Can I have a mail forwarder and a mailbox for the same address?

Question: It seems to work to have a mail forwarder and a mailbox for the same e-mail address. Is there any reason this is dangerous or bad?

Answer: Many IMAP mail services can be configured to both store and forward e-mails.

More problematic is the concept of forwarding an e-mail address to another e-mail address in general. As you may know, SMTP (Internet e-mail) is one of the oldest services on the Internet. It was created long before the World Wide Web was even conceived; it was created in the early days of the Internet when the big problem was robustness not security. Most of the problems with forwarding e-mail stem from the idea that when an e-mail is forwarded the RETURN-PATH is not updated. If an e-mail can not be delivered, then to whom is it bounced, the originator or the forwarder?

In a time when security was not an issue, the problem of routing delivery status notifications was a small price to pay for the convenience of forwarding an e-mail. Today with spam accounting for over 95% of all e-mail sent, anti-spam filters go nuts when the RETURN-PATH appears to have been tampered with on an e-mail that has been forwarded. Forwarded e-mail is not compatible with the Sender Protection Framework. The SPF will often discard forwarded e-mail as spam.

An alias address on an e-mailbox works fine but, forwarding an e-mail address to another e-mail address hosted on a different mail server IS NO LONGER A BESTPRACTICE.

Another problem with both storing and forwarding the same mail is often the user who set up their mailbox this way forgets that they are storing the mail in the mailbox because they only check the forwarded mail. When the original mailbox reaches it quota and shuts down, they cannot figure out why they are no longer getting their mail!

If you must store and forward (say to a legally required archive service), always check your mail at the main mailbox for that address.

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