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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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2016-03-23 8:14 pm

I, too, have had the same domain for many years and use the catch-all for everything. I have never been spammed as you described. Gathering all the emails I have been using over the years would be impossible. Has this policy been changed? This is literally a deal breaker if inmotionhosting can't do this. Please let me know asap.
31,499 Points
2016-03-24 3:11 pm
Hello Rajordan,

Thank you for contacting us. Yes, catch-all addresses are still unavailable on shared hosting environments.

Keep in mind we offer many VPS, Dedicated, and Managed hosting plans that do offer this feature.

Thank you,
n/a Points
2016-11-05 4:22 pm

This is also a deal breaker for me.  I use a new email address every time I set up a new account with someone (note the email I use at InMotion, for example), and I've been doing it for 10 years.  I'm not going to go log into my InMotion web account every time I add a new email account.

I don't think I'm "lucky"; I think you're vastly overestimating the spam danger (or perhaps you're wanting to upsell to other hosting plans?).

Should I be looking for a new provider?

43,761 Points
2016-11-07 3:54 pm
That is the current policy and has been for some time. There are currently no plans to change it.
n/a Points
2014-07-24 6:52 pm

Ok I have a reason to expect email from legitimate users and i  figured a "catch-all" would be the thing to do - maybe you have another idea...

Here's the story... I've had the address <> since about 1995 or so maybe 1996 - a LONG time. I don't even know how many people have that address nor do i have their addresses. It's a business email address that's been on my website since lynx went to a gui interface.

Now I can't use <shadow> (I do shadow theater btw) because it's reserved for the cpanel.

I decided to move my primary business domain to inmotion hosting as i'm very happy with your services and i have plenty of add-on domains available in my plan, so why should i pay another company for the one business domain (i've used them for at least 15 years).

Anyway -  of course i have to figure it out by tomorrow (literally) BUT - i've been trying to figure this out for awhile now. I even bought an email service for $10 a year but i can't use <shadow> with them either. However, they do have a "catch-all" ability but it seems i can't have the one domain's emails pointing to more than one server and i couldn't get the email and mx records working properly (maybe i'm misinformed OR just don't know this stuff).

It is SO confusing... anyway - i'm going to try to figure it out and if you have any ideas for me aside from a dedicated server which i imagine is WAY out of my price range. please help me asap - i'll be forever indebted...

thank you!


n/a Points
2014-07-24 7:03 pm

Ok it seems I'm able to use forwarders for email addresses that i already have set up as users. It does really well with those but i still can't figure out a way for <> email to do anything but bounce back. sigh

again, if you have any ideas please H E L P!!!


9,968 Points
2014-07-24 7:32 pm
Hello maRia, and thank you for your comment.

You are correct that the username shadow is reserved by cPanel and can't be used as a physical email account. It can be setup as a email forwarder, but your email will still bounce with an error message similar to: require_files: error for /home/userna5/etc/ Not a directory

With the way that cPanel functions it stores a file at /home/userna5/etc/ that contains the password information for that email account. As such, it can't create the /shadow/ directory for that name of an account, and it can't create the filters file inside that directory.

Unfortunately after some searching there does not appear to be a way to get around this issue within cPanel, or more than likely on most Linux mail servers, even with Catch-All addresses setup. A Windows mail server might allow for that address as it shouldn't use a shadow file to store the email account credentials for the account for authentication, so it wouldn't conflict.

I might recommending trying to gather up all the people you've had email conversations with from that address and simply give them your new address if they'd like to reach you. Or you would need to pay for a service separately that does allow that particular email account to be hosted on their mail server.

Hope that makes sense, please let us know if you need anything else.

- 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.


11,186 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.

9,968 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
9,968 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
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.
9,968 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
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!)!
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!
42,678 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 7:02 pm
Hello? ooh? oh? o? .?

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

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)?
42,678 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.
2012-11-12 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,

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