What is Catch-all account?
Catch-all account is a term used for forwarding all the emails addressed to non-existence email accounts (all unrouted emails)to a common mailbox (email account).
As per below figure say I have three email accounts created email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Now if any body sends email on firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com (firstname.lastname@example.org misspelled) will be rejected and returned to sender saying that there is no such user on server. Now if you wish not to lose this email messages arriving on non-existing or misspelled email accounts then you will need to create a catch-all account (Default Address in CPanel) say email@example.com. Now, all email messages coming on non-existence or misspelled email accounts will be redirected to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be stored there.
Catch-all account also helps when you don’t want to create all individual email accounts and simply want to redirect all emails for a domain to a catch-all account, because maintaining individual email accounts, managing passwords for them is very cumbersome when you have hundreds or thousands email account. In this scenario you will have to have a local email distribution server which downloads all emails from catch-all account and redistributes it to local users created under email distribution server.
Due to following draw backs of catch-all accounts many email service providers are disabling this feature.
- Lot of spam emails will be received due to the fact that catch-all catches email@example.com. Spammers may love your domain for sending spam because they don’t need to have valid email account to send email to they will send to any address and you will receive it.
- It consumes more server resources.
How to setup catch-all account in CPanel?
- Login to CPanel
- Create a mailbox (email account) follow instruction given at Managing email accounts in CPanel.
- Click on “Default Address” under Mail section.
- Send all unrouted email for: Select Domain from the drop down box
- Forward to email address: Enter the email address which will be the catch-all for the selected domain.
- Click on “Change” button to save the changes
What is email alias or forwarder?
Forwarders allow you to send a copy of all mail from one email address to another. For example, if you have two different email accounts, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, you could forward firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com so that you do not need to check both accounts. Note that the forwarded mail will still be delivered to the original address as well.
A forwarder for non-existing address to an existing email account is a way to identify the same mailbox with multiple names (addresses) which is called an email alias or email forwarder. For example, I have no mailbox for firstname.lastname@example.org, but still I am creating a forwarder from email@example.com to firstname.lastname@example.org, where email@example.com is an email account, now in this case all email messages sent to firstname.lastname@example.org are sent to stored in the mailbox of email@example.com and this phenomena is identified as an email alias. Email alias is nothing but a nick name for an existing email account. In this way same email account (mailbox) can be identified by multiple names and all emails to such aliases/forwarders will be stored in a common mailbox. This is very helpful when the email service provider has disabled the catch-all account feature and you want to divert emails to a mailbox by creating email forwarders/aliases, from where your local email distribution server will download and distribute them to local users.
How to create a Forwarder/alias in CPanel?
- Login to CPanel.
- Click on “Forwarders” under Mail section.
- Click on “Add Forwarder” button
- Address to Forward: Enter the email address whose emails will be forwarded. Select domain from the drop down box to which this address belongs. It’s not compulsory to have an email account for this address.
- Forward to email address: Enter the destination email account to where all emails will be sent.
- Click on “Add Forwarder” button to create a forwarder.
Import Forwarders in CPanel
- Login to CPanel.
- Click on “Import Addresses/Forwarders” link.
- Select Forwarders
- Locate the Excel or csv file containing forwarders to be created as per below format.
- Select delimiter used in your csv file for separating columns. Only visible if your source file is csv.
- Select “Treat first row as column headers” if your csv or excel file contains a header row.
- Click “Next”
- Select the column header from the drop down box that corresponds to each column.
- Click “Next”.
- Review the selections done so far, and if sure click “Finish” button to create all forwarders.