July 4 2011

One of the benefits of having a website of your own is the ability to set up custom email addresses, which can be pretty much anything you want. All of the web hosting packages I’ve recommended here come with an unlimited number of email accounts included – if you like, you can have fifteen hundred different email addresses for different purposes (and I’m going to show you how to collect them all in one inbox for easy access). Since time immemorial, the popular free email services have forced you to choose whether you want your email address to sound official, funny, cool, businesslike, playful, impressive, sexy, corporate, artistically disturbed or good-naturedly charming – now you can have it all! (Also, I really don’t miss the ads and incessant “announcements” the free services constantly shove in our faces.)

Setting up email for your website is quick and easy. You’ll find the “email accounts” icon in your control panel in the “mail” section:

Fill in the new email address and the password you want to use with it, change your mailbox quota to “unlimited” (unless you really want to limit it for some reason), and click on “create account”.

Go back to the main control panel to find “webmail” right next to “email accounts”. On the next page, click “go to webmail login” and you’ll get to choose from three different email clients. I prefer “RoundCube”, so let’s click on that one. Right now you are logged into the default email account that’s been automatically created for you by the software, so click on “logout” in the upper right corner, then click on the link that says “click here to log in again”. You should now be on a page like this:

This is the page you’ll want every time you need to check your email, so bookmark it now. If you’re away at an unfamiliar computer and don’t remember the address of this page, you can always get there through your cPanel like you just did, or – even better – just put a link to it on your website!

Now, log in to the new email address you just created. The RoundCube email client is fairly self-explanatory:

As you can see, I just sent myself an email. One peculiarity of RoundCube is that you have to double-click on an email to open it. Make sure to remember that.

In “settings” in the upper right corner, you’ll find a tab called “identities”. There, in the lower right corner there’s a “+” icon you can click to add a new identity. Here, you can write in anything you want…

Now, when I go to send a new email (click on the “email” icon in the upper right corner, then the pen and paper icon on the left) I can choose that identity from the “sender” drop-down menu…

And, oh look! I have a new email:

Look, it came from “” so it must be legit! Wow, I’m about to become a secret agent!

…and that, kids, is why you shouldn’t believe anything you read on the internet. People have a tendency to forget this, but when you are reading your email you are still on the internet. As President Reagan used to say about U.S.-Soviet relations: “trust, but verify” (according to what I’ve heard, he actually ripped that off from an old Russian proverb, which is quite funny considering the context).

Now, remember that with great power comes great responsibility, and you are under no circumstances to send your ex-girlfriend’s current boyfriend a drunken confession from your ex-girlfriend’s email address admitting that she misses your special skills and huge tool, and that the relationship is doomed because he can never satisfy her like you used to even though she would never admit it if she wasn’t blackout drunk… yeah, don’t do that, that would be mean. I think it might also be a crime in some jurisdictions, some kind of mail fraud or something… just don’t do it, okay?

Let’s go back to cPanel and create another email account so you have two. Go back to cPanel and find the “forwarders” icon (in the “mail” section). Then, click on “add forwarder”. In the “address to forward” field write the email address from whence you want to forward all received email to the other account, for “destination” select “forward to email address”, and write in the email address where you want the forwarded mail to arrive. Now, all the email that arrives in the “address to forward” account will also arrive in the “destination” account. Send yourself an email to check that it arrives in both inboxes. It does? Great! Now you can create as many email addresses for as many different purposes as you want, receive mail at all of them, and still only have to check one inbox for new mail! (Remember that if you reply to a forwarded message, your reply is still going out from the account you are currently logged into, regardless of where your mail came from. I’ve forgotten this and sent replies from the wrong account a few times. It’s hardly a disaster, but I like to reply from the same address where I’ve received an email.)

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