Once e-mail becomes an essential part of your life, you'll want to check it often. With a Web-based e-mail account, you can do it from any computer connected to the Net (and many mobile devices) from anywhere on earth. There's no need to lug around a laptop or even a netbook when you're traveling, because you can access your e-mail from a computer at a friend's house, a hotel business center or at one of the thousands of cybercafés that have sprung up around the world. (Coffee and e-mail make a potent brew.)
Another benefit of Web-based e-mail is that you can keep the same address for life. Once you have an account, even if you change employers or switch Internet service providers, the address remains yours.How It Works
With client-based e-mail, like Outlook or Thunderbird, a software program running on your computer accesses a remote mail server. With Web-based e-mail, to send and receive messages, you access a website, so all you need is Internet access and a web browser. To access your e-mail you log on to your account by entering your user ID and password. Now you can read and reply to messages. Most services offer online address books to store e-mail addresses and contact information. You can also set up folders to manage your messages.
One thing to keep in mind is some free Web-based e-mail services may limit the amount of storage that they provide. If you receive loads of mail with large attachments like photos, music and video clips, you will have to delete or download them to your computer periodically to stay below the limit. A better option is to go with services like Yahoo! Mail or Gmail that provide unlimited storage.Setting Up an Account
Establishing a new e-mail account takes just a few minutes and couldn't be easier. You'll have to provide information about yourself and choose an account name and password. Your account name or ID becomes part of your e-mail address. If you open a Hotmail account and choose "wiseguy" as your ID, your address becomes "email@example.com." Account names can use letters and numbers, such as "professor2000," can't contain any spaces, and are limited in length, depending on the service.