There can be several reasons why you may want to switch email service providers.
Reason #1. Your existing email address gets too much spam so you plan to dump the old account and switch to a new email address (a form of email bankruptcy).
Reason #2. You are leaving your existing job for higher studies and need to transfer all personal emails from the Microsoft Exchange server to your new university email account.
Reason #3. Your ISP’s email service isn’t reliable and you therefore plan to move to a free web based email service like Gmail, Yahoo Mail, Hotmail, etc.
Reason #4. You think the new email service from XYZ Inc. offers more features than your existing mail provider and hence want to make the move.
Moving Emails from One Account to Another
This illustration will help you visualize how to transfer email messages across the three most popular web email services. The transfer will happen online and you just need to specify the credentials (user name & password) of your old email account (from where you want to move message out) and your new email address (where you want to move messages in).
Moving to Windows Live Hotmail
Windows Live Hotmail is integrated with TrueSwitch so you can easily transfer emails from Yahoo Mail, AOL, Gmail, Live.com, .Mac, etc. to your shiny new Hotmail address. The same service may also be used for copying old email from an existing Hotmail account to a new Hotmail address.
Moving to Yahoo Mail
Like Windows Live Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail too provides integration with TrueSwitch so you can easy copy mails from Gmail, Hotmail, AOL, Juno, Rocket Mail, etc. into your Yahoo! account. With TrueSwitch, you can also copy mails from one Yahoo! inbox to another without upgrading to Yahoo! Mail Plus.
Moving to Gmail / Google Apps
Gmail (or Google Apps for Email) has a built-in Mail Fetcher feature that lets you download email messages from 5 different email accounts that support POP access. You may therefore use this feature to move your old Hotmail or AOL messages into Gmail as both these service provide free POP3 access.
The migration from Yahoo! Mail to Gmail is slightly tricky but possible. Keep reading.
Trick: Move emails from Yahoo Mail to Gmail or Outlook without POP
The free account of Yahoo Mail doesn’t provide IMAP or POP3 access so you can’t move these emails into Gmail or a desktop client like Microsoft Outlook.
The Yahoo! Mail Plus upgrade will add POP3 access to you account at $20 per year but if you want to save some money, here’s an alternate but simple trick:
1. Create a new account at Windows Live Hotmail and fetch all your Yahoo! mails into this account using the free TrueSwitch Service.
2. Now that your mails are inside Hotmail, you can setup POP3 configuration to fetch those Yahoo messages into Gmail via Hotmail.
Migrating Emails Away from your ISP Account
TrueSwitch mentioned above supports all popular ISPs including Comcast, Verizon, CableVision, AT&T, etc. but if your ISP is not in the list and you don’t have the time to configure your email client for POP3 or IMAP access, check out Yippie Move.
It’s a online email transfer service similar to TrueSwitch but supports an even larger number of email service providers including the .edu addresses of certain colleges and universities in US. With YippieMove, you can choose folders (or labels in Gmail) that you want to copy to the new location without having to move the entire mailbox. The service is quick and easy but costs around $15 per email account.
Email Transfer Complete? The Next Step
Now that all your message have moved to your new email address, you can set up a vacation responder in your old email account to auto-inform contacts about your new email address.