If you want to use the Internet effectively, you are going to need an email address. Do not fear - there are a number of places to get a free one online, and signing up is a breeze.
The following tips will help you know what to consider when you choose a provider:
- Yahoo.com: This is one of the most widely used of the free email providers. Just by signing up for email, you also get a username for the whole site, so you can play games, join groups, meet people, and more. Of course, there is a downside to the site being so popular - spam is pretty common. Try signing up for several free email accounts for different purposes.
- Hotmail.com: The other big free email Mecca, Hotmail is pretty similar to Yahoo. You'll get a free address that also gets you access to a custom homepage, groups, games, and other goodies. Again, spam is a problem because many hackers have figured out how to send to every user.
- Gmail.com: Started by Internet search tycoon Google, Gmail is a great email site, though spammers have started to find their way in. Thankfully, they have a spam folder, which catches at least 99% of them. This is a great site that I recommend.
- MyWay.com: Not as well known as the first three sites, this is a great alternative to the big names. You get a free address, lots of space, easy organization of older messages, a spam folder (which is slowly becoming more necessary), and a customizable homepage.
- Inbox.com: This site is quite similar to MyWay.com, with all the same features, availability, and layout. With two gigabytes of space, this is one of the "biggest" free sites I've found.
- Care2.com: An email address and a way to help environmental nonprofit organizations at the same time? That is what this site offers. You also get the chance to sign petitions, meet new people, send e-cards, create unlimited free photo albums, learn about healthy living, and get the latest news.
- At a safe, respectable site, you should not need to offer up too much information to get an address. Your username and password will be the most important part; you'll want to think of something that can be used widely, easily remembered, and is simple. First name, last name, ZIP code, birth date, and gender are the other typical bits of information that sites will ask for.
- Last, but not least, most sites ask you to type a certain group of characters that you see in a picture. This isn't any sort of intelligence test; the purpose is to prevent spamming software from setting up random email addresses from which to send messages.