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Using Gmail as a Spam Filter for your Personal Email Account

Jul 7 2009

Google is huge for a reason, they do things right. Email and spam filtering are just a couple of those things.

I have several email addresses that have apparently been sold to half of the free world for “marketing” purposes. I’m sure many of you do as well. These are all email addresses from old websites of mine that aren’t run through one of the major providers like yahoo mail or gmail. I know that this filtering trick has been around for a while but I just recently started using it and I thought I’d share the knowledge.

The Overview: Basically your emails get forwarded to gmail when they hit your personal account. Next gmail does its thing, filtering spam in this case. Now you set up your email client to use the Gmail POP credentials and then you can check your email as you normally would.

The Specifics:
– Go to google.com and signup for a gmail account (link in the top left of page). [something like your-email.spamfilter@gmail.com works well]
– Make sure POP is enabled for the Gmail account by going to “Settings” > “Forwarding and POP/IMAP” [you may have to enable IMAP for some mobile devices]
– Redirect your personal email address (via your email server/client) to your new Gmail account address. (If you’re not sure how to redirect your email, contact your IT guy)
Configure your email client to receive the Gmail-filtered emails.
– Leave the outgoing mail server set to your personal account details and all outgoing email will be sent as usual with your name, email address, signature, etc.

Now please note that there are several ways to accomplish Google spam filtering but this technique seems to work very well. If you know of a better way to handle this or see any issues with this particular technique, please feel free to post about it.