How much do you rely upon services that are out of your control? If you’re like most web workers it’s probably quite a bit. We covered this topic in January, but the recent failures of Yahoo! Mail and Microsoft Live Hotmail have resurfaced the call to have backup solutions in place if your online email provider is unavailable for any reason.
For those of us who depend on web based mail such as Google Mail, Yahoo Mail, or Hotmail; a backup plan is necessary to keep your business running should these services go down. Google makes this process very easy with it’s support of POP and IMAP. If you use IMAP, you constantly have a a backup copy of your emails located on your local drive. For those who are looking for a different solution, check out Lifehacker’s solution, or GmailSync from Nauman Leghari.
To backup your Hotmail email, the method for backing up involves using Outlook Express to get your message and then using Outlook Express to backup the messages for your archival purposes. If anyone has any other methods for backing up Hotmail, please leave a comment and I’ll update the post.
For users of Yahoo Mail, it appears the only way to gain downloadable access to your emails is to pay $19.99 for access to Yahoo! Plus. Yahoo Plus will allow you to forward your mail and give you access to your mail via POP, among other features. Once you sign up for Mail Plus, simply use your mail client’s backup facility to create a backup copy of your emails.
It would be advisable to take these service downtimes as a call to look at your email system and see how you can create some redundancy in the event your service provider is unavailable. Another upshot of creating backups is if you decide to move do a different mail provider, you will already have your ducks in a row to easily restore your mail to the new provider.