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 @mailinator.com and you can use any of them. Want [email protected]? You got it. Want PrettyMothra? ScaryGavyn? No problem. Those and any other mailboxes you think of @mailinator.com are created when email arrives! Really.
How is Mailinator different than some other web email, like Yahoo or Hotmail?
Mailinator is fundamentally quite different from other services. Other services let you "own" email addresses. Not here - at Mailinator all email addresses are owned by everyone. All email is public. Also, email services like Gmail or Yahoo allow you to actually send email - Mailinator is "receive-only".
You cannot send email from Mailinator.
After several hours, all email is auto-deleted. There is no real security here.
The upside is that Mailinator does not require 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. And you probably already have an email address - and that probably works great 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 - really, it was ready even before you knew you needed it - you can avoid giving out your real email address. 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. It's important you know that any email that gets sent to Mailinator is deleted from the system after a few hours.
If I don't "sign up", then how do I create an account?
You don't create accounts - arriving emails do. 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 it says "Check an 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?
Well to start - it's not your email. All email in the Mailinator system is "public domain". Anyone can read it if they know where to look. You can choose odd-names to avoid heavily used inboxes.
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?
Not many, actually. You cannot see attachments when the mail arrives @mailinator. We do try to avoid some more insidious spam. Some rejection criteria include email size and too many recipients. 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.
The official policy is something like:
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. The inherent design of how Mailinator works precludes any possibility of information sent here being private to any user.
Are there other features that you can tell me about??
We got it all! Well, not all, but lots of great features. You can subscribe via Slack or RSS feed to a particular mailbox. There is even a signup option that gives you the ability to store email among other enhanced features (read more about that Here). We also have alternate domains, and alternate inbox names…
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 protected]
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 [email protected] OR [email protected] - 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 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. (Note: your email is still in a public inbox, just possibly harder to locate)