Swapping from ISP-based email to web-based email

Every Internet Service Provider [ISP] offers a basic email service. Many Australians simply provide their ISP-based email addresses to their friends, family and business contacts. However, there are multiple issues with relying on your ISP for your email service.

  1. Security- ISP based email clients offer poor security, with default passwords such as abcd1234 [unfortunately common with Bigpond] and no two-factor authentication.
  2. Locked to the ISP- you’ll lose the email account if there is a significant account change, or you switch ISP for a better internet deal.
  3. Roaming issues- ISP email services have issues when traveling internationally, often being able to receive but not send an email.
  4. POP protocol- there will be very limited data still left on the server when you try to add another device to use the account or attempt to recover the account.
  5. Limited support for junk/spam mail blocking.
  6. Small mailbox sizes.

It’s free and easy to create a web-based email account that’s not linked to your ISP. Gmail is an excellent choice, offering an easy to use layout, excellent junk/spam mail filtering, strong security options.

Gmail can then be set to retrieve ALL of your existing ISP based email, whilst giving you the freedom to take your time informing people of your switch. You won’t miss mail from your old ISP address. At the same time, Gmail’s powerful junk/spam filtering will ensure a better email experience.

Gmail works best from the Gmail website but can be added back to Outlook, Apple Mail or the Windows 10 mail client. The basic steps here apply for both Apple MacOS and Windows 7, 8 and 10.

Your old existing emails can remain on your PC.

Many older ISP email accounts used a POP protocol, meaning that the emails were downloaded to your PC and removed from the server using a program such as Outlook. If this is the case, simply turn off the account from the SEND/RECEIVE in the settings of the program. The old emails in this program will still be available to you to print, read and save, but the account will not send or receive.

Turn the old ISP account OFF from the All Accounts Send/Recieve group

The email account should also be turned off or deleted from any other mobile device. Generally, these would have been added using IMAP, and the emails will also exist on the server. You’ll be adding your new Gmail account to replace the old account.

Sign up to Gmail.

Create a free account at Gmail. It’s recommended to use your mobile phone as the primary account recovery option, and turn on the two-factor authentication under the security section. Use a strong, unique password that’s not used anywhere else.

Create a new Gmail account

Export your existing contact list from your PC to your Gmail.

From your existing email program, the contacts can be saved to a file. Look under ACCOUNT SETTINGS, and export the contacts list as a CSV file from the IMPORT/EXPORT menu.

Export contacts as a CSV

In Google Contacts, choose IMPORT CONTACTS and select your CSV file.

Import contacts CSV file to Gmail

Link your ISP email address to your Gmail

Log into your new email address on the Gmail website. Under the ACCOUNTS AND IMPORT menu in the main SETTINGS page, add your ISP’s email address and password in the CHECK MAIL FROM OTHER ACCOUNTS. This will allow Gmail to continually retrieve your ISP emails so you won’t miss anything important.

Add the old ISP email address to continue receiving your email

Congratulations, you have successfully created a web-based email account and ensured continuing access to your existing ISP email. This new email account can then be added back to your mobile devices.


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