From the support desk: Why we’re saying goodbye to the email catchall

End of the catch all

Users may have noticed that we have dropped support for “catch all” email addresses over the last few weeks. Why have we done this? Plainly and simply spam. A catch all address is simply a bucket for mail to end up in that hasn’t been sent to a valid email address. Many years ago it was argued that this was useful in order to still receive email messages where the sender had incorrectly typed the recipient’s address, but why would you want a sender to continue emailing the wrong address?  Surely it would be better to ensure that they send their message to the right address?

Once spammers have noticed that your domain exists (normally right after it’s registered) they will send spam to every name and variation they can think of at your domain, often using scripts to send to thousands of different variations at a time.  Nobody likes spam so we’ve taken the step of withdrawing support for the use of catch all addresses in line with a lot of the larger email providers.

Mail forwarding also disabled

Again, this option has been removed as the spam filtering used by external providers has become stricter and stricter. Mail forwarding takes place before ANY filtering happens on email messages, and this includes all that spam that your catch all was harvesting. The net result is that it’s the server doing the forwarding that’s seen as sending spam resulting our legitimate server ends up getting blacklisted solely because it has forwarded that spam. The best option under these circumstances is to disable mail forwarding, and for your chosen mail provider to remotely collect messages from our servers. We have a knowledge base article at that gives a detailed guide on how this can be configured with the larger email providers.


There are 2 comments on “From the support desk: Why we’re saying goodbye to the email catchall

  1. Derek Law September 27, 2018

    Are you saying that there is now no point in registering a domain name without hosting? I have several domains names registered whose whole reason for existing is as a permanent email address.

    • Stuart Melling October 2, 2018

      Not at all Derek, domain names do still come with the ability to redirect email. For the reasons in the post though we strongly advise against indiscriminate forwarding though.