About email providers
In the past, people usually received an email account from the same companies that provided their Internet access. For example, if AOL provided your Internet connection, you'd have an AOL email address. While this is still true for some people, today it's increasingly common to use a free web-based email service, also known as webmail. Anyone can use these services, no matter who provides their Internet access.
Today, the top three webmail providers are Yahoo!, Microsoft's Outlook.com (previously Hotmail), and Google's Gmail. These providers are popular because they allow you to access your email account from anywhere with an Internet connection. You can also access webmail on your mobile device.
Visit the links below to compare the features of the three top webmail providers:
Other email providers
Many people also have an email address hosted by their company, school, or organization. These email addresses are usually for professional purposes. For example, the people who work for this website have email addresses that end with @gcflearnfree.org. If you are part of an organization that hosts your email, they'll show you how to access it.
Many hosted web domains end with a suffix other than .com. Depending on the organization, your provider's domain might end with a suffix like .gov (for government websites), .edu (for schools), .mil (for military branches), or .org (for nonprofit organizations).
Information management software
Many companies and organizations use an information management application, like Microsoft Outlook, for communicating and managing their email. This software can be used with any email provider, but is most commonly used by organizations that host their own email.
Visit our Outlook 2010 tutorial to learn more about using this application.