Why Using An Email Catch-all Is A Bad Idea

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Why Using An Email Catch-all Is A Bad Idea

 January 30th, 2020

What Is A Catch-All Email?

A catch-all email address catches all of the emails for addresses that do not exist.  In other words, any user that does not exist in your list of email addresses wherein someone sends an email to would automatically receive mail from these non-existent users.  So if someone misspells an email address user, it would still get through.  This is done just in case a critical email does not get missed.  Remember, however, that a catch-all email address cannot be verified.

Why Is A Catch-All A Bad Idea?

One word can describe the problem: spam.  If an email address does not exist, the sender will receive a bounce message informing them that no such user(s) exist.  This is great news for you!  Spammers typically try to guess your email address (unless they acquired your email address by purchasing lists of email addresses).  Once spammers send an email to your domain and realize that it was received as they did not receive a bounce back, they will automatically start sending you spam.

Unfortunately, if they, in turn, sell lists of email addresses, your domain will start to receive spam from many spammers all at once.  This could result in your email server becoming overwhelmed with thousands of spam messages that could eventually be problematic as it can grow more substantial and more significant to the point that your entire mail server could be bogged down due to so much traffic.

Additionally, your email server could have further problems.  One example could be your mail server’s hard drive becoming full.  This means that any real mail or crucial mail would be rejected because the mail server is full.  These increased bounce rates can ruin your mail server reputation.  Most importantly, this can cause your trusted hosting provider to temporarily suspend your email because of the problematic issue of having to clean out all of the mess as well as shutting down your email catch-all.

Once your catch-all is removed, then any legitimate email that was being sent through the catch-all because the sender(s) never caught on to correcting the spelling of the email address (or you never notified them to fix the issue) these senders will receive bounce messages that the user no longer exists.  This could potentially cause significant problems between you and your associates.

How To Correct The Issue Before It’s Too Late

If you are currently using a catch-all for your email, first, review all the email you receive and notify any legitimate sender to make corrections on the email address they should send to.  Have them send a test email to the corrected email address to ensure that they have it set correctly.  Once this is complete, turn off the catch-all email address.


As you can see from all of the above, catch-all email addresses will only result in a nightmare of problems.  Do your due diligence to correct the issue quickly to avoid any future disasters.

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