What is an email alias and how to create one
Every day we are immersed in a digital world where many of our actions and data are tracked and can be used against us if they fall into the wrong hands. Every now and then we hear stories of major data breaches and face spam or fraud attempts. An email alias is a simple but effective tool that can help you in the fight for digital security, among other things.
What is an email alias
An alias is a unique email address whose only function is to forward emails to your main mailbox. But only you know about it; to an outside observer, an alias is an independent mailbox. It gives users a number of new opportunities.
First, aliases allow you to "dilute" your online presence. Instead of using the same address for subscribing to newsletters, registering on websites and in social networks, you can create different aliases for different purposes. This way, even if the data of one of your accounts leaks, the others will remain safe.
Second, using alias email addresses allows you to manage and track your emails. If one of your aliases starts receiving spam, you can easily identify where it came from and take action without affecting your main mailbox.
Third, alias emails provide an extra layer of anonymity. In a digital world where our personal data has become extremely valuable, maintaining anonymity is not just a matter of convenience, it's a matter of security. Aliases will prevent your real email address from matching your accounts on various services and make it difficult to build your profile simply by searching for your address on search engines.
Aliases are a flexible way to control your digital footprint, your ticket to a world where you are the one in charge of your information, and not vice versa.
Benefits of using email aliases
Reducing the risk of phishing
If you use different aliases for different services, it will be easier to identify suspicious emails. For example, if you receive an email purporting to be from your bank to an address you never gave them, this could be a sign of a phishing attempt.
Protecting your primary email address
When you register on various websites or subscribe to newsletters, you can use an alias. This reduces the chance of your primary email address falling into the hands of spammers.
Easy to trace the source of a leak
If one of your aliases starts receiving spam or other unwanted emails, you can quickly identify the source of the leak.
By using different aliases for different services and apps, you can avoid a situation where a data leak on one website leads to compromised accounts on other websites.
Easy to manage
Most email services allow you to manage aliases, making it easy to forward, filter, or delete emails that come to a specific alias.
How to create an email alias
Creating an email alias depends on the email service you use. Let's look at the basic steps for creating an alias on several popular email services.
- Log in to your Gmail account
- Click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select See all settings
- Go to the Accounts and import tab
- In the Send email as section, click Add another email address
- Enter the desired name and address for the alias
- Log in to your Outlook account
- Click the gear icon in the upper right corner and go to View all Outlook settings → Email → Accounts → Aliases → Add an alias
- Enter the desired address for the alias and follow the instructions
- Log in to your Yahoo Mail account
- Click the gear icon and open Settings → More Settings
- Click the Mailboxes tab → Add an alias
- Enter the desired name and address for the alias
Other mailing services
The approach may vary depending on the service. Usually there is an option to create an alias or additional email address in the account settings. Sometimes services provide this feature only for paid or premium accounts.
If you use any other email service or hosting for your email, you should refer to the official documentation or instructions of that provider for more precise guidelines on how to create an alias.
How to organize your email inbox with email aliases
Separate personal and work emails
You can create an alias for your personal email address, keeping it apart from your work one. Thus, emails from friends or relatives will come to one address, and emails from colleagues or partners to another.
Subscriptions and newsletters
Create a separate alias for subscriptions to different resources, blogs, or online stores. If one of the mailings becomes a source of spam, you can easily identify it and disable the alias to get rid of the junk mail.
Registering on websites
Use aliases when registering on new platforms or forums. Even if some of these resources are compromised, your primary email address will remain safe.
Testing and temporary tasks
If you want to test a new service or register for an event for which you need an email address, but you don't want to receive any notifications in the future, an alias would be perfect.
How to organize aliases
Most email services allow you to create folders or labels. Use this tool to automatically sort emails coming to different aliases. For example, all emails coming to a work-related alias can be automatically moved to the Work folder, emails from online stores to the Shopping folder, and so on.
Drawbacks of using email aliases
Email aliases have become a popular tool for those looking to protect their privacy and organize their inbox. However, like any other tool, aliases have their disadvantages. Let's take a look at the most significant of them.
Risk of a mix-up
Even with the most straightforward email services with cleanest and most user-friendly UIs, adding multiple aliases is inherently associated with increased complexity. There's always the risk of losing track of which alias was used for what purpose. This can make it difficult to log in to certain services if you happen to forget which specific alias was used.
Spam doesn't go anywhere
Spam itself won't disappear the moment you start using aliases. Yes, aliases help you identify the source of spam and reduce it (by disabling the alias), but they do not prevent you from receiving it.
Difficulties in communication
If you use aliases to communicate with people, not just for registrations and mailings, you will need to watch what alias you use to reply.
Problems with automatic filters
Some websites or email systems may recognize aliases as non-standard or suspicious addresses, blocking them during the registration or spamming emails coming from them.
Temporary mail as an alternative to email aliases
Many people opt for unique email aliases in an attempt to protect their data, but we suggest you consider an alternative that provides a similar level of privacy — temporary mail.
Temporary mail provides you with an address that is completely unrelated to your primary mailbox. It is a separate mailbox in a separate mobile or web interface.
We all know how quickly our main inbox can be flooded with junk mail after registering on new websites. By using temporary mail, you greatly reduce spam in your main mailbox. In a short time, the mailbox simply disappears, and everything that came to it disappears with it.
Temporary mailboxes do not have permanent passwords or account data. Even if they are hacked (which is unlikely), attackers will not find anything of value.
Simplicity and convenience
You don't need to create complex passwords, think up a new username and answers to secret questions. Just get a temporary address, use it for its intended purpose, and forget it. No hassle at all.
Optimal for one-time activities
Often we need an email address for one small task: upload a file, access materials, confirm registration. Temporary mail is perfect for these tasks, giving you the tool you need without the consequences of spam and leaks.
There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that your privacy is safe. Temporary mail provides that peace of mind, allowing you to surf the web freely without worry.