How to Use Disposable Email Addresses and Avoid Spam

Are there times when you would like to try some free service that is offered on the Internet but are reluctant to provide your email address because it might lead to spam? Don’t skip that free service – use a disposable email address. Here is how to get addresses that you can throw away. If spammers get hold of an address, just trash it. Or you can set up an address that expires before a spammer can even begin to use it.

There are many free temporary email services available on the Internet. The details of their services vary somewhat. Some provide an address that lasts for a short time only. Others provide an alternate address that lasts until you decide to discard it. Some do not require you to register or provide your real address while others do require registration. Here are some of the best examples. Readers will probably know of others

Pick from Gizmo’s Best Online Applications 

Here is a  service picked by Gizmo's editors. It requires registration but is highly rated and reputable.

  • Spamgourmet provides addresses with limited life that it forwards to your actual address. After a temporary address is used for some fixed number of times that you pick, the address self-destructs. Requires registration but this service is long-established and well-known.

How to get short-lived addresses with no registration required

A number of services provide temporary addresses that expire after a short time and are accessed online instead of being forwarded to your real address. Here are two well-known examples:

  • Guerrilla Mail - Creates temporary addresses that last 60 minutes. Your real address not required
  • 10 Minute Mail - Create throwaway email addresses that last for ten minutes. Ideal for sites that require an email but where you are unlikely to go back. 

Browser Extensions for throwaway addresses

Many disposable email service providers have created add-ons for their individual service for Firefox or Chrome. For Firefox extensions search  the official Mozilla Add-ons website and for Chrome go to the Chrome Web Store. Search for your preferred disposable email service.

More information - For an extensive list of different disposable email services go to this Ghacks list. The author also  provides a download of a spreadsheet with descriptions of numerous services.

And there you have it – give out email addresses with no fear of spam. 

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This tips section is maintained by Vic Laurie. Vic runs several websites with Windows how-to's, guides, and tutorials, including a site for learning about Windows and the Internet and another with Windows 7 tips.

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Comments

by musicollector on 25. November 2013 - 0:12  (112517)

You have forgotten the definitive veteran in this category - www.mailinator.com that provides a disposable email account with a 15-minute mean lifetime! In fact, you not only don't need to create it beforehand but also create it the very first time you login!

by gzmhanu on 6. June 2013 - 6:54  (108320)

I suggest http://lazyinbox.com because there is no setup. You just select a username and get the inbox. It works on all sites I tried

by johanlinden on 14. May 2013 - 16:37  (107751)

One service you should try is LEEMAIL.ME.

I've seen, tried and read about most mentioned disposable email addresses but nothing can compare with this service.

There really is no competition at this time, but hopefully there will be more clever ideas coming up.

Check out and review leemail.me.

(I have no connection the the company)

by alexxx46 on 15. May 2013 - 9:35  (107762)

The free account has a limit of 25 sites.

by johanlinden on 17. May 2013 - 2:57  (107799)

Yes, I think that is a new limit. And yes, that is a big negative. totally agree!

by neast on 6. February 2013 - 21:26  (105156)

If you manage your own domain and email system you can use email aliases. I use these for everything, especially if I am unsure if an entering an email address in a web site will generate future spam. I forward the aliases to my real email address, but never give the real address out to anyone. Any offending aliases can then be shut off easily without affecting my primary email account.

I select one alias to use as my primary "reply to" address for any emails I send out so I can change that alias if necessary. The other nice thing about this is I can have my email client automatically sort the emails based on the alias email address. For example, I can sort emails sent to "bills@mydomain.com" into the Monthly Bills folder in my email client.

Sometimes it can get a little confusing for people like my wife when trying to set up email clients, but not getting the spam or being able to easily get rid of it is worth a few minutes of setup aggravation.

by mpsmom on 6. February 2013 - 18:43  (105151)

Just a note on gishpuppy... I've found that some addresses do not come through, for some reason and there is absolutely no tech support or even anyone who answers questions. Their tech e-dresses are gishpuppy e-dresses and it looks like they disabled them.

by RogerC on 6. February 2013 - 18:59  (105153)

I agree about the tech support. After I added the "Gish-it" bookmark and tried it, I got an "Internal Server Error" message, which directed me to get help by sending a message about it to postmaster.123@gishpuppy.com. (I didn't bother.)

I wonder whether Gishpuppy is still supported--given that it seems to have been created more than a decade ago.

by v.laurie on 6. February 2013 - 19:14  (105154)

In view of the comments here and a check elsewhere, I am removing Gishpuppy. I apologize for putting up a bum recommendation. Thanks to the commenters for the heads-up.

by v.laurie on 6. February 2013 - 18:51  (105152)

Thanks for the information.

by dadwhiskers on 6. February 2013 - 17:42  (105149)

I just have a "garbage" account I always use for everything on the internet, then I don't have to be setting up new ones all the time. Gmail keeps the spam out of it as well as it does my other accounts, so it's sort of academic anyway.

by esskae59 on 6. February 2013 - 16:52  (105145)

what about mailinator? quick and instantaneious.

by HmS-PA on 6. February 2013 - 14:18  (105140)

I am not sure about other ISP's, but Earthlink has anonymous email addresses available for any Earthlink member. Use them for a bit, remove them and generate new ones.

by philtec on 6. February 2013 - 13:30  (105136)

Here is a good one I have used for years: http://nowmymail.com/

by Geert on 6. February 2013 - 12:41  (105134)

I use Spamgourmet for +8 years now. I've had NO spam problems. EVER.
(I have 273 adresses. 11,598 mails were forwarded. 71,510 spammails were eaten)

Some remarks:
1) The lifetime of the e-mailaddresses is not expressed in hours, days or months, but in "the number of mails forwarded to your real e-mailaddress".
2) The addresses never really self-destruct. They just stop forwarding the mails they receive. If you ever want them to forward the mails again, that's easily possible by resetting a counter.
3) Spamgourmet requires registration indeed.
But... to create e-mailaddresses you *don't* have to go to the site or install anything. Just "invent" the e-mailaddress you want when you need it - on the fly -, and when the first mail is sent to that address it is 'created' and starts forwarding. Very convenient!

by ssoundman on 6. February 2013 - 14:01  (105139)

I've also been using SpamGourmet for a few years and find it both easy to setup and use.

Once your account is setup you can generate any address you wish quite easily and set longevity parameters simply by how you create the address.

Love it!

by bernardz on 23. January 2013 - 2:08  (104740)

Checkout yopmail. There is nothing to setup, just make up a address and use it straight away.

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