drew_n's profile

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Thu, Jun 16, 2016 8:24 PM

Email forwarding is bad! Don’t do it! Here's why

Are you forwarding email from your domain, to an external mail (like Outlook or Gmail) or your ISP’s (like Comcast or Optonline) account?

What appears to be a harmless function that allows you the convenience of consolidating your mail accounts, may actually be causing you harm in ways you don’t see or know about. In this article we will explain a few reasons why you don’t want to forward your mail and what you can do differently.

Forwarding greatly increases the chances that your email will be seen as spam and arrive in the junk box, or worse yet, server level spam filters can simply eliminate the message without your or the sender’s knowledge.

It can result in your server getting blacklisted, which ultimately means you won’t receive or possibly send any email at all.

Your reputation is also at risk, as when you reply, your emails are going to appear to come from that external service, and not your business domain. A site visitor sends a mail to you at drew@mydomain.com and gets a response back from parrothead329@gmail.com, many people will end their business conversation immediately. I certainly do.


When forwarding mail from your domain to another service, such as Gmail, all the mail received by your address is forwarded on, regardless of the content. If Gmail scans the content, and decides it’s spam, it will take a look at the server that sent it. If enough is flagged from that source, which is now Homestead’s server, Gmail may consider us to be a spammer. This can result in all mail from that server being blocked. This means all of your mail, and all the mail from other customers using that server.

Spam filters are learning filters. They learn based on the actions of the email recipient. If you have your mail forwarded to Gmail and receive spam and mark it as spam, what you can be doing is marking your own server as spam.

When the external server rejects email, it may cause the forwarding server to queue the email to resend later.  In the end, the mail will ‘bounce’, creating the possibility that more reputation and delivery problems may arise.

There is also an issue with Sender Policy Framework (SPF) and Domain Keys (DKIM). These records specify the legitimate servers that may send email on behalf of a domain. Our servers will not likely be a permitted server and so some legitimate emails may be blocked as a result.

All of these issues combined can also further damage your mail sending reputation and result in deeper issues, such as your server, and your external service, getting onto a blacklist.


The best thing to do if you have multiple email accounts and want them easily checked is to setup an email client, like Outlook or Thunderbird. There are many others as well. Some webmail programs, like Gmail allow you to setup your account in a way that allows Gmail to check your Homestead account. This eliminates the need to forward and allows you to get all your mail in one spot.

You can see how to setup a number of different clients in community topic, How do I setup an email client?

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