How to Whitelist Email Addresses

Make sure you get the emails you want to receive

Image of a mail slot with a No Junk Mail label

The best way to make sure the emails you really want to see don't end up in the spam box is to whitelist email addresses from people you know.

Doing this is slightly different from one email service to the next, so in this article you'll learn how to whitelist email addresses in every major email service.

Gmail Whitelist Procedure

There is no quick checkbox in Gmail to instantly add a sender email to an actual list of friends you want to keep out of the Spam box. However, there are several effective ways to whitelist your friends in Gmail.

Add Email Addresses to Contacts

There are different ways to open your contacts list in Gmail. The fastest method is just to visit the Google Contacts link.

Screenshot of adding contacts in Gmail

On the Google Contacts page, just click Create contact, and fill out the Create new contact form. Google will send any incoming emails from your contact list directly to your inbox.

Whitelist Spam Emails

Sometimes, a friend may send you an email that ends up in the Spam box before you've had a chance to whitelist their email address. There's a quick way to fix that as well.

Screenshot of removing a friend's email from spam

Just open your Spam box by clicking on Spam from the navigation bar, and find your friend's email. You'll see a Spam label at the top of the email. Click the x next to the label to remove it.

Add a Non-Spam Filter

One way to guarantee that your friend's incoming emails will never end up in the Spam box is to create a filter.

  1. Click on the gear icon at the upper right of your inbox and click Settings.

    Screenshot of Settings in Gmail
  2. Select Filters and Blocked Addresses from the navigation links at the top. Scroll down and click Create a new filter.

    Screenshot of Create a new filter in Gmail Settings
  3. In the Search mail form, you can enter either an entire domain you want to whitelist, or a specific email address. Use domains to whitelist anyone from a specific company. When you're done, click Create filter.

    Screenshot of creating a domain filter in Gmail
  4. On the next form, select Never send it to Spam. Finally, click Create filter.

    Screenshot of Never send it to Spam in Gmail filters
  5. Once you're done, you'll see the new filter show up in the list of filters.

How to Whitelist Yahoo Emails

Whitelisting an email address in Yahoo is very similar to Gmail. There are two ways to do this in Yahoo. You can either add the email address to your Yahoo contacts, or create a filter.

Add a Yahoo Contact

In Yahoo Mail, click on the Contacts card icon in the upper right corner of your Inbox. Click New Contact in the left navigation pane.

Screenshot of the Add Contact form in Yahoo Mail

Fill out the Add Contact form with your friend's name and email address. Click Save to save the new contact.

Yahoo will no longer place incoming emails from this email address to your Spam box.

Add a Filter in Yahoo Mail

Another way to keep your friends' incoming messages from Spam is to add a fliter that ensures the email lands in your inbox.

  1. Click on the Gear icon in the upper right corner of your inbox, and click More Settings.

    Screenshot of More Settings in Yahoo Settings
  2. Click Filters from the left navigation menu and select Add new filters.

    Screenshot of Add new filters in Yahoo Settings
  3. In the Add a new filter form, give the filter a name, and fill out the domain or the email address you want to whitelist. Click Save to save the new filter, and click Save again to close the form.

    Screenshot of adding a new filter in Yahoo
  4. Once you're done, you'll see the filter show up in the list of filters in the Filters window.

This filter will move the incoming email from that address directly to your Inbox by default.

Outlook Whitelist Procedure

If you're an Outlook Online user, whitelisting your friends is similar. You can add Contacts to whitelist friends, or use the Safe Senders feature.

Add Contacts in Outlook.com

Adding contacts is just as easy as Gmail or Yahoo. You can get to your Outlook Online contacts by clicking the Applications icon at the upper left corner of the window. Then, click on the People application.

Screenshot of adding a contact in Outlook Online

Type the First Name, Last Name, and Email Address. When you're done, click Create to create the new contact.

Any email address listed in your Outlook contacts won't go to the Spam folder.

Add Contact to Safe Senders

Adding Safe Senders is a guaranteed way to keep friends out of your Spam box.

  1. Click on the Gear icon in the top right corner of the window. Click on the View all Outlook settings link at the bottom of the list.

  2. In the Settings window, click on Mail in the left navigation pane. Click on Junk email in the navigation pane to the right of that. Under Safe senders and domains, click the Add link.

  3. In the pop-up field, you can add an email address or entire domain that you want to add to your Safe Senders list. Press the Enter key when you're done and the entry will get added to your list. Click the Save button to finish.

Any email from an address or domains in the Safe Senders list go directly to your Inbox.

Comcast Email Whitelist

Comcast, otherwise branded as Xfinity, is one of the most popular Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the country. For this reason, many people may need to whitelist their friends using that service.

If you sign up for it, Xfinity provides customers with a free email account. There are several ways to whitelist your friends with Xfinity.

Add an Xfinity Contact

Like the other email providers listed above, an easy way to keep friends out of the Spam box is to add them to your contact list.

To add an Xfinity contact, just log into your email account and click Address Book in the top menu. Then, click the Create Contact icon. Fill out the form, click Save, and you're done.

Screenshot of the import contacts feature in Xfinity email

An even faster way to whitelist emails of all of your friends is to import contacts from your other accounts.

When you click on Address Book, you'll see an Import contacts link in the left navigation pane. Click Get Started, and walk through the wizard to import existing contacts from your other accounts like Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, or even a text file.

Add a Whitelist Email Filter

Like Gmail and Yahoo, the best way to whitelist friends in your Xfinity email account is to create a filter that guarantees the incoming email will go to your Inbox.

  1. When logged into your Xfinity email account, click the gear icon in the upper right corner and click Settings.

    Screenshot of settings in Xfinity Mail
  2. Click Filter Rules, under Mail in the left navigation pane. Click the Add New Rule button.

    Screenshot of adding new rules in Xfinity Mail
  3. Make the Rule Name your friend's name. Click Add condition, and choose Sender/From. In the Contains field type the email address or domain you want to whitelist.

    Screenshot of adding a new rule in Xfinity Mail
  4. Click the Add action link, and click Keep. Click Save to save the new rule.

    Screenshot of adding an action to a rule in Xfinity Mail
  5. Once you're done, you'll see your new filter show up under Mail Filter Rules in Xfinity Mail settings.

By choosing "Keep", you're ensuring that incoming emails from that domain or email address will land in your inbox.

Email Safe List

In Settings, if you click Advanced Settings under Mail in the left navigation pane, you'll see a section titled Email Safe list.

If you enable Use email safe list, only emails that are on your email safe list will ever show up in your inbox. Every other incoming email will be discarded.

This is ideal if you're only looking to use your Xfinity email account to communicate with a very strict set of people. However, enabling this feature prevents anyone else from ever being able to send you an email.

This may be a great way to eliminate all forms of spam, but it also drastically reduces the usefulness of your email account.

Whitelist Emails on Your Own Domain

If you have a web hosting account and manage your own domain, web hosts let you configure an email account to go with that domain.

Usually you manage the email account through the cPanel web host control panel. That's also where you'll find the Webmail link to access incoming email.

Common Webmail clients you'll find in cPanel include Horde, Roundcube, or SquirrelMail. You could customize your email whitelists in those webmail clients.

Screenshot of adding a filter whitelist in cPanel

But a much easier way to whitelist emails it by adding a filter right inside cPanel.

  1. Log into your web hosting account and log into cPanel. Go to the Webmail area of cPanel where you can select which webmail client to use. Click the Email Filtering link.

    Screenshot of selecting Email Filtering in cPanel
  2. Click the Create a New Filter button.

    Screenshot of creating a new filter in cPanel
  3. On the filter form, make the name of the rule your friend's name. Under Rules, select From and contains from the dropdown lists. Fill out the field with the sender email address or domain you want to whitelist.

    Screenshot of adding a new filter in cPanel
  4. Under Actions, choose Deliver to Folder from the dropdown list. Click the Browse button, and choose Inbox from the list. Click Create to create the new rule.

    Screenshot of adding an action to rules in cPanel
  5. Once you add the new filter, you'll see it listed in the Current Filters list in the Create Filter page in cPanel.