I sometimes get feedback which makes me realize that certain things obvious to many of us might not be so straight forward for others. A case in point is a question I received a few days back from Masekete who lives in South Africa. He writes:
I would like get an email address. I never had one before and I don’t have enough information about creating one but I believe that with technology being improved every day one can be able to communicate through computers. Please help me to have an email address as I’ve been losing important information and jobs that my friend want to email to me but is impossible since I’m behind.
So here goes…
This page has been written for the beginner and contains instructions and links to other articles of this web site on how to get an email address (maybe your first email account) that will allow you to send mails in Windows and to communicate with your friends and family. If you find it interesting or lacking in any manner, kindly let me know. I don’t want to repeat the same mistake of ignoring something that might be obvious to me.
Email (or e-mail) is electronic mail that “works” quite like conventional correspondence. There is a sender and a recipient and the contents are called the message of the email. In addition to textual content, email allows you to send photographs, video or sound clips in digital form or files. These “extra” files are called email attachments and are sent along with the main message but might require additional programs and software to view. For instance, if you send a song to a friend through email, he/she would need a program to play this. FYI, most computers are equipped with programs that can read and play/display different types of files.
Email moves practically at the speed of light. Since internet connections are either through wires or optical cables, transfer of digital information including emails is instantaneous – well, almost instantaneous because it does depend on a lot of factors which are rather beyond the scope of this article. Suffice it to say, email is delivered from your computer to the recipient immediately or after a few seconds.
When you create an email account, you get an email address to which people “write” to you. Each email address is unique which means no two people in the world can have the same email address. Just like your postal address, which is one of its kind, your email address belongs only to you – unless of course you share it with people.
Typically, you access your email account with a username (also called a login name) and a password. These are your login details. In order to keep your email communication secure from others, you have to make sure that your login details and known only to you and the password is complex enough to make it difficult for people to guess it. Having a good strong convoluted password is the first step in making your account secure. The password to your email account is akin to the key to the door of your postal address (your house?).
Email also offers other types of security and at different levels, which, I suppose, you should not be concerned about at this moment in time.
The easiest way to create your email account and get your first email address is to use a free online service. The only thing you need is a web browser – the same program you are using to read this web page – and an internet connection – which again you have, else you would not have found this article. There are four major online email account providers – Gmail (run by Google), Windows Live Hotmail (owned by Microsoft), AOL and Yahoo!Mail. You have the choice to pick one you like, though I have an extended article with helpful screenshots on creating your first free Gmail account.
Remember, creating for email account is not rocket science; it just involves filling an online form with your details such as your name, location, your choice of the username and password etc. Once you have filled in everything correctly and agreed to the terms and conditions of the service, your email account would be ready to use.
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