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cPanel Email

Email Plus Addressing

I wish there was a way to sort my emails in my mailbox automatically?

Overview

One helpful tool that is available for cPanel users is Plus Addressing.

Here is a brief guide on what it is an how it works.


What is Plus Addressing?

Plus addressing is a tool that you can use to sort your emails into IMAP folders within your mailbox. While the same can be achieved using email filters, maintaining them on several devices can be a chore. This is where Plus Addressing comes into play.

If an email is received with a ‘+’ in the mailbox name, the server will deliver the mail to a folder in the mailbox, instead of the inbox. The mailbox is the portion before the ‘+’, the folder will be whatever is denoted after the ‘+’.

For example, if the receiving email address is bob+amazon@example.com, the server will deliver that message to the ‘amazon’ folder in the bob@example.com mailbox.

[mailbox]+[folder]@[domain.tld]
[bob    ]+[amazon]@[example.com]

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Where would I use Plus Addressing?

Plus addressing can be used in many situations. For an example, let’s take a look a Bob’s daily email routine. Bob’s email address is bob@example.com. Every day, mail is sent to this mailbox and is placed in his inbox, filling it with mail from several sources.

There are a few notices from Amazon, a couple more from his bank, a newsletter from thebobbrigade.com, maybe a few Dad jokes from his uncle Johnny. Bob then has to sort through all his emails to find what he is looking for.

Bob could use Plus Addressing to help sort his emails. First, he could update his Amazon email address to bob+amazon@example.com. Then, any mail Amazon sends to that email will go to the ‘amazon’ folder in Bob’s mailbox, instead of the inbox.

Maybe he then logs into his bank website and changes his bank email to bob+bank@example.com. Now all of his banking notices and information is sorted into one folder named ‘bank’ and not cluttering the inbox.

Seeing how convenient this is, he contacts the newsletter provider and updates his email to bob+news@example.com. Now the newsletters are all delivered to the news folder and not his inbox.

bob+amazon@example.com -> 'amazon' folder
bob+bank@example.com   -> 'bank'   folder
bob+news@example.com   -> 'news'   folder

Now let’s say Bob is thinking about signing up for newsletter, but is worried his inbox will be flooded with even more emails. No problem. Bob signs up for this new newsletter using bob+news@example.com as well. Now all of his newsletters are sorted out of his inbox automatically, and he can check them out when he when he has time .

Another helpful use of plus addressing is for when Bob wants to use a temporary email address. For example, many public wifi hot spots require that you provide them an email address. Bob uses the the email bob+wifi@example.com so that any junk they send him will be filtered out. He can then set a filter to delete any mail set to that folder.

There are several other instances where plus addressing can very helpful, especially in today’s world where most people have several online services, social clubs, streaming accounts and online stores they frequent. Setting your email with these services with a plus address will help you stay organized and save time when searching for a particular email.

Another additional benefit of plus addressing, certainly with the decline of privacy in the current online world, is by keeping all your accounts sorted using plus addressing, it is very easy to see what services are selling your online data. If Bob signed up for a newsletter using bob+sketchysite@example.com and all of sudden he notices a flood of spam showing up in his ‘sketchysite’ folder, he can be pretty certain that that site sold his email address.

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How do I enable Plus Addressing?

This is the best part of plus addressing. How to you enable plus addressing? You don’t. It is enabled on all cPanel based email address by default. You don’t even need to create the folders in your mailbox beforehand. The first time the server receives an email with a plus address, it will create the folder for you.

While not all online services support plus addressing (typically these services will not recognize and email with a ‘+’ as a valid email address), they are the exception, not the rule.

Small email companies like Google (G Suite) and Hotmail (outlook.com) have supported plus addressing for years. Even small, upstart software like Office 365 are getting in on plus addressing.

Next time you sign up for a new service, give it a try. You will find that some services will not accept an email with a ‘+’ in it, but most accounts will work fine. It will not take long before you wonder how you used email without it.

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If you have any further questions, please be sure to reach out to our support staff by using our chat service in your client area or by submitting a ticket.

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