Email is transmitted over different ports and some internet service providers block some of the most common ports to try to battle SPAMMERs. Why would an internet service provider be concerned with SPAMMERs? They don’t want thier IP addresses to get flagged by 3rd party SPAM list service providers. The same ones we use on our mail server to attempt to block SPAM. The other challenge for some is if you travel and use wifi from hotels or coffee shops you won’t know for sure if a port is being blocked because you will be using someone elses internet service provider.