Many people take advantage of “email forwarding” – the ability to easily forward email from your domain onto for example your hotmail or gmail home address.
Sounds a perfectly good thing to do, and what harm can it possible cause? In actual fact – a LOT of harm, to you and any other people hosted on the same server as you!
Lets say your name is dave, and you have the domain poundshop.com. You setup an email forwarder for email@example.com to forward to your firstname.lastname@example.org, and all your email arrives very conveniently for you at Hotmail for you to read, and process in the normal way.
But ANYTHING sent to email@example.com is forwarded on – including all the spam that you’ve been getting lately. This causes 2 main problems:
1) Some ISPs (such as Hotmail and AOL) don’t recognise the true source of the spam, seeing it as originating from the last “hop” in the delivery route – ie: your poundshop.com domain, and our server.
2) Some ISPs have spam filters in place based on the volume of incoming email, and if you suddenly get a lot of spam email, or – more likely – a lot of “bounced emails” caused by someone spoofing your firstname.lastname@example.org address, then there’s the potential for a serious volume of email to all be forwarded onto your chosen destination.
Both scenarios above have the same result – YOU are seen as the spammer, and as a result – the reputation of your domain, and the entire server (with all the other customers hosted on it) is decreased, leading to increased risk of your email being considered spam, or worst case scenario – being totally blacklisted by an ISP or major blacklist provider.
The situation increases exponentially when you setup “catch-all” email forwarding, when EVERYTHING@poundshop.com is forwarded on. Imagine a spam attack where the spammer sends literally millions of emails to email@example.com – all of which are forwarded on, and all of which result in you “spamming” yourself.
Our advice – NEVER use catch-all email forwarding (in fact never use catch-all email full stop), and only consider email forwarding of any sort if you 100% really have to. Personally I cannot see any valid reason for needing to forward email. Some people say that forwarding to Hotmail is convenient as it allows them to pickup their mail from anywhere. These people don’t realise we provide a perfectly good webmail system to do just that. Others say it allows them to collect all their various emails into one handy account, and therefore not login to multiple email boxes – this is fine – but forward them all to an address on your domain – NOT an external one.
Many web hosts are now banning email forwarding, removing the capability all together. And the result for these hosts is a serious decrease in spam complaints against their servers. We’re not planning on removing email forwarding just yet, but in the long run, it might be inevitable for anyone running a mailserver to come to the conclusion that forwarding email externally is just too much trouble, and the benefits to everyone by turning it off, far outweigh any benefits of having this so called “feature”.