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Email Service Explained - Plus 10 Free Services To Try

Looking for a Webmail provider? Webopedia explains how an online email service works and lists 10 free Webmail services you can try.

Email Service Definition: What is Webmail?

The phrase email service (also called Webmail) is used to describe access and storage of email messages for users who are not connected to the Internet from their usual location. There are a number of online email service providers that offer easy access to email. All you need is an Internet connection and a Web browser to use the service.

An email service will offer many of the same features and functionality for managing email as desktop email software (email client) counterparts like Microsoft Outlook and Mozilla Thunderbird (email clients). Some of the more popular online email service providers include Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, Hotmail and AOL Mail.  

How to Use an Online Email Service

When logging into an email service, you simply enter the Webmail website URL in the address or location field in the Web browser (e.g. Firefox or Internet Explorer). To access a Webmail account users need to type in your username and password (or subscribe to the email service and choose a new username and password).

Instead of the email being downloaded to the computer being used, the messages will stay on the email service provider's server, allowing the user to access all their email messages regardless of what system or ISP is being used.

When looking for a new email service provider here are some standard features that you will want to ensure the provider offers:

  • Contact Management: the ability to store data about contacts
  • Inbox Files: the ability to create folder to sort your email
  • Storage: the amount of space the email provider offers to store your email
  • Spam Filter: An automated service that will filter spam email to a junk folder
  • Files: the ability to send and receive file attachments in email messages
  • Interface: look for an easy-to-use graphical interface through which you access your webmail service
  • Email Forwarding: allows you to forward your Webmail to an ISP mail account and vise versa.

10 Free Email Services To Try

Using an online email service will provide you with a unique email address, storage space and access to your email from any Internet connected device. The following list of email services are free services you can try.

  1. AIM Mail http://mail.aim.com/
  2. Excite Mail http://www.excite.com/
  3. FastMail.FM http://fastmail.fm/
  4. Gawab http://www.gawab.com/
  5. Gmail http://www.gmail.com/
  6. Inbox.com https://www.inbox.com/
  7. Mail.com http://www.mail.com/int/
  8. Windows Live Hotmail http://explore.live.com/windows-live-hotmail
  9. Yahoo! Mail http://mail.yahoo.com
  10. Zoho Mail http://www.zoho.com/mail/index.html 

A Dictionary of Email Service Terms

Webopedia's Electronic Mail Category offers definitions to more than 100 technology terms and phrases related to electronic mail (email) and how it works.

Related Email Service Articles

Why E-Mails Bounce
In computer jargon, a bounced e-mail is one that never arrives in the recipient's inbox and is sent back, or bounced back, to the sender with an error message that indicates to the sender that the e-mail was never successfully transmitted. But what happens when someone sends an e-mail out into cyberspace, and why do e-mails sometimes bounce back?

Deciphering Internet E-mail
Short for electronic mail, e-mail is the transmission of messages over communications networks. These messages can be notes entered from the keyboard or electronic files stored on disk. Most mainframes, minicomputers, and computer networks have an e-mail system. Some e-mail systems are confined to a single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer systems, enabling users to send electronic mail anywhere in the world.

How to Get Rid of Spam
Spam has become ubiquitous - one of the facts of life, like taxes. Until strong anti-spam laws are passed and actually enforced, spam proliferation will continue because it's proven to reach a mass audience. If it didn't work, spammers wouldn't waste their time. Most people, however, see spam as the scourge of e-mail and look for ways to stop it from infecting their e-mail boxes.




Based in Nova Scotia, Canada, Vangie Beal has been covering small business, electronic commerce and Internet technology for more than a decade. You can tweet with her online @AuroraGG.





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