What's everyone's take on this?

Is it better to have multiple accounts for different types of correspondence (i.e. a business address, a family/personal address, an ebay address, a spam address, etc) and go through the hassle of juggling multiple accounts (but effectively keeping everything seperate),


Is it better to have a single email account with rules and folders that keep everything separate and triaged? If so, what would be the a) best email provider to have your single account with and b) how would you transition to this?

  • 5
    People are going to cry wiki!
    – Troggy
    Jul 30, 2009 at 17:30
  • 2
    I agree this is more of a Wiki question. you should also add the Subjective tag to your post. Jul 30, 2009 at 17:39
  • Gmail is the best client to merge all your mails. Scroll down to my answer linked to a Lifehacker post with all the required details
    – Rishi
    Jul 30, 2009 at 17:59
  • It is ok to suggest gmail as an option, just do not act like this: superuser.com/questions/4322/…
    – Troggy
    Jul 30, 2009 at 18:06
  • "a) best email provider" : i was replying in the same tone, and i am only suggesting the client, you can use Google Apps for Domain to use your Domain address. (Free if under 50 users)
    – Rishi
    Jul 30, 2009 at 18:16

9 Answers 9


Just have multiple email address so you can give the appropriate address.

I have 3 email addresses:

  1. Spam
  2. Professional
  3. Personal

Whenever a website wants my email for sign up or whatever, I give it my spam email. For resumes, its my professional email, and for everything else I give out my personal email.

What I then do is forward all my spam and professional emails to my Personal one. This way I just need to check one email account. If my spam account gets too spammy, I just create another one and forward the new one instead. Note that you'll still need to keep that first spam account around if you ever forget passwords to forums and such.

  • 1
    I usually use Mailinator (or similar) for the spam address. - mailinator.com
    – Travis
    Jul 30, 2009 at 19:12
  • Let me guess, the "spam" account endWith: @hotmail.com ?? Is it? is it? ( mine is )
    – OscarRyz
    Aug 1, 2009 at 2:31

Use Gmail effectively to sort out your mail

Gmail allows setting up to 5 Incoming Accounts and many Sending email Accounts

Consolidate Multiple Email Addresses with Gmail

Anti Spam tip

Google properly understands the '+' extension to email addresses and so you can append an identifier to your gmail address. For example, if your gmail address is [email protected], Google will also route email sent to [email protected] to the same inbox.

This makes it simple to set up a filter to delete or label the messages according to the inbound address and it means you don't have to change any gmail settings to create a new address. It also means you're no longer limited to five addresses.

When you sign up for a website, use their name. This makes it simple to determine which websites sell your email address. Example: [email protected]

Become a Gmail master

  • This is really good to know! +1 even though I've never had a spam email get into my inbox ever since I switched to Gmail. :) Aug 1, 2009 at 2:35
  • If you don't want the recipient to know that you are giving them a special email address to contact, implying a lack of trust, you can also vary the number and location of periods in your email address. For example, [email protected], johndo[email protected], and [email protected] all go to the same address.
    – ACoolie
    Aug 1, 2009 at 4:39
  • You are like ninja!
    – jcollum
    Dec 7, 2011 at 20:24

I have my own domain, and use Google Apps. I have *@mydomain forward to me, and the rest of my family that uses it has their own username and aliases.

So I can arbitrarily sign up for sites with sitename@ydomain, and have an email associated with that site. When I get spam to that address, I know where it came from and can stop using said site entirely, and filter out that email :).

I also have, of course, a work address, and that is for work-related email. I only sign up for sites that are work related through that address (mailing lists and the like).

It does add the extra step of multiple accounts, but I like the separation of work and personal email accounts, since I work from home its one of the few separations I have between the two.

  • Just to note, just because you get spam at an address doesn't necessarily mean that it was given to spammers. Spammers are know to to send to randomly generated addresses just in case something goes through.
    – KeithB
    Jul 30, 2009 at 18:29
  • Sure, I do a bit more verification before I completely write someone off. Though often, 'administrative' notices from such sites become a nusance.
    – jtimberman
    Jul 30, 2009 at 19:46
  • This is a crazy anti-spam mechanism! God forbid your domain ever gets a Dictionary (Harvest) Attack (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directory_harvest_attack)! Aug 1, 2009 at 2:33
  • Google is pretty good about spam filtering, so a lot of it will probably just end up in the 'spam' label anyway.
    – jtimberman
    Aug 1, 2009 at 2:35

When you have a blackberry, it completely changes the game.

With a blackberry you can configure different alerts per email account and per ring profile.

So I can have a personal, business, urgent, and food-alert email accounts. So when I'm in a meeting with my phone on vibrate, I'll still make it ring for urgent emails. This is better than just having people call you in an emergency, because you might just ignore that as well.

Also, whenenever I get an email at work that mentions any sort of free food in the subject line, I get a special email forwarded to my food-alert address, which plays "FOOOOOOD!" really loud, so I'm the first to jump on those doughnuts.


I do the multiple account setup. I like to split things up and keep things organized. I do not like giving my email to everyone and try and reduce spam as much as possible.

  • Trash/Spam account
  • Professional
  • Personal
  • Non-Professional/Random (craigslist, etc.)
  • Accounts (ebay, etc.)
  • Forums/boards

I have several email accounts.

  • I have my main email, which I use for personal correspondence, which I know is unlikely to be abused by anyone.

  • I then have my hotmail email which I use for MSN and websites which I sign up to which could be slightly spurious or send me junk that I don't necessarily want and makes it difficult to opt out of.

  • I then have another email address which I deal with responses from my website and can reply to if I need to, which uses the domain of my website for consistency.

I don't find it at all cumbersome to manage them; I just have separate accounts in Thunderbird which checks all my accounts for new emails on startup and periodically. I also find it better to have the email separated rather than jumbled up in one big mess, and having to deal with different types of email with different folders.


It's true that this should probably be a Wiki...

I use a single Gmail account to read/respond to email. I have configured different forwarders to handle project or role specific emails (such as [email protected] and [email protected]), and then I've configured Gmail filters to label and handle email that comes in to those addresses appropriately.

For legacy email accounts that cannot be simply forwarded over, I just add them to my Gmail account as POP3 or IMAP accounts.

Finally, I configure my from addresses and verify that I own those accounts. All of that is in your Gmail Settings page and pretty straightforward.


Whether you use one address or many, make sure that you don't use HotGoth99@... in a professional context. This is the same, in my mind, as a business using hotmail or gmail. Domains are so cheap, at least buy one and set it up to forward to gmail.


If you want simplicity of checking your e-mail, create accounts at providers that let you forward the mail.

I, however, like to keep my professional and private lives carefully segmented (my pager is bad enough!). My work e-mail is crammed with server reports, output from cron jobs, filtered server logs, and customer correspondance. Nevermind the fact that I'm sure that business customers would really rather not send or receive e-mail from some wanker named "gromm".

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