Should the "from" in a Contact Us form be from the user or the domain?


Does the “From” in an email sent from a particular domain have any effect on whether an email is considered Spam? In particular should the domain of the From match the domain where the email is sent to. In particular, I’m thinking about emails that get sent to a site from a user (such as a Contact Us); is it better to programmatically “pretend” that the email is From the site, and simply add a reply-to the user’s email?

I do hope that the above makes sense!


Some web hosts seem to get a bit thingy about this issue—such as GoDaddy, who argue that the email sent through a site really is from that site anyway. (GoDaddy also blocks emails where the From header’s email address is from various providers such as GMail and Yahoo!, which is just plain weird.)

Other than quirks of various hosts, though, I’m not sure if there is an internet-wide problem with from addresses. I’ve never had a problem with them.

I can’t speak for how all emal clients treat differences in the headers, but if it’s comng from my contact form, the email is from my domain and their email address is their contact information, which IMHO belongs in the emails message content, not the headers.

It’s often puzzled me why so many email scripts put their email address in the from header when it’s not from them.

But anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if an email client saw
return-to mydomain
from anotherdomain
and treated it as potential SPAM

Thanks for the quick reply! I’m actually using MandrillApp to do the emailing for me, and from what I understand, they automatically add authentication to all messages sent through their servers; with this in mind, since I can provide them with my website’s DKIM and SPF settings I thought that it would be prudent to use my domain in the From header. Have you had any experience with Mandrill?

Thank you; this makes sense!

Of course you should add your e-mail address in the From field!

It doesn’t matter if you’re using Mandrill, Mailchimp directly or something else. The e-mail address of the sender should always be there, in the from field and visible. Not only due to antispam filters but also because many people won’t bother to open the message if they don’t know who’s the sender. And if you use a disposable address, you won’t build trust.

Sending it from your own web hosting service would be an advantage to avoid spam filters because some tend to be picky about this kind of thing. Yet, the amount of processing that it may require (especially for big mailing lists) and the specilized software you’d need to install to do the tracking plus the extra maintenance make it a bit of an annoyance.

For mailing, I do use a service similar to Mandrill. These companies constantly watch their servers so they don’t get on black lists and they do all the tracking for me.

Thank you for your input. And, I agree that the e-mail address of the sender should be there. In particular, I was wondering which e-mail address should be sent in the “Contact Us” form; i.e. would it be less “spammy” if the From on the e-mail were my domain since that would be where the e-mail initiated from.

If you put your email address in the From header then that becomes the easiest way for spammers to get it. If they use your contact form to send an email and they get sent a copy then they can easily see what your email address is so as to send you lots more spam.

Admittedly there are some mail servers that will reject emails that have a from address that they think should have originated on their server but didn’t because the person used your form to send their email instead of their email account but the email is still coming from them. That is a mistake on the part of those email servers since it is quite legitimate for people to send emails from forms on web sites without using their email account. There are even ways for people to send emails from different servers while using their email account (for example web mail sends from the mail server the mail account is on while your desktop email program sends via a completely different mail server).so that behaviour interferes with normal email use.

The wrapper around the email clearly identifies where the email came from and if the email is authenticated then the wrapper identifies the email address of the owner of the form (meaning that spammers can still get your address even if you don’t use it in the headers).

I always include the real sender’s email address that they entered as the from address for emails that they create using a form. If their email server rejects their copy of the email it is their problem for having their spam protection blocking legitimate emails.

Is it not possible to have a
email address that doesn’t accept incoming emails?

Everyone has given great input, and this response best sums up the approach that I’m going to be taking.

Thanks, all!

You can but if you are sending authenticated emails then that will be ignored and the bounces will all return to the email address used to authenticate it (which has to exist)

You’re right about spammers getting your e-mail address but if there are some people like me, they will ignore an e-mail that has been sent from me and it is address to me. True, if I receive a few seconds after I filled the form, I may remember and know that it is related to that particular input but I receive many of those that are not related to any forms, or anything I’ve done. It is a good way for a spammer to disguise his spam: using your own e-mail address as the sender.

I personally think using the visitor’s e-mail address in the From field is a bad practice.

Not only because I, personally, would ignore it but also for organizational purposes. If I search for that particular e-mail and I don’t remember the exact title, it is very likely that I will use the domain or e-mail address to search for it. If my address is in the form field, I will never find it.