What is an email alias and why should I use one?

David Utke •  Updated: March 7, 2023 •  Email

Stop giving out your email address and start using an alias instead. An alias is an alternative email address that masks and forwards email to the primary inbox the alias address is associated with. This gives users access to all their incoming messages in one central inbox. Making your life easier for organizational purposes as well spam protection.

If you’re overwhelmed with juggling multiple emails with different usernames and passwords and want a simpler way to manage both your professional and personal email account then you need to start using aliases.

What is an Email Alias and How Does It Work?

When purchasing an email hosting account you’ll often see a feature called “aliases.” Most email hosts allow you to create 10-100 aliases per inbox. A few actually charge a small fee to setup an alias but this is rare.

An alias works by masking your primary inbox with a different address. This means you can have one inbox like inbox@example.com but then have a bunch of other alias addresses like marketing@example.com or support@example.com and have emails sent to to the primary inbox.

This allows you to protect your inbox from spam and gives you a greater level of organization as when you receive an email you know exactly what email address alias is being contacted.

Advantages of Using Email Alias

Get organized

The first massive benefit of using an alias is organization. I get emails from my YouTube channel, the contact form on my website, affiliate programs I’ve signed up for as well as support questions. By using multiple aliases you can have fewer inboxes, usernames and passwords to manage, but more email addresses to be reached at.

For example, companies who reach out to me from the email given on my YouTube channel and the contact form on this website have the same goal, to partner with me. But it’s much easier to know where and how a company is contacting me from by the email address alias they are emailing.

This organization you get from aliases is simply more helpful than having multiple email address inboxes. It’s also more cost effective too as email hosts charge per inbox.

Spam protection

There is software that scrapes the web and adds emails that are published publicly on the web to email lists for spam purposes. There is also software that bulk emails any website with a public contact from (which is why you need a secure contact form). Last, there are companies that sell email addresses for money. If your alias starts getting spam you can simply delete the alias as a way to stop getting spam emails.

It also helps you know if anyone sold your email address too. If I sign up to a online store for example and use StoreName@example.com as an alias and that alias starts getting spam emails, I know that store is not trustworthy.

Fewer inboxes, more cost effective

Email hosts charge per inbox you create typically. You’re going to want a general inbox for communication purposes, an inbox you use to sign up to software and services, a support email and perhaps an email used for email marketing software.

You are also going to need separate inboxes for team members too as well. Creating multiple inboxes for niche specific purposes will get confusing and difficult to manage which is why having multiple aliases per inbox is helpful as it reduces complexity and cost.

Like my example of using an alias for YouTube emails and another one for the contact form on this website. Both have the same end goal of general communication, but using aliases allow me to use a more custom address per contact point as well as keeping my inbox private.

Professionalism

Using an alias allows you to add a level of professionalism to what you’re doing online because you can customize your email address it as needed per profile, account, website or contact point.

Create temporary addresses

If you’re posting a job ad or trying to sell something, making your email address publicly available is required. However, this makes it vulnerable to spam and other uninvited emails.

An alias allows for you to make your email visible for as long as necessary and delete the alias once its purpose has been fulfilled.

How to Create and Use an Email Alias

Creating and using an email alias is very simple with any email host.

Step 1: Log into your email hosting account

Log into your account, you’ll need to navigate to your settings where you can control the specific details for the inbox.

Step 2: Add an alias

In your email hosting provider account settings, there should be an option to add an alias or “add an alternate email” option. Hosts word things differently, but it’s a simple enough process of finding the “add an alias” setting in your email hosting account.

Step 3: Choose the domain of the alias

If you have multiple custom domains added to your email hosting account, you’ll have to select which custom domain you’re using. Some providers offer multiple options like a free email account to setup as an alias like an @gmail.com extension if you like.

Step 4: Enter any required information

Enter any required information. Sometimes this includes your name, password, security information and so forth.

Step 5: Save and test the alias

Finally save your new alias and test it to make sure it’s working. Don’t forget to test “replying as” within your email to make sure the other person gets the email response from the alias and not your inbox.

Tips for Managing Multiple Email Aliases

Reply as

Make sure to setup “reply as” in your inbox. That way when someone emails your alias you can reply back as the alias if you like instead of your inbox which you’re trying to keep protected.

Labels

Managing multiple email inboxes is overwhelming which is why using a few different aliases per inbox is so helpful. Create folders or labels for each email address alias, and label incoming emails with those labels to help organize your inbox.

Auto-responder

Set up automated “get back to you later” messages to let anyone contacting you know if they’ve reached the right person. It’s a small thing, but it lets you get away with no responding quickly.

Develop an email routine

Checking email is like doing homework. It’s boring, annoying but it’s important because communicating clearly with customers, business partnerships and answering general inquiries is apart of running an online business.

Delegate email

You can delegate email access. When you “delegate” that means you’re allowing another person to have full access to your email account. They can read and respond to messages but they can’t change the password on the email account

By delegating email, you can allow your assistant to stay on top of emails. Aim for clarity by communicating to anyone you delegate emails to on how they should respond.

Proton Mail is currently my top choice. With their unlimited plan you get 15 inboxes and unlimited aliases. Namecheap is another good choice as well because they cost a bit less than Proton Mail and you can have up to 100 aliases per inbox.

Most other email hosts offer around 10-30 aliases which should be adequate for most users. The only host I would avoid is Hover.com. They don’t offer aliasing with their plans but instead allow you to create unlimited inboxes.

Conclusion

An email alias can be an extremely useful tool for both personal and business use. With features like increased privacy and better organization, email aliases offer a unique way to manage multiple email address from one main inbox.

Not to mention the various benefits you get with regards to organization, security and cost effectiveness of minimizing how my inboxes you’re paying for at your email host. If you’re still giving out your email address stop.

Start using aliases for signing up to affiliate programs, software services and at a minimum for general business communication.

David Utke

David Utke is a professional blogger, YouTuber and a highly rated user experience consultant. He and his team create helpful tutorials, software reviews, videos and more based on real-world experience. Join over 30,000 monthly readers and 27k+ YouTube subscribers!

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