What is Mailinator?
Mailinator is a different kind of email service. The biggest difference is that you don't need to sign up. Any email name you can think of already exists at Mailinator.com. Want BrianTheSkink@mailinator.com? You got it. Want to be JacquesKooStow? ScaryGavyn? GraysonTheMason? No problem. They exist when you create them and they are just waiting for you to check your inbox.
How is Mailinator different than some other web email, like Yahoo or Hotmail?
Mailinator is fundamentally quite different from other services. Other services like Gmail or Yahoo allow you to actually send email. You cannot send email from Mailinator. After several hours, all email is auto-deleted. A Mailinator email inbox can be read by anyone. There is no real security here. Mailinator has strict rules about what kind of email it receives. Plain text is best, html is filtered. Images, attachments, and fancy stuff are simply stripped away.
The upside is that Mailinator requires no sign-up. Send email to a name, and the account is created automagically.
In a nutshell, other services provide more functionality but require a sign-up (which takes time, even if you falsify all the information anyway). Mailinator provides less, but requires no sign-up.
Do I want this?
Are you Kidding? YOU SURE DO !
In our internet world, you often need an email address NOW. Signing up for an email service takes time. That's probably ok for most emailing, but every now and then you need a quick email address for just a single email. After that you don't care what happens to it. Given that such an email address is ready in an instant, you can avoid giving out your real email address when you are afraid of getting spammed. Instead, make up any address @mailinator.com on the spot and go check it later.
So Mailinator solves the Spam problem?
Heck no. If it solved the spam problem it would probably be called IBMinator or MICROSOFTinator or something even catchier cuz we would have sold it and we'd be zillionaires off pursuing our real dream of helping nice people like Dr. Bahutu of Nigeria who keeps emailing us asking for our help transferring some funds.
Mailinator gives you an opportunity to skirt one avenue that spammers use to spam you. It's just one extra tool in your spam-fighting toolbox.
Doesn't this open a situation where Mailinator might get LOTS of email that no one cares about?
Yup - Mailinator gets many millions of emails per day. Its important you know that any email that gets sent to Mailinator is deleted after a day, sometimes sooner. After that time, it will be auto-deleted.
If I don't "sign up", then how do I create an account?
You don't. Mailinator creates an email account as soon as email arrives for it. All you or anyone else needs to do is send email to the name you thought up and - Kazam! - it will be there waiting for you.
Um... how do I get the email then?
Visit mailinator.com and type in the email name where is says "Check your inbox!", then click "Go!", and Mailinator will display the list of email waiting.
Err... what's the password to get the email
There's no password. The email name itself is the only key you need to get in.
Um... if there is no password, can't someone else get my email?
Yup. For this reason, you might want to pick an unusual name. You can pick firstname.lastname@example.org if you want, but maybe you'd be better off with email@example.com - except for now that we've mentioned that name in the FAQ everyone will know about it. So try firstname.lastname@example.org ... oops! In any case, its perfectly possible for anyone to see an email if they know the name. Mailinator generates a random name for you every time you visit the home page. If you want an obscure or unusual name, and you used up all your imagination today, you can use auto-gen name.
Note that there are something like (rough approximate) 830 trillion trillion trillion different Mailinator email addresses. You really do have some latitude to pick a unique one.
This sounds pretty insecure, what if I want to send important emails with sensitive super-secret information in them to Mailinator?
Then you are a stupid-head. That isn't what this is for.
Are there any limitations on the emails that get sent here?
Yes. Any given mailbox will only hold 10 messages at once. All attachments - pictures, binary files, etc. - are stripped out (you can never catch a virus from an email at Mailinator). Other rejection criteria include email size (max 120k), and too many recipients. Additionally, there are a variety of other filters that we use to protect us from bad people. Any email that Mailinator isn't happy with will never make it into the system.
Are there any limitations on email address names? Are bad words filtered?
The name you pick must form a proper email address or the email will never even get as far as Mailinator. This means that if you try to use bob@bob@email@example.com, or anything else that breaks email name rules, the RFC Monster (a close relative of the Bandersnatch) will eat your email before we ever see it. Beyond the normal rules, we limit email names to 25 characters. Other than that, we don't do any specific word filtering of address names. If you are at a point in your life where you still think having the email "firstname.lastname@example.org" is cool then we envy you.
The official policy is something like: At Mailinator, THERE IS NONE. Expect that any email you send or have sent here can and will be viewed by anyone. Mailinator/ManyBrain does not ask for or require any of your personal information. Simply put, anyone can read anyone else's email here. By design, there is simply no way to insure only you have access to any given email.
Privacy is a serious issue, and we want to be clear. We think Mailinator can provide pretty decent privacy, but we can't and don't promise it. A promise like that would require lawyers, money, and probably guns - and we don't have any of those.
So if the government issued a subpeona to Mailinator to divulge emails or logs, you'd rat me out?
Holy crap, yes. I'm not going to jail for you, I have a boyish face and very (very) supple skin.
At this point, Mailinator cooperates with law enforcement when reasonable to do so and at this point has received friendly subpeonas, emails, or calls from the FBI, IRS, Justice department, LAPD, and Scotland Yard.
What are "Alternate Domains" ?
Some websites simply won't let you sign-up unless you consent to letting them spam you thereafter. As part of this, they might disallow email addresses like mailinator.com. To give you further avenues to protect your privacy, Mailinator has many other domains that also point to Mailinator. Emailing any of those is just the same (as far as mailinator is concerned) as emailing Mailinator itself. Check the front-page for some of the alternate domains.
Also note that you can point your own domains to Mailinator (i.e. specifically, your MX record). Thus you can have your "own private Mailinator" in that respect. The mailinator system accepts any email addressed to email@example.com.
What are "Alternate Inbox Names" ?
There are 2 ways to get email into any given inbox. When you check an inbox, listed at the top is the Alternate Inbox name. Emailing that alternate name is the same as emailing the regular name of the inbox. For example, the alternate name for "joe" is "M8R-yrtvm01" (all alternate names start with "M8R-").
Thus, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org OR M8Remail@example.com - either way, the email will arrive in the "joe" inbox (and nothing into the M8R-yrtvm01 inbox). What's more, there is no way to guess an an alternate name. If you give out the alternate, only YOU will be able to check the emails because only you know the original inbox name.
In short, pick yourself a nice, long, and hard-to-guess mailinator name - and then give out the alternate. People can email you but can't read your email !
There is some OTHER free email service and its MUCH better!
That's not really a question, but we'll try to answer it anyway. As far as we know, nothing like Mailinator existed before Mailinator (though there are plenty of copy-cats now). We certainly aren't competing with other free anti-spam services - we're all on the same side, remember?. We feel that Mailinator effectively solves one specific part of the spam problem. In the end, use what works best for you. Mailinator works great for us, we use it all the time.
Check your Inbox!
Can't think up an Address?
At Mailinator you can use any address that YOU make up! Here's a random one though if you're having trouble thinking of one: