This is partly based on the the Wired How-to Wiki Ditch Your Old E-mail Addresses. I’ve expanded on it here because along the way I stumbled over traps that may confuse other people.
Getting a Gmail address was trivial as I already had a number of existing accounts. I’ve decided to forward everything from everywhere to a single Gmail account and gradually stop using all my old accounts.
If you don’t already have Gmail account, just hop over to gmail.com and sign up — you’re late to the party so there may not be a great choice of available names. This doesn’t matter as nobody ever has to see your Gmail address.
Second: Domain name
Again this was straightforward, I chose a .co.nz name partly because New Zealand is a small country with a relatively uncrowded domain name register which made it easy to get exactly the domain name I wanted. It cost me about NZ$40 to own billbennett.co.nz, but New Zealand names have to be renewed annually which is a pain.
My existing web host was good enough. There’s a minor technical problem with my host which is causing problems elsewhere, but the one I use isn’t expensive and (most of the time) the company is easy to deal with.
I’m paying around NZ$130 a year for 100MB of storage and plenty of bandwidth. You don’t need much of either to handle an email account, so opt for the smallest possible hosting plan unless you aim to use the service for something else.
Fourth: Set-up mail account
My host uses a program called Cpanel. It allows me to manage the site through a web browser. I opened Cpanel and clicked on the Mail icon. A list displayed with a number of options, I chose Add/ Remove/ Manage Accounts. From here I added the email account firstname.lastname@example.org.
You need to set up a password and a quota at this point – which is an amount of storage space to set aside for email. I’m not planning to keep any email on the server, but just to be safe during the testing stage I set aside 2MB of storage. This turned out to be a good move, because I hit a minor snag.
This stage looks easy in the Wired How-to Wiki, but I struggled a little finding out how to redirect email traffic from my host using Cpanel. That’s because I used the Email Domain Forwarding option. While this looks like the right tool – it isn’t. I then tried, incorrectly, setting up forwarding from Cpanel’s built-in Horde web mail program. The correct tool to use at this point is cryptically listed in the Cpanel/Mail menu as Forwarders.
Here you simply need to click on Add Forwarder and then enter the new email address followed by the Gmail account where you plan to receive your mail.
Sixth: Tell Gmail about your new account
I did this by logging on to Gmail, clicking the Settings link at the top right of the window and then on the Accounts tab. Here I added the new address, verified it, then made it the default.
It’s a good idea to test your new email address at this point. When I did this I had some problems with the redirecting and found my emails sitting in the Horde web mail inbox on the server at my host.
Now, my next job is to make sure the new address appears everywhere online. This will take some time to fix. I made a good start by Googling my old addresses, but there are hundreds of instances so it’s not going to happen overnight.