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03/17/2005 Archived Entry: "Life without forwarding"

I'm still contemplating how to function in a world without email forwarding. I don't see how to do it with fewer than six email accounts...probably eight.

Somewhat to my surprise, I find that Wendy and I currently have seven POP3* mailboxes. In addition, we have eighteen email forwarders.

Why so many?

One feature I look for an email program -- obviously! -- is the ability to handle multiple email accounts. Eudora, Mozilla/Thunderbird, and Opera -- to name just a few -- all can do this.

Our salvation lies in this capability, plus the fact that all but two of the forwarders are on the two domains we control. I'm assuming that, even if Sender Policy Framework comes into force, forwarding within a domain will be unimpeded. In which case we simply need "public" and "private" POP3 mailboxes on each of those domains, plus the two POP3 accounts on our ISPs. The rest of our email addresses can be reshuffled to forward to these accounts. Then we'll just configure our email clients to check all our mailboxes automatically. (I've already started...right now I have Thunderbird programmed to check five POP3 accounts.)

If you don't own a web hosting account, where you can create email addresses and forward them internally, you may need to convert all of your email addresses to POP3/IMAP accounts. Some email clients are better than others for this. (Eudora lets you dump all accounts into a single In box. Mozilla requires a separate In box for every email account.)

Fortunately, Our primary ISP and one of our web hosts have said that they don't intend to implement Sender Policy Framework at this time, so I've got some breathing space. I need to sit down with a large sheet of paper and plan how to route our email. (I may want a few extra POP3 accounts.)

As I've said before, planning is the key to managing email.


* POP3 is the current version of the Post Office Protocol, which lets you download messages from your email server to your own PC. This is handy when you're on a dial-up account. In contrast, the Internet Message Access Protocol, IMAP, lets you read the messages directly on the email server without downloading them. This is suitable for those with high-speed, always-on Internet connections. For the purposes of mail forwarding, they look the same.

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