Catch-all EOL mitigation


I’ve been a DH customer for 14 years, this change really pisses me off. Exactly like many have described, I have used the catch-all mechanism extensively as a per-signup way to avoid exposing my primary email address. Heck, that’s how I’ve discovered sites getting hacked (like motley fool and lastfm). DH’s argument for changing this is lame.

I’ve tried out fastmail a long time ago, I won’t do business with them ever again after their lifetime fee fiasco. So any suggestions on another host would be most welcome.


Bluehost claims to support catch-all [Edit: they lied, Bluehost don’t support it]. I’ve read that most cPanel hosting providers do. Anyone have experience there? Good/bad/indifferent?

If I cancel my hosting, can I leave my domain registrations at Dreamhost for the time being, or do I have to transfer them to another registrar?


After 10 years, I’m leaving Dreamhost over this. Thank you to Dreamhost for giving me a deadline to accelerate my migration. I had already started migrating my HUGE collection of domains and websites to another host because your service and customer support has become horrendous. I saw this coming too… Now I know that I need to hurry up. This is like a “Hurry up and F&@# off!” from Dreamhost. For anyone looking for catch-all support, 1 and 1 (*I cannot post the link because Dreamhost is blocking my posts as spam if I do. Hah.) still offers catch-all functionality and you’ll pay a fraction of the price. Bonus, all my sites run much faster there.

Over the years I have used hundreds upon hundreds of aliases using catch-all email accounts, which is pretty much an industry standard feature among hosting companies. Basically any account I signed up for had a unique email address… which is a practice that needs to BE ENCOURAGED. I have never had one account “hacked” because of this. It would be devastating and impossible to have to lose access to those accounts because you guys aren’t willing to handle the bits and instead want to cut pennies in cost. Your services are already very highly priced and poor performance, the least you could do is support basic services.

I left GoDaddy a decade ago to migrate to Dreamhost and it truly was an awesome company… then a new CEO showed up and I have seen a drastic decline in customer service and service quality… and now this.

Discontinuing a vital feature not enough? Thats okay… you’re going to DELETE ALL THE ACCOUNTS AND MESSAGES TOO! What the hell? Who thought that would be OK?

Adios Dreamhost. You’ve become such a nightmare that I’d rather go back to GoDaddy (!!!) than to stay with you.

And don’t bother responding to any of us with the standard patronizing PR story “We’re sorry but oh well.” None of want to hear that BS - The right answer here would be to LISTEN to your customers and CHANGE COURSE when we tell you you’ve done wrong. Apologies are not accepted.

NOTE: I am NOT AT ALL affiliated with that company I mentioned and I am not spamming at all, despite Dreamhost claiming the people are reporting this post as spam repeatedly and then hiding my posts (Which I don’t believe for one second…) I am just really pissed off that Dreamhost did this to us (and me after 10+ years as a customer) and I have found a better company to work with and I’m trying to help their angry customers.


You can definitely host your email elsewhere and leave your domains at Dreamhost…just redirect your MX records. Although it would be a good idea to transfer them all anyway - Not only is it technically easier, but who would want to give Dreamhost more money when they treat their customers so badly?


I use them all the time as well but only as a forwarder. I have used the catch-all for over 12 years, probably closer to 15. So I have hundreds of accounts set up with random email addresses.

Also I don’t think their reasoning applies to me:
As I simply forward the email I don’t want DH to do spam filtering, it is done at gmail for me so it shouldn’t matter how much spam is forwarded.
And I am the only user for my domain, so if someone mistypes an address I still get it (which is also sort of the point).

So after after 12 years of dreamhosting I am in a pickle. Plus I just paid for 2 more years.

I am thinking of using AWS SES to make a catch-all forwarder, its a bit more work up front, but seems like it would be a real cheap option.
Any one else tried this?


We apologize for any inconvenience, core services (email hosting) is not being discontinued. Our priority is to stabilize and secure infrastructure. From time to time, older features present themselves as a hold back to allowing for that. For a list of recently used emails, please send in a ticket here


I probably have hundreds of catch all emails that I use to (ironically) reduce spam to my email box and track emails that are coming in. Using the + character to make email address’s on the fly rarely works for most webforms as a ton consider this an invalid character. It also does not prevent someone from removing the +unique bit and now send the real account email with no tracking capabilities.

I just have one catchall mailbox that I have configured gmail to log into to pull email content - the mail is deleted by google and I’m not forwarding it anywhere and I’m also not using up processing power to check emails for spam so this solution is not really a resource drain on the dreamhosts servers and manually adding all the email addresses as an alias is just a resource drain to me.

I’ve discovered a couple of companies that have been breached due to suddenly getting spam sent to a companies unique email address (including one government tax department).

I’ve asked dreamhost support for a list of email address’s that have been used in the past and ideally a way to programatically add email address’s as aliases to a mail account. Yes I can add an alias manually but I’m sure shops are going to love it when they ask for an email address and I have to pull up the email editing webpage during checkout (although enough of us do that, it might be a good incentive to quit asking for that information :wink:

Having used Godaddy, 1and1 and companies being bought up by EIG in the past, it’s getting harder and harder to find a comparably priced email and hosting solution but if anyone has some good alternatives to mail and hostng for a comparable price then please update here.


I dumped my password manager data to a spreadsheet (luckily I often note what email alias I used for registering in my notes). I found 502 unique addresses this way and added them using the bulk-edit tool in the mail admin panel. However, since there is no pagination in the DH tool, I can only admin the first few without resorting to bulk-editing.

After adding all the 502 known aliases using the bulk edit tool, I then pointed the catch-all alias to a new gmail account set up just for the specific purpose of tracking which aliases still go to the catch-all (i.e. which ones were not in my existing rule set) - just so I can start getting a handle on which aliases I have not yet discovered.


I’m a decade+ Dreamhost user, and have recommended them to dozens of friends over the years.

I’ve also taught them how to use the catch-all mechanism for keeping track of email abusers.

I have (literally) hundreds of these “disposable” email addresses, some of them for real business (like my email account associated with Dreamhost itself).

Well, I’m done.

I’ve moved my catch-all email to Fastmail. They have a 30 day free trial, and it took all of 20 minutes to get everything running (just MX. DNS still hosted by Dreamhost for now. Pro tip: Set your DNS TTL to something short, like 5 minutes, before you make this change. Wait for the TTL to kick in then make changes. That way, you can see effects of your change more quickly).

So far, so good. Both the administration and webmail UIs are better than Dreamhost. It feels faster than Dreamhost too.

I’m also going to set up a spare domain name on 1and1 also and compare.

G Suite (Google) is an option I’ll look into.

All of these are in the $5 a month/$50 a year range.

It sucks to be paying more to get the same behavior I was getting on Dreamhost, but clearly they don’t want my business.

I’ll be looking into moving my dozens of websites off Dreamhost in the coming months.


tl;dr: I’m switching to Mailcheap for email, and keeping Dreamhost …for now

Like everyone else, I rely on my catch-all email. I’m also surprised at the reasons given by Dreamhost to discontinue the service. How do they know its “overwhelming volume of spam”? Is that inference or are they inspecting data transmitted?

I’ve spent a lot of time in the last three days doing my research and I want to share what I’ve learned and have you challenge my decisions before I finalize them.

Self Hosting: Not recommended
My first thought was to migrate everything — mail and hosting — to Linode and do it all myself. Bootstrap a few Docker images into cheap VPS. Transfer my DNS away. Then I put on shades as I walk away while Dreamhost explodes in slow motion behind me. The pros are absolute freedom. The cons are well, everything is up to me — the worst kind of freedom. I’m not a professional sysadmin. And the turnkey solutions for email are good but still nascent. And to quote a wise devops manager, “the worst thing you can do on the internet is run your own mail server.”

But I did it anyway! YOLO! For the low-low cost of $20/month I set up a Linode box that can handle all my mail just the way I want.

The problem is that I am clearly over my head.

My personal mail is super-important. The stakes are high. Doing it right is something that is totally worth paying someone else to do.

Another Hosting Provider: Mixed Bag
Well, if Dreamhost isn’t perfect, then maybe some other provider will be? I’ll use Hostgator as an example, but feel free to put [other hosting provider] in its place. Hostgator isn’t a 1-to-1 replacement of Dreamhost. There are a number of problems just with migration of configuration much less the actual data migration. It would take a lot of time for me to move DNS, migrate data, and then end up in basically the same situation I was in before. I’m beholden to some hosting provider and whatever services and level of service they provide.

I don’t want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Managed Email Hosting: A Focused Answer
To clearly state the top concern: Dreamhost email hosting isn’t what it used to be and I’m willing to pay to have a better email solution. I chose Mailcheap over Fastamil because I have multiple domains and Fastmail only supports a single domain. Zoho is worth a look, but its becoming a feature-rich “Workplace” service and I want a focused solution for email.

I’ve signed up for an account on Mailcheap, but it’s taken more time for Mailcheap to activate my service than its taken me to configure my Linode.

I’ll come back to report more findings later.



The “workaround” of switching to a +tag for the basic email DOES NOT WORK because more than half the sites you care about (e.g., banking, health care, you know, trivial cr@p like that)…



I did this by grepping my Thunderbird archives.



So here’s a thought I had.

Does anyone know if there’s a command-line way to add a forwarding-only address from an SSH session on the domain? I would make a little tool to accept a new mail name and SSH on the backend into my domain, add the address, and then I could go about my business (almost) as before.

My interest here is not to be under the gun of a deadline like this while figuring out where to move my hosting, which is a fairly complex undertaking.


I’m doing the same: manually setting up hundreds of aliases that I collected over the years to forward to a regular mailbox. I will keep the catch-all going until closer to the EOL date so that I can set up more aliases as they arrive.

However, a heads-up: I mistakenly added a real address to the Bulk-editing form. Without requesting any confirmation, this deleted the regular mailbox I had associated with that address! For a moment I thought I had lost all my messages, but recovering the mailbox was simple: I just recreated the email and selected the existing mailbox login in the new mail form. All my messages were there, as before.



I just want to add my own “me too” here. I’m livid. I just transferred 5 domains over, having moved the ones I initially had with Dreamhost off a few months ago to trash. (Business no longer a going concern.)

One of the core things I use a domain for is throwaway catch-alls. Depending on the context, I’ve just told people to use their name, at my domain, to reach me. They can remember it, I get the email, life’s easy.

I had no idea this functionality had been removed, and just spent over an hour wondering what I was doing wrong, not being able to find it, only to find this thread.

The absolute stupidity of this goes beyond my ability to understand it. Instead of maybe going after accounts where there’s abuse, to crap all over people who’ve recommended them over the years is just… I’m having so much trouble typing without just falling into a string of profanity. The justification for this change is without merit. What’s the difference between having 200 accounts you set up, with actual mailboxes, and a single mailbox that at any given time might get an email from 200 different names? What’s the difference between setting up “unlimited” emails to forward to your external email, vs having a single catch-all that… does the same thing?!!

Namecheap and Namesilo and even the rock bottom of the barrel registrars like all offer a catch-all as part of just registering your domain with them. I’m paying a hell of a lot more than that for hosting at Dreamhost and now I need to go get a separate damn mail service?! I’m really just seething here, and annoyed that I’m going to have to screw with moving my domains back off DH and eat the loss of wasted time and money.

What the hell happened to this company?


Here’s a script that I found and modified to go through all emails in all folders of an IMAP account and dump out all the email addresses it finds to a file (it takes a while to run, but prints out some progress info). Hope it helps:


Hello all,

I’m another longstanding DH customer in the same situation.

A kindly soul over on another forum pointed me to, a Swiss based email-only service provider. I realise this won’t be a service everyone will want to look at, but it solves the problem for me. I’ve just migrated email for one domain over, and it was very smooth going.

Unlike DH, catch-alls are part of their USP and seem likely to stay that way. They allow as many regex-based catch-alls as you need on your domain(s), so you can segment things and have “partial” catches. Free tier to start with too.

Hope that helps some of you!


Was doing some math (yea that’s always fun :smiley: )
But I’ve got a few domains (12 currently) with 1 or 2 that had Catch-All e-mails.
One I’m only using for E-Mail as I needed ASP.NET Web hosting for the site itself.

But now that I look at the hosting cost + 12 * Domain Renewals & the second hosting plan for ASP, I’m thinking I just might move all of them over to the newer ASP site, given they say they also support Catchall, and it’s might be a bit more for hosting per year, but their renewal is $2 less so it might balance out in the end, or even save me a bit given I’ve already got to pay for 2 hosting plans currently.


This is what I wanted to know about this.


I did the same thing, but since I use gmail - I used Google Takeout to download all of my email. Then I used grep to find all the addresses.

I only ended up with 313.