How-To Geek

How Often do You Change E-mail Addresses? [Poll]

Note: This article is part of our archive and is likely out of date.
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Recently we ran across an article about a man who consistently changes his e-mail address every 20 months. Why? To throw off spam. With that in mind we became curious and decided to ask how often you change your e-mail addresses…

Everyone has their own method for dealing with the bane known as spam whether it is heavy filtering, separate accounts to catch possible spam activity, abandoning swamped accounts, etc.

Here is your opportunity to share how you deal with spam, protect your accounts, and to voice your thoughts regarding consistent timed changes to new accounts as mentioned in the article linked to below.

[polldaddy poll=”6671479″]

How Frequently Do You Change Your Email Address? [Apartment Therapy]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 11/7/12

Comments (31)

  1. Larry

    Other is called gmail.

  2. Ruja

    Multiple answers:
    I am very careful about sharing my e-mail address. I have had the same e-mail address for quite some time and make good use of filters to keep things cleaned up, as I receive a moderate amount of spam, but with a little work (such as filters, etc.) it could all be brought back under control. I keep an extra e-mail address to use when there is a possibility of receiving spam, or sometimes I use temporary e-mail addresses as a way to deal with spam.

  3. Larry Right

    What Larry said, Gmail, solves it all without any interaction.

  4. crab

    Should allow multiple choices – I use both 1 and 3. Thanks to gmail’s spam filters spam isn’t even a problem with the spam address.

  5. Paul

    I tend not to change email addresses that often, especially ones I use for work (for obvious reasons), However I do make heavy use of disposable email addresses (eg guerillamail) for one-offs, like when I have to register with a site and follow a link in a confirmation email before I can do whatever it was I wanted the site for. I guess if that counts, I ‘change’ email addresses up to a few dozen times a week…

  6. Paul

    Incidentally, I can’t participate in the poll because I removed Java a couple months back. Why? Because of an article on this site entitled “Java is Insecure and Awful, It’s Time to Disable It, and Here’s How”. Nice to see HTG practising what it preaches :D

  7. Asgaro

    I have to confess something:
    A long time ago, when I still was a kid (I’m 21 now), I somehow felt the need to insert my e-mail address in some kind of porn promotion sites. I had taught about the possibility that I would be getting spam. Still, I did it.
    I clearly remember that in a time frame from 30 days I got around 1500 to 2000 spam e-mails lol.
    To this day, I still seem to get spam due to that mistake, but it has been reduced quite a lot: now I get around 350 e-mails within 30 days.

    Do I care? Hell no. :D
    – I use GMail and every spam mail – I repeat: every – spam mail gets send automatically to the spam folder. So thumbs up for GMail’s perfect spam filtering system.
    – GMail only keeps spam mails younger than 30 days so I don’t need to bother with cleaning my spam folder now and then.
    – As I said: the rate of received spam has been reduced quite drastically over all these years, which shows the pursuit of taking down spam filters, does work!

  8. Asgaro

    * “spam filters” should be “spam servers”.

  9. indianacarnie

    I have three e-mail addresses. One for family and business, one for my surfing/entertainment (this one :)), and a throwaway for when I need one of those. Addy #1 has no spam, #2 has little to no spam, but number 3??? my goodness it gets packed! All three from yahoo btw. Used Gmail for a year or so until I noticed the ad’s based on the CONTENT of my in and outgoing mail. Not subject line, but content. That was too much for me.

  10. Lee

    My non-school email is with Gmail, and I’ve had it for a while. I don’t have much of a problem with spam because of Gmail’s excellent default spam filter, and I even import a few other emails that have been shared on all kinds of websites. Every once in a while I use disposable email’s if I need to sign up for something a little dodgy, but other than that I can’t see myself really changing my email anytime soon.
    I do have an email provided by my college that I try to use for everything school-related (and, of course, getting student discounts).

  11. LadyFitzgerald

    This is yet another flawed polled. In my case (and, I strongly suspect, the same for many others), I’ve had the same email address for over five years (and have no plans for changing it). I only get a moderate amount of spam because I’m careful about who I give my email address to; most of the spam I’m still getting is due to a forum database being hacked into a couple of years ago. I don’t use spam filters anymore because every one I’ve tried would block occasional vital, legitimate email requiring me to wade through the quarantined email to find the good ones It’s much easier to deal with what spam I get directly from the inbox.; it takes only a few seconds to run down the list, clicking on each spam item (and legitimate emails of no interest to me), then clicking on delete.

  12. Gilda


  13. Yu

    I started off being very careful about using email-addresses on the web and had a separate spam-account for forum registrations and the like. It proved relatively fruitless, I’m getting some degree of spam to most email addresses. Its not like you can keep your address out of spam-lists forever.

    My main reason for switching email addresses hence wasn’t spam. It was the independence of a single provider.

    My first email address was provided by the ISP my mother subscribed to. This means, that the address is pretty much bound to that ISP. This doesn’t exactly make me feel comfortable, at least thinking on the long term. Also, they actually charge extra if you want to have more than 40 MB (!) of email storage. While understandable back in 1999, its rediculous in 2012. No IMAP either, without paying extra.

    For these reasons I first switched to the freemailer GMX. GMX provided sufficient storage space. By the time cross-device synchronization became and issue however, their webmail client became insufficient. Also, IMAP wasn’t available for free at that time. Also, while Thunderbird handled mail well except for performance issues (which should be fixed since) I wanted Feed-Reader synchronization even more than email synchronization.

    Ultimately I ended up with GMail some years back and never really looked back. Mainly due to the performance issues I had with Thunderbird using Gmail’s IMAP access, I finally replaced Thunderbird by GMail and Google Reader.

    That said, I’m still using all my old addresses, e.g. when writing comments ;)

    ===== TL;DR ====

    The poll is flawed. Spam is not the only reason for changing email addresses ;)

  14. Johann

    Had the same ‘address’ for over a decade as it runs on a vanity name domain of mine so is very personal and special to me. However it has been run on a number of providers in that time. For the last 5 years or so it’s been tied to and run on Google Apps.

    How much better can things get, really? Your own private email address which isn’t tied to any provider whatsoever (so if you find a better provider just move it) but you’re currently running on GMail with it’s awesome spam filtering, SPF, DKIM, 2-factor authentication etc. etc. Can’t get better if you ask me.

  15. jeepmanjr

    Gmail…two thumbs up!! :-)

  16. Scott

    My main email (Gmail) is only used for important stuff, like contacting other people and receiving messages from them. I also linked my personal domain email address to that Gmail account, so I can also receive or send the occasional email from my website address. Then I have a Yahoo which I use for stuff that I trust giving my email to, but don’t want messages from (ie. Facebook, Skype, Dropbox, etc.). Then I have a Hotmail for registering on sites that I know will probably spam me. I also have another Gmail that I use for any questionable sites that require registration.

  17. Roderick Wells

    I have been using the same email address since sixth grade (Yahoo). I never have changed it. I have now a few addon emails that I use. One using google. I have it where it automatically imports into yahoo and i can reply to the mail from my yahoo account and it comes from my gmail account. Since then I have imported email ever since to my yahoo account. As you know yahoo does not allow pop access. But technically I have never changed my email from 6th grade. But I have to confess lately i have been thinking about taking my email somewhere else, yahoo has had some serious problems lately.

  18. tacosalad000

    My main is with Yahoo! (family, work, school related, etc.) and I’ve had that same address since 2006. I think I received my first spam/scam e-mail in 2008. A few more spam e-mails over the next few weeks and then the spam stopped coming. The spam filter caught each one too, so over the past 6 years my inbox has never seen a piece of garbage! Each year I probably receive less than 10 spam e-mails in my main account (in the spam box). I’ve made two more Yahoo! e-mail accounts (both in 2007 since many people at that time kept saying we should keep separate accounts for different things), but I’ve received probably like 1 to 3 spams each month and the spam filter catches every one. One account is for entertainment/surfing/monthly newsletters and one is for online shopping. Looking back, I probably didn’t need to create the one for entertainment. One account for online shopping and one for everything else is good enough.

    Surprisingly my official school e-mail account receives the most spam. Maybe 20 each month. I think that is because before the university made the student and faculty directory public. Earlier this year they upgraded the spam filters and I haven’t received one since. I’ve also made accounts to each of the other main providers (GMX, Gmail, Aol Mail, and the 3 with Microsoft (Hotmail,, and and tried them out on sites that required registrations. The sites were also reputable (news forums, tech blogs, etc.), nothing shady, and I’ve received no spam at all. I check them every year and all I get are those monthly updates or security update reminders after news break that some popular site got hacked. Every now and then I get some affiliated e-mail from some group related to the service, but I could easily fix that by changing my e-mail preferences.

    So in my experience all of the providers’ spam filters do an amazingly good job at catching the garbage if any (relative to other people’s experiences I’ve been hearing about and my own roommates’ and relatives’ inboxes that I’ve seen). I personally have never used disposable addresses before and I haven’t yet found the need to change addresses even though I’ve used my three main Yahoo! e-mail address on almost every site I frequently visit. Lucky me I suppose. =]

    My only gripe is as what Roderick Wells said above; basic Yahoo! accounts don’t offer POP access, which means I can’t use Thunderbird for my main accounts. =/ Epic fail right there. C’mon Yahoo!, update to the current set of standards everyone else is using.

  19. TheFu

    I don’t get much spam that isn’t properly categorized as such. Perhaps just 5 spam messages daily on average.This is the total for every email address and email alias used.
    I’ve had the same base email addresses for over 10 years, most aliases are also over 5 years old. Almost every online website gets a different email alias (along with a completely different passphrase).

    I’ve been running email servers for almost 20 yrs and my own domains with email for 15. This opens up a few options that most people would never consider.

    I have a few real email accounts and hundreds of aliases. A few tips:
    * If you put “spam” into your real email address, very few spammers will include that word, so you won’t get much, if any spam., for example. This can cause issues with some online retailers that believe “spam” is a bad word.
    * Spammers know the “+” trick supported by most email systems. Use it for organization, but don’t expect it to help with spam.
    * Avoid giving out your real email address to anyone untrusted. Just 1 person that decides to share your email address at all makes this a failure. I cut off a sister from knowing my true email address after she shared it with an electronic post-card web service. The rest of the family was kinder and explained what she had done to everyone.
    * Avoid posting online with your real email address. Always use an alias.
    * Use email aliases for almost everything. Most ISPs will provide 5 aliases with an account.
    * I run a spam filter front-end server to block 99% of all email spam. This is a tiny VM and insulates the real email servers from working too hard.
    * If you run an email server, be sure to setup a spam training account and make that email address known in places that spammers will uncover. This can feed into your Bayesian filter anti-spam program(s).

    To me email is too important to trust to some “free” service that wants to read it, review it, and use it to categorize me for advertising. Sorry to all those gmail, yahoo, etc. mail services. If you must use them, it is best to use them with GPG encrypted email only. OTOH, if you don’t use them at all, just need them for your android or other devices, it can still be used to track you.

    I should point out that my gmail address gets the most spam, which is really strange since I don’t use it for anything except where required by android.

  20. kelltic

    I have a POP3 account and Thunderbird that is my main email address. Had it for many years and get a bit of spam but not an uncontrollable amount. Also have two online email addresses. One I use for sites that I expect to get spamail from and one for forums and posting on sites like this one.

  21. Richard

    Buy a domain name, use it just for email. etc etc…
    Have it forward to your Gmail\Outlook or whatever.

  22. webdev

    You are trying to ask for too many criteria at the same time with this poll. Asking for the changing frequency is one thing, asking for the reasons is another and ways to deal with spam are yet a totally different thing. This way you don’t have a chance to answer properly even if you’re trying to give an answer that matches best. Split the topics into different sets of questions – done!

  23. Ryan

    I use a mix of options. Two old email addresses have been mostly retired (my hotmail, which now exists only to provide me a login for Skydrive, MSDN, and certain other online sites), and yahoo – whose spam filter thankfully got a little more aggressive recently. I use my hotmail as a registration account for sites that I don’t need email update from. Yahoo is often the same.

    My gmail is my primary, and my comcast is used for professional (a.k.a. job seeking) reasons. By not giving out my comcast except to potential employers and friends who ask my help in job hunting (i forward on contractor offers that I don’t need or want), I keep spam in my daily life to almost nil.

  24. Bob

    I have Hotmail, and multiple Gmail accounts. All of the email boxes either forward or are polled to send all of their mail to one Gmail account. Gmail runs great spam filters and there is a customisable filter facility to tag and automatically delete any mail even if it is not spam. I use the tags to easily see what the filters have trapped. I use that a fair bit for various reasons. I get several spam mails each day and they are all trapped. Gmail does spam trap some legit stuff too so always it’s always good to check the spam folder. I review all mail in Gmail and anything deemed worth keeping I allow on to Outlook in my system for further action. My backups and hard disk monitoring programs send results emails to the main Gmail account. The non fail messages are filtered and deleted and the failures are tagged and presented for review. I use Gmails + trick (Google that if you don’t know) in the name field to identify who is passing my address around but I’m not too bothered. If I get unwanted email I just opt out or I filter it or if I’m feeling malicious I hit the Spam button.

    The poll is not the best. I didn’t complete it because it was impossible to select an answer that applied. I notice from someone else it also requires Java. I gave up on that crap years ago.

  25. jeorgekabbi

    i use a gmail account as my main email address , a hotmail account as the junk account and another private domain name email account as a personal email account.

  26. dima

    Gmail user here, what is this spam thing you’re talking about?

  27. Rafael

    GMail has a great feature, it ignores dots and everything you put after a plus.

    Supposing that my mail is, the email I will be using for HTG is, this way, when it starts to annoy, I just create a filter and re-forward the email to a less priority inbox.

  28. CJ

    I am amazed at the level of ignorance on display here. One would expect more from the readers of this site. Several people mentioned Gmail, but some others apparently need to wake up and smell the new world.

    Gmail makes ALL the shennanigans with “multiple addresses and filters and pop this and domain that, and outlook the other” completely irrelevant. I have done all that in the past, but for several years now it’s just a waste of time.

    I should probably mention here that I have been running various different flavors of email servers for a living for many many moons… and over the past few years I have converted all my clients over to Google Apps hosting. Cut my administration time by 90%, and raised client happiness by the same, or more.

    You only need ONE Gmail address. Forever. You can use it to sign up for a gazillion spam sources if you like, and never have any spam problem whatsoever. You can use the same ONE address for business and personal, or even 3 or 4 different businesses, and still keep things nicely separated and organized, quite easily. This is not an opinion, it’s a fact that millions of people know about.

    And none of this takes any brainpower at all. No plugins, or tweaks, or scripting or complex setups. Just look around a little in your Gmail account, use what is already built in.

    For those with privacy concerns. Or I should say illusions of privacy… let me say this: Gmail is every bit as safe, as secure, as private, as ANY email system there is, anywhere on this tired old planet. Why? Because there is absolutely no such thing as privacy in email!!! Furthermore, there never has been! Anyone who thinks different is either not aware of of the truth, or just not being realistic.

    Solution? Simply don’t use email for anything sensitive, of course. And if it is truly secret, don’t use a phone, either. And since the words “privacy” and “email” cannot be used in the same sentence, why not relax and use the best (and easiest, and most sophisticated) thing there is?

  29. theflash

    I never change email addresses. I use two. One email is for websites I don’t quite trust and the other is the one I share with people I know and for more important things. For spam, I simply use an email client on my computer (thunderbird) which helps filter out spam and my devices do the same as well. As a second layer of protection I have yahoo, my email provider, put a ‘[junk]’ tag on spam which my email clients are set to also sort out. This way only about one spam message makes it through to my inbox every couple months on average.

  30. Chris Smith

    I use a number of these methods, including filters and a dedicated ‘Junk’ address, although having said that, I don’t receive that much spam.

  31. Snehil Sarkar

    Other is I don’t change my email address

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