Many missionaries I know change their email addresses all too frequently. Either they use one address on the field and another in the home country, or their email address contained a specific role (firstname.lastname@example.org) that has since changed, or their ISP changed and they now use the mailbox provided by their new ISP. Such changes cause needless interruptions in communications with colleagues, partners, and supporters. Here are some unique realities missionaries may face that could complicate their email solution.
- Regular furlough trips
- Changing technology and internet service providers (ISPs)
- Corporate solutions that are difficult to use in some locations
- Unique remote solutions that require special addresses (radio, satellite, SMS)
- Secure email requirements
The solution is to use email forwarding. Email sent to one address is then forwarded to the other address. This allows you to retain one email address for life, while still being able to change with new technology, new ISPs, and moves. There are a couple easy ways to forward email. Here are some common methods.
- Forwarding Service – Services like Pobox are setup to simply forward your mail. Usually a fee is charged for this convenience. Pobox.com costs $20/year.
- Forward Corporate Email – If you have a corporate email server, your network administrator can forward this for you. In some systems like Microsoft Outlook/Exchange, you may configure it to automatically forward your email to another address using rules.
- Forward Webmail – Web-based email services like Gmail allow you to forward email to another email address.
- Custom Domains – You can purchase your own custom domain. Google offers this feature for $10/year for a domain with 200 email accounts.
Here are a couple examples of how email forwarding could work using Gmail, which is free and easy to use.
- Backup – A copy of emails to email@example.com are forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org as a backup copy.
- SMS - Emails to email@example.com are forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org to give him a nicer SMS-email address.
- Job related – Emails to FirstChurchPastor@gmail.com are forwarded to email@example.com until he retires, then to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Technology related – Emails to email@example.com are forwarded to firstname.lastname@example.org, which may be required by special ISPs.
Do you want to switch to Gmail and retain your emails from your current email account? There are a couple ways to do this. If your emails are on another web based email service, you may be able to retrieve them into Gmail using the external POP access. You may also use Gmail’s IMAP feature to move messages from Outlook to Gmail. If you use Google Apps, you can also use the Google Email Uploader. If you wish to migrate from one Gmail account to another, you can use your new Gmail account to POP your old Gmail account.