By design, the catch-all is set to :fail: in order to prevent spammers from sending large amounts of unwanted mail to you. Our newer servers no longer allow you to set your own default address to prevent spam overflow, so we recommend using forwarders or filters to route your mail instead.

You can also learn about how to import email accounts and forwarders in cPanel if you already have a list of addresses that you'd like to be able to use for this purpose.

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2012-11-12 8:07 pm
Is there any way to make an exception to this? When I sign up for websites or fill in forms at companies, I use the email address: This way, I can easily filter emails and detect spammers. I have used MANY MANY values for and I would have to go through my email archives and create a separate forwarder for ALL these values in my cPanel... Quite a cumbersome and dreadful task...

Thanks in advance for your help!

Kind regards,
15,484 Points
2012-11-12 8:57 pm
Hello Jops,

Apologies, but the catch-all email address option is disabled on all shared servers due to security purposes. There is no way to make an exception to this in a shared server environment. If you were on a VPS or Dedicated server, then there would no problem enabling the catch-all email address.

If you have any further questions, please contact technical support or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.


Arnel C.
2012-11-13 2:31 am
Hey Arn,

Thanks for the quick answer. I was afraid that exceptions were out of the question. So, I spent the whole evening hacking away in AppleScript to retrieve all the TO and CC addresses that I have ever received email on and came up with a grand total of 345 forwarders that I have to create!!! WOW!!! Not something I'm looking forward to...

SO, second question: could someone, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE import these forwarders from a file that I can easily generate (e.g. CSV)?
2012-11-16 7:02 pm
Hello? ooh? oh? o? .?

Anyone there :) Still wondering if you could import my many forwarders from a .csv-file.

15,484 Points
2012-11-16 8:08 pm
Hello Jopsvanthof,

I checked into this and it appears that you cannot import the forwarders via CSV file, my apologies. If you need an immediate response, you should contact live support via phone, email or chat.

If you have any further questions, please contact technical support or leave a comment at the bottom of the page.


Arnel C.
2012-11-16 9:00 pm
Thanks for the quick answer Arnel,

I will contact support through email/phone/chat next time. But I thought it might be interesting for other users to read this thread so that's why I posted the question(s) here :)

Too bad the csv file is not going to work... I will have to break up the group and do a couple dozen of 'em each night or so...

Thanks again!
2012-11-21 2:50 am
OMG, how great is InMotion! I'm not sure if this feature was recently added, or if I just need to go see an eye doctor, but when you go to your cPanel, then "Mail" section, look for "Import E-mail Accounts/Forwarders"... You CAN actually import many many email forwarders using a .csv-file!!

Might be interesting to add this info to this article Arn... And maybe remove some of my rambling :)

Have a great day (I'll tell you, my day just became spectacular! Not having to manually add 114 very necessary forwarders!)!
9,521 Points
2012-11-21 10:35 am
Hello jopsvanthof,

Thanks for the great suggestion as it didn't look like we had an article covering that subject already. I went ahead and updated this article to link to the new article Import Email Accounts/Forwarders in cPanel.

Thanks again!

- Jacob
2014-01-28 6:46 pm
Well it's clearly not for "security" reasons, since you allow users on more expensive dedicated plans to do exactly this. I mean, thanks for protecting me from all that SPAM, but that should be up to me, shouldn't it? If I was so bothered by SPAM, I could just turn off the catch-all. So it's really just a matter of needing something special to include in your pricier hosting plans. Fantastic.
9,521 Points
2014-01-28 7:27 pm
Hello jaredmcohen,

As shared servers are shared by multiple users at once, for the security and speed of the server as a whole, catch all addresses are disabled. If one user for instance had a catch-all account setup on a shared server, and then started getting a spam attack where bots just go and try one common name after another trying to guess a valid account to spam, they'd all get accepted and treated as normal mail deliveries. Other users on that same shared server might possibly have their normal mail activities or website requests delayed while the server is trying to hand off all of that spam to a catch-all account.

If you have a dedicated server, and you end up coming under a large spam attack due to having a catch-all account being setup, you'd only be affecting just yourself and your sites and not other customers. So that's why it's allowed on that platform.

It's still a highly discouraged activity on dedicated servers, as it poses a big security risk essentially letting all spammers know that any email address they try on your domain will reach you.

- Jacob
n/a Points
2014-03-07 11:04 pm

must be a very rare occurence, because i have done my email this way for over 10 years and have never had a problem.  but now i either have to add 100s of forwarders or just change providers.... hmm i wonder which will be easier.


7,372 Points
2014-03-10 10:06 am
Catch all email addresses are a very bad idea as many bots will send mail to a particular domain without actually knowing the email addresses located on it. For example, in an attempt to get mail to you, a bot could send mail to, then and continue on. This would cause thousands of emails to your inbox from just a single bot.
n/a Points
2014-03-12 1:12 pm

yet in 10 years i have never had it happen.    furthermore there isnt even a way to add a forwarder with wildcards so that i could keep my ability to segregate mail, without having to setup a forwarder for each one... something like   devon*  so that the mythical bot would have to guess the first half of the address then add random guesses....     this may be put in place to prevent imaginary technically possible attacks, but it is not here to actually protect from any real threat.

9,521 Points
2014-03-12 7:51 pm
Hello devon,

If you haven't gotten any spam sent to you by having a catch-all account setup previously on your domain then I would consider yourself pretty lucky. Being a system administrator for over 8 years I've seen the issue crop up quite a few times.

Most spammers will try to use admin@, info@, webmaster@ or other common place email users names. If your email addresses, or domain name, isn't linked much around the web, chances are bots just haven't launched a spam attack against your specific domain, yet.

However, if we allowed catch-all email accounts on the shared server that your account resides on, and another user on the server was under a spam attack, your website and email services could be impacted by that additional usage. Take that a step further and say that 5 domains on the server are getting spammed at once, it's a big difference when it's just the server sending a bunch of User does not exist errors back to the spammer as opposed to accepting each and every single message for delivery which ties up mail connections as well as disk I/O as the messages are written to the hard drive.

End users might not see issues with catch-all address on the individual small scale, but we have to take into account things from the server-side and handling mail for a lot of users at once.

Being that currently about 90% or more of all email transmitted on the web is spam, opening yourself up to more ways for the spammer's to address a message to you isn't ideal, especially on a shared server.

Is there a particular reason that you'd be expecting mail from legitimate users that don't know your email addresses? Chances are if you came up with a few mail forwarders for common misspellings or what not of your email accounts, you'd account for a huge bulk of any potential human trying to get in touch with you.

Or you could always upgrade to a VPS or dedicated server, where since the server only has to worry about handling email for your sites, the catch-all issues isn't as large of a threat to the server's quality of service.

Please let us know if you had any other questions at all.

- Jacob

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