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A long time ago one used to be able to count on domains having addresses like webmaster@example.com, postmaster@example.com, or abuse@example.com ... is this convention dead?

Note: I always try to make sure to make a contact available on the websites I put up, so people can contact us if necessary. But are there reasons to handle these or other "standard" email addresses I might not be thinking of? I set up less email addresses than I used to since spam got so awful, and a "predictable" email address just seems to be an invitation to the lousy spammers.

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This would also be interesting to consider serverfault.com/questions/270058/… –  sorin May 16 '11 at 5:13
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See also RFC 2142 (tools.ietf.org/html/rfc2142) –  M. Dudley Jun 3 '11 at 4:56
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4 Answers

up vote 20 down vote accepted

There's no reason to create them all as individual e-mail accounts. You can just set up forwarders that lead to a generic site.admin@ account and set up a filter for that in your mail client to keep the noise isolated.

You'll want them, because:

  • webmaster@ is where good natured people do things like report broken links, it happens more than you'd think!
  • abuse@ is nice to have, it sometimes keeps people from going directly to your host / data center / bandwidth provider in the event that someone found a way to use your server to send SPAM.
  • postmaster@ is handy to check, and make sure root's mail is also sent there, at the least it will show you if your mail server is configured incorrectly, it will also catch bounces that let you know you have a spammer.

I usually check my 'catch all' once a week and clean it out. It only takes a few minutes. Once in a while you find a real gem, which is something like "Your site helped me, I just wanted to say thanks for the resource!" .. which always makes your day :)

This, of course in addition to the convenience of automatically generated SSL certificates - SSL providers will send confirmation email to one of the above addresses, so you need to be able to receive it.

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I have mine set up so that anythingIwanttotype@example.com gets sent to me. This takes care of possibly missing anything.

So far I have not gotten much spam, however my sites are not to large, so that could change.

Then any address I want to send mail from I set up.

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In general, it will change ;) That said, it's also useful for tracking who's sold your email address - if you start getting emails to ThisSite@example.com referring to someone other than ThisSite, you know that you won't be using them again :) –  Zhaph - Ben Duguid Aug 10 '10 at 0:58
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Yeah, that was the way I used to handle it too, a catchall for the domain. It ended with thousands of emails a day with no value, as the spammers sent mails to every name in the dictionary: aaron@example.com, alex@example.com, etc, etc, etc. There are a lot of possible email addresses as it turns out. –  artlung Aug 10 '10 at 1:12
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If you plan on purchasing a domain-validated SSL, admin@ is generally a good one to have, as the domain-validated certificates use a small list of hard-coded email addresses, and admin@ is generally one of them.

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Every RIPE LIR (Réseaux IP Européens Local Internet Registry) must have an abuse@ account and the webmaster@, postmaster@ - (and one more) -- addresses are used by most (all?) SSL Providers.

So if you don't want to be an LIR and don't use certificates, you are free to set your mail addresses any way you want.

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