Email options

Hi, I’m considering getting a DreamHost account, heard DH has a great staff and hosting here is brilliant, hope that’s true because I’ve never been without certain problems with hosting accounts elsewhere in the past.

Anyway, one factor that will help me decide to go with DreamHost is if certain Email forwarding options are available. Specifically, I want to discard mail for the catch-all and use wildcards or regular expression matching for which addresses should forward to certain other addresses.

The wiki seems to indicate that DH’s options are similar to other hosting services, and doesn’t have anything like regular expression matching for email forwarding addresses. Anybody have some more info for me?

A more ambitious workaround idea I had was to use a catch-all for a domain and setup a snazzy way to add specific addresses at my domain to a list that should :fail: when sent to. Is there any way to interface with DH services so I could program a plugin for my email client to add an incoming address to a block list with a click of a button?

I hate how other services allow any and all forwarding addresses but they can only be added or edited one at a time, and then they’re all mixed into one hard to manage group of “forwarding addresses”. Is the DH email admin tool better? Does it allow any separate groupings of forwarding addresses? For instance, when viewing the list of forwarders can you sort by address being pointed to, rather than just viewing an alphabetical list of incoming forwarding addresses?

Does the tool allow mass creation of forwarding addresses in any way? For the most part I just want easy ways to manage forwarding addresses as I have a history of giving out different incoming addresses to help me know where a sender got my email address from. Any clues as relates to DreamHost is much appreciated!

Actually any good ideas at all are appreciated!


There is no need to “discard mail for the catch-all”; just don’t use a catch-all! :wink: I know of no wildcard or regex matching available via the panel - how good are you with procmail?

Nope - there is no published API; your ability to kludge something like that together is highly dependent on your programming wizardry, and I can’t do it. There is spam-assassin, and ways to diddle that, but not in the way I think you are describing. SOme have scripted simple mail system interface functions, but they are not very sophisticated and are easily broken should DH change anything in their panel. Again, there is no reason to :fail: an incoming mail if you are not using a catch-all, and catch-alls are just an invitation for massive spam loads on mail servers. My advice is to avoid using a catch-all at all. Why put the server through that. Rather than accepting everything and then “filtering” it, just bounce stuff you don’t want.

DH is much the same, though you can add an unlimited number of forwarding address at one time via a “forwarding only addresses” “text area” form field - cut-n-paste away!

One other note, DreamHost does not allow “any and all” forwarding - for instance, DH will not forward to an A*L address, or Comcrap, or forward catch-alls to “non-DreamHost” mail accounts.

No, only by domain/subdomain, etc.


Yes. See above answer re. “Mass editing of forward only addresses” via text-area form field from within the Control Panel.

DreamHost supports “Plus addressing” - which is great for this, and makes it a lot simpler and more useful. If you have an address of “something@somedomain.tld”, then mail addressed as “something+sometingelse@somedomain.tld” will be delivered to “something@somedomain.tld” - instant “throwaway” or easily identifiable source addresses without a separate forward/alias.


Welcome to DH!

Email forwarding is available but I don’t think you can use regular expression matching.

I just tried to key in * and the system complained it was invalid address. I guess you have to key in email address one by one.

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Yes, this is all as I expected, though I had my hopes up for reg expression matching.

“Plus addressing” is brilliant, and I’m glad you brought it up, but I’m trying to support a legacy of handing out particular email addresses, many of which I do not recall, all of which I want to be careful to receive mail for. It probably is time to give up and use a much better system, such as “plus addressing” or relying solely on message filtering.

The A*L / Comcrap thing is crucial for others whom I support, too, so thanks for mentioning it. I’m not sure what my best option is in a case like this because I’m sure many shared hosting companies experience problems getting forwarded mail through. I may have better luck using Google Apps for this, I should hope, but then that limits my other config options.

Thanks for your detailed reply, rlparker. And thanks for trying, patricktan.


I hear you! The “Plus addressing” is really useful. The only problem I have found is that some (many) validation routines gag on the “+” sign and respond ,“Invalid email address - please correct and renter” when you try to use plus addressing when entering an email address in a form. Oh well. :wink:

The AL / Comcrap thing is a frustrating problem to deal with - I just had to deal with it again this evening when I had to tell a client, "sorry, I can’t forward to the AL address". I think you are right that many, if not most, shared hosting companies have this issue, though they don’t all handle it the way DreamHost does.

Frankly, I guess I’m okay with DreamHost’s position on this, in that at least non-forwarded mail “generally” gets through because of the position they have taken. Had they not blocked the forwarding, likely all of it would still be getting refused.

Google Apps does seem to be a good way to go, though I agree that brings it’s own set of challenges and limitations.

At any rate, good luck in your search for the perfect marriage of shared hosting an email - and write back if you find it! :slight_smile:


Yeah, I tried out plus addressing a couple of years ago for a while but ran into too many incompatibilities with either clients or just in websites that rejected the address.

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