Free mail accounts differ in various ways.
Some offer filtering for known mass commercial messengers (spammers).
Some offer autorespond (so people will get a notification if they mail you during your vacation).
Others offer various e-mail names (e.g. yourname@Astronaut.Com or yourname@Anarchy.Com, etc.).
Free e-mail services can be divided into three major categories:
Web-based e-mail services store messages on a network that is available from any computer connected to the Internet, with the correct name and password, of course. You use a web browser to view and send messages.
You share your computer with others and don't want them to see your mail.
Accounts that offer to forward incoming e-mail to your real e-mail account.
You want to hide your usual email address to the people that will send you mail, but do not need to hide the incoming e-mail from others using your computer.
POP3 or normal
E-mail accounts that are read in your normal e-mail program and sent directly to you.
You simply want a normal e-mail account. In this case you will be able to empty your mail using a usual e-mail program or the mail option in your browser. This is much more convenient then reading mails through a webpage. However, there is a risk that other people using your computer will take advantage of the opportunity and read your mail.
Continue on for a listing of e-mail servers...