Please note this post has not been updated and may contain broken links or outdated information.

In our day-to-day development process, it’s useful to have a number of different testing emails across all the popular online systems (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) We use these to test everything from email campaigns (in collaboration with our local virtual machine library), various social tools, and the process of developing user accounts on sites. It’s this last one where we sometimes need hundreds of valid emails. One of the best tips we know to quickly QA in a scenario like this is to use Gmail and the + sign. This gives us as many as valid emails as we’d ever need. All you have to do is add a ‘+’ and any other characters you want before the Emails to addresses in this form are still delivered to you, and the “To:” address will maintain the “+something” you provided. Many people use this to find the source of email spam, as emails can be quickly searched, filtered or deleted. Some examples based on our [email protected] address (fictitious — click here for real contact info), all of which still deliver emails to our account:

An even lesser known trick is based on the fact that Gmail ignores the dots ‘.’ in your email address. This gives you even more options to vary your email, and could help circumvent any sites which have wised up to the + trick. Here’s some examples, and yes, you can combine the 2 tricks:

The same tip doesn’t work for or for Yahoo but they do offer some other limited solutions:

JF here in the office says:

“I use [email protected] for subscriptions, then I can filter them into a folder.”

Another great tip offered by Lifehacker:

“Let’s say you need to sign up for a mailing list that interests you, but you’re afraid spammers might get your address. We’ll call the list “exoticflowers”. Sign up with the list using the address “[email protected]”. Email to that address will still come to your “[email protected]” address even though the “To:” will include that “+exoticflowers” in it.”

Send us your #protip on this topic.

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