Email is an indispensable part of modern life, with a valid address essential for most online services, from internet banking to consumer shopping. But despite its usefulness, email has a problem that every user encounters almost as soon as they set up an address.
As you give out your address to more and more places, it will inevitably find its way to some of the more unsavory members of the internet population, and you'll start receiving more worthless emails. Spammers will try and tempt you into buying the most unlikely products. Even worse, phishers will attempt to use your email address to gain control over your online identity, with potentially catastrophic results.
Even if you avoid the dangers of identity theft, the sheer volume of spam email can overwhelm your inbox, making email a much less useful tool than it should be. But thankfully, there's a straightforward solution to this problem, temporary email.
What Is a Temporary Email Address?
A temporary email address is a disposable address that you can use when signing up for online services that demand you provide an email. When you sign up for a temporary email service, you gain access to a set of disposable email addresses that 'self-destruct' shortly after they've been used. You can use each address to register at a website, and you'll receive all the confirmation emails, as usual, forwarded to your permanent address.
The crucial point is that the website you register at never sees your real address. There's no chance for spammers or phishers to compromise your online identity. And even if your throwaway address does make its way onto a spam list, it doesn't matter, as the address will stop working within a few hours or days of being set up.
Your important accounts, like banking and subscriptions, will stay linked to your main email address. Your family and friends can still contact you with your full-time email. But for one-off registrations, content downloads, and so on, your identity is kept securely out of reach.
When Should You Use a Disposable Email Address?
Many everyday online activities where using a temporary email address makes perfect sense include:
- Signing up for discussion forums that require an email address to join the community.
- Downloading 'free' content that requires you to join a mailing list in return.
- Joining loyalty programs or incentive schemes which give you shopping discounts, but at the later cost of filling your inbox with promotional mailings.
- Leaving comments on blogs or news sites without revealing your real email address.
- Creating multiple accounts on any web-based app without needing to manage separate email inboxes.
How to Choose a Temporary Email Provider
It's possible to create a temporary email address using most mainstream email providers simply by setting up a new account that forwards mail to your permanent address. However, doing this is time-consuming and quickly becomes unrealistic for everyday use. For an easier time, many specialist companies offer disposable email addresses to remove the hassle of creating your own.
Competition in this area is stiff, so when you're deciding which temporary email service to use, you can afford to be choosy and only take the best services around. Here are some of the key highlights to look out for.
- Instant creation of new email addresses that you can use at any time.
- Full anonymity so your real address never falls into the wrong hands.
- Multiple throwaway addresses that are active at the same time.
- Linked email storage so your emails are available even if your main address is down.
- Easy-to-use website design to make creating and managing your disposable emails as quick and easy as possible.
Taking all these features into account, using a temporary email address for your everyday online activities will deliver a more manageable inbox that's not riddled with spam, phishing attempts, and promotional mail you'd rather not read.