Posted: 18 March 2012
Email addresses are cheap, especially when you own a domain. For example,
at Bitiotic, I've got lots of email addresses including public ones like
support, and internal ones for receiving crash dumps,
logs, and alerts, and ones for specific sites (like google or
stackoverflow). Of course, I don't want to read email from all those
addresses in different email clients. I'd like to see all the email in
Its easy to forward emails (so, for example most email to a public bitiotic address is actually forwarded to a single mailbox on bitiotic). But blindly forwarding those emails to my "real" email (in this case gmail), would make replying difficult, and would increase the probability that google will tag those forwarded emails as spam (as the 'To:' address is nothing gmail knows about).
In my case gmail can be configured to use a different reply address
depending on what address the email was sent to. And it can be configured
to 'spoof' email as "from" various addresses. It can even use a different
host to actually send that mail (so mail from
actually be delivered from the bitiotic.com host, and not from inside the
For a specific example, I've got
firstname.lastname@example.org forwarding to a
local account at bitiotic.com. I've setup my personal GMail account to
fetch email from that account (via GMail's
Settings -> Accounts -> Check
mail using POP3). And I've added
email@example.com as an address
GMail is allowed to send mail as (via
Settings -> Accounts -> Send Mail
as), and additionally GMail will send that mail via
so it will (hopefully?) look more legitimate to a recipient's spam
This is all fine to do once. But doing this for multiple addresses is a bit of a pain. I need to setup the forwarder using the clunky BlueHost CPanel, and I need to add the outgoing email authorization to GMail which requires filling in a number of fiddly items in a form (which port does bluehost use? SSL? TLS?). Note I don't have to do anything to get GMail to see the email, since the emails all got forwarded to a single account at bitiotic.com which is already being POP'd into GMail.
While I can automate installing the forwarder via cpanel (TODO: add link to postfwd.py script), I cannot automate the GMail end of things as, as far as I can tell, the APIs for doing so are only provided to Google Apps for Business accounts. Pthththht.
I'm also not clear if GMail's spam classifier cares about all the odd "To:" addresses its seeing in the one bitiotic account I have it POP from. I don't seem to get too many emails dumped in my Spam folder, but I do feel like I need to keep checking there.