4

For example, if you don't access your account for a while will it be deleted or merely deactivated and how long before whichever happens?

7

Hotmail

A free Hotmail account becomes inactive if you do not sign in for 30 days, or within the first 10 days after signing up for an account. Once an account becomes inactive, all messages, folders, and contacts are deleted, but the account name is still reserved. If the account stays inactive for a further 90 days, it is permanently deleted.

Gmail

Account Inactivity

Google may terminate your account in accordance with the terms of service if you fail to login to your account for a period of nine months.

Yahoo Mail

Yahoo! Mail accounts are deactivated and removed after six months of not being used, plus an additional two months for each year you held the account. When an account is deactivated, you can’t access it, regardless of whether an email has been received in the account during that time.

After an account is deactivated, Yahoo! can't retrieve any of the information that was formerly stored in that account, such as email and images.

Note: With Yahoo! Mail Plus, your account never goes dormant due to inactivity. Check it out!

0
1

Wikipedia maintains a list :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_webmail_providers

For now with free service :

  • Gmail
    • 9 months
  • Yahoo
    • 6 months +2 months/yr active
  • Outlook.com (Hotmail)
    • 9 months
  • iCloud
    • never

Paying service for all the time you paid

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