Discover 5 of the best temporary email services for every need

January 11, 2024

  • # Identity Protection
  • # Account Protection
  • # Phishing Protection

Internet users are at a crossroads. 

You want to experience the convenience the internet provides, taking advantage of online shopping and services. But you also want to keep your data safe. 

Most of your online financial activities, from shopping experiences and service sign-ups to logging into your bank account, require you to hand over personal data, even if just your email address. Giving this information often ensures you get a double-authentication message to finish an account sign-up or a shipping confirmation. 

But companies can use this data to send you unwanted emails, and — in the worst cases — your information could end up in the wrong hands.

If you’re tired of watching your inbox pile up with spammy marketing emails or worrying whether your data is safe, take better control of how you share personal information with a disposable email address. You’ll be able to complete online sign-ups and purchases without ever exposing your actual email. Choose the right service with our guide to the five best temporary email services.

What’s a disposable email address?

A disposable email address is a temporary email account that looks and functions like a real one. You can provide a disposable address to third parties and receive messages from them in your temporary email inbox or have them re-routed to your main email service, whether that’s Gmail, Yahoo, or Microsoft. Depending on the service, this address (and its respective inbox) may last anywhere from a few minutes to days. 

“Burner” emails work well for situations in which you don’t want to provide your actual email but need to give one to complete a process online. You might use disposable emails on purchases or sign-ups and still receive the first few emails from the third party you give these addresses to. You’ll receive a double-authentication or shipping confirmation email that comes through a few minutes after signing up or shopping but won’t be subject to promotional emails weeks later.

How do disposable email addresses work?

Disposable email services create a temporary email address for users. Some of these sites automatically generate a randomized, disposable email. Others allow you to create your own address.

Once you have your disposable address, you can copy-paste it into any online form. More advanced services also allow you to use alias email addresses to initiate conversations.

Disposable email services also provide a temporary or permanent inbox associated with the address. Temporary ones appear on the same webpage where you generate the disposable address. So long as you keep that page open while your disposable email address remains active, you can receive and access messages that arrive in your temporary inbox. 

Not all services provide a permanent inbox feature, but the ones that do will likely ask you to download an app. The most advanced email alias services forward responses to your fake address to a real, primary inbox — like your Gmail one. 

If you aren’t sure how long you’ll need your disposable email, consider using a masked email address instead. Masked emails hide your real address, acting as an alias to hide your identity while forwarding messages to your regular inbox. 

IronVest’s masked emails have a web interface so you don’t need to worry about an app and will autofill from the browser extension. Plus, they aren’t necessarily temporary, so you can use them for just once or whenever you need — even daily.    

Types of disposable emails

Disposable email address services all have the same aim: to maintain your digital privacy. But burner email generation services take distinct routes to achieving this shared goal. Here are a few disposable email types worth familiarizing yourself with.

Throwaway email addresses

You can create a throwaway email address instantly and use it for a period lasting from a couple of minutes to a few days. Then, the address and its corresponding inbox disappear. Throwaway services generally only allow you to receive emails — not send them.

The downside of throwaway addresses is losing access to the temporary inbox. Should you use one of these emails to sign up for a streaming service and later need to stay up on billing or account information, you won’t be able to access incoming messages from that content provider. 

Separate email addresses 

In this model, you or your email provider generates an alias email account for certain types of contact, like retailer contact, marketing emails, and potential spam. You retain your actual address for personal and professional messages. But any time you make a purchase or sign up for a service online, you use the fake email (which ideally contains no identifiers, like references to your name). 

You can check the false inbox for marketing messages or shipping updates — but these emails won’t stack up in your primary inbox.

The downfall of having separate email addresses is losing time flipping between inboxes. 

Masked email addresses

Masked addresses combine the power of using an alias with retaining a permanent inbox. In this model, you generate a randomized email to use online or even to start conversations, and you receive responses and updates in your real inbox. The service providing the masked email address, like IronVest, forwards any messages addressed to it to your primary inbox — without ever revealing your true identity to senders. 

Another upside of using masked emails is that you can create several. You can use one to make a purchase today and another tomorrow. And you can turn off addresses at any time. 

Suppose you use a masked address to make a purchase, and the retailer or its affiliates send you an annoying amount of spam. You can deactivate this address, halting the receipt of those pesky emails without losing access to your inbox, primary email account, or other masked addresses you have. 

Advantages of getting a temporary email address

A temporary email address can save you from spam, and for many, that’s a good enough reason to use one. But here are a few more arguments for using a burner email. 

Protection against phishing

Phishers send seemingly well-intentioned emails with the aim of stealing your data. They may, for example, send you a link to fill out “payment information” for an app you subscribe to. The email isn’t from the app but from a cybercriminal who wants to collect your data via a form. If you use a fake email online, your actual email address won’t end up in the hands of phishers

Worry-free browsing

Suppose you plug your contact information into a form on the site and immediately regret it. Something seems off about the webpage, and you may have misjudged its safety or validity. If you use a burner email address and accidentally access a shady site, you won’t have to worry that the people or bots behind it will get your real data. 

Ease of use

Disposable or alias email services generate an address (and, in many cases, an inbox) for you. This means you don’t have to come up with new addresses or set up inboxes, which saves you time and mental energy. If you only plan to use a disposable email once, get a service that deletes the associated inbox to take that task off your to-do list, too. 

The top 5 temporary email services

Whether you want to avoid filling out forms with personal details or receiving a barrage of marketing emails, you’re ready to use a temporary email service. Here are our top five picks for various needs.

1. IronVest

IronVest uses the email masking method, meaning you can send messages with fake addresses or use them on online forms, and responses will arrive in your primary inbox. Free users can create up to three addresses, and premium subscribers can make unlimited masked emails. Plus, you can turn off addresses you no longer need at any time. Best of all, IronVest’s masked emails aren’t actually temporary — you can use them whenever you need.

2. Temp Mail

Temp Mail provides free disposable email services and gives you a corresponding inbox. Your email address is available until you delete it (or until the site changes its domain list), though the service also has a self-destructing 10-minute option. 

3. 10-Minute Mail 

10-Minute Mail provides a free, disposable email address with a temporary inbox that stops working after 10 minutes. Should you need more time, you can continue to renew your session in 10-minute blocks.

4. Maildrop

Maildrop allows users to create a free, throwaway email address or take a suggested one. While similar to other disposable email services, Maildrop also offers spam protection, meaning unwanted messages won’t make it into your temporary inbox. It also automatically destroys inboxes that don’t receive an email in 24 hours. 

5. Burner Mail 

Burner Mail creates an alias email address for services you sign up for, like Netflix or Amazon, and re-routes related messages to your primary inbox. This email provider also offers additional security features like the ability to block pesky senders and send or reply to emails from a burner address. 

Choosing a temporary email service

Before choosing a provider, here are a few considerations to help you narrow the selection: 

  • Frequency of use: Any free, quick service will fit the bill if you only need to use a disposable address once. But if you want to protect your information on all online forms to come, consider a service like IronVest that masks your email and forwards messages to your permanent inbox. 

  • Safety: Make sure the service you use is reputable by searching for reviews and reading the site’s security policy. IronVest’s mission is to keep all user data safe, making it a reliable choice for masked email services.

  • How the service works: Ensure you understand where the inbox associated with the generated email address is, how long you can access it, and any limitations on using it or the address. 

Up your digital security with IronVest

A temporary email address can protect you from spam and some phishing attempts. But these cybersecurity risks are just the tip of the iceberg. 

Get IronVest and improve your all-around cybersecurity. Add biometric authentication/biometric account protection, virtual credit cards that mask your real credit card data, and 2FA protection. Let IronVest help you enjoy the web worry-free.

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