You no longer need to use AOL's internet connection services to get your own AIM screen name / AOL.com email account: nowadays, just sign up the same way you would with another "big three" webmail provider - Gmail, Hotmail / Outlook.com, and Yahoo Mail.
This tutorial goes quickly through the sign up process: for an in-depth overview, this one-page tutorial that explains how to create an AOL email address. Either way, with such a seamless process, you'll be done in 2-3 minutes! And you'll be able to use your AOL Mail account to send emails right away, and login to the AIM chat client, a free download for Windows and Mac OS X.
Quick Steps to create an AOL account:
Go to AOL.com in your web browser: you should see a "Welcome, Sign in" label in the top right corner of the page. If you don't, it probably means that someone is already logged into AOL inside that web browser. Just click on the "Sign Out" link - you'll be redirected to AOL's homepage.
When the sign up form opens, fill out your information - a few points to keep in mind:
Note: you will be able to add a cell phone or add an alternate email address later on, and both can be changed at any time. But doing so as you are setting up your new AOL account is a lot easier!
Click on the Sign up button: you'll get a printer-friendly summary screen that confirms your AOL username (the screen name, and part of your email address that comes before the "@" symbol), and your security question / secret answer combo. If you entered an alternate email, a message with a link will be waiting in your other inbox: you need to confirm that you own that address before it can officially be used by AOL. Optionally save or print this page, and click "OK".
You'll be redirected to AOL's homepage, with your username listed in the upper right corner of the page, above the Sign Out link.
Notice the envelope icon: the overlaid number shows the number of unread emails. Moving your cursor above the envelope previews the most recent messages. The television icon goes to "AOL On" (news and entertainment). The heart ("Favorites") is AOL's online bookmarks service.
Tip: whenever you are logged in to AOL, you'll see these three icons at the top of the screen. Notice the Compose link in the preview popup: a single click on that creates a new message - you don't even need to go inside AOL Mail to do that!
Clicking on the envelope icon or the "View All Mail" link will go to the AOL Mail homepage: click on the Email button on the left of the toolbar to compose a new message (or use the corresponding Alt+W keyboard shortcut!), or click on Inbox to check your emails: you'll have at least one, a welcome from the AOL Mail team.