Default Mail Addresses in cPanel

Posted on by Patrick Hawkins | Updated:
Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you manage a domain, sooner or later you are bound to receive e-mail at your domain for an address that does not exist. Most of the time this mail comes from spammers, guessing that “” might be a viable email address at your domain. It might also come from someone who mistyped the first part of your legitimate email address.

cPanel handles this mail through the Default Address page.

Default Address page in cPanel

The Default Address page gives you all the options you will need to handle nonroutable incoming mail to your domain.

Discard with error to sender (at SMTP time)

This is the default option. Any mail sent to a non-existent mail address is bounced back to the sender with a message. Since this notifies the sender that the message was not delivered, this will give someone who misspelled the e-mail address an opportunity to resend the message. One downside of this approach is that it lets a spammer know that this domain is receiving e-mail, even if not at that particular address. This may encourage them to continue attempting to send mail to different addresses at that domain.

Forward to email address

This option forwards these types of messages to another e-mail address of your choosing. You will have to check this address every so often to make sure that you are not missing mail addressed to misspelled e-mail addresses.

Forward to your system account

This option forwards unrouteable mail to the cPanel user’s default e-mail address. This address has the same username as the cPanel account; that is, if the cPanel user’s name is username, then the e-mail address is

The upside to forwarding mail to this address is that any legitimate e-mail that may have been sent to a mistyped address is saved in this account. The downside is that if it is not checked often, the account could fill with spam and run up against the domain’s mail or disk space quotas.

Pipe to a program

This option directs unrouteable mail to a script of your choosing. This gives you a large amount of flexibility: you can do to this type of mail whatever can be programmed.


This option discards unrouteable mail without notifying the sender or you directly. The upside to this is that no spam ever hits the server, AND the spammer gets no confirmation one way or another that mail is being delivered to the address. The downside is that it is likely that legitimate e-mail would be deleted without warning if the sender uses the wrong e-mail address. Because of this possibility, cPanel warns that this option is “not recommended”. While it probably is not an option that most will want to use, it is perfectly safe as long as you understand the risks.

Hopefully this brief outline of the Default Address page will help you determine the best way to handle unrouteable mail to your domain. If you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact our heroic support team using the contact information below.


Liquid Web’s Heroic Support is always available to assist customers with this or any other issue. If you need our assistance please contact us:
Toll Free 1.800.580.4985
International 517.322.0434

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About the Author: Patrick Hawkins

Patrick Hawkins is a former Test Engineer and Managed WordPress admin with Liquid Web

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