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What is a temporary email address?

25 Jun 2024

What is a temporary email address?
What is a temporary email address?

Temporary email address, also known as a disposable or throwaway email address, is a uniquely generated email alias designed for short-term usage. It gets automatically deleted once it has served its purpose or after a set time.

Think about it as your alternative Gmail account that you use every time you don’t want to share your main, private address. But as the name suggests, most temporary mail services only allow you to generate temporary addresses, often without the ability to get back to the emails you receive after a certain time.

When can it be useful?

Going back to the example in the introduction, the most common use of disposable email services is to get past registration on a website without compromising your personal address.

Want to grab a freebie, but don’t want to deal with unsubscribe forms later on? 

Forgot your password and can’t sign up for some service because your email is already used? 

Or maybe you want to test a competitor’s product without signing up with your company’s or personal email address and compromising your privacy? 

Your anonymous throwaway email address has you covered.

It’s important to mention that this isn’t the only intended purpose of a temporary email address. As we’ll explain later, some advanced services offer much more flexibility, which makes disposable emails a useful tool to secure and protect your privacy on the internet or organize your inbox.

Types of disposable emails

There are different types of disposable email addresses that you should be aware of. Each has its strengths and drawbacks, making it more suitable in some scenarios than in others.

Throwaway email

A throwaway email is what most people think of when they hear about a temporary email address. This service provides an instant and anonymous email address. You can use it to receive every annoying sign-up verification email that may come your way – provided you won’t need it in the future.

Free temporary email services typically only offer receiving messages. If you want to send emails, you will have to pay a premium. 

Forwarding address

A forwarding address is one of the alternatives to using temporary emails. It aims to protect your personal information by adding an extra gate to the email route. Do you want to avoid the need to create an entirely new, separate email account with a new address and inbox and manage it the same way you do with your “main” inbox? Instead of switching between multiple email accounts, you can funnel incoming mail from  another address to your primary email.

In other words, every email received at your forwarding address will land in your primary inbox without exposing it to the world, thus ensuring your privacy. On top of that, you can add extra spam filters that will only forward messages from trusted sources, making it a rather secure choice.

Alias address

An alias address is somewhat similar to the forwarding address, with the main difference lying in the way you set it up. Typically, getting a forwarding address means getting a separate email account. In comparison, alias addresses come as built-in features with many email service providers.

Simply put, you use your current email server to generate an alternate email address within your server. This comes with the benefit of having control over the mail you’re receiving. For instance, if you create a separate alias for newsletters, you can have your email server flag those emails automatically.

How to choose the best disposable email

Finding the right disposable email service boils down to two things. First, identify your needs. Then, weigh them against the functionality of available options.

While you may want to dive into details on providers’ websites, it often comes down to ease of use. Many users choose services with basic functionality, especially when they need to generate a temporary email quickly, without going through multiple settings and options.

Depending on whether you need an alias address, a temporary inbox, or an email forwarding address, there are different factors you should consider, including:

  • Security: Even with a burner email, your privacy and the security of any information you receive through it are essential. Check out the service’s data protection policies, legal standing, encryption algorithms and other security-specific features on service websites.
  • Functionality: Review how many messages the service allows you to receive, whether you can reply to them, if the service is read-only, or if it has an option of forwarding mail to your private mailbox. This is especially important if you need more than just to receive an email or two. For instance, when testing your email campaign, you usually want to check a few things: delivery times, links and tracking, or user segmentation, if there is any. The testing will take much less time when done in bulk.
  • Lifespan: While every temporary email provider will dispose of your emails after some time, the lifespan varies a lot. Some addresses last only 10 minutes, while others remain active until you delete them manually. If you do not want your email addresses deleted immediately, their lifespan should be one of your top concerns.
Priyo Mail

Temp Mail always comes in handy whenever there’s a need to generate a randomized temporary email address quickly. It’s a service characterized by its simple interface and good performance. Delivery delays or improper email rendering are quite rare with it.

The service is free to use, but you can opt for the premium version. With the premium version, you get additional domains, up to 10 addresses at the same time (while the free tier only allows for one), extended storage, and full ownership over your temporary addresses.

Priyo Mail Nl

Priyomail.nl takes a unique and somewhat risky approach to disposable email addresses. It uses Gmail’s infrastructure to generate “@gmail.com” addresses. As expected, this means you can use the addresses as widely as other Gmail accounts. 

However, we won’t recommend sending personal data using this system, since Gmailnator doesn’t guarantee complete privacy – your temporary address may be assigned to someone else later on.

Final thoughts

So there you have it, our comprehensive review of temporary email services. From the simple burner email providers perfect for quick sign-ups to premium email management tools with advanced functionality hidden behind a website. 

Just remember that each service comes with its own set of features and limitations. As a user, it’s up to you to weigh their pros and cons. Then, pick what suits you best, and step into a spam-free world with a selection of the best temporary email services out there!