10 Things Only Privacy-Conscious People Know about Email Aliases
Email aliases are an underrated hero of digital privacy. Using an email alias protects your personal email address.
Your email address is the key to your identity online. It's a fundamental part of the combination used to unlock many of your online accounts. When using the web, one way you can help protect your information—and your email account—is to use email aliases when subscribing to services, instead of your primary email address.
Email aliases are a privacy-centered feature offered by Fastmail. It helps you to collect valuable information about which senders you can trust. With Fastmail, you can have over 600 email aliases at no extra cost to you, giving you the agency to choose the address you give out to each of your online accounts.
In this article, you'll learn about email aliases and how they increase your privacy and save you time. Additionally, we'll give you the best tips for using email aliases to make your life easier. Email aliases in Fastmail are quick to set up with powerful benefits.
10. What is an email alias address?
Email aliases are pseudonyms that keep you safe. You can share your alias with anyone, with the confidence of James Bond introducing himself over martinis, without giving up your actual email address.
It’s easy to access emails sent to your email alias because they go directly to your Fastmail inbox. There's no need to have an additional email account just to get a second email address.
This makes using an email alias a cost-efficient option because it eliminates the need to spend money on multiple email accounts to keep your information safe.
We auto-create sending identities out of your aliases, making it simple to send emails from your alias address when using the Fastmail web interface. You select the address you want to send from in the From: line. No sweat.
This also works if you're replying to mail that has been sent to an alias. We'll use the correct alias for you in your response.
Pro tip: You can't log in to your account using your email alias—you must always use your username!
9. How to use email aliases to finally reclaim control over your inbox
Everyone has an old email account they created when they first started out online. One that is now completely inundated with spam and newsletters that you signed up for while you were going through some long-forgotten phase.
The best part about email aliases is that they can be temporary, so they give your inbox the ability to grow and evolve with you.
The perfect time to use an email alias is when testing out a new product, service, or newsletter. Do you want to try out a new ride-sharing service? A live stream workout class? A celebrity podcast? Subscribe to an up-and-coming newsletter about bread recipes?
You may not want to continue receiving updates from these companies for the rest of your email address’s life. A simple solution to this problem is signing up to receive emails with an email alias instead of your primary username.
Fastmail gives you the ability to create over 600 email aliases. You can easily sign up for every new service with a new alias! That way if you no longer want to receive emails from Uber, for example, you can delete the email alias you gave to them or set up a rule to file mail addressed to that alias into a folder. You can also hide the folder so that its contents don’t clutter your inbox.
If you delete an alias but you need it again, you'll be able to bring it back. For example, if you're you@yourdomain and your alias is uber@yourdomain, as long as no one else using your domain takes it after you delete it, you can always revive the alias.
8. How to easily identify scammers by using an email alias
Email aliases are a vital component of your email privacy toolbox.
They can help you identify and fight against phishing attempts. For example, you set up an email alias for online shopping. It’s the only email address you use for that purpose. If you receive an email to any of your other addresses claiming there's an issue with your upcoming delivery, you know it's fake.
You can report the mail as spam, or phishing and rest easy knowing you've made life harder for scammers to trick you. For an added step of security, you can even delete the alias and start fresh with a new one, if you can update your account details on the online shopping site.
7. How to use an email alias for networking and personal branding
Another brilliant time to use an email alias is if you're participating in a networking event or speaking engagements.
If you're building your personal brand, one of the best things you can do is buy the domain for your name. For example, James Bond would purchase jamesbond.com (This domain is real! It's paid for by MGM). Once you do this, Fastmail lets you bring in your domain. James Bond could sign up for Fastmail and send mail from firstname.lastname@example.org.
By owning your own domain and making an event-specific email alias, you not only keep your personal email address private, but you can also effortlessly track the number of connections you made at the event. You'll know that the emails to that address are coming from attendees from that particular event. For example, James Bond can give out the email alias TED@jamesbond.com at his TED talk and SXSW@jamesbond.com at South By Southwest. By gathering the metrics of people reaching out to you, you can easily use this as a way to gauge the value of attending the event.
Fastmail makes it simple for you to keep track of how many active aliases you have. In the "Users and aliases" section of your settings, you can manage your aliases. Here you can create, delete, or even choose the account to deliver them to, if you have more than one account.
6. How to use a catchall or wildcard aliases to get all mail coming to your domain
Using additional alias addresses can help you do more with your email, and even determine who to trust with your data. However, it's not always necessary to make a brand-new alias for everything.
A catchall or wildcard alias is one that allows all mail to any address at a domain to be filtered into a single account. If you own your own domain, Fastmail will let you create a catchall alias, *@yourdomain. Using the *, you will be able to receive mail coming to your domain no matter what is before the "at" sign. As a perk, wildcard addresses catch any misspellings of your address. For example, if someone emails you at saels@yourdomain instead of sales@yourdomain.
Pro tip: You can give out an address without even creating an alias. Imagine you're at a trade show and talking to prospective customers. A catchall alias allows you to be creative on the spot, and say “email tradeshow-discount@yourdomain” for people you think would be good customers and you want to give a discount to, but you want to remember which event you were at.
5. How to use email aliases to organize your inbox
Regardless of how organized you are, everyone has junk lying around their house: mail, receipts, dried-out pens, expired beauty products, old phone chargers, and computer cables. Many people experience the same phenomenon with their inboxes.
You can make separate email aliases for sales@yourdomain, support@yourdomain, and accounts@yourdomain (without adding extra users to your account) and direct them to different folders to keep them organized. To do this, set up a rule that sends this mail to separate folders. To manage your rules, go to Fastmail's "Filters & Rules" settings screen.
You can also move mail into folders by searching an email address in your Fastmail search bar and clicking on the "Create rule" button. Doing this will automatically file mail from that sender into the folder you specify.
Using email aliases this way will help you stay organized and save time. This tactic allows you to make an alias for each of the hats you wear, which gives you the ability to switch from CEO to Support Agent to Social Media Manager without having to log into multiple accounts and memorize a bunch of passwords.
4. How to use an email alias to connect with a small team
If you have your own business or a personal project on the side, you know that chasing your dreams takes long hours and lots of hard work. Email aliases can help you save time sending your team the information they need.
One way you can work smarter with a small team is by making an alias where the target is a group in your contact list. Any message sent to this alias is forwarded to all members of the group. This makes it easier to manage an address such as sales@yourdomain that needs to be distributed to a few people.
Pro tip: This is suitable for small contact lists with only a few members. When you have a larger team to manage, you'll want to use Topicbox by Fastmail to email more team members at one email address. If you're looking for newsletter or mailing list functionality, you'll want an external product that supports opting out.
3. How to identify which companies are selling your data
Most people use one or two email addresses for all of their needs, work and personal. Each alias helps you to note which companies have what email while keeping your actual email address undercover.
For example, you give an e-commerce store the email alias storename@yourdomain and that address starts receiving spam mail. Now you know that the e-commerce store has sold or shared your information. You'll know not to shop there again!
When you start receiving lots of spam to your alias email address, you can delete the alias. Mail sent by the spammers to you will bounce back to them, while your inbox remains spam-free.
2. How to use email aliases to organize your day
Many of us wear an abundance of hats. Going about our day, we are an employee, an entrepreneur, a parent, an aspiring musician, and an amateur botanist (or whatever your list may be). Our head is filled with managing tasks in lots of spheres of our life.
Making a task list is one way to help manage the cognitive load.
Step 1: Send your notes and ideas to an email alias, and there you have it, an easily accessible catalog of tasks.
Step 2: Keep these reminders organized by creating a rule that directs all emails sent to notes@yourdomain to their own folder. Now your list is collected together and out of your main inbox.
Pro tip: Use plus-addressing to add extra information to your tasks. Emails sent to notes+vacation@yourdomain can be filed separately to notes+urgent@yourdomain.
1. How to use email aliases to protect your privacy
Using an email alias gives you agency over the amount of information the recipients of your emails have about you and allows you to protect your email address from third-parties.
Using an email alias without your name helps you stay anonymous when signing up for website accounts and newsletters. When emailing your friends, you can be you@yourdomain, but shopping online, you can be xyzzy@yourdomain and that's one less piece of information the e-commerce site has about you.
We hope we’ve inspired you to give email aliases a try! Log in to your Fastmail account to get started today. If you’re not already a Fastmail customer, try out this feature with our free 30-day trial.