Disposable emailaddresses are not a new idea. In fact they’ve been around almost as long as email has (well, almost). In case you’ve never used one, disposable emails are fake email addresses you can give to people you don’t trust, to services you suspect of sharing your address, and on any situation where you don’t want to use your real address. Depending on the service you use, you can either read emails received to this address on a Web interface, or receive them to your real inbox.
There are dozens of such services, and most are really easy to use. It’s just a matter of finding the one which offers the right features for you, and yes, there are all kinds of different features and perks to be had. So if you need a confidential disposable email address that you don’t want tracked, here are some excellent options you can try.
Important note: never use these services for sensitive information or for emails containing usernames and passwords you want to protect. While they are reasonably private, they are still not secure as your regular email account.
GuerrillaMail provides more than just a disposable email address. In fact, the email address you get from GuerrillaMail never expires, so it’s actually not disposable – it’s even better. To use GuerrillaMail, all you have to do is choose your inbox ID, which would be your email address, and you’re ready to go. You can have any username you want, and choose between seven different domains. When you receive an email to your new address, it will automatically appear on your email page. You can reply from within GuerrillaMail, and even attach files. GuerrillaMail acts as a spam filter too, so spam shouldn’t even reach your inbox, and all email is deleted within 1 hour.
Since your address lasts forever (unless you tell it to forget you), you can use it again and again. All you have to do is enter the same email to view your inbox, so anyone who has it can view it. GuerrillaMail solves this problem by using aliases when sending out emails, so your recipients can’t access your GuerrillaMail. The downside is that sometimes emails I sent out from GuerrillaMail simply never arrived.
In a nutshell: Read, reply and attach files, permanent address with alias, emails deleted in 1 hour.
FakeInbox is slightly better looking than is common for these services, and offers fake email addresses that self-destruct after 60 minutes. All the provided addresses are in the same domain – fakeinbox.com – and you can either choose your own username or let the service generate a random one for you. You can now give this address to anyone, and receive incoming emails on FakeInbox’s interface. You can also reply from here, and those are received instantly. A countdown at the bottom of the page shows you how much time you have left with this address. Done with it? You can delete it before your time is up. Want an extra 60 minutes? You can get that as well.
In a nutshell: Read and reply, address and inbox deleted in 60 minutes (can extend).
MailCatch is very similar to GuerrillaMail, but with a cherry on top. To start, MailCatch makes it very clear that you can give out a mailcatch.com email address before you even access the website. Just think up some random username, and then point your browser at username.mailcatch.com to check your email. As with GuerrillaMail, all a person needs in order to access this mailbox is your username, and here there are no aliases here, so you really need to take that into account. MailCatch is read only, meaning you can’t reply to emails, only read them. What you can do, though, for 2€ a month, is set up forwarding or POP3 access to your MailCatch address, so you don’t have to use the Web interface to see your emails. All emails on MailCatch are deleted after a short time (several hours to several days).
In a nutshell: Read only, permanent address with alias, emails deleted after several hours to days, unique URL for your inbox, premium users can set up forwarding and POP3.
AirMail is a disposable email address service with some nice perks. Unlike other services, you can only generate random emails, with no control over what they’ll be. You can, however, generate one after the other until you find something you like. There seem to be at least 5 different domains in use. Once you find an address you like, you can give it to whoever you want, and receive the emails to AirMail’s interface. According to the AirMail website, you can view HTML emails, although I couldn’t see an image I sent myself. AirMail also claims to strip hidden codes from emails, thus preventing third parties from learning information about your browser and IP.
The nice thing about AirMail is that it feels almost like regular email. You get a sound notification upon arrival of a new email, and you can check your emails from any browser on any computer by copying your inbox’s unique URL. The address will last as long as you keep checking it. If you stop, everything will self destruct after 24 hours.
In a nutshell: Read only, address and inbox deleted after 24 hours, can access with unique URL, sound notifications, HTML viewer and code stripping.
EasyTrashMail takes a slightly different approach to disposable emails, and for this one to work, you need to provide your real email address. On the up side, you don’t have to use a clunky Web interface – all emails sent to your disposable address are automatically forwarded to your regular inbox. So how does it work? You provide the service with your real email address, and choose how much time you want your disposable address to exist. There are many options to choose from, ranging from 15 minutes to 1 month. Once you click on “Create” you receive a random email address at easytrashmail.com, and or as long as it’s up, you’ll receive anything sent to it directly to your inbox, without having to disclose your real address.
In a nutshell: need to provide real email, no Web interface, address can last from 15 minutes to 1 month.
Aside from its clever name, Mailnesia comes with several other cool features. Mailnesia is similar to GuerrillaMail and MailCatch in that it never really expires, only deletes email, and you can access the inbox simply by having the username. Like GuerrillaMail, you can set an alias for your inbox, so you don’t have to go around giving access to everyone who sees your address. There are several things that set Mailnesia apart: it comes in nine different languages, full HTML support, and the best part: auto clicking on confirmation/activation emails, which are what you’d use this address for most commonly. This means that if you use this address to sign up to a service or a website, Mailnesia will automatically click the confirmation link for you, without you doing anything. Pretty cool!
In a nutshell: Read only, permanent address with alias, emails deleted after several hours to days, comes in 9 languages, auto clicking on confirmation emails.
Still looking or the perfect match? You can find five more temporary email services you might like in this article.
Is there a favorite service we missed? How do you handle situations in which you don’t want to give out a real email address? Tell us in the comments.
Image credit: shredding letter image via Shutterstock
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