Email forwarders copy incoming emails to another address. For instance, you can create a forwarder to copy all emails for email@example.com to a Gmail account. You can also forward all emails for a domain to another domain.
Image: the Forwarders interface.
cPanel’s Forwarders page has four sections:
As said, you can create two types of forwarders:
Before I show how to create forwarders I should briefly discuss how they work. Let’s first look at forwarders for email addresses.
You can set up a forwarder for either an existing or a non-existing email address:
To give an example, let’s imagine you have a forwarder from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com. If firstname.lastname@example.org exists then emails are delivered to both accounts. So, you get two copies of incoming emails.
If you instead want emails to be forwarded only then you can delete the email@example.com address. Emails sent to the address are still forwarded, even though it doesn’t exist. An advantage of this option is that the mailbox doesn’t use any disk space. It just forward emails to another email address. However, it also means that you can’t send email from the address.
Creating an email forwarder is easy enough. To start, click the Add Forwarder button. This takes you to the Add a New Forwarder page, which has three sections:
The below image shows a forwarder from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com.
Image: creating a forwarder from firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com.
You can use this to combat spam. When you need to give a potential spammer an email address you don’t have to give them your private email address. Instead, you can give them an address such as firstname.lastname@example.org. This is an alternative to plus addressing.
You can take this one step further by creating a forwarder for each potential spammer. For instance, to register with Evil Corp you can create the forwarder email@example.com. Creating lots of forwarders like these might seem daft but it has a number of benefits:
To forward emails to multiple addresses you simply create multiple forwarders. For instance, you can set up two forwarders for firstname.lastname@example.org so that emails are copied to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is possible to discard rather than forward emails. The below example shows another forwarder for email@example.com. However, this time I selected the Discard option. Senders will receive a bounce email with a standard message (“No such person at this address”).
Image: discarding rather than forwarding emails for firstname.lastname@example.org.
Domain forwarders let you forward all incoming emails for a domain. For instance, a forwarder from example.net to example.com forwards emails for all users at example.net to corresponding users at example.com.
Image: adding a domain forwarder from example.net to example.com.
To illustrate how this works, the below image shows an email in my email@example.com inbox. The email was sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. However, because I set up a domain forwarder the email was delivered to email@example.com.
Image: an email sent to firstname.lastname@example.org in the inbox for email@example.com.
Domain forwarders are a little confusing. The main thing to be aware of is that emails are not forwarded if the original email address exists. For instance, let’s imagine someone sends an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. If that mailbox exist then a domain forwarder to example.com won’t work. Instead, the email is simply delivered to email@example.com.
Domain forwarders are mainly useful when you change your domain name. However, there is an easier way to achieve that. We can simply rename your cPanel account. Renaming a cPanel account automatically renames all email addresses as well.
Any forwarders you create are listed on the main page. The Forward to column either shows the forwarding address or an action. For instance, for my firstname.lastname@example.org forwarder the column shows that emails are discarded with the message “No such person at this address”.
Image: existing email forwarders.
Forwarders can also be used as a catch-all solution. If you want all emails for a domain to be copied to a single mailbox then you can do so by creating forwarders.
As a simple example, if you want emails sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to be forwarded to email@example.com then you can do the following: