Need ability "port" email addresses

It is great to be able to port mobile phone numbers when changing service provider.

Similar ability is needed for email addresses!
The downside of changing the often multiple email addresses you have with an ISP is a big deterrent from changing ISP
… and changing ISP is something considered more and more often as competition hots up and NBN maps are rolled out

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Effectively impossible since the email address consists of both a user name and a domain name, which is owned by the ISP. Waaay down in the bottom of the plumbing of the internet in a thing called the DNS protocol and also SMTP protocol, there’s only one place that a domain name can go when sending mail. I could get all geeky and describe how it all works, but it would go over pretty much everyones heads, so I’ll stay away from that area (In past lives I have written both a DNS stack and an email stack). However, for the simple explanation, the domain name is like a physical street address. Just like you can’t take your street address with you, you can’t take your email with you.

If you want a portable email address, don’t get one from your ISP. Use one of the many generic providers such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft (nee live, nee Hotmail) etc etc. If you really insist on using ISP for your emails (generally a bad idea), then still sign up to google et al and use their forwarding capability.


As others have said you cannot take your email away from its domain owner but that doesn’t mean you necessarily have to change to the domain of your new provider or use a generic one.

You can keep your old email with a new ISP - at least in some cases. I had to change ISP as the existing one wasn’t doing NBN in my area. I pay the old one $5 per month to use their mail server and keep my old email. The total cost of the NBN package for internet and phone plus the (technically not required) email add-on from the old ISP is less than my previous internet/phone package and the speed and reliability are much better. I could save $5 if I changed my email but it isn’t worth the trouble.

Yes! I am saying the NBN is better than the previous system and delivers what it claims! There has to be one person in this country with a good word to say for the NBN - well you just met him. I have a fixed wireless plan that is nominally 25/5 and I get 22/4.5 consistently any time of day. I don’t have drop-outs or periods of no service. I have to reboot my modem about once a month if they have been playing with the server and I lose my link, other than that no worries at all.

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It is effectively impossible to “port” an email address as things currently stand.
It was impossible to port mobile numbers before rules were changed to require the ability.

=> that is my point.

The part after the @ sign of an email address is translated into a string of numbers (regardless of which DNS server is used). Humans get hung up when they see the alpha translation of these strings of numbers, but that is all they are - just strings of numbers used as addresses that get parsed by DNS servers.
The parsing rules are not identical to, but the process is similar to how the numbers in a telephone number are parsed. Neither case is truly peer-to-peer networking.

You have missed two points; that internet addresses are both much more structured than phone numbers and are maintained international. The level of portability you want is just not supported by the current system. You are asking for the architecture to be altered substantially to permit this.

It was not too technically difficult for Australian authorities to insist on phone portability because phone numbers were and are maintained centrally and it didn’t need a major change in architecture to implement portability. On the other hand, the architecture of the net and the way that addresses are structured and allocated is international and not subject to Australian control .

What you are asking for cannot be done just by any one country changing the rules.

countries and organisations can cooperate
consider what happens when someone rings an Australian mobile phone number when the SIM and handset associated with the number are travelling overseas, or when someone rings a UK mobile phone number when the SIM and handset associated with the number are travelling in USA

If enough people round the world wanted the feature you ask for and were prepared to pay for it then it could be done, in principle at least.
You can wait for the change you want to be implemented. Or you can use one of the two workarounds offered here under the current architecture. I am pretty sure the second choice will solve your problem quickly and the first will not. It is up to you whether it is more important to stand on principle or to solve the problem.


The other option, which is more expensive is to register your own domain, run your own mail server at home/work. Then the can remain when isp is changed.

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Many of the domain registrars will even offer you the service of hosting the domain + simple web page + X email addresses for some pretty cheap amounts.


This is an easy to understand explanation of why you cannot take your email address with you unless you are prepared to pay the ISP that gave you that email address a monthly fee. There are other email address suppliers as noted and I would add a super secure email server: this ine really upsets NSA.

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Just use an online email provider (they’re free … gmail,hotmail etc) then if you really really must use the ISP mail service just forward on the mail (can do it automatically) so it hits your ISP inbox.

I use Gmail mostly and I find its spam service far eclipses anything I’ve ever seen an Aussie ISP provide (and I don’t really see much of a benefit to using the ISP mailservers but that might just be me).


I use a domain hosted by They provide me with a my own domain with email addresses of the format in my case. I can set up addresses for family members and for shopping. I can even run a basic website.
Cost is less than $AU50 per year. Makes changing ISPs a breeze.

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I’m waiting for Telstra Tech to come and put me on NBN. Been with them since day one for land line my own and also my businesses on calls. I found them to be great as they being the only boots on the ground, meant fixed up my service in new house dropping out wit another ISP continually, which eventuated to be not just out in street but also with way wired into house. They re-wired it entirely from street into house for no payment which is service. And never had a drop out since.
I am now going up to middle bundle for only an extra $9 a month - meaning $99 plan which is tremendous.
So very happy to hear from you being on it - that you’re happy with NBN in place of usual grumbles re Telstra which seem to me to be over stated.

I have been with Telstra and had great service, mediocre service and terrible service. Currently I am not with them because, I feel, their packages on the NBN are over-priced and over-hyped. The NBN makes all RSPs (Retail Service Providers) packages fairly similar with almost only price and limits the major differences.

If Telstra suits your needs then that is great and I hope you continue to receive great service from them but be aware any line issue will now be the responsibility of NBN Co. I would also point out that when your service dropped out with the other ISP they were required to use Telstra to fix the line problem, and that does require a further link in the chain that adds time to addressing the problem/s. If your’s wasn’t originally addressed properly that was the fault of Telstra not your previous ISP.


Very well put. The solution exists already. Never use ISP specific email addresses, just use a webmail address like gmail for example. works a treat. No porting over ever, problem gone away.

Exactly. I’ve never used an ISP email address, I’ve never wanted to advertise who my ISP is nor give them easy access to my email, especially when reporting them to the TIO :wink: (yes they should respect privacy, but you’d be barking mad to think they would). Not to mention migrating mail between systems - I’ve done enough of that professionally without having to worry about it at home.

Back when google were offering apps for free (< 10 users) I grabbed one of those accounts, so for the price of a couple of domain names (ok, I have a couple dozen) and a good registrar that provides flexible DNS config to the end user I have all I want - my own personal domain, email, web, etc - and accounts for the whole family. 15 GB was enough until recently, but for a few bucks I upped my account to 100 GB email/drive. I don’t believe the free accounts are still available, but the standard gmail works well and if someone seriously wants a personalised setup then google can do one for 5$ a month - so $300 a year would do a family of 5 … There’s probably a myriad of other options at various price points, I admit I haven’t even bothered to look, google apps (now g-suite) suits me fine.


At $60 a month it is a bit more than $300 ($60 X 12 = $720) but yes there are cheap options out there.

Np I have stuffed up royally here in these forums, your’s was minor compared. :slight_smile:


$60 a month is a lot more!! - I’ve corrected my post to $5 a month - ta :slight_smile:


Ouch, what’s the $60/month one? At home I use a free grandfathered Google Apps account, and at work I use a paid $4.16/mo/user(committed to yearly) Google Apps account for our domain/email/etc needs

I have had the same email address since 1994. Thank goodness. I bought a domain back then. I don’t even use my web page anymore but I certainly have saved a lot of headaches with my email address over the years.

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