Catchall Accounts - What's your advice?

So, here’s the thing… I have a catchall account set up on one of my domains. I’ve never had any spam complaints - until recently I’ve been inundated with 101 instances of spam etc - so much so that the quota I’ve set on that account is constantly maxed out! :injured:

I’m just trying to obtain some feedback from you guys (in the know) on whether or not it is advisable to remove this account or are there any steps I can take to combat spam from hitting this account? Am I behind the times, should I even have it there in the first place?!

All feedback is most welcome!


Many hosting providers now disallow catchall email accounts.

Catchalls have two big disadvantages when compared to having an email account with many aliases.

  1. The spammer only needs to know the domain name to be able to send spam to the catchall since the spam will get there regardless of what they put on the front. Without the catchall only emails where they get the full email address right will be delivered.

  2. If you set up an alias for each different address you hand out and don’t use a catchall then if any of the aliases start receiving lots of spam then you can delete that alias without impacting on any of the others you have handed out. You have complete control on which addresses can be used to receive emails.

For example if you have as your main email address and you want Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to be able to send you emails. You set up the aliases google@example,com,, and all attached to the email address. That gives you just the one ‘Hazel’ account to check for all the incoming emails. If you start getting lots of spam addressed to then you simply delete that alias to stop receiving any emails at that address and you can still receive all the google and yahoo emails all in the one account.

Hey Stephen!

Thanks for your feedback and advice!

I wasn’t aware of a catchall account not being allowed with some hosting companies - I’ve had it set up for years on this particular domain and on another, both with the same company and nothing has been said about it, although I’ve never had problems either!

I think what you offer here is sound advice, I will more than likely go with the alias path, this makes a lot more sense in the long run as I simply don’t have the time nor the inclination to sift through junk mail! I guess looking back as to why I set this catchall up in the first place was to help those people get through to me who may make assumptions about “usual” addresses such as “” etc or if someone may mistype an email address - I’m not sure if there is a way that I can capture those mistyped emails still without the catchall account?

Thanks for your time,


I just happen not to use catch alls (for no particular reason), so I’ve never actually even thought about it.

That is an awesome and elegant solution you’ve outlined there Felgall.
I wish I’d known of that plan years ago!

PS - they should make you an “I teach oldstares at Hazel :wink: dogs new tricks in 20xx” badge.

Hey!! I’m not that old! :shifty: lets the dog comment slide…for now! :goof:

I love to learn new things, bring it on I say! It may be a trivial question or perhaps silly to some but if you don’t ask you’ll never know! :smiley:

Back to the topic at hand, I’ve removed the catchall a/c now and set up the aliases so all going to plan I should be all set, cheers Stephen!! I just need to find out now if there is a way to capture emails to my domain that may be mistyped! Am I asking the impossible here?! :scratch:

If you want to catch e-mails that are mistyped, you need to add the mistyped addresses as aliases (yes that does mean you need to figure out a list of things people might write wrong manually and create an alias for all different typos). You can’t have it both ways :slight_smile:


Revenge is a dish best served cold, huh Wiz?

I intentionally didn’t include the dog part. Hopefully that qualifies me for some mercy. Hell, I’ll even take some pity.

I think watching my proverbial cyber-back is still in my best interest though.

Genius! :smiley: Brilliant idea Remon, never would have thought of it! That’s that then! Thanks a million everyone for your input and advice! I’m a happy camper now! :weee:

@BlZ - Yes, that might be a good idea considering I might very well tell that nuisance goose of yours to cause even more mischief! :x

I usually forward everything to a gmail account and use their storage and spam filtering resources :smiley:

I tried that but it sent everything to the spam folder. Gave up on it as it didn’t seem worth spending a huge amount of time trying to train gmail when my existing setup already filters out 99% of the spam without filtering out wanted emails.

Ooh, that’s interesting! I’ve never taken to gmail though, really dislike it overall - but that’s a good idea nevertheless :tup:

@Stephen - Do you use an email client or something your hosting provides?

Well, I don’t use the webmail component much…I usually use POP3 with the thunderbird mail client to access my account(s).

Thunderbird configured to use POP3. I have four email accounts. Three use SpamAssassin on the server to flag most of the spam while the fourth uses Postini to delete most of the spam. The spam filtering in Thunderbird clears almost all of the rest of the spam so that it is rare that I end up with any in my inbox and I have never seen a legitimate email end up in the spam folder. I’ve been using it for quite a few years and when I first started using it there was a bit more spam reached the inbox but that’s a lot better than when I tried out GMail and it started by sending everything to the spam folder leaving the inbox empty.

Yeah I also use Thunderbird - seems to catch and filter the spam out for me but my server is another story! It’s got that terrible Horde web based email - it catches absolutely nothing, I’ve got 101 filters set but sure there’s always new spam to add to the list and new rules to apply! I very rarely use it only to remove the junk that piles up! :mad:

As I was saying to ForceFlow - I use Thunderbird as well - I’ve always used it for handling most of my various email accounts without issues - I’m always deliberating as to whether or not to leave a copy of my emails on the server - I think this is where my problem lies as well - obviously I’ve removed the catchall account but storage is another issue - is it advisable to keep copies on the server really? Am I being overly cautious when there’s no need to be? I know I can export my emails from Thunderbird also but there’s still a part of me that always needs to tick that little box! :sick:

I don’t leave emails on the server but I do make a backup copy of all my emails once a week (and then multiple backups of all my backups).

I do both…leave em on the server and do backups. Nightly to a separate internal drive, and weekly to an external.

Thanks guys for all the input and advice! :slight_smile:

I’ll muster up the courage to not save emails on the server and concentrate on local backups. I’ll try it out on the domain that has the most spam issues - I’ll see how that goes - it’s a nuisance having to log into that Horde mail to clear it out once it reaches the limit! Well, onwards and upwards, thanks again, I appreciate it!

All the best,