Webmail, such as Hotmail, Yahoo! Mail or gmail – or that supplied by some internet service providers – makes it easy to email using different computers, smartphones and tablets. However, there are risks associated with using internet-based email, some of which are shared with other systems (see Spam & Scam email). 

General webmail safety tips

  • Use webmail services from well-known and trusted companies.
  • Enable spam filtering or switch to a webmail provider that can do this (see Viruses & Spyware).
  • Use a strong password to log in (see Passwords).
  • Always log out of your webmail when you have finished emailing. This is particularly important on a shared computer.
  • We recommend that you connect to webmail only when your webmail provider has a secure connection (indicated by a padlock in the bottom right hand side of your browser window and the letters ‘https://’ at the beginning of the website address). If the connection is not secure, take care not to send email which could reveal personal or financial information about yourself.
  • Be wary about attachments in emails from unknown or untrusted sources. Some webmail systems automatically scan attachments for malware.
  • Make sure you have the latest antivirus/anti-spyware and firewall software installed.

Don’t lose your old email messages

Some webmail systems may delete email messages if you exceed a storage quota. If your email archive is important, consider a paid-for online storage service, or using a webmail service without these restrictions.

Please also note that some webmail providers may suspend your account if you do not access it for an extended period of time.


See Also...

Jargon Buster

A Glossary of terms used in this article:


An email system that uses a web browser to read and send emails, rather than a standalone email program such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail.


Malware that secretly monitors a user's activity or scans for private information.


Unsolicited commercial e-mail. Also known as junk e-mail.