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Domain-Based, Site Specific Email Addresses FTW

I use domain-based emails for 99% of my email activity. The other 1% is comprised of assorted 3rd-party email services and temporary slash disposable addresses (like for testing purposes and one-off sign-ups, etc.). I can tell you whole-heartedly based on 20+ years working online that domain-based email is THE WAY to go.

Relying on 3rd-party services for email is a mistake.

Domain-based + site-specific

More specifically, we’re talking about site-specific domain-based email. Site-specific or login-specific or profile-specific — whatever you want to call them. Site specific email addresses are perfect for registering with new websites, apps and other online services. For example, for each new site that I register with, I create a new site-specific email address like:

  • amazon@my-domain-name-1.com
  • google@my-domain-name-1.com
  • plesk@my-domain-name-2.net
  • nintendo@my-domain-3.tld

Each address is created as an alias of a primary email address. For example, on domain 1, I set up a primary address like help@domain-1.com. Then for each new site that I register with, I create a specific email alias under the primary address.

After a while you get a LOT of site-specific email aliases. But it doesn’t matter because you only have to check the primary address. For example, in my mail app, I set up accounts only for the primary address, not all of the site-specific aliases. Because by checking the primary email, you’re also checking all of the aliases.

Even better, email aliases are easy to delete without affecting the primary address or any of the other aliases. Just way more flexibility and more control than anything 3rd-party services can offer. Plus there are many other benefits..

Benefits of this strategy

There are numerous benefits to this approach. First, it makes it easy to identify who is spamming your inbox. Think about it. When you use the same email address for everything, and the spam starts rolling in, you really have no idea which company sold you out. Just have to suck it up.

But with the domain-based approach, the email address lets you know exactly whodunnit. For example, if you set up an email alias such as hot-clues@my-domain.tld for some hot new app, and then a year later you start getting hammered with spam at that address. Well, you know that “hot new app” sold your email to the highest bidder in the spam markets.

Another big benefit of domain-based email is flexibility and control. A good example for this is closing online accounts. If you’re using the same (primary) email address for everything, you have no choice but to jump through all the hoops to close an account. But with site-specific email addresses (aliases), you can just delete the email alias and never hear from the company again.

I’ve been using this technique for years and my spam level is near zero. And I’m fairly ubiquitous online.

Even more benefits

As discussed previously, another benefit to domain-based email: you get the username you want, rather than compromising by adding some number or random characters to find a name that isn’t already taken. In other words, you@domain.com rocks a lot harder than you_ItsTheRealMe2024@gmail.com or whatever shady looking name you manage to scrounge up at the bottom of the Gmail bargain bin.

Plus, domain-based email is handled by your own server, provided by a web host. That means you have complete control over every aspect of filtering, handling spam, bounces, relays, and everything in between.

If you’ve already got a host for your website or whatever, you’re more than halfway there. In most cases setting up domain-based email is a breeze. Any decent web host will be more than happy to help you get set up in a jiffy.

Round-up of pros and cons for domain-based email vs. 3rd-party service.

The biggest benefit

Privacy. In case you haven’t been paying attention, big tech has developed an unhealthy penchant for tracking and snooping everything you do, especially online. So think twice before jumping into bed with some big 3rd-party email service provider. On the Web, email is tantamount to growing a successful business. Why take a chance with shady corporations. Bet on yourself instead.

Jeff Starr
About the Author
Jeff Starr = Web Developer. Security Specialist. WordPress Buff.
BBQ Pro: The fastest firewall to protect your WordPress.

4 responses to “Domain-Based, Site Specific Email Addresses FTW”

  1. Great post. This is pretty much the system that I’ve used for the past 10+ years, except that I’ve been using more generic addresses for added security (random-numbers@my-domain.com). I’ve recently started to use my email domain with simplelogin.com though, as it lets you reply through your aliases directly from your “real” email inbox. Works great for dealing with customer services and in online marketplaces, as the recipient never learns your true email.

    • Jeff Starr
      Jeff Starr 2023/01/26 2:20 pm Reply

      Thanks for the tip about simplelogin.com, will check it out. Being able to respond directly from alias accounts would be huge. Hopefully it’s a standalone app and not a 3rd-party service. Cheers, Matti.

  2. Use an Email Alias!
    https://odysee.com/@NaomiBrockwell:4/Email-aliases:2

    lots of other good content on her channel as well

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Perishable Press is operated by Jeff Starr, a professional web developer and book author with two decades of experience. Here you will find posts about web development, WordPress, security, and more »
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