Everyone uses email today. It is essential for communication, be it for personal or business reasons. In your daily online routine, you’ll notice that it has become common to sign in or register by submitting your email address when you want to use a service.
While some of these sites are genuine and legitimate, most are looking for ways to flood our inboxes with ads or even spam. If you’re thinking of using a service of unknown origin – that’s where disposable email addresses may come in handy.
5 Ways to Create a Disposable Email Address
The easiest way to create a disposable email address is with a free email service provider. Creating multiple of these can be used for various purposes – like service verifications or personal communication.
While in theory this could work, if you need more accounts, disposable email addresses service providers would be a better option. That’s where disposable email generators come in to play.
Let’s look at a mix of both kinds of service providers and how we can use them to benefit from the disposable email usage theory.
Traditional Email – Gmail
Although Google doesn’t have its own specific disposable email service, Gmail does offer the ability to create customized emails that you can throw away whenever you don’t have the need for them. How do we do this?
Whenever you sign up for a service, you key in your email as usual but end your email address with a specific tag; append a ‘period’ or a ‘plus sign’ along with any text you want to add. For example, you wish to sign up to Company ABC’s service. You then input like this – ‘yourname+CompanyABC@gmail.com’.
So, when you receive an email from Company ABC, it will have this additional moniker attached to it. They will appear in your inbox with that specific tag at the end of the address, along with your other emails.
Now, when spam mail arrives, you click the tiny down arrow next to ‘To me:’. It shows where the email is from and whom it was sent to along with other details. You can also see which email aliases it was sent to. So, if you receive a suspicious email out of the blue, look at who it was sent to.
If your ‘yourname+CompanyABC@gmail.com’ appears there, then you’ll know who gave away your email address. It is time to unsubscribe from Company ABC.
The next thing you need to do is to set up a Gmail filter to ensure that it automatically deletes any emails coming through to that address. To do so, type in your tag in the search box at the top of your Inbox and click the arrow on the right-hand side.
Then put this tag into the ‘From’ section of the filter form and click ‘Create Filter’. Check the ‘Delete It’ box on the next screen and click ‘Create Filter’. Once done, you’ll no longer see any emails come through to that specific address.
This is a great way to automatically filter your incoming emails. You could configure custom Gmail filters for each of your email aliases and have them automatically actioned on accordingly.
Traditional Email – Yahoo! Mail
Yahoo! Mail has unique disposable email addresses feature built in, unlike the email aliases that Gmail offers. Their disposable email addresses come with a base name and a keyword – email@example.com. The base name is unique and can only be set once.
You are allowed to change the keyword and create up to 500 times which basically gives you up to 500 unique email addresses in your one account. How do I do this?
Login to your Yahoo account, click the ‘Settings’ on the top right of the page and then click ‘Settings’ on the drop-down menu. Click ‘Security’. There, you’ll find a ‘Create Base Name’ option. Select it and input your base name. Once done, click ‘Add’ to add your keywords for specific addresses.
Then, you can customize what action to take for these addresses, whether to block spam, which Inbox to forward the email to etc. Take note that your Yahoo! email addresses are not 100% private, but they are still more private than the Gmail aliases. Overall, they’re great for most temporary email address uses.
Online Email Generator – Mailinator
Mailinator offers public throwaway email addresses. It is built on a unique concept – anyone can access any inbox, as long as you know its email address. You literally come up with any name you want and add @mailinator.com to the end. You can then use this email to sign up for any services. How do I do this?
Just go to the Mailinator website and key in the email address you want. Click the ‘Go’. The inbox will open and no password required. Since this is publicly accessible, everyone including yourself can see all emails sent to this address. If someone else has used it before, you may notice other unfamiliar emails.
You can use @mailinator.com email anytime to sign up for any services and visit Mailinator website to check the inbox. Mailinator is a receive-only email system. This is mostly used by companies to test their business workflows.
Online Email Generator – Getnada
Getnada is a free temporary email service. You will be given a random email address or you can choose one you like. There are several extensions from which you can choose from, namely @getnada.com, @abyssmail.com, @boximail.com, @clrmail.com, @dropjar.com, @getairmail.com, @givmail.com, @inboxbear.com, @robot-mail.com, @tafmail.com, @vomoto.com, @zetmail.com etc.
You get to create a number of inboxes. Messages are shown even when you do not refresh the page. This service can easily be accessed using Chrome extension. It is also mobile-friendly, compatible with Android devices.
Online Email Generator – MailDrop
MailDrop is another option for a quick and free public temporary email address. Maildrop does not require any sign ups. This service provides throwaway email addresses that are all cleared after 24 hours of inactivity. So how do I go about this?
Go to their website. Key in your required email address by typing in a user name in the blank box at the upper right in front of @maildrop.cc. Click ‘View Inbox’. The inbox will appear and you’ll be able to view all messages sent to that email address. MailDrop Inboxes are not private. Anyone with the same email address can see all messages in the inbox.
Maildrop inbox can hold at most 10 messages. Maildrop is very strict about the content of messages allowed into the inboxes. All plain text and HTML emails are allowed, but must be less than 500K in length. All attachments in messages are stripped and discarded. In short, MailDrop is not a good option for sharing files.
What is a Disposable Email Address?
In general, a disposable email allows a user to receive messages at a temporary address that expires after an affixed time period is over. Simply put, it is a temporary account created to prevent an overload of unsolicited emails from cluttering up your real inbox.
Also known as throw-away email, temporary email or self-destructing email, these disposable email accounts are often similar to other email services; they have their own inbox along with write, reply, and forward functions.
Disposable email also doesn’t have to be a dedicated service per se. In fact, any email that you plan to use only for a limited timeframe can be considered as a disposable email address.
How Disposable Email Addresses Work
A disposable email address can be set up for each unique contact or service you wish to access. This allows the user to sign up for services without needing to give out his or her real email address. Once the verification for the new service is complete, the email address no longer needs to be maintained.
There are companies that build their entire business around offering such disposable email services. However, as mentioned earlier, these aren’t really necessary in many cases – you can treat any email service as ‘disposable’ depending on your intentions.
Why Use a Disposable Email Address
Using a disposable email address is a great way to asset control over your privacy. It also plays a part in keeping your inbox tidier by preventing spam or unwanted marketing emails from entering your primary email inbox.
Also, disposable emails are useful in software development and testing since most software providers require email verification. Many developers around the globe use temporary disposable email services to ensure that their primary email addresses are not exposed.
You can also trace how your information is getting to spammers. This is done by keeping a record on each unique email address that was used to sign up for the respective services. We will discuss more on this in the sections below.
Fighting spam seems to be an uphill battle. Each time you unsubscribe yourself from a junk email listing, your inbox gets flooded again the very next day. However, email today is much more than simply spam.
Disposable email addresses present the opportunity to help increase your cybersecurity profile. Think of it like using temporary PO boxes instead of willy-nilly handing out your home address each time someone asks how to contact you.
Using them also doesn’t mean you need to pay money for the services, as our list of suggestions demonstrates. Take control of your right to privacy today and use a disposable email if you aren’t certain you will be using a service long term.