In which Joel exposes his utter cluelessness…again.

When I set up the first version of TUAK I needed an email address, and used one on Yahoo I’ve had laying around for the past 13 years.

When Ian set up in 2012 it came with an email address. I’m sure it’s very nice. For all I know there are dozens, hundreds of messages waiting for me there since I routinely use it for comments on other blogs where they insist on a valid email address but I have no desire to actually converse with anyone there. I have no idea how to access it. Seems like I should be able to set it up on Thunderbird, but if so Thunderbird doesn’t make it easy.

I have this problem a lot. I use PGP to converse with a couple of people, but have absolutely no dreaming clue how it works or how to set it up. Every time a change is needed it’s a big freaking deal. Someday I’m going to go postal and kill all the computer-literate people, just because I envy them so much. Yeah, I’d better erase that. Too much information. I’ll just highlight it and hit this button that says “delete,” and they’ll never know I typed it.

(ahem) Anyway, the reason I mention this is that Yahoo and I have come to a parting of the ways. TUAK needs a new email address. But I don’t know what’s been happening in the world of email service providers in the past, oh, 15 years.

Suggestions? Please?

About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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15 Responses to In which Joel exposes his utter cluelessness…again.

  1. Ben says:

    Gmail works for me. It has a very usable web interface,and it also plays well with Thunderbird and (I assume) other e-mail programs. I learned the hard way never use the email accounts that my Internet providers give me, because that makes it too complicated to change Internet providers.

  2. I second the Google gmail suggestion. Google doesn’t seem to be in any danger of folding up or getting taken over; everyone designs to their interface; and there’s all kinds of support available.


  3. WOZ says:

  4. Mark Matis says:

    Gmail is probably fine if you don’t mind Erik and the FedPigs reading EVERYTHING you send or get.

  5. Joel says:

    I kind of assume they do that anyway, Mark, or at least they can any time they want. But giving information to Google does sort of feel like I’m just mailing it directly to the feds…

  6. Judy says:

    You probably already know all this, but it took me a while to figure out how to get my e-mail address added to hubby’s computer after he passed away and my computer was acting up.

    Talk to Ian and get the password to the e-mail account that came with (probably the same). Then go to Thunderbird (assumption: you already have it set up with a previous e-mail account) click on the line that lists the name of the account you have set up (such as: This will open a window that lists: email, accounts and advance features. (This is the line above ‘inbox’) Under the accounts header you will see ‘create a new account’ with several choices. Just follow the directions from there.

    We’ve had gmail for years and not had any problems with it. I look at it like, getting on the internet IS telling the feds what I’m thinking about at the moment. I’m pretty sure whomever is keeping track of me wonders what kind of weirdo I am.

  7. Cliff says: very private no authentication required that I’m aware of.

  8. jed says:

    Judy’s approach might well work, but there are some things to keep in mind.

    Some hosting providers will provide only inbound mail forwarding for your domain. Which means you go the control panel and tell it ‘send all e-mail for this domain to‘ or whatever it is that’s the e-mail you actually use. Or, even if they provide inbound-only, you’ll be able to tell it ‘send all e-mail for joelly-poo (at) to therealjoel (at)’ and send the rest to the trash, or to a ‘catch-all’ account. Be aware that spammers have been, and will continue, to send gobs of crap to various addresses at your domain, for users such as root, webmaster, admin, news, abuse, etc., so just forwarding all domain e-mail to your real address will get old quickly.

    For example, I just took over responsibility for a web site hosted by GoDaddy, with a domain name, and the account with them has forwarding-only e-mail. Full-use e-mail is available, but at a price increase.

    And, if your hosting provider has only forwarding e-mail, then you’ll need a ‘real’ e-mail address anyway, so at best it’s maybe a small convenience. And, your outbound mail will be coming from your real address, not from your address.

    If your hosting provider provides only forwarding e-mail aliases, then you won’t be able to set up your home computer to send e-mail via them, using Thunderbird.

    If your hosting provider allows full-service e-mail with your hosting account, then Judy’s suggestion should work. The operative question would be do they allow POP3 or IMAP for mail retrieval, and more importantly, can you send outbound mail through them?

    I have little experience with any free e-mail providers. My previous employer uses both hotmail and Gmail, and both are functional. If you don’t want to use Gmail’s web interface, you can hook Thunderbird up to Google. I don’t use Thunderbird or Gmail, so I can’t say how well this works.

    As for other options, I assume you’re looking for free. I don’t know how well any of those things work. I’ve been using COTSE for years. For e-mail only, cotse is $25/6 months and you get 1 month free for every six. Not all that much money. Lately, though, I’ve noticed that hotmail and gmail users aren’t getting some mail from me. It’s not as if I’m a spammer, so I don’t know what’s going on there, but one friend reported that my mail was in the spam folder. Even the ‘test’ message I sent, without any links in it. So maybe somebody using COTSE is behaving badly. I suppose I should ask.

  9. Bear says:

    Joel, it looks like you’re hosted by bluehost. They have detailed instructions for configuring your email client:

    Most of the time, though, if you have your correct email address and password, Thunderbird can auto-config for you. And if you are with bluehost, you can have at least five different email accounts.

    You may now reply with death threats. [grin]

    jed: That’s a bit odd about GoDaddy. I registered two of my domains through them and each one got a single email account with the domain, no extra charge. And neither is the forwarding-only type; full POP/SMTP or IMAP support.

  10. Ben says:

    The problem with using your host’s email server is that there are too many scenarios where you can lose your blog and your email simultaneously. Better that they be unrelated.

  11. jed says:

    @Bear: I’m sure it depends on which package you buy from them. The one I’m stuck with for now is not CPanel.

    I also echo Ben’s concern. I even go so far as to have my domain registered with someone other than my web host. If I want to switch hosting companies, I don’t have to go through the rigamarole of also switching my domain service. (Not that I have much of a personal web presence at the moment, but when I did, that’s how it was.) Yes, it’s more trouble than having everything in one place, but if things go badly, as has happened to me with 1&1, and then Midphase, and then even Dreamhost, you’ll find it’s nice to move host without having to change registrars. But I also have never tied outgoing mail to my domain either – just never saw the need.

  12. Joel – it’s worth your while to persevere and use your domain hosting provided email service – and then to get that set-up with T-bird or some other email client. I have email from several domains all feeding into a T-bird client – including two from Bluehost. It’s pretty easy to set that up in T-bird. So far I’ve used three hosting services and all provide full email service. (Btw – GoDaddy has the most non-intuitive interface for domain and hosting management I’ve ever seen – wish they’d concentrate less on up-selling by obfuscation…)

    There’s plenty of tutorials online about setting up an iteration of T-bird – my experience is that the ones written by Mozilla are less helpful. That and the Bluehost tutorial can get you set-up readily. A benefit of using T-bird or an email client is that you can back up your email account to your own system or media as often as needed rather than relying on some ‘free’ service.

    POP3 will probably be the easiest for you to manage – but that’s only my opinion… As for outgoing email server – I’ve always run that thru my ISP – you may not have that option? You can run it thru Bluehost or the hosting co but that can get finicky – just depends on the provider and the prevailing winds…

    I like to split up domain registrars and hosting providers too – it’s more likely to keep everybody honest! Lately I use GoDaddy for registrar and anyone else for hosting depending on the requirements. Haven’t had any issues with Bluehost for a few years now, either. FWIW

    IIRC – Bluehost has a webmail interface. All you need is your email address and PW and you can access that when you want – and then set it up for T-bird if you want at your leisure.

  13. s says:

    COTSE – Church of the swimming elephant. A mutual friend of ours uses it as well.

    No financial interest. Cons: $5.95 a month. pay for 6 months and get 1 month free.

    Pros: almost too many to list. Total control of your email. Give a different address to different web sites or people you may not implicitly trust. If one starts spamming you, block that addy forever. White lists. Black lists. Spam filters. Create email addresses that expire on a given date.

    You also get proxy services (good for privacy), SSH tunneling, professional web hosting (Cpanel), anonymous remailers, and more.

    It isn’t free like Gmail, and that may make all the difference to you. But I’ve used the service for years, and it is a great value.

  14. s says:

    I forgot to mention: when you have questions or problems, an actual human being will help. Often the owner. Try getting that from GMail!

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