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How to deal with email changes the right way

This is a bit of a rant, but for good reason. And if you read and follow my quick advise further down this article the world will be a better place. At least in the world of email etiquette.

Over the last few months this has turned into a thing that happens multiple times a week, where I get a dumb and unintuitive auto-reply telling me the email address I tried to reach doesn’t exist anymore and I should re-send my email to some other address. Or whatever silly “solution” they came up with instead of doing something logical.

I think this is a major issue that can cost a business its reputation or at the very least a lot of money in sales and missed opportunities.

Changing email addresses can happen for a myriad of reasons; businesses moving to a new domain, people getting fired or re-located within the company. Fine. But don’t bother your contacts with it. Don’t have people sending you email do stuff after the fact to deal with your technical ineptness.

Auto-replies are stupid

Auto-replies are pointless and stupid. All they do is tell the sender they did something wrong, while they didn’t. It sets the wrong tone and requires the sender to figure out what to do. Often based on a poorly formulated auto-responder. Try not bother people trying to contact you with that stuff, they just want to work, ask you something or buy something from you. Making that hard for people has them look elsewhere.

Two of many bad examples

1. Last month I tried to contact my representative at a company I work with, this went unanswered. After 3 attempts (and 3 weeks) I got fed up and used their website contact form demanding a reply or at least some acknowledgement.
I got a quick reply, explaining the person didn’t work there anymore and they deleted his account.

What the hell! Who in the right mind does that…

2. And another one, this morning I got an auto-reply informing me that “my message” (It didn’t specify which) has not been delivered and that I should re-send it using a .com domain instead of their .co.uk because the .co.uk stuff was no longer monitored.

Really? I mean really… Clearly there is a server behind it, sending these stupid auto-replies. And by not specifying which message didn’t get delivered it serves no purpose at all other than to confuse me.

You get the idea, it’s ridiculous. We’re all supposed to be professionals. Why can’t you control your email! There is no excuse. Really, there isn’t.

The awesome power of Email Forwarders

Why do you think you can always reach me for support or sales, even on my 10 year old email address. And why do you think you always have my latest email address once we exchange a message.

Email forwarders! It’s like magic.

When you change email address, domain name, swap out staff, servers or software. Fine. Go for it. But nobody sending you email should be bothered with your internal changes. There is no technical reason you can’t make this a super smooth transition.

Silently forward the senders email to a different email address and reply from that email address. The next time the sender then replies to you, it will go the right way.
For good measure you can include a line in the signature, telling the sender about the change.

Simple, transparent, setting up a forwarder takes like 2 minutes and it makes you look much more professional. All without bothering the sender with your change and technical shizzle wizzle.

Making Email Forwarders

Or redirects, or aliases. There are a bunch of terms for it, but they all do exactly the same. They forward emails sent to address X to address Y. Simple.

Setting up Email Forwarders in cPanel

cPanel is one of the most widely used control panels in the world and it supports pretty everything you could ever want in a hosting package. Including Email Forwarders, or simply Forwarders.

Log in to your cPanel Dashboard and look for the Email section.
In there you’ll see a Forwarders option.

In there all forwarders are listed, as you can see I have a whole bunch.

Right above that list is a button to add Forwarders. Click it to create one. And fill in the email address you’re phasing out and the email address the emails should go to instead.

The destination email address can be any valid email address. Even ones on different services and domains.
Click Add Forwarder and done. You can now delete the actual email account and all emails will be forwarded to the new destination.

Setting up Email Forwarders in DirectAdmin

DirectAdmin is also one of the most popular control panels in the world and it’s widely used.
Log in to your DirectAdmin dashboard and look for the Email management section. In this section you’ll see a Forwarders option.

Click it and you’ll be presented with a list of current forwarders. Right above it is a link to create more forwarders.

Click the link and enter the original address and where it should forward to.

Once filled in, click create. And you can delete the actual Email account.
All emails sent to that address are now forwarded.

Setting up Email Forwarders in other control panels

Unfortunately I don’t have access to other control panels. So I can’t show you. However, there are a few other control panels. Most will support a feature like this and make it easy for you to use them.

Just look for the email section and see if Email Forwarders, Aliases or Email Redirects are in there. Big chance it is. Do not use Email Routing, that’s for something else. If you can’t find how to create email forwarders, ask your hosting provider.

Conclusion

There is no reason not to use Email Forwarders. They’re simple to set up and maintain. You don’t really need an IT guy or specialist to deal with this either. But you can. I can handle things like this if you want to. But the point is, missing out on email is unnecessary. You have all the tools you need to keep accounts to a minimum and maximise your reach.

  • Fired someone? Delete the email account, redirect the address to the replacement.
  • Changed domains? Forward ALL email to the new domain.
  • Want a dedicated PayPal address, but don’t want to use your actual email address? Make a paypal@ forwarder and forward that to your real email.
  • The appearance of 2 support departments with only 1 account? Create relevant forwarders that all go to your main support inbox.

And the list goes on…

If you need help with this, feel free to contact me for some advise. If you want me to go over your email setup and make actual changes and some improvements – I’m all ears.