Avoid Spam with One-Use-Emails

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 1, 2006
Updated • Mar 14, 2014

This topic has been covered before on this blog but I tend to take a look at older interesting topics from time to time and update them to reflect the changes that happened to the concept in the time between. One-Use-Emails, also known as Disposable Email Addresses and Throwaway Emails are really helpful when you do not want to give someone your real email address because you fear that they would abuse this information and probably sell the address to make some quick cash.

It is also useful when you do not want to be linked to an email that you send out. Maybe you wrote a critical email to a senator or members of congress, or sign up on a forum that covers topics that you do not want to be associated with.

Many websites, forums and blogs display content only to members, which means all users that registered an account on the website in question. They usually verify members through their email address so that you cannot just signup with bogus information just to access the contents. If you are using your real email in this context, it may be exposed on the site, at least to the admins of it. This process is time consuming, dangerous for your email address and a complete waste of time from a user perspective.

You may ask yourself why I say it is useless? Here is why. Users who know computers and the Internet already know about one-use-emails and use those to register at those websites.Normal users who do not know about those services register with their real email and tend to see an increase in spam after they registered.

The concept:

The concept of one-use-email services is pretty simple. You are free to choose any email address from domain names the service has associated with the service. One service that I like a lot is Yopmail. Valid emails are all @yopmail.com addresses like [email protected] or [email protected].

yopmail one way emails

You use these one-use-emails to register accounts on websitesand visit the website of the email service afterwards to verify the account and delete the email afterwards.

You enter the name of the email that you've chosen in the form field, for example ghacks or martin and click check to read all email that was sent to that email address in the last days which should include your registration email. Read it, click on the link and you are registered but your normal mail accounts will not see an increase in spam since you did not link it to the registration process.

Some services give you extra options, you can for instance delete the email which is important because of one security aspect. Everyone who enters the name you have selected can read the mails that are sent to it. If you leave the email on the server anyone who reads that email knows that a user with the name xxx registered at a website. It would be easy to go to that website and claim you lost your password. An automatic script sends the password to the account or password reset instructions and et voila, someone else can take over your account.

My advice, if you can delete emails, do so.

You should also make sure that at best no one at the website you registered is able to view your email address. While that is usually impossible where administrators are concerned, you usually have options to hide contact information.

Please note that those service do not hide your identity. The website owner and the owner of the disposable email service do know your IP address. This is just a method to avoid spam.

All services are free. I decided that I did not want to post links to services that require you to register or pay money to use their service.

You find additional providers on our one-use email provider listing.

Firefox Extensions:

Other methods: Email aliases

Google, Yahoo and many other email providers are offering a service commonly called email aliases or email plus. You simply append a +text to your email address; [email protected] would become [email protected]. The advantage of this method is that you can easily filter out everything that comes to [email protected]. You can also verify which website that you registered to actually sold your email because you see exactly to which +text alias the spam is coming. You can for instance add the sitename to the alias to identify the service at once. [email protected], [email protected] and so forth.

A disadvantage is probably that it is very easy to analyze this alias and find out the real email, remove the +text part and you have the real email.


Bugmenot offers a collection of website logins that everyone can use. Instead of registering at a website you search the bugmenot database for a site login, they have logins to popular websites. Maybe you are lucky. This does not work for personalized websites of course. For everything else it is fine.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. JMGG said on January 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

    You said that Outlook isn’t your main email client, so which is your main one?

    1. BalaC said on January 19, 2012 at 9:42 am

      I think its thunderbird

    2. Martin Brinkmann said on January 19, 2012 at 10:15 am

      It is Mozilla Thunderbird.

  2. Salaam said on September 24, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Awesome! This actually solved my problem… what a stupid bug.

  3. Claud said on December 19, 2012 at 2:08 am

    If this is the same bug that I’ve encountered, there may be another fix: (1) hover over open Outlook item in Taskbar, cursor up to hover over Outlook window item, and right-click; (2) this should give you Restore / Move / Size / Minimize / Maximize — choose Move or Size; (3) use your cursor keys, going arbitrarily N/S/E/W, to try to move or size the Outlook window back into view. Basically, the app behaves as though it were open in a 0x0 window, or at a location that’s offscreen, and this will frequently work to resize and/or move the window. Don’t forget to close while resized/moved, so that Outlook remembers the size/position for next time.

    1. Lynda said on February 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      THANK YOU Claude!!! I could get the main window to launch but could not get any other message window to show on the desktop. You are my hero!!!!

    2. Chad said on November 20, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Solved my issue! 6 years later and this is still problem…

    3. Ivan X said on January 21, 2021 at 4:50 pm

      Fantastic. Thank you. Size did the trick.

  4. Andrew said on October 26, 2013 at 7:06 am

    This solved my Outlook problem, too. Thank you. :)

  5. Charles said on December 7, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Thank you so much, this started happening to me today and was causing big problems. You are a life saver, I hope I can help you in some way some day.

  6. garth said on November 7, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    You are a god – thank you!

  7. Faisal said on February 9, 2015 at 10:09 am

    thanks a lot…. work like charm.. :-)

  8. Simon said on March 24, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    Yah…thanks Claude. I’ve been having the same problem and tried all the suggestions…your solution was the answer. It had resized itself to a 0/0 box. Cheers

  9. Olu said on April 14, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    Excellent post. This had me baffled even trying to accurately describe the problem. This fixed it for me.
    Thank you

  10. Coenig said on July 23, 2015 at 7:36 am

    Thanks a lot for the article. Don’t know why it happenend, don’t know how it got fixed, but it was really annoying and now it works :-)

  11. Fali said on January 20, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Thanks a lot. I was facing this issue from past 3 week. I tried everything but no resolution. The issue was happening intermittently and mainly when I was changing the display of screen ( as i use 2 monitors). The only option i had was to do system restore. But thanks to you.

    1. MIki said on January 10, 2019 at 11:54 am

      I’ve been tried to sole this problem for 12hours. Your comment about changing the display of screen helped me a lot!! Thanks!!

  12. Christina said on January 20, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Thank you…don’t know why this happened but your instructions helped me fix it. Running Windows 10 and office pro 2007

  13. Oz said on July 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  14. Tracy said on September 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Worked for me, too – thank you!!!

  15. shawn said on September 9, 2016 at 10:25 am

    It’s Worked for me, too
    thank you very much!

  16. Jari said on October 31, 2016 at 11:53 am

    I had a similar issue with Outlook 2013 on Windows 10 and this helped me to fix it. Thank you very much!

  17. Michel H said on November 30, 2016 at 11:08 pm

    Thank you so much. Solved!
    Considering you published this in 2012, incredible not been debugged by Microsoft.
    Thank you again. M

  18. Ziad Bitar said on January 9, 2017 at 2:00 am

    This problem was faced by only one user logging to TS 2008 r2 using outlook 2010.The issue was resolved.


  19. Anonymous said on February 15, 2017 at 5:24 pm

    Great tip. Thank you!!!! If it helps, I had to use the Control Key and the arrow keys at the same time to bring my window back into view. Worked like a charm.

  20. Rochelle said on March 6, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Thank you, this worked !!!!

  21. anom1234 said on May 20, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Man, you are a fucking god. Thanks a lot, what an annoying bug!!

  22. JC said on October 12, 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Awesome, this post solved the issue. Many thanks!

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