This is part 1 of a 2-part series regarding email addresses. When setting up a new email address, a little bit of planning will help ensure that you achieve the desired experience with your email management. Part 2 discusses email program options.
In this article, we’ll explain two types of email addresses and give examples of good use cases for each. In the next article, we’ll discuss email programs (aka email clients) and some of the options.
Types of Email Addresses:
Email addresses can be specific, such as email@example.com, or generic for a department, role, or project, such as firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A standalone email address is the “normal” option. Emails sent to a standalone email address arrive in its inbox and replies are sent from that address.
For example, if an organization has two email addresses, email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org, these would be two separate email boxes. They can both be setup in the same email program but would be accessed separately.
Email forwarders forward all emails sent to an email address to another email addresses’ inbox. This can be useful for having all emails go into one inbox as well as for sharing an email with others without sharing the password. The downside is that replies to this email address are sent from the email address that it’s forwarded to.
For example, email@example.com could forward to firstname.lastname@example.org. In this situation, all emails sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org would appear in the inbox for email@example.com. All replies to all emails would be sent from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another common example is emails sent to a group or committee. Let’s say you have 3 people on the committee for an upcoming event and you want all 3 of them to receive emails sent to email@example.com. Creating that email address as an email forwarder would allow you to forward it to all 3 members. When they reply, the replies would be sent from their email address.
Should you choose a standalone email or email forwarder?
That depends on how you want to access your emails and what email address you want to send emails from. Some people prefer to have everything in one email inbox where others want to keep their emails separated. Which email client you use will also play a role in this decision. In many email programs, you can have a primary inbox that includes emails from all of your accounts as well as a separate inbox for each one.
Using standalone emails gives you the opportunity to easily separate your emails when desired. Working on the planning for the baseball team? Go into your baseball teams email inbox. Looking for the digital tickets for tonight’s show? Go into your personal inbox. Standalone emails addresses make it easy to manage your emails when you want to focus on an individual email address.
Keep in mind that this decision is unique to each email address. For example, you can have firstname.lastname@example.org setup as a standalone email, while email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com are all forwarders.
Planning for the Future
One last thing to consider when choosing between a standalone email and an email forwarder is potential changes in the future. Having a standalone email address stores the emails on the hosting server, which can be really helpful when there is turnover.
For example, if you have an employee, Susan, who uses the email address firstname.lastname@example.org, I would typically suggest setting up her email address as a standalone email. That way if Susan leaves the company or misses time, you can access her emails via the hosting platform and minimize the interruption to the business. Conversely, if you had setup her email as a forwarder that forwarded emails to her personal address, you wouldn’t be able to access any existing emails.
Still not sure what type of email to choose? Feel free to email me at (my standalone email address) email@example.com and I’ll help talk you through your specific options.
Be sure to check out for part 2, “Which Email Program Should I Use?”.
Are you planning on migrating your emails to a new hosting provider? Check out our Email Migration Helper!