Saturday, January 6, 2018

Domain Management: Email Forwarders

I have lots of online responsibilities, each has a different personality, and more importantly, each has a different email address. I am too busy (and too lazy) to visit multiple email accounts several times a day!

And the solution to that handling those accounts is...

Email Forwarders!

The Challenge

When I'm managing a website, I have different roles and responsibilities.
  • As webmaster, I are responsible for the technical aspects of running the page, ergo I need a "webmaster@" address.
  • As the owner of a domain, I have certain responsibilities to the organizations that "run" the Internet; hence I need a "postmaster@" address.
  • From time to time there may be an issue that needs my attention but doesn't actually have anything to do with the technical aspect of a website: I want a catch-all "abuse@" address.
  • When I create mailing lists, as I often do, then I should also have a "listmaster@" address.
  • If I want to separate inquiries about products, I may want an "info@" address
  • Of course I will want an address that goes directly to me by name: "Rick@" address
That's 6 email address for one domain. Double that to 12 for a second website, and triple it to 18 email address for a 3rd website. (7, 14, and 21 if I want a "Rick.Jaggers@" address, too.)

I don't want to check 18 (or more) individual mailboxes!

Phone Analogy

Most people have experience with call forwarding for telephones. An incoming call is transferred to another phone number, and the caller doesn't need to know the difference.

For example, some people forward their landline to their cell phone.  The phone call "hits" the landline and then shows up on the cell phone. The land line is essentially a relay point, a forwarder.

I personally have a Google voice number that forward incoming calls to both my landline and my cell phone, at the same time. If I'm at home, I can answer the call. If I'm out of the house, then I can still answer. My Google voice is essentially a relay point, a forwarder.

Phone Analogy, applied to email

An email forwarder, also known as an email alias, is a relay point, too. An incoming email is transferred to another email mailbox, and the sender doesn't need to know the difference.

I use and strongly believe in using email forwarders to manage these responsibilities I outlined in the opening paragraphs above.

With the careful use of email forwarders, I can have dozens of address but have only one mailbox to check!

Creating Forwarders

It is this easy: 
  1. Find where Forwarders are managed
  2. Forwarders icon in cPanel
    • This is probably the hardest part because so many different place offer forwarders. For example you have forwarders in cPanel,,, and 
    • If you don't know which friend/admin to ask, you can Google the word forwarder and the name of your mail box. e.g. "Forwarder cPanel"
  3. Enter a destination address
  4. Decide if you want to delete or save the original message.

Managing Forwarders

There are two broad categories of email addresses associated with a web site. First there are addresses associated with site management, as illustrated above. Then there are user addresses, which can be particularly useful when the user doesn't want to want to be "bothered" with checking more than one mailbox.

Site Management addresses

To start building this collection of site management addresses, I create a forwarder to use as a single exit point. This makes the destination address easier to change.

I often start with creating 0.administrator@domain... (The "0" in 0.admin is the number zero, not the letter "o")  Here's why:
  • An address that starts with a zero automatically sorts to the top of the list of address that are sorted in alphabetical order
  • SPAMMERS don't guess dotted email addresses
    ImportantI never advertise or use this exit point email address for anything once I create it. If I ever receive an email addressed to that account then I know something is up.  Did I get hacked?
  • Depending on the phase of the moon or time of day, I may use something different (but always starting with a zero and using a dot somewhere in the name!). Examples:
I forward my 0.administrator mail to the "real" email account that I check every day. For example, I might forward to rickjaggers@gmail.moc.

Next, I create the usual accounts as forwarders:
  • 0.admin@domain... forwarded to abctampabay@gmail...
  • Info@domain... forwarded to 0.admin@domain...
  • Hello@domain... forwarded to 0.admin@domain...
  • Postmaster@domain... forwarded to 0.admin@domain...
  • Webmaster@domain... forwarded to 0.admin@domain...
  • Abuse@domain... forwarded to 0.admin@domain...
  • Rick.Jaggers@domain... forwarded to 0.admin@domain...
The bottom line is that I now have 7 new email addresses, but I don't have to check 7 mailboxes!  The email is delivered to a gmail mailbox. And I already check it every day.

User Addresses

Many people today have Gmail, AOL, or Yahoo for their primary, day-to-day, everyday email. It's free, easy to use, and reliable.

The challenge is that the free email accounts:

  • are so very much unprofessional ,but 
  • the user doesn't want to give up the address they've been using for years
  • the user doesn't want to check a 2nd mailbox
The solution is to set up a forwarder to the free email account!

A Personal Case Study

I have a gmail account that I like to use (RickJaggers@GMail.moc) because it's online and I can check it anywhere. When I get home I can download the messages to my local computer.

But, I have a presence on several websites. By careful management of email forwarders, I have many email address but only one mailbox to check!
  • R.Jaggers@ABetterComputerInc.moc is forwarded to RickJaggers@GMail.moc
  • R.Jaggers@JustForLaughs.moc is forwarded to RickJaggers@GMail.moc
  • R.Jaggers@Jaggers.ten is forwarded to RickJaggers@GMail.moc
  • R.Jaggers@BayshoreTownhomes.moc is forwarded to RickJaggers@GMail.moc
  • R.Jaggers@ABCInc.zib forwarded to RickJaggers@GMail.moc
I can have business cards printed for those businesses, and I have a professional address to match. Yet, I still have only one mailbox to check.

One Last Benefit 😃 for advanced users

Emails are forwarded unchanged. That means the "To" address in the message is unchanged.

An email address [to] R.Jaggers@BayshoreTownhomes.moc will arrive at my RickJaggers@GMail.moc account. 

I can instantly recognize that this is concerned with Bayshore business, and I can filter or move it to a folder that I've created to hold Bayshore messages.

For me, it just works. I use forwarders a lot.

And I'll help you set up forwarders for your domains.

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