Gmail is the preferred (and free) email address solution for individuals using email in a personal capacity. Everyone should have a personal email address, even if they have additional professional email addresses they use in their business dealings. It’s always better to keep things separate. If your name is Joe Bloggs any of the combinations are great:
If you have a very common name (a la “Joe Bloggs”) you will probably find that the obvious combinations mentioned above will be taken. In that case, you might want to add a number, for example, your year of birth. This is up to you, some people don’t want to make that public so that would not be a good choice for their email address. A favorite number might also be another option to go for.
You might also have a name that is not easy to pronounce, very long or that can be misinterpreted (e.g. Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor). In such cases, I would suggest you go for something simpler than your name. Here’s when things might go south. The first rule you have to keep in mind is that you might very well be keeping the same email address for the rest of your life, and it’s not that straightforward to change the address at a later stage.
To give you an idea of bad choices people do, [email protected] might be OK for a teenage girl, but chances are she will be regretting the choice when she is applying for a job a few years later.
If you want to use your own domain name with a free Gmail account, I suggest the forwarding service Improv.mx as a solution.