Almost everyone who uses the Internet has an email address, and almost every online service requires you to supply your email address in order to create fake email accounts. This sounds alright until you have used your email address on so many sites that it becomes a common target for spam and scams.
One of the solutions to combat this is to create a temporary email address, one that you can use to register, shop, sign up, etc., without worrying about your real, permanent email address getting bombarded with junk. Fortunately, there are plenty of disposable or throwaway email addresses that allow you to do that.
Why Use a Throwaway Email Address?
Unless you like to receive spam and scams in your inbox, a throwaway email address allows you to register for sites and services without suffering the aftereffects of the signup. This allows you unfettered access to the site or service without compromising the integrity of your personal email.
Something that distinguishes Mailinator from other entries on this list is the fact that there are already millions of publicly accessible inboxes ready for you to access right away without a password.
Under the strict condition that you don’t have any sensitive information to worry about, you can type in a random email address @mailinator.com (email@example.com is a good one), and see the inbox without even having to use a password.
It’s easily the quickest throwaway email provider on this list for the above reasons, though also less secure than one that randomly generates a mail address for you.
One thing to note is that mailinator has become so popular as a disposable email service that a lot of services are banning email signup with the mailinator.com address.
GuerillaMail looks like an early 90s Geocities page, but don’t judge a book by its cover – or a site by its design in this case. Beyond the unassuming web design is an easy-to-use temporary email service.
Getting started is simple. There is a handy “WTF” button that will walk you through the steps. Using GuerillaMail doesn’t require any signup or registration, nor does it use any passwords. Your inbox ID and domain is randomly generated the moment you open the GuerillaMail page. You have the ability to customize the inbox ID as well as choose from alternative domains if you wish.
The email address created will last forever, and anyone can access it, provided they know the inbox ID. GuerillaMail also gives users the option to scramble the email address you give out. This makes it virtually impossible for anyone to guess your GuerillaMail inbox ID, meaning random strangers won’t be able to access it. All email will arrive in the inbox on the main GuerillaMail page, and they will be automatically deleted after one hour, regardless of whether they have been read or not.
If you only need an email address for a short period of time, then 10MinuteMail has you covered. True to its name, 10MinuteMail is a disposable email service that gives users a unique email address that self destructs after ten minutes. This means that the email address, and the contents of its inbox, are deleted after ten minutes.
Using 10MinuteMail is simple. Just point your browser to 10MinuteMail. Here, you’ll be presented with a page that displays your unique email address along with a large timer that immediately begins to count down from ten minutes. Copy and paste the unique email address and use it for whatever site or service requires it.
To access email sent to your address, click on the inbox button. In addition to reading the text of emails, you will also be able to download any attachments, click links, etc. When you are done, you can close your browser or wait for the ten-minute timer to run out. Either way, your temporary email is deactivated and destroyed. If you need more time because you haven’t received an email yet, all you need to do is click on the button labelled, “Get 10 more minutes.” Doing so will reset the counter back ten minutes. 10MinuteMail is ideal for those who are looking for a truly temporary email that no one else can access.
If you want the privacy a truly disposable email address affords but don’t want to be racing the clock, you may want to give ThrowAwayMail a try. ThrowAwayMail generates a unique email that is only accessible to you. After 48 hours, that unique email address is purged along with any mail in its inbox.
ThrowAwayMail isn’t much to look at, but it is super simple to use. Click on the button to generate a unique email. Once an email address is generated, a countdown timer will initiate, similar to 10MinuteMail. The big difference here is that the email address is live for 48 hours as opposed to 10 minutes. All email sent to that address will appear on the main page. If you do not visit your unique email after 48 hours, it is deleted. However, continued usage of your temporary email address will result in your timer being extended another 48 hours. The only downside to this service is that you must have cookies enabled on your device.
If you simply want a free email address to use in situations where you don’t want to give out your real email address, Maildrop is worth a look. Maildrop is totally free and doesn’t require any sort of registration. It also allows you to create your own email address, or you can use a randomly-generated one. What sets Maildrop apart is that you can revisit the inbox of any email address created. All you need to do is remember the name of the inbox. This makes it a handy option for people who want to hang on to their temporary email address.
The fact that a Maildrop inbox lasts in perpetuity comes with a few caveats. First, Maildrop limits the types of email that reaches your inbox. Unfortunately, this means that attachments are completely discarded. Furthermore, an inbox is limited to only 10 emails at a time. Finally, any Maildrop inbox that has not received an email in 24 hours will automatically be deleted. Maildrop is a good option if you don’t want to create a new temporary email address every time you need to fill out an online form.
If temporary email addresses seem too much of a hassle, but you still want to avoid spam, consider blocking unwanted mail in Gmail. While you’re at it, find out how to turn Gmail into a desktop app on your PC.