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Catchall Email Address, How to Set


Note: This article applies to VPS and Dedicated hosting only.

In cPanel, the Catchall feature is referred to as the default address. Enabling the default address allows all misrouted or misaddressed emails to be sent to a particular email address rather than bouncing. Therefore, you should be careful when setting up a default address, as this can increase your possibility of becoming a victim of spam.

By default, HostGator disables the default address for all Shared and Reseller accounts due to spam and security concerns, and it cannot be re-enabled due to these concerns. Although it is not advised, VPS and Dedicated hosting customers have the option to use this feature and can follow the guide below.

If you see the following message in cPanel when you click on the Default Address icon, this is because you are on either a Shared or Reseller hosting plan:

The Default Email/Catchall feature has been disabled by default due to Spam and Security concerns. Please contact support if you need assistance with creating mail forwards (aliases) as an alternative.

As an alternative, customers on Shared and Reseller hosting can set up email forwarding. You can refer to our guide on How to Create/Delete an Email Forwarder in cPanel for more information.

How To Set Up Catchall

For VPS and Dedicated hosting customers, once activated, you can set up a catchall email address by doing the following:

  1. Log in to cPanel.
  2. Look for the Email section, then click Default Address.

    cPanel - Default Address

  3. In the Send all unrouted email for the following domain dropdown, select the domain name for which you would like to set up the catchall. You will be given different options on how to handle misrouted or misaddressed emails sent to your domain.

    Settings for Default Address

    • Discard with error to sender (at SMTP time): Choose this option if you wish for the emails to bounce back to the sender with a specified error message. You may choose the failure message that is given in the bounceback by filling out the Failure Message box.
    • Forward to email address: This option is the most commonly used. With this option, all misrouted or misaddressed emails will be forwarded to the email address, which is specified. Please be aware that by having all misrouted emails go to an email box, you might receive a large number of unwanted emails to the point that your inbox becomes full.
  4. Click the Advanced Options link to see the additional options you may choose for your default address.

     Default Address Advanced Options

    Default Address Advanced Feature

    • Discard: This option will be used if you do not wish for a bounceback message to be sent to the sender of the misrouted email.
    • The Pipe to a program option will send the email to a script of your choice. When piping to a program, you should enter a path relative to your home directory. If the script requires an interpreter such as Perl or PHP, you should omit the "/usr/bin/perl, or /usr/bin/php portion." Make sure that your script is executable and has the appropriate hashbang at the top of the script. If you do not know how to add the hashbang, just make sure to name your script file with the correct extension, and you will be prompted to have the hashbang added automatically.
  5. Click Change to complete the setup of the catchall address.

Note: Emails count towards a customer's inode limits, so an overstuffed email box can result in account suspension. We recommend creating an email forwarder as an alternative.