I'm in a Hurry.
Well, it's still going to take a few minutes, but you can skip the preliminaries and go right to the step-by-step instructions for Google GMail or for ProtonMail.
Why Do I Need email?
Technically, there are other ways to communicate. But in practice, a lot of things in the modern world require you to have email as a contact mechanism. Without an email address, it is difficult to apply for work, sign up for government services, or create almost any kind of online account. Cellphone numbers are gradually supplanting the email address in this role, but change takes time. If you are trying to do something online and it asks for your email address and tells you that it's a required field, that means you need a valid email address in order to proceed.
Why Do I Need My Own email Address? Can't I Just Use Yours?
The company or organization that wants your email address, expects to be able to reach you at that address. If you ordered a product from a catalog, and they asked for a shipping address, would you fill in the library's address? Some people share addresses with immediate family members, but you can't just fill in an institutional or public address and expect it to work. When they try to send you a confirmation, how will you get it?
What Are My Options?
There are four main ways to get an email address:
  1. Bundled with your internet service: if you have internet at home, you probably already have an email address. Almost all internet service providers include email service as part of their standard service package. Check with your internet service provider about what your address is and how to get your email.
  2. From your employer: many white-collar (office-type) employers provide employee email accounts. However, these are often intended for work use, so you may not want to use them for personal business.
  3. Free webmail account: you can sign up for a free email account that you access through a website. This document explains how.
  4. Purchased mail service: there are also companies that will sell you mail service, along with various add-on services. Some of these services are in fact better than the free ones in various ways. However, what you want to look for in such a service is so specialized to your particular needs, that this document will not attempt to go into detail about such services.
Where Can I Sign Up for a Free email Account?
There are various providers available. You can do a web search for free email and find a lot of options). Currently, we have step-by-step instructions for the following: