e-mail aliases and forwards - data format

The e-mail aliases and forwards are defined as two columns, separated by whitespace. (spaces or tabs). On the left is the alias or forward name, and on the right is where mail sent to that address should go. For an alias, the right column will usually be your usercode. A forward is nothing more than an alias where the right column is an external e-mail address instead of your usercode. An easy way to think about it is to think of the left column as defining "for this address..." and the right as "the mail should go here..." It sounds more confusing than it actually is, so some examples are definitely in order. :-)

Lets assume that we are hosting a couple of domains for you; and, and that your usercode is "billy". Consider the following aliases and forwards:        billy        billy             error:nouser Never heard of that person           error:nouser No such user here               billy

Lets take a look at those, one at a time:        billy
This is an example of an alias. The above would cause anything sent to to be delivered to the account with the usercode "billy".        billy
This is similar to the first alias. All mail sent to would go to "billy".
This is an example of a forward. As you can see, it is similar to an alias except that the right column does not contain a local usercode, but a full e-mail address. What this means is that any mail sent to would go to             error:nouser Never heard of that person
This example introduces two new concepts. First, notice that the address on the left does not have a "user" part, it starts with the at sign. (@) This will match any e-mail sent to any address at (Except for,, and; those have already been defined.)

Additionally, the address on the right is not an address at all, but an error message. You can make the error message (the "Never heard of that person" text) say anything you want, but "special characters" are generally not allowed, just letters, numbers, and spaces.

So, what the above alias would do is to bounce mail to any address at except for billy, sales, and complaints. The reason listed in the error message for the bounce would be "Never heard of that person".
Nothing new here, this is just a forward; anything sent to would go to instead.           error:nouser No such user here
Another error alias. Any mail sent to will bounce with the error message being "No such user here".               billy
Another "all-encompassing" alias. Anything sent to any address at will be delivered to billy. (Except for and, those have already been defined.)

Note: This is a great way to quickly define an infinite number of aliases! Rather than having to create a bunch of different aliases such as,,,, etc., you can just use the all encompasing alias above (, and will be delivered to you! If someone asks for your e-mail address or the address of a particular department in your company, you just can make up any old address on the fly if you want to, and you don't have to worry about defining it before anyone uses it, because you know it'll show up in your mailbox.

A convenient use for this is as an anti-spam tool. You can make up addresses when you are purchasing something on-line, or filling out an on-line form. You can use a different address for every vendor, for example If you start getting spam to this address, you know that the spammer got it from "ABC Sales"! This will also allow you to build a filter using your e-mail client (if supported) to trash this spam automatically.

Would you prefer that anything sent to any address at were forwarded somewhere else instead? No problem; instead of using "billy" in the second column, use the address you want the mail sent to! For example:     

Hopefully the above info will give you a good idea about how to define aliases and forwards, and give you a glimpse at what is possible while doing so. Of course, if something is not clear or if you have any questions, feel free to e-mail us at