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An email account is an electronic post box. You get a username (which is similar to the number of a post box) and a password (the key to your post box). All email sent to your email account can be collected using any email program or web browser. Email addressed to you is delivered to your account and stored there until you log in and check it either online or download it to your computer.
An email forward is the equivalent of a real-life forwarding address. When you change your PO box and leave a forwarding address, any email addressed to your old address gets re-sent to your new address. An email forward is similar in that all email sent to the forwarding address just gets forwarded to a real account (i.e., like a real-world forwarding address, one cannot collect your mail from there as it's been forwarded). An email forward is not an email account, and it's a free service offered with any domain names.
An email alias is not a real email account.
Instead, it's an address that forwards all email it receives to another email account. Another name for an email alias is a forwarding address. For example, if you establish an email alias called email@example.com to go to firstname.lastname@example.org, then all email sent to jd@Vanilla.co.za will be automatically forwarded to email@example.com (In this case, 'jd' is called an alias of 'johndoe'.)
You can set up an email alias so that email is forwarded to an account outside of your domain name as well. For example, you can set up jd@Vanilla.co.za to go to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can have several email aliases all send mail to the same account.
What is a virus?
A computer virus is a program that invades your computer.
Can you get a virus from just opening an email or do you have to open an attachment within an email?
Up until a few years ago, opening an attachment was required before you could get a virus through email on your computer. However, this has changed due to more 'clever' virus writing and more functionality being added to certain software programs. Opening certain types of messages can infect your machine.
Can you get a virus just by reading email?
Some users think they are always safe to open email as long as they don’t look at or open attachments. This is no longer necessarily true. Some viruses can infect users when they read email. They look like any other message but can contain a hidden script (program) that runs as soon as you open the email or even look at it in the preview pane. Scripts can change system settings and can cause your computer to send the virus on to other users via email.
Note: this doesn't apply if you are using gmail.
Normally when you download your email to your computer, it is removed from your account mailbox on the Vanilla mail server. But there are means of saving the messages onto the server.
Leave your email on the server.
This is useful if you are going to check your email while away from your computer using Vanilla webmail.