Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

There are many varieties of business services provided by ISPs. When changing ISPs, you'll need to make sure that your business account moves as well.

I currently have a PacBell account (which is now AT&T, I believe). I also purchased a personalized business email account, which is tied to this PacBell account. I want to change to Comcast, so I know that I will lose the PacBell account, but can I transfer the business email account to a new Comcast account? Both the PacBell and the business account are owned by AT&T.

I don't know what it means for a personalized business email account to be "tied to" your PacBell account, so I'm going to have to make some broad generalizations.

It really boils down to what it means to have an email address provided by your ISP and which domain is being used for that email address.

That determines what happens when you change ISPs.

Personal: you@AnExampleIsp.com

I discussed the most common scenario of changing ISPs and what happens to your email address in How do I keep my email address when I switch ISPs?

"If you have your own domain name, things get significantly more flexible."

The short summary is: if the email address ends with the domain of your ISP, it's probably going to have to change. That article outlines a couple of options to ensure that you only need to change once; from then on, you can keep a new email address for as long as you want, regardless of your ISP or email service.

Business: yourbiz@AnExampleIsp.com

It's possible that your "personalized business email account" is nothing more than a business email account on the same domain as your ISP.

In other words, perhaps it's your_business_name@AnExampleIsp.com.

The email sent to that email address might actually be a separate account with its own mailbox that you could access via the web or download to your email program. Or it might simply be automatically forwarded and delivered to your single, personal email account: you@AnExampleIsp.com.

Regardless of how it operates, it has the same problem as your personal email address: the email is on the ISP's domain and that address will no longer be valid if you leave your ISP.

You'll want to change it.

Business or personal: you@YourVeryOwnDomainName.com

If you have your own domain name, things get significantly more flexible.

It's possible that your "personalized business email account" is really something like you@YourVeryOwnDomainName.com that your ISP set up for you as part of that service. YourVeryOwnDomainName.com would be a domain that you own. Perhaps it's the name of your business or something else that somehow relates to you or what you do.

This could have been set up a couple of different ways:

  • Email to you@YourVeryOwnDomainName.com could be forwarded to your normal ISP's email account: you@AnExampleIsp.com. In this case, the forwarding can very simply be changed to your new email address at your new ISP or any other real email account that you might want to use.

  • Email to you@YourVeryOwnDomainName.com could be its own email account with its own web interface and mailbox that you can access in your desktop or other email programs. There are two sub-options here:

    • The email account is hosted by your ISP. You'll need to move the hosting to your new ISP, the registrar, or some other email hosting service.

    • The email account is hosted by someone other than your ISP. In this case, you're probably done. Leaving your ISP shouldn't change this.

The most common scenario when you have your own domain name is that the email services are provided by the registrar from whom you purchased the domain. That's typically not at all related to your ISP and if any changes are required at all, they can simply be coordinated with the registrar.

However, to whatever degree your ISP may be involved in managing your "YourVeryOwnDomainName.com" email or even other services, you'll need to understand what those are and take appropriate steps to ensure that those services are moved to either your new ISP or an ISP-independent third party.

Article C4811 - May 5, 2011 « »

Share this article with your friends:

Share this article on Facebook Tweet this article Email a link to this article
Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Comments on this entry are closed.

If you have a question, start by using the search box up at the top of the page - there's a very good chance that your question has already been answered on Ask Leo!.

If you don't find your answer, head out to http://askleo.com/ask to ask your question.