Accessing personal email while traveling can be something of a challenge. The previous article discussed actually getting access to the Internet.
That is the toughest part of checking your email while traveling. Once you get access, most ISP’s have provided a way for you to access your email remotely.
If you have a notebook, you should be able to start up your regular email program and download your emails from your usual ISP’s POP3 servers. In order to do this, I have a free dialup account at NetZero (which lets me have up to 10 hours dialup per month – Free!).
One problem, though, is that you will not be able to send email via your regular ISP if you haven’t dialed into their network (this is an anti-spam protection, to prevent the sending of spam). The problem is that most people don’t have notebooks.
If you are at your parents’ house or your child’s house, you do not have your own computer (unless it is a laptop). Changing your parents’ or friend’s email program settings so you can check your email is not a valid option, especially since it probably breaking the settings for them to access their email.
The solution for reading and sending email remotely is called "webmail." Most ISP’s offer a webmail interface to allow you access your email servers, for reading and sending, without messing up someone else’s email program.
Anywhere you have web access, you could check your webmail — although, if you are using a public pc (library or internet café), you should recognize that some slimeball might have installed a "keylogger" program on it to try to get account and password info.
A couple of ISP’s with whom I am familiar, Cox and Bellsouth, use http://webmail.cox.net and http://webmail.bellsouth.net, respectively, for their webmail addresses. Notice the pattern?
While you are at home, check your ISP by trying http://webmail.(your-ISP.net or your-ISP.com). Also, try "https" instead of "http" — if you are successful with https, your connection is encrypted between your computer and the mail server. Neither webmail.cox.net nor webmail.bellsouth.net offer this encryption, but I use it with my webmail at Powweb.
Instead of Cox’s webmail, I like the SquirrelMail web mail program. That’s one of the advantages to having my own web site. For less than $100 per year, I have a domain name, a LOT, LOT more space and the ability to run the web-based programs that I want to run. I had installed and was running SquirrelMail before my web host (Powweb) added SquirrelMail as an alternative to their own home-grown webmail program, and now it’s the official solution.