Whether you’re looking for apartments or used gadgets on Craigslist, you don’t have to keep checking the website. You can stay on top of things by getting notified when new posts go up that match your searches.

How to Get Email Notifications

Craigslist has built-in email alerts. You can get an email alert for any Craigslist search, and it’s free.

To set up email notifications, just head to the Craigslist website and perform whatever search you want. For example, you might pick a city, select the apartments for rent section, enter how many bedrooms you want, and provide the maximum amount of rent you’re willing to pay per month.

The official Craigslist alerts FAQ says that the more specific your search, the more often it will run and the more alerts you’ll get. In other words, if you’re searching for all cars for sale in a city, Craigslist will check for new posts less often than if you’re searching for only a specific model of car.

After you’ve performed your search, click “Save Search” to the right of the search bar on the Craigslist website. This same option appears right by the search box on the Craigslist mobile website, too.

If you’re not already signed in to Craigslist, you’ll be prompted to either sign in or create an account. If you don’t yet have an account, it’s easy and quick to create one.

You’re then taken to the Searches page in your Craigslist account settings. To activate email alerts for the search you just saved, click the “Alert” checkbox to the left of the search.

Checking the “Alert” box activates email notifications for that search. They’re sent to the email address associated with your Craigslist account, so keep an eye out for the emails.

Remember, the more specific your search, the more often Craigslist checks for new posts and emails them to you.

You can see all the searches for which you’re receiving emails, as well as deactivate, edit, or delete those searches.

How to Set Up SMS Alerts

Craigslist doesn’t have built-in SMS alerts, but you can set up your own with the popular IFTTT (If This, Then That) service. This is useful if you want instant notifications of new Craigslist posts on your phone without having to check your email.

Update: IFTTT no longer offers SMS alerts. However, if you install the IFTTT app on your phone, you can set up push notification alerts instead. Follow the below process but choose notifications instead of SMS as your action.

To do this, head to the IFTTT website and create an account if you haven’t already done so. After you’re signed in to your IFTTT account, click “My Applets” and then click “New Applet.” You can also do this in the IFTTT app for iPhone or Android, or on the mobile website.

On the New Applet page, click the “This” link.

Search for “Classifieds” and click the “Classifieds” option.

Select “New Post From Search.”

Copy-and-paste the search results address from Craigslist into the box here.  To get this address, head to Craigslist and search for whatever you want. Select the web address in your browser’s address bar and copy it.

When you’re done, click “Create Trigger.”

Next, click the “That” link to set up what happens when the trigger is activated.

Click the “SMS” option in the list of services.

Click “Send Me an SMS.”

With the default settings, you’ll receive an SMS with the title of each post and a clickable link. Click “Create Action” to accept this.

You’ve now created your action, and you can click “Finish.”

Ensure the applet is set to “On” on the final page. If you ever want to disable the applet, you can head to the My Applets page on the IFTTT website to toggle applets on and off.

To choose the phone number where those searches are going, head to the SMS Settings page and enter your phone number.

The IFTTT service also has a premade recipe that automatically sends you smartphone notifications from Craigslist searches if you have the IFTTT app on your phone. If you’d prefer to receive push notifications about new posts matching your search than SMS messages, this also works well.

This is a good example of what you can do with IFTTT, too. You can either head to the IFTTT website and choose a premade applet or string together an applet you like by combining a trigger and an action.

RELATED: How to Automate Your Favorite Apps with IFTTT

Profile Photo for Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times and Reader's Digest, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than one billion times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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