An email address is much more than a convenience – it’s a major source of communication and the number one point of contact for many people in your personal and professional life. The connection of our email addresses with the rest of our lives is just one reason so many people stick with email providers that do not fully meet their needs.

If you are tired of poor customer service, data breaches, or just want a more professional email address, you are probably thinking about making a change. But how much time and hassle will the switch really entail?

There are a number of things to think about before making any change to your digital life, including switching email addresses. It’s easy to lose track of all the ways your email address has been used throughout the years, and missing something could have serious repercussions both personally and professionally.

Your Email Address and Accounts

Don’t forget that many websites and accounts use email credentials as part of their login process. Chances are your current email address is set as your login ID or username for your social media accounts. This is why it’s a good idea to go through those accounts and update the information with your new email address individually. It may seem like a hassle, but it will be worth it.

ProTip: Don’t forget to update your email address with Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It’s also a good idea to review your credentials at any website where you regularly shop. Updating the email address now will make things easier if you ever need to reset your password, or request a password reminder. Since those reminders and reset requests are sent to the email address on file, failing to make the change could lock you out of your account.

Related Read: Windows 10 Mail vs. Outlook: Should You Switch?

Check Your List of Contacts

Before you delete your old email address, be sure everyone in your contact list is notified of the change. This is especially critical for business contacts, but it is important for personal contacts as well.

Go through your list of contacts, take a look at your sent email and make sure that everyone who needs to know about your new address already has it. Check your incoming mail on the old address as well, and reply to each sender letting them know about your change of email address.

Leave Both Addresses Open

The best way to protect yourself and your reputation when switching email addresses is to keep both the old address and the new one open while you make the transition. This may not always be possible, but it is generally the best course of action.

If the old email address is work-related and you are changing jobs, you may have no choice but to make a clean change. Otherwise, keeping the old email address open for a week or two and check the inbox every day is the best way to protect yourself.

Be sure to set up an auto-responder on the old address, and include a reference to the new one. That will help you clean up any loose ends and make sure that everyone who needs to know about the change has the information they need to contact you.

Related Read: The Essential Windows Mail Guide