Don’t let your AOL, BT or TalkTalk email account hold you back from switching broadband providers.
Switching to a free webmail account like Gmail or Outlook means that your email address will always remain independent of your broadband provider. This means you’ll never be tied to an ISP that offers slow speeds, poor service or pricey deals.
And the best news? Setting up a webmail account is free and easy to do – just follow our straightforward step by step guide.
Broadband deals – find who came out top in our biannual survey of broadband survivors
1. Sign up for a webmail account
Start by choosing a free webmail service from one of the top providers. We’d recommend one of Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and Outlook.com as they’re all easy to use and regularly updated with useful new features.
We’re going to use Gmail as our example, so head to mail.google.com and, if you don’t already have a Google account, click the Create an account button in the top right. Follow the remaining on-screen instructions until setup is complete.
2. Save your old emails
If this is the case for you, the simplest thing to do is leave your old emails where they are. Even if you eventually close your ISP account and deactivate your old address, you’ll still be able to browse your previously sent or received messages by opening the email program.
3. Migrate old emails to a new account
For Gmail, use its Mail Fetcher tool. In Gmail, click the cog icon on the right, then choose Settings. Click the Accounts link then click to Add a POP3 mail account you own. Enter your old email address when prompted and follow the on-screen instructions.
4. Transfer your contacts
To export your contacts from Windows Live Mail, for example, click Contacts, then click the Export button and select Comma separated values (.CSV). Click Browse, give the file a name and save it to your desktop by clicking Save > Next > Finish.
To import them into Gmail, click Mail on the left and select Contacts. From the More menu, select Import > Choose File. Locate the CSV file and click Import.
5. Redirect mail to your webmail inbox
With BT Connect, for example, log in to BT.com, click Manage Services > Email Summary, then highlight your email address in the box, click Email Forwarding > Edit then enter your Gmail address and click Save > OK.
6. Further steps
Now you’ve got a shiny new email account it’s time to notify your friends of your new address and update your details on any online services you regularly use such as Amazon or your bank. Don’t forget to do this before you terminate your broadband contract; some services may send a verification to your old email address, so it will still need to be active.