Brass Tacks Web Design ident

Forwarding Email Is A Bad Idea

Friday 26 February 2016

Many people like to forward their domain email to a webmail service such as Gmail or Outlook (formerly Hotmail). This can be useful if you want to receive a number of different email addresses in one place or want to take advantage of Gmail or Outlook's spam filters. Whilst this may seem convenient and easy, it is regarded by many system administrators as a very bad practice that can ultimately lead to your server or domain being blacklisted.

Consider the following example: Andrew has a website and email address that use the domain "mybusiness.com". His website is at "www.mybusiness.com" and his email address is "andrew@mybusiness.com". So that he can receive email on a number of different devices such as a PC, tablet and mobile phone, he forwards his email to his Outlook webmail account. This means that when "sarah@anotherplace.com" sends him an email, it arrives in Andrew Outlook account having been sent not by "anotherplace.com" but from "mybusiness.com" - so the sender's domain and the domain that the email was received from don't match. This can cause Outlook to question that authenticity of the email and may result in it getting classed as spam. If this happens too olften it could untimately lead to mybusiness.com's server being blacklisted (many email providers use third party lists of blocked servers). Once a server is blacklisted it can be difficult and time-consuming to have the block removed.

Another potential issue is if a spammer spoofs "andrew@mybusiness.com" and uses it to send out thousands of spam emails. Many of the target email addresses may be old, invalid or just non-existent and could generate large numbers of rejection emails from the target servers, which will then inundate Andrew's Outlook account - all being routed back through and appearing to come from the server hosting "mybusiness.com". This, again, could lead to the server being blacklisted.

In both of these examples, Andrews’s mail server is seen as a source of spam, and as a result the reputation of the mail server is affected. 

So what is the solution? The best way to address this issue is to use the POP functionality of your mail provider (Gmail, Outlook etc) to collect your domain email, rather than the domain forwarding it. This works in the same way an an email program installed on your computer, which contacts your mail server and downloads your email. Webmail can do the same thing - connecting to your domain email account and retreiving your messages.


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