Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Changing email addresses can be a real pain, and this is one of the reasons why. Be it on a web page that you can't update, or in the address books of all your friends and family, you know that someone will try to use your old email address long after you've switched it. A forwarding service would certainly be nice.
Yep. It'd certainly be nice.
But in general, while it's possible, it's not very likely, or it's going to cost you.
When email gets sent to "firstname.lastname@example.org", the "someaddress" part is ignored by everyone except for the mail servers at "example.com". Every mail server that isn't "example.com" simply looks at the email and says, in effect, "oh, this needs to go to example.com", and sends it there.
It's not until the mail actually gets to the servers at "example.com" that the individual email recipient is examined, and the appropriate mailbox is found, or other action taken.
The upshot is this: if forwarding is to be done, it must be done by your old ISP. No matter what, they're going to get all the email sent to your old address since it's "at" their domain. Only they can then forward it.
The problem is twofold: first, many ISPs and mail servers simply don't provide an email forwarding service. Hotmail is a good example. You can't close a Hotmail account and ask for all email that might come in on that account to be forwarded to some other email address.
Second, for those that do support it, it basically means keeping your old account open so that it can receive, and then forward, your email. Keeping it open, of course, implies that it might cost you some amount per month.
There are various email forwarding services out there, but they basically take the later approach: you give them enough information for them to keep your old account open, and they manage the forwarding process for you. I typically don't recommend them - if you're going to keep your old account open anyway, why involve someone else?
What I do recommend is owning your own domain, and using email addresses on that domain. When you purchase a domain name, most domain registrars will allow you to specify email addresses to be forwarded, and where they might forward to. So, let's say you purchase the domain "joe-example.info". When you register your domain, you can then set up the email address "email@example.com" to forward wherever you like ... your Hotmail account, your ISP-based email account, or whatever. You would also configure your email program to send from "firstname.lastname@example.org". Then, when you change from Hotmail to GMail, or from one ISP to another, you simply reconfigure the forwarding to the new service. Everyone using your public email address, "email@example.com", sees no difference, and all your email arrives at your new service.
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