What is forwarding?

Forwarding mail is defined as re-sending mail from one mailbox to another.  For the sake of this discussion, you have or were given an email account on a private domain hosted at a web hosting company. We’ll use this mydomain.com’s name as an example.  For our example email addresses, we’ll use the name [philsemailaddress]@. It’s in brackets so that it’s automatically broken- we don’t want anyone trying to send emails to it because it’s not real.

Phil has to deal with many different email addresses, including [philsemailaddress] @mydomain.com. But Phil doesn’t want to have setup and use a mail program to check every single address every day, and would like to have them all centrally located. This is a reasonable need.

In the past Phil would just setup an email forwarder to forward the mail from
[philsemailaddress]@ mydomain.com to his email address [philsemailaddress]@ differentdomain.com and it would be absolutely fine. The forward would work, and the problem would be solved.

But in this day and age a forwarder may not work correctly and any mail sent from a
[no-reply]@business.com type address will not be forwarded.

The Big Problem

Meet Joe Spammer (aka JS). He wants people to click on his links so he can steal their credit card numbers. Mail providers around the world keep an eye out for Joe Spammer’s spam, and they block it whenever they see it. Joe is especially bad in that he breaks into other people’s email accounts to send his spam. He also uses [nonexistantemail]@ somedomain.com to send email in hopes it well get sent or passed on to a real mailbox by a forwarder or misconfigured mail server

Let’s follow one of the spammers emails. JS sends an email to [philsemailaddress]@ mydomain.com, and Phil, being on a quest for efficiency, has forwarded all email to
 [philsemailaddress]@ differentdomain.com (or gmail, or msn, you get the idea). differentdomain.com looks at the email, and says “hey, this looks just like Joe Spammer!” and subsequently blocks the mail from arriving.

Normally, you’d think that that mail being blocked is a good thing. But it’s no in this caset. Why? Because Joe Spammer wasn’t the last person to touch that email. [philsemailaddress] was! And now, [philsemailaddress]@mydomain.com is believed to be an agent for Joe Spammer, intentional or otherwise,  and the email is blocked.

Now everything @ mydomain.com is suspect, and before you know it, the mail reputation for the entire domain is ruined. All email is blocked and can’t get to its destination. Email providers rank email coming from any address at your domain, and will block your entire domain based on this.

For technical types of persons, don’t bother looking for an RFC to find out how that works- there isn’t one. This is Magic Black Box territory here. Each mail provider does things their own proprietary way, and they’re not obligated to tell anyone how they do it, no do they want to tell anyone how they do it.

Don’t Forward Email. Retrieve it.

If forwarding is bad, how do you get all your email into one inbox? Gmail, Outlook, and other email providers offer ways to use POP to retrieve mails from another account and include them in your inbox. This is different than forwarding, because it’s being asked to retrieve the email instead of having random spammy emails forced down its throat.

Here are tutorials on how to turn on and use POP retrieval on Gmail and Outlook/MSN/Hotmail:



You’ll need to know the POP settings for your email accounts, and your web host can provide you with those. Hint: Search google for “mywebhost.com pop settings”.

Don’t be the last person to send a piece of spam to its final destination. Use POP retrieval to move mail from one box to another. Don’t forward email, and you won’t get blocked.