The hardest part, and probably the second biggest mountain to climb. The people who know me best know that I always go straight to the biggest and best instead of messing around with that small stuff.
Gmail is the best free e-mail service out there I think. I can barely think of anything to complain about it even. The only thing is that a good portion of my life is run through e-mail. E-Mail is the best way to get a hold of me, since I seem to move too much, and change phone numbers every week. I have had the same Gmail address since Google was first introduced and was invite only. I was lucky to get an invite and the really nice username I have.
E-Mail, especially of an address as old as mine is hard to change. There are probably 100+ sites with registrations that have that address. Moving all of them over there is not impossible, but improbable. This basically means that this will inherently be a very long and “laborious” (really, how can anything computer be considered labor?) process.
But, it’s not so bad, once you find the replacement service. Unfortunately, this involves money. Yeah, that’s a four letter word, I know, believe me. The thing is, you can’t go to another free service, because you have the exact same issue, your information is sold to advertisers. You mind as well stick with Gmail! This is where it gets important.
Finding the right paid-for service is very important now. Nothing worse than paying a company to sell your information. There’s lots of services out there, but I personally picked fastmail.fm. I know, the name sounds sort of seedy and fly-by-night, but actually once you have experience with their company, I have found them very trustworthy. They take security and privacy very seriously. It also offers a ton of flexibility in what you can do with it, heck, my new email address ends in @mikeslab.net! It’s compatible with every mail client out there, and has a nice, clean, and simple web interface.
Of course, there are more out there. A family member of mine for instance decided to go with reagan.com, This is ok if that’s your thing, making political statements. Honestly, I wouldn’t recommend using anything related to politics to take information security and communications with others seriously. I akin this to Jehovah Witnesses banging on my door asking me to convert to their faith. No thanks. I strongly warn against using political e-mail if you are trying to apply for jobs, as employers are there to judge you, and that doesn’t send a good first message. Of course, If there was e-mail like @obama.com, I would be putting the same warnings up, just skip it folks.
Anyway, I have actually had my fastmail.fm account for 3 years now, I’m starting year 2 of paid service. They do offer a very low end free service, but skip it and go to paid. I pay about $40/year for my level of service (the middle tier). 10GB of space (like Gmail), and all the options you could ever want with security and without the ads. That’s $3.33/mo. Not bad I think. There are many other pay-for services out there, but research is key. I found many were in fact seedy and fly-by-night. Make sure you find out if that service is reputable, serious about privacy and security, and is easy to use. In the end, I have been happier, and I think you will be too.