Catch-alls are important for some of us



After running my own Imap for years and fiddling with different clients on different devices I finally threw it all in and use gmail, it is accessable from all my computers and pdas without hassle, it has good spam filtering, and I like the interface.

So I use a catchall to my google address. I make up and use different addresses all the time, for example if I have to give my address to foo for registration I use This means in the future I can see which companies originate spam. Not a big deal, and I can stop doing it, but the problem here is that I have been doing this for years and I cannot remember all the aliases I have used, and I do occasionally get email I need from these companies.

So what can I do? I assume anything I try may be seen as a breach of some rule or other. If there is a way I would be really keen to hear it, because I do like dreamhost. But I am not so keen on using squirrel mail.

Otherwise, given that I doubled checked that dreamhost did this before I signed up last month, can I get my money back so I can move to a host that does still do it (like the one I got enticed away from)?


An other user posted a possible owrk around for this, but I really don’t reccomend you do it. It’s not going to be in your best interests in the long run, this is a measure to help make it so you can send E-mails reliably.

Why not set up as many of the aliases as you know, and set them all to forward to G-mail. Then leave your catch all going to a mail box here at dreamhost. Connect to ith with Thunder Bird via imap so you can access it easly from as many machines as you like, and still have squerrel mail. Thunderbid has a descent bullt in spam tools, and as you find more aliases you’ve used you can set those to forward to gmail.

As far as getting your money back, you’ve got 97 days from when you signed up to get a full refund (minus domian registration of 9.95).

–Matttail - personal website


catch-all means your email addresses are out of control. I highly recommend you keep your email addresses under full control.

That’s easy. Make sure you have A address or A way to contact you on your website. Don’t try to hide it. Kill your catch-all. Your clients will get “users unknown” bounce email. They’ll goto your site in attempts to find a valid email, or to try to tell you X address isn’t working anymore. Either way, you just don’t really want to have a catch-all. Read my post in the “work around” thread as to why this is a bad idea. It only helps spammers and hurt you (especially if your domain becomes targeted for use).

yerba# rm -rf /etc


I have impleted what VB said and it works, I will use it. I am not on AOL, I don’t spam, and I don’t get much spam, so I am happy that I won’t be stuffing anyone else around.

As to thunderbird I spent ages trying to get it to do what I wanted. Basically thunderbird can filter and do spam control, which is what I want. But I need to duplicate the installation on all machines I use, and there is nothing for the pda. Also if I leave my home thunderbrid running it causes problems for other thunderbirds I might use, (some imap sync problem). Basically I want server side filtering. I did start to set up server side filtering and spam, but was always too busy, hence I use a single pda accessable web client, namely gmail.


Neither am I, but one day…after 4 years of using my domain…it got targeted for spam. I was getting FLUSHED with “user unknown”, “you’ve been blocked”, etc email addresses. It was bad. And worse off, it was bouncing back to addresses like: and Addresses that are completely made up.

That’s when I learned catch-alls are bad. I deleted my catch all and implemented what I talked about in VB’s thread.

yerba# rm -rf /etc


I make up and use different addresses all the time, for example if I have to give my address to foo for registration I use

Now this brings up something interesting, that I didn’t think about in relation to the current catch-all controversy: If Dreamhost would allow this type of mail suffix, that would go a good way toward alleviating this problem. People who use a catch-all for things like the above could retain the ability to have specific addresses for different purposes, and addresses could still be made up on the fly, to a certain extent.

There are two suggestions for this pending. I’ve long had votes in for both of them. Anyone else interested might want to vote for them as well.

Allow “semi-catch-all” emails like "sales-* in Mail - Addresses

Allow support for “plus”-style email addresses: user goes to in Mail - Filters and Spam

Unrelated: Why does this forum strip out plus signs?

If you want useful replies, ask smart questions.


You can have a catch-all deliver to a DH-hosted mailbox, and have gmail use POP to grab the messages out of the mailbox. This works the same as forwarding to gmail, except for the possible delay in gmail grabbing the messages and you have to enter your mailbox password into gmail.

As for making up addresses on the fly, I created a subdomain just or that purpose. I used to have a catch-all on my main domain, but after a couple of spam attacks sent to random addresses, I got rid of it.


[quote]Unrelated: Why does this forum strip out plus signs?


The same reason it corrupts indentation. And some strings starting with & - it is crap.


[quote]I use a catchall to my google address. So what can I do?


Change your catch-all@dhdomain -> @gmail to catch-all@dhdomain -> newaddress@dhdomain and newaddress@dhdomain -> @gmail.

Problem solved.

Since you are not one of those users who are catch-all-forwarding spam to AOL, Comcast and the other DH black-listers, DH can have no genuine complaint against this.


Please don’t do this as a perminate solution. It’s just not a good thing for the rest of us. What happens if Google dicides to change the way they handle spam and all of a sudden no one at DH can E-mail G-mail becuase of spam blocks? If you’re desperate for a temp solution, [i]ok[i] maybe. But work on changing your set up - don’t mess it up for the rest of us.

–Matttail - personal website


[quote]Please don’t do this as a perminate solution. It’s just not a good thing for the rest of us.


Hey, if you don’t like it, direct your complaints instead to DH for allowing it. And while you’re at it, remind DH that catch-all forwarding wouldn’t have had to have been spam-laden in the first place if they hadn’t disallowed the use of the DH Junk Filter on catch-alls.

[quote]What happens if Google dicides to change the way they handle spam


What happens is us DH->Google forwarders decide whether to change the way we handle spam.


I’m pretty sure one of the Junk Filter checks is to insure it’s a valid mailbox. With a catch-all, that’s impossible.

yerba# rm -rf /etc


I don’t know if it’s been mentioned in this thread before, but DH doesn’t permit Junk Filtering on catch-alls just due to the high volume of mostly spam that it’d have to filter. This would be a huge load on the filter servers.



Surely there cannot be another provider in the world that bars the use of its spam filter on the mail paths that need it most, because they would give it too much work to do.


I wonder if it’s as simple as throwing more hardware at it. I can’t estimate the ratio of incoming mail for catch-all vs. real mailboxes or forwards. I’d guess it’s at least 2:1, but wonder if it’s more than 4:1.



[quote]I’m pretty sure one of the Junk Filter checks is to insure it’s a valid mailbox.



If it was it would falsely bar mail that does not go to any DH mailbox. Such as mail forwarded externally. Observation shows it does not.

[quote]With a catch-all, that’s impossible.


Plus with a catch-all, that’s unnecessary.


Mailbox was a wrong term. “Valid email address” is better. A forward is a valid email address. A Catch-all prevents any verification of valid email addresses.

yerba# rm -rf /etc


It’s pretty simple, stop “making up” addresses and set up a couple (or however many you may need) of real ones (it’s not impossible to remember, even with 50 addresses if you really use them), then use those. Those that you have already made up to register next time you go to that service again change the address to an existing one, if you never visit that site again you won’t need it.

I’ve still yet to read a single excuse for using catch-all at all, it seems to be people who can’t be bothered to set up email aliases or just the curiosity of what spam may get through on which address. The best excuses so far are “to fight spam” and “make up addresses that you know spam will go to”.

I am open to hear exactly what catch-all is needed for, there must be a few reasons why it may be necessary for some. In those cases i’d like to hear whats wrong with squirell mail.

I’m not overly interested in this but since my site sends out lots of activation emails that regularly get junk-mailed by some of the crapier filters out there (hotmail being the crapiest) it does affect me slightly. Also the arrogance/lazyness of some people just get on my nerves.


[quote]Catch-all prevents any verification of valid email addresses.


It does not. All legal email addresses at the domain are valid.


You want an excuse for using a catch-all. Here you go:

I like to use a new email address everytime I have to sign up with something. If I start receiving email on that address from anybody but the entity I signed up with I can call them on it. It allows me to create some accountability with whom I deal.

Just as a cyber version of watching bird migration, it can be interesting to see how a certain address jumps from one sender to another.

When I want to turn off an alias, I can go into my web panel and kill it and I don’t have to worry about losing email from any responsible mailers.