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Useful ways to use your domain’s email addresses

One of the many benefits of having your own website is the ability to use email aliases associated with your domain. (You can use these with gmail, too—but you should really have your own domain instead).

Here are a few ways you can utilize your domain’s email aliases to improve your digital life.

Unique aliases for each account

When you have your own domain, you can create a nearly-infinite number of email aliases, plus a catch-all address as well. That makes it especially easy to then provide a different email address for each website you use.

Why might you want to use a different email address for each site you have an account with? Well, for a few reasons.

I’ll start with the best reason first. We all get a ton of email that we really don’t need to read or process, we just need some record of it. I don’t need to actually look at the Home Depot receipt I was just emailed; I just need to be able to find it when I need to return that item because of course I got the wrong size. Four different times. In a single day.

So instead of getting four emails taunting me about my mispurchases (I’m coining this word if it’s not one already)…and then three more confirming that I did indeed need to make additional trips each hour to return those purchases, I can easily filter all the Home Depot emails as read and filter them into a folder for safe keeping.

When you start to look at it, a surprisingly high percentage of the emails you receive fall into this sort of “file away for reference” category. So much so that the aptly-named “paper trail” is a major feature of Hey’s paid email service.

Similarly, this works great for emails related to tasks that you want to tackle all at once—monthly bills you need to pay every month, for instance. You can use filters to collect them (unread) into a folder. Then when it’s time to process that folder, they’re all in one spot, ready to be dealt with—without distracting you before you were ready to get to them. You can file them to other specific folders if you so choose.

Using a different email alias for each website means that when the inevitable data link occurs, only your email address for that particular website is compromised. Side note, but it needs to be said: don’t use reuse passwords; one data leak could lead to disaster.

It also makes it harder for companies to aggregate all that personal data they collect on each of us, and use it to pull other data tracking shenanigans.

Using unique aliases for each website also makes it easy to see which companies have shared or sold your data to someone else. That’s useful because you can simply kill that email alias if you start to get spammed.

Shared accounts

My wife and I use a shared login email for nearly every account that we need to share access to. The address is an alias that forwards to both of our personal email accounts.

This makes it especially easy to manage household or travel plans. Since we both get all the household-related emails—a change in the trash pick up schedule, or a summary of our energy use last month, or the password reset for our streaming account, or the login email to troubleshoot our internet access—so we never have to wait for each other to manually forward emails or otherwise “catch up” the other person about something.

There’s nothing worse than having an internet outage but you can’t login because the account is tied to your wife’s email address and you need to verify your login via email and she’s busy at work. Not that this was the impetus for such a system…

This may not work for every account you have. Some accounts just can’t easily be shared, like a medical portal, for instance. But there is a simple workaround. If both people still need access, then you can still use a slightly different alias for those accounts that forwards a copy to both people. If one of the recipients doesn’t need regular access to those messages, they can simply filter them out of their inbox.

We also use this for accounts that go to other family members that we also need access to. For instance, we manage the finances of several other family members. So each has their own email address at our website that forwards to who needs to see it.


I use a specific email address whenever I subscribe to an email newsletter. I then forward this email address to whatever read later app I’m using.

That way, if I switch from one reading app to another, I don’t need to change my subscriptions to every single newsletter I subscribe to, I simply change where the alias forwards to. And if I want to test out a new app without making the full switch, I’ll simply add the new address and have copies go to both apps for bit.

VIP/Friends only

We all get a lot of personal email these days. Order confirmations, newsletters, notifications, email login links…just a lot of emails. And tucked in there somewhere might be an email from a good friend that you haven’t chatted with in years—a rare email you’re actually excited to read and really don’t want to miss.

Instead of routing your friends’ emails to your main inbox where it can get lost amongst the jumble, consider giving them their own special destination. You can either use an entirely separate email inbox (perhaps accessing it via a separate app), or at least a special alias that you can apply a filter to—highlighting its arrival in your inbox.

Email is still one of the very best ways to stay connected with our friends and family. This is an easy way that we can bring back some of that joy, while getting out of the practice of communicating through someone’s walled garden.


If you routinely connect to public wifi networks, you might want to create a throwaway email address. This is one that you provide to the service in order to connect to the network, but from which you don’t want any actual email from. Like, ever.

You can simply automatically route everything sent to this email directly to your trash, which allows you to access it briefly in case you need to click a link as a final step towards connecting, but otherwise never deal with any email sent there.

Gmail users

Even though I strongly suggest that you own your own domain—even if you never make a personal website—you can use many of these strategies using a traditional ad-based gmail account1 too.

The key here is using the method, where your normal username is appended with a “plus sign” (+) along with whatever alias (keyword) you want. No matter what keywords you append to your username, all such messages are delivered to your normal gmail account, where you can apply filters to accomplish the goals above.

  1. Just remember that you don’t own your gmail address. It belongs to Google, and unlike a domain name that you have legal rights to, you can lose a gmail account, and lose it without any recourse. And there is no requirement for Google to maintain this added “+alias” functionality, either. I mean, Google doesn’t kill popular things just for shits and giggles, right? ↩︎

1 thought on “Useful ways to use your domain’s email addresses”

  1. Great tips, especially the address to use just for newsletters. Also, on Gmail, you can omit any periods/full stops in you address and it will still get delivered. e.g., lou.plummer is the same as louplummer


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