I’ve told you about the issues that can arise with having an email address with your Internet service provider instead of an email provider like Gmail or Microsoft. Now a reader wants to know what her options are.

“Please let me know if it any way possible to receive emails if I change my internet service provider I have some important correspondence coming in for 15 years or so. I do have a Hotmail address and Gmail as well Is there a way to direct mail to Hotmail?”

First, I want to clarify for those who don’t know that changing Internet Service Providers has absolutely no effect on your email address if you use an email provider that’s not associated with your ISP. If you have Gmail, Hotmail, Outlook.com, MSN.com, Livemail.com, Yahoo, AOL etc…, it has no effect at all. That’s why I suggest using an email provider unrelated to the company you get your Internet service from as your primary email address.

If you are using an email address associated with your Internet service provider, you usually can’t keep using that address. It’s like you moved. You can’t keep having your mail sent to that house. Actually, a more accurate description is that you were paying for a P.O. box.  When you stop paying for it, you can’t get mail there anymore. As with the Post Office, there’s normally a period of time you can receive mail at the address, often between 30 and 60 days, but sometimes as little as a day or two. While you can forward email from another account to your Hotmail (Outlook.com) address, that’s only going to work as long as that ISP email address is active.

There are actually some ISPs that allow people to keep their email address. (Although, remember that they could change their minds about that at any time.)  You’d have to check with your ISP to see what their policy is.

Your best bet would be to change your email address, making sure you notify anyone that sends you important email of your new address.  That would include your bank, any online businesses like Amazon that use an email address, and your friends and family. Also, don’t forget to update your email address for any newsletter subscriptions.

You can also set up email forwarding to your Hotmail or Gmail address. But that’s only going to work as long as your email address remains active with your ISP.

I hope that clears things up.