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2 minute read - Tips

Running out of email addresses when you test?

Sep 20, 2011

I generally test web apps. And Web apps generally use an email address as the unique identifier. So by test number 2, some of you may have run out of email addresses to test with.

If this happens to you, don’t panic! Because here are some hints and tips for getting more email addresses than you probably ever wanted, but as a tester, have always needed.

Tip #1 – Go Disposable

This used to be my default approach. Pick a mad mailinator address that no-one would ever use and then I’m off and testing.

This works really well when you don’t really care about the privacy of the emails.

Tip #2 – Hack your email address

Gmail has some well known hacks for getting more value out of your email address.

  • + addressing, where you add +somethingunique to your gmail address

  • become mr.l.o.t.s.of.d.o.t.s gmail ignores the . in your email name before the @ so you can stick them in and get unique email addresses.

Other email hosts allow these strategies too, but I’ve only tried this on Gmail. Where have you tried it?

Tip #3 – use

Try the free service from

You sign up, get a username then start sending mail to, etc.

The emails get redirected to an email address of your choosing.

Tip #4 - Buy Your Own Domain you Cheapskate

When you register a domain name, many hosting companies give you a ‘single’ email address with the domain. What they actually mean is a single mailbox. Where anything @yourdomain gets routed to that mailbox. This effectively gives you unlimited email addresses.

If you want to do automated testing with the email, this may well turn out to be the best route to go down.

Any tips? How do you do it? Please leave a comment so that I, and the other visitors can learn from you.

Update April 2015

  • Vitaly Pryakhin “wrote an application, that allows to create disposable mailboxes locally. Thought you might be interested. It can be installed on a VPS and substitute public disposable mailbox services, like The application is simple and UI looks somewhat raw, although it is stable and has all basic functionality. It already saved me a lot of time. I’m going to continue working on QA Mail it and implement new features.”