Free Email Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to common questions about free email services

How can free email be free?

Most free email providers make their money by showing you advertisements, such as graphical banners that you see as you collect your mail from their site, text messages that appear at the end of your email messages, pop-up and pop-under ads, or by sending advertiser messages directly to your emailbox. Occasionally, smaller providers offer free email as a community service, without any advertising. Finally, some large sites offer free email as an attempt to lure visitors back to their site again and again. NOTE: The free email industry has been feeling the pinch of the collapse in Internet advertising, with many free email providers closing down or switching to for-fee services.

Is there a catch?

In the sense of "are there any hidden fees?" the answer is usually no. Of course, you have to be willing to put up with the advertising, which can get excessive, especially as free email providers get more desperate about monetizing their user base! Also, remember that the Web changes very quickly, and some providers disappear literally overnight. If possible, give your most important contacts a second way to get in touch so that they will never lose contact with you, and keep backup copies of significant emails and contact information.

Can I have more than one free email address?

Sure! There are hundreds and hundreds of companies listed on this site, and if you wanted to you could sign up with all of them... You'd probably have a hard time keeping all those email addresses straight, though!

I don't have a computer. Do I need one to use a free email service?

If you use a web-based email service, then all you need to get access to your email is a web browser. That means that as long as you can find a computer connected to the internet (such as a in a library or cybercafe, or at a friend's house) you'll be able to get at your email.

What if I have a computer, but I don't want to pay for an internet connection?

If you live in a country in which companies offer free internet access then as long as you have a modem you should be able to connect to the Internet and hence get your email.

I'm looking for a VERY secure email service. Do you know of any?

While the service is no longer free, you should consider HushMail, since they offer 1024-bit encryption on email messages exchanged with other HushMail users. To my knowledge, no free providers that offer this level of security.

Ok, I'm ready to choose a free email address. Where do I start?

If you're not sure what kind of free email you need, this guide will help. Alternatively, you can browse through the email providers listed on this site by choosing one of the links in the "EMAIL LISTINGS" box at the top left of this page.

Can you recommend a specific email provider?

Because of our position within the industry (covering hundreds of email services) we're unable to recommend a particular email provider.

I want to learn more about using email...

Take a look at the Email Guide; there's lots of interesting stuff there!