HAVE A PLAN. KEEP GOOD RECORDS. START EARLY. DON'T RUSH!
Changing your main email address can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, but may be necessary. For example, it might be required if you switch to a different network. Below is some of what I encountered when I finally changed my address. Hopefully this may help you avoid some surprises.
Probably you will have many organizations (companies, government departments, institutions, charities, etc.) as well as many people to notify about the change. Just figuring out whom to notify and how to do it can be a big chore.
Then when you try to update the email address in your accounts on the various organizations' websites, you will probably find that many of the requested updates don't work. Almost a quarter of the well over 100 organizations I notified did not handle it well, if at all. (Updating personal correspondents is a lot easier.) You may think you have successfully made the change thru an organization's website and then find they are still using your old address, maybe months later. The organization didn't change its records everywhere it should have when you told them to update the address. Some don't even provide a way for you to request a change. For a login ID, some use the original email address you entered at account-setup; however they don't provide a way to change the login ID if you later change your email address. Some may refuse to accept the format of your new email address. Some even provide links to obsolete or non-existent "profile" web pages. You just have to keep bugging the appropriate Support people (hopefully you can reach them) until they fix their problems or give you a workaround.
Getting completely switched over to the new address can take months. Don't wait until the last moment to start the change process, i.e., don't wait until just a few days before your old email address will stop working. You don't want important emails being sent into a black hole because the sender hasn't yet switched to the new address. Note that some websites require that you still have access to the old email address to authorize the change to a new email address. Presumably for a long time you will need the ability to send/receive with both the old and new email addresses.
With so much going on, it can be very helpful to keep a log of all the requested changes, as well as when and how you made them. Record any problems you had and how you resolved them or are trying to resolve them.
PLANNING AND NOTIFICATION STAGES: To help me see how much work might lie ahead, a few weeks before starting notifications about the email address change I did a lot of prep work. I went thru all the websites I would need to notify about the change and made a list of what was required to do a "profile" update for each. I did no notifications yet; in fact at this point I still did not have a fully tested new address. Finding out how to do the update at a website sometimes required a good deal of exploration since the update process was not always obvious. Having this how-to list made things much easier when I did the actual website updates weeks later.
Similarly in this pre-notify period, I went thru all my email address books, trimming them down and using Thunderbird's flagging and sorting facilities to group those people I would later notify. This made the later notifications pretty easy to do. Also during this time I did text searches on my PCs to find miscellaneous files that had my current email address and might need to be updated. That meant I could very quickly switch to updated files when my notifications began.
In summary, I separated a lot of the work into a pre-notify planning stage to get a feel for what I was about to get into (and maybe to decide not to do the change at all if there was some showstopper). Of key importance, I could do all this planning work well before I had even settled on a specific new email address. Having already done so much work in the planning stage also meant that during the later notification stage I could concentrate mainly on solving problems, which I knew would arise. The work done during the planning stage made the notification stage easier to do. This split into planning and notification stages worked out very well in my case.
WHY I CHOSE MY NEW EMAIL ADDRESS: I have had my own website (i.e., domain) for a long time. It comes with an email capability provided by the website hosting company. I had not used that facility much until I recently decided to change my email address to an address independent of my internet access provider (currently Spectrum). After some thought and testing, I decided to use my website's facility to provide my new email address. That meant my PC-based (POP3) email processing was essentially unchanged from what I was used to with my current email address. I preferred an address provided by my website vs. one supplied by something like Gmail because I wanted to have my mail logs on my PC, enabling my own backups and specialized searches. However, for many other people, using something like Gmail (with IMAP) may be a better choice.
In the testing of my new email address, I did find one problem; it was associated with email attachments. I reported the problem and the web hosting company fixed it in less than two hours. Other than that, the new email address has worked very well. *BY FAR* the main problems I have had are not with the working of the new address, but have been with getting some organizations to accept it and use it instead of the old address. Many of the problems I encountered are described below.
Your access-provider Internet Service Provider is the organization that gives you a physical connection to the internet, e.g., Spectrum, AT&T, Comcast, CenturyLink, and Ting. Here I will use ISP to mean access-provider Internet Service Provider. Many such ISPs also provide email services, such as giving you an email address.
- If so, changing ISPs, e.g., to switch networks, very probably means losing that email address.
- Otherwise you'll lose the new address if you change ISPs again.
- Using POP3 protocols: Mail logs are on your PC.
- Using IMAP protocols: Mail logs are in the cloud.
- Send/receive messages, large/small, attachments, CC/BCC, address lists, etc.
- Alarms, refrigerators (Internet of Things!), etc.
If you reached this point successfully, you should now have a good new email address to change to. Of course you don't want to start asking others to switch to the new address until you are sure it is good. Then the following three major areas must be dealt with; each has some problems.
- E.g., buried among many other links at the bottom of the page or in some (possible hidden) sidebar/dropdown.
- "Profile", "settings", "preferences", "personal information", "general information", "user information", "manage account", etc., as well as some icons without identifying text. Hopefully your email address is within one of these.
- Some request reentry of a password; some send an email to the new email address and require you to click a link in it; some send a security code text message to your phone; some do nothing.
- The following organizations apparently had this TLD "name" recognition problem. In two it occurred in two different divisions of the same organization, each with its own unique procedure; these required multiple fixes by two separate Support groups and I had to deal with each separately:
===> Red Cross (2: donate blood, donate cash), Humana (2: drugs, dental), National Geographic (1: newsletter)
===> Dell (problem quickly fixed)
===> IBM Matching Grants left my employee serial number tied to my old email address. Verification checks then failed, preventing any request for a matching grant for a charity. The problem was subsequently fixed.
===> MANY MORE organizations exhibited (and continue to exhibit) the scattered address problem! It will probably take a long time for all this dust to settle. Eventually some unimportant emails, e.g., ads and charity solicitations, may get lost (still sent to my old, finally non-operational address). Hopefully no organizations have created long-delay, email address time bombs for important communications. Organizations need to do a far better job in this area. A user should be able to update an email address easily, securely, and reliably at an organization, and have the update propagated everywhere required within a reasonable time.
- Hopefully they will make a good fix so others won't hit the same bugs. Or they may just do a one-off, ad hoc workaround for you and the next person(s) will encounter the original problems.
- Then you're stuck with having an old email address as your ID.
- What happens if the website later tries to send to the old (by-then-deleted) email address?
- I learned that some mailing list blasts are frozen (with the then-current email addresses) as much as six weeks before being sent, perhaps by some hired emailer company.
- You may not know until then how well the sender has really handled your requested update.
- Try to notify those lists you want to stay on (assuming they provide a way to do this).
- Try to unsubscribe from those you want to drop (assuming they provide a way to do this).
- Let the rest eventually fall into the black hole of your old (to-be-deleted) email address.
- These may not work. See above for some possible failures by the sender's website.
- Caution: Some mail servers restrict the size of mass mailings.
- Presumably your old address is known by the receiver and considered good.
- Sending from the old address also means the received notification message may explicitly show your name as the sender in the receiver's inbox -- thus more likely to be read.
- Letter templates, website source files, shortcut keys, etc.
- These may be on PCs, tablets, smartphones, and similar devices.
- Business cards, letterheads, brochures, answering machine announcements, billboards, truck signs, airplane banners, tee shirts, tattoos, etc. -- you will find that email addresses are ubiquitous, particularly if yours has now become obsolete.
7/17/19: Under Why I Chose My New Email Address heading, clarified: I have had my own website for a long time. ---> I have had my own website (i.e., domain) for a long time. 7/17/19: Under Get and Test a New Email Address heading, fixed typo: Internet Server Provider ---> Internet Service Provider 7/17/19: Under Have Organizations Switch to Your New Email Address heading, Under There are possible problems if ... used as your login ID. bullet, added sub-bullet: * You may have to delete your current account and create a new one with a new login ID. 8/23/19: Reformatted for better display on smart phones.