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# Bootstrapping your online identity

Say you want to take control of your online identity. Doing so is relatively simple:

1. Register a domain name.
2. Get an email address at your domain.
3. Use that email to sign up for services.

My preffered domain name registrar is iwantmyname. Unfortunately, signing up for iwantmyname requires an existing email address. This is a problem, since we haven't set up an email address yet.

Once you have a domain, you can either self-host your own mail servers, or use a hosted option like Migadu. Unfortunately, Migadu requires you to provide an existing email to register an account. This is a problem, since we haven't set up an email address yet.

Because these services require an existing email address, it is not possible to set up your online identity from scratch.

## Temporary workaround

If you want to have control of your online identity, you have only one choice:

1. Register an email address at a free online email service.
2. Use that email to register for iwantmyname and buy a domain name.
3. Sign up for Migadu and set up email at your domain name.
4. Migrate your iwantmyname and Migadu accounts to your new email at your domain.

There is a problem here, though. If you lose access to one of these accounts, you can still access the other, but you might have to pull some elaborate tricks to regain access to the first.

## Potential solutions

* Keep an email account at another domain name and use it as a recovery email. This is not ideal because it relies on another service.
* Service providers can allow means of authentication other than email (like username). Service providers often use email for signups to avoid abuse of their service. An alternative is to allow users to prove they are human with a small charge to their credit card.