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The pros and cons of e-mail forwarding

23rd May 2016

When running a business, there are two common ways of managing and receiving e-mails - mail accounts and mail forwarding.

Actual e-mail accounts enable you to send and receive your e-mails from a mail client such as Outlook, your phone or even a web browser based client via webmail. A popular alternative to this is e-mail forwarding - forwarding allows you to redirect incoming e-mails from one email address to another email address. When an e-mail is forwarded to a desired e-mail address, the mail servers would automatically redirect - or forward - the incoming e-mail to your chosen address.

The pros

There are some great benefits to using e-mail forwarding instead of (or in addition to) actual mail accounts:

  • Generic company e-mail address: Companies and organisations with more than one employee often have a generic e-mail address for enquiries, such as [email protected] or [email protected] It's not always necessary for this address to have an account of its own, so often e-mails like this can be automatically forwarded to the address of a company employee who can then internally distribute them to the appropriate person within the company. Cosmic does this with our [email protected] address to save someone having to check another inbox - they all simply come in to an existing address within our organisation.
  • No access to a mail program: If your web/mail host does not offer access to webmail, it's not always easy to access your e-mails. Licenses to tools such as Outlook/Microsoft Office can be pricey and sometimes not possible to obtain, so an alternative option is forwarding all mail to a company Gmail address such as [email protected] You can then pick up e-mails easily when on the go and in the office.
  • Difficult to spell names: My full name is Jamie D?browiecki, so I know all too well the struggles of having a name that isn't particularly easy to spell. Luckily at Cosmic, we just use our first names for e-mails, therefore mine is [email protected] However, if we were to use full names - i.e. [email protected] - I don't think I'd get many e-mails as it's likely my name would be incorrectly spelled quite often! For reasons like this, it can be quite useful to have spelling variations set up as forwarding addresses, particularly with names which have multiple different ways of being spelled. Examples of this are Rachel/Rachael, Vicky/Vickie, Robin/Robyn, Sarah/Sara, Pete/Peter and so on. This way, any e-mails sent to the incorrect address will then be automatically forwarded to their desired recipient.
  • Forward mail from one address to multiple recipients: A great thing about e-mail forwarders is that the server can forward all mail sent to one e-mail forwarding address - let's say [email protected] - to multiple recipients. In the example we have used, all mail could be forwarded to all members of the marketing team. This would mean that all e-mails sent to [email protected] would then forward on to [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]

The cons

However, there is a slight downside to using this method of receiving mail:

  • It looks unprofessional if replying from a non-company e-mail address: In the 'pros' section above, we discussed forwarding to a company Gmail address if you did not have access to a mail program or webmail. While this can be a handy option, the downside to this is that all e-mails that are responded to will come from that Gmail address too. While some may not see this as a big problem, it can look unprofessional and some users may not trust the address as it is not directly affiliated with your brand (as it does not contain your domain name). Wherever and whenever possible, it is recommended to send and receive e-mails via a company email address (i.e. [email protected]).

How can I implement e-mail forwarders?

This all depends on how your e-mails are hosted. Some hosts will allow you to access cPanel, therefore allowing you to add forwarders yourself through here. if you want some more information on how to do this, please see cPanel's official guide here. Some hosts do not allow this level of access, so it may need to be something that you request they implement for you.

If you have any more questions about e-mail forwarding or the alternatives, feel free to get in touch with Cosmic's friendly team via [email protected] (which is a forwarding address!) or via telephone on 0845 094 6108 and we'll be happy to offer our advice.