How do I lower the amount of spam I receive?

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You can take a number of steps to minimize the amount of spam you receive. This page lists several ideas.

Set your spam filtering to "Standard"

First of all, make sure that your spam filter setting is set to "Standard". This allow our servers to reject mail from most spammers.

To make sure your spam filter is set to the highest level:

  • Login to the account management control panel
  • Click E-Mail Options
  • Make sure it says Standard spam filtering in the "Options" column

If it doesn't say "Standard spam filtering", click Edit to change the setting.

Don't use the "catch-all address" unless you need it

We offer a feature called the catch-all address that, by default, accepts mail for any address ending with your domain name.

That's often convenient. It means that you can use new addresses without setting them up in advance, and it means you'll receive any misaddressed messages (for example, you'll receive a message mistakenly sent to "salse@" your domain name instead of "sales@example.com").

However, it also means that if spammers simply guess at an address — for example, if they send a random message to "blahblah@" your domain name — the message could be delivered to you. Another danger is that if a spammer or virus forges your domain name and sends people undeliverable messages claiming to be from an address like "abc2468@example.com", you could get erroneous "bounces" clogging up your mailbox.

You'll have to decide for yourself if the tradeoff in convenience vs. possibly increased spam is worth it. If you receive a lot of spam sent to random addresses at your domain name, you should probably turn off the catch-all address:

  • Login to the account management control panel
  • Click E-Mail Options
  • Locate the "Catch-All Address" line (at the bottom of the list of addresses) and click Delete

Always give a "disposable" email address to people you don't trust

One way spammers get your address is by buying lists from unscrupulous companies. Because of this, you shouldn't give a permanent email address to people you don't trust.

Instead, create a "disposable" forwarding address for this kind of mail and give that address to unimportant contacts. If you start receiving spam because someone sells your address to spammers, you can simply delete the forwarding address and start using a new one.

An example will help explain this. If your primary email address is "address@example.com", you shouldn't give that address to companies you don't trust. Instead, you could create "public@example.com" to forward messages to "address@example.com", then use "public@example.com" when a stranger asks you for an email address. For example, you would use it whenever you placed an order with a company that doesn't need to send you mail forever.

If you later start getting spam at "public@example.com", you can simply delete it and create new forwarding address (such as "public2@example.com"). Since the spammer never knows your main address, your main address will never make it onto any spam lists: you can change the disposable address and "reset" your spam to zero whenever you want.

Don't put an important address directly on your website

The second way spammers get your address is by "harvesting" it from your own Web pages. If it's possible for someone to copy-and-paste an address from your Web page, that address will eventually end up receiving spam.

You can make sure this doesn't become a permanent problem by listing a "disposable" address on your public Web pages, as described above.

Another solution is Mailhide, a free service that protects your address. For example, Mailhide can replace "support@tigertech.net" with the following spam-proof link: click here to see our email address. The Mailhide website allows you to generate your own private HTML code for any address.

Another common technique is to use a paint program to make a picture of your email address, then include that picture on your page instead of using normal text for the address. Spammers use automated software that reads only the letters of normal text (not pictures), so this prevents them from seeing it. Keep in mind, however, that this may make it difficult for visually impaired visitors to find your email address, because they use software that converts normal text to sound. If you make your email address be a picture, be sure to include an alternate way for visually impaired visitors to contact you.

You can also display your email address in a format that doesn't actually use the @ sign. For example, you could display it as "address (at) example.com".

Finally, some people prefer not to list an email address on their site at all: instead, they use a "Contact Us" feedback form on a Web page. If you do so, make sure the form has built-in protection against spam.

Use SpamAssassin if possible

In addition to our spam filters (which can completely block mail), we also use a tool called SpamAssassin to add special "headers" to every email message that makes it past the spam filter. The headers show how likely a message is to be spam, based on its content. For example, even though we can't block all messages mentioning "Viagra", SpamAssassin will notice that such a message is more likely to be spam than a message that doesn't.

Advanced users can set up their mail program's filters to look at the SpamAssassin "headers" and filter mail accordingly. See our SpamAssassin page for more information.

Report spam to SpamCop

When you receive a spam message, use the free "SpamCop" service to report it. This can add the sender to blacklists that our spam filters use, blocking similar messages automatically in the future. See our "Reporting Spam" page for more details.