I often recommend Gmail as a good, free web-email service, because:

  • They include excellent spam and virus filtering, probably the best I've seen.
  • Gmail doesn't silently discard or block any incoming mail, as some large ISPs are fond of doing. Worst case, with Gmail you might occasionally find a legitimate message in your Spam folder.
  • By using Gmail in your web browser, you don't need an email program (no Outlook, Outlook Express, Thunderbird, etc.). You also don't need antivirus or antispam programs on your PC.
  • If you WANT to use an email program, Gmail supports both POP3 and IMAP.
  • You can send and receive email from any web browser anywhere, even from a computer which is not yours.
  • No ads in the messages you send, and easily-ignored text-only ads in the web interface.
  • Support for your own domain name via Google Apps.
  • You get over 6GB of storage, meaning you never have to delete any messages. Thus your Gmail account also becomes an archive of all your email activity. Protection against hard drive crashes!
  • So, Gmail search lets you find old topics and messages very easily and quickly.
  • All messages are "threaded". That is, you can read the initial message and all the replies to it, in the same window. It makes following a topic MUCH easier, especially on discussion lists.
  • Many more cool features, like out-of-office reply, filters, contact list, etc.

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