What Is an Email Alias?

An alias can protect your privacy and keep you organized

An email alias is an email address that you can use to receive email without exposing your main, personal, or professional email address. When messages are sent to your email alias, you'll automatically receive them in your main email account.

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Why Would You Use An Email Alias?

Email aliases are helpful when you need to create a short, simple, and generic address for some specific purpose.

For instance, let's say that Fred Johnson works in human resources at his company and is responsible for interviewing potential candidates for current job openings. He might want to post job ads on certain job board websites, but he'd rather not use his professional fredjohnson@companyname.com email address so that he can keep his identity anonymous and also protect his email privacy.

As a solution, Fred could set up an email alias like jobs@companyname.com and then have all incoming emails automatically forwarded to his main fredjohnson@companyname.com email account.

How Email Aliases Work

Email aliases are created on the mail server where your main email account is hosted. All the mail server has to do is forward any mail sent to the email alias straight to your main email account.

Email aliases are used for receiving mail, not sending it. This means that when you reply to an email that was sent to your email alias, your reply will be sent from your main email address. Some email services, however, such as Gmail, allows users to set up email aliases to also send mail by setting up a custom From address.

The Benefits of Using An Email Alias

An email alias is a great way to keep your main email account private and organize all the messages you receive. Here's why you might want to consider using an email alias:

  • It's easy to set one up on most major email platforms including Gmail, Yahoo!, iCloud, and Outlook.
  • You can create multiple email aliases for one main email account.
  • You can save on any costs associated with creating new email accounts.
  • Using an email alias (or multiple ones) means that you never have to switch between email accounts.
  • You can use an email alias to hide your name and therefore protect the identity in your main email address.
  • You can use an email alias to replace a lengthy main email address with a simpler, shorter one that's easier to remember and type.
  • You can use a topic-specific email alias to replace a main email address so it looks more professional (like jobs@companyname.com, pr@companyname.com, or sales@companyname.com).
  • You can automatically have all incoming messages from an email alias sent to a specific folder or labeled in your main email address to help keep them separate or easily identifiable from your other messages.
  • You can automatically forward all incoming mail from an email alias to junk or spam once you no longer need to check messages from it.
  • You can remove the email alias once you have no further use for it and avoid receiving any incoming mail that might be sent to it.

Easily Create An Email Alias in Gmail

Gmail makes it super easy to create and use an email alias.

  1. Open Gmail and go into your settings by selecting the gear icon in the top right of your inbox.

    The Settings gear in Gmail
  2. Select See All Settings.

    The "See All Settings" button in Gmail
  3. Navigate to the Accounts and Import tab. Under the Send mail as: section, select Add another email address.

    add another email address
  4. Enter the email alias you want to use in the Email address: field. You can optionally edit your name, too, if you want.

    A screenshot of Gmail.com.
  5. Leave Treat as an alias checked and select Next Step.

  6. Follow the instructions to verify.

Repeat the above for as many email aliases as you want to create. If you ever want to delete an email alias, simply navigate back to the Accounts and Import tab in your settings and select delete beside the email alias listed in the Send mail as: section.

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