Review: (formerly AnonAddy) a Private Email Relay Service (2024)

Important: I am not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, brands, services, or websites listed on this page and this is my personal experience.  If you find this helpful and want to say thanks, please buy me a coffee or take a look at my book on Amazon. It keeps this page ad-free. Thank you!

Update: In August 2023, AnonAddy rebranded to, this review has been updated to reflect the name change. I have used both names or the names interchangeably where it makes sense. I have been using Anon Addy for years and it’s still as awesome as it was when I first used it.

If you own an Apple device, you may be familiar with “Hide My Email“. It lets you set up a relay so that your real email is never shared with a website. Instead, each website you log in to will have its own email address.

If you want to jump straight to the (formerly AnonAddy) review, click here but it is worth the few minutes to read everything below, just to help you make the most informed decision.

How Private Email Relay Works

For example, if your real email is Apple will create a new email address All emails sent to this latter address will then be forwarded to your real email. But even better, should you want to stop receiving emails from whoever has your email, you can just turn off that email address. No need to unsubscribe.

Why should you want to use a Private Email relay service?

In a world of data breaches, hacks, spam, etc. it’s very likely that your real email is (sadly) already in the wild and being targeted. It makes me angry when there’s a data breach and the company responds “no private data was exposed, just first name, last name, and email address”. Seriously!?! How many companies publicly publish the email address of their CEO or management team? None. I think companies that have a data breach should be forced to publicly publish the personal email and all phone numbers of the CEO as punishment. But I digress…

What’s even worse, is oftentimes companies don’t disclose that they have been hacked until after several weeks (sometimes because they don’t even know themselves). This is where private email relay can literally be your canary in the coal mine. Using the “quaint.squirrel” example, let’s say you use that email address only at one site if suddenly you’re getting all sorts of other emails sent to “quaint.squirrel” then you know the site has an issue and you can take steps to protect yourself – kill the exposed email address, check any linked credit cards, etc.

There’s also another reason why email relay services are important and that’s privacy. An email address is used by data brokers and others to link your identity and track your behavior across websites, apps, retailers, and everywhere else. If you want a sense of what data brokers do, check out this video from John Oliver. Using an email relay service makes it harder for these companies to invade your privacy and track you. It doesn’t make it impossible for them to track you, but if you’re making it harder then it is a step in the right direction.

In short, if your real email address is exposed in a hack you will be inundated with spam, phishing attempts, and so much that it can make your inbox unusable. Your email is also used by data brokers and others who mine your personal data. So, if you want to minimize the risk that your real email will be out in the wild, targeted by spammers and hackers and you want to protect your privacy, you need to make the shift to using a private email relay service.

But what about Gmail and the plus sign?

If you use Gmail, you may be familiar with the ability to add a plus sign to create an additional email address for your inbox. For example, if you’re you can be to have a unique email address for each site you visit. However, the Gmail plus sign is not an email relay and offers no protection from data breaches or privacy. Firstly, because it reveals your real email address anyway (it doesn’t take Einstein to know has the real email of but worse there’s no way to disable a “plus” email address if it has been exposed. So if you’re using Gmail with a plus, you may as well use your real email address anyway.

Alternatives to Apple’s Hide My Email

Apple isn’t the only company that offers hide my email, Firefox has its own Private Relay offering. The Firefox offering is good, but it’s best if you use Firefox as your browser (although it is accessible via any browser). The limitation of Firefox and Apple’s offering is both expect you to be committed to their ecosystem. This isn’t really practical for some of us – I have Windows and macOS devices, on my work laptop I can’t install my own web browser, and if you’re an Android user then you’re locked out of Apple anyway – so you need an alternative. This is where is a great alternative to Apple’s Hide My Email.

 [ AnonAddy Review ]

Review: (formerly AnonAddy) Private Email Relay

First, I’ll state I’m not affiliated with (formerly AnonAddy), I’m a paying customer. This review is based on my experience and I don’t provide support. Your results may vary, but I thought it would be worth sharing my real-world experience with AnonAddy.

What is (AnonAddy)? provides an Apple-like “Hide My Email” or Firefox “Private Relay” service for your email. It’s a website/web app, so it doesn’t matter what operating system or browser you use, it will work for anyone on any device. AnonAddy offers both free and paid plans and it works with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and everything else.

Getting Started with (AnonAddy)

It’s easy to get started with It’s free to register (no credit card required) and there is a 100% free tier but it does have limitations. There is a watch out on sign-up, which is your username will become (on the free plan) your anonaddy private email domain.

AnonAddy Sign Up

Or in other words, if you set your username as quaintsquirrel then your email relay will be which can be a bit of a mouthful. FYI, quaintsquirrel is not my username. It’s just a fun example for this review.

I recommend picking something short and memorable as your username. You cannot change your username, but the (AnonAddy) paid plan does offer the ability to set an alias username, 1 additional alias on the “lite” plan, or 10 on the “pro” plan. This makes additional usernames a benefit of the paid plans.

Once you register, verify your real email address, and log in you’re presented with the main (AnonAddy) Dashboard.

This is a screenshot of the main AnonAddy (before it became dashboard console, it tells you how many email addresses you have active, how many are forwarding, and bandwidth usage.

You may notice that I have 10 Active, with 0 Inactive. This is because lets you pause an email alias. This is one of the advantages of over Apple and others. This is useful because you can use pause an alias to stop receiving emails but then turn it back on to receive emails again without having to update your address on a website, app, etc.

Pausing is useful for sites that may take 4-5 days to unsubscribe you from their marketing list but you still want to keep your account for online shopping, etc. Although, you should know that some companies may close or delete your account if they start getting too many bounced emails. So use pause with caution!

Creating Email Aliases with (AnonAddy) 

To create a new email alias (private email) on is easy, you just click the Create New Alias button.

Private email aliases can be:

  • random characters
  • UUID (a 128bit string of characters)
  • random words
  • custom on your own domain (but not on shared domain aliases)

You can pick your default option for the above in account settings. Including the default domain that you want to use for the alias. Free plans send using your username on an AnonAddy subdomain e.g.

The paid plan unlocks 3 additional domains as well as the ability to use your own custom domain name.

Using your own Domain for Private Email Relay

One of the things I really like about (AnonAddy) and why I upgraded to the Lite plan is the ability to use your own custom domain as a private email relay. The Lite plan lets you add 1 custom domain, the Pro plan lets you add 20. Custom Domains for a private email relay are useful because a lot of sites have got wise to disposable and relay email addresses and will mark them as invalid and block you from using them. With your own domain, sites can’t block your disposable email address because they won’t know the domain or email is a relay. Win!

The setup of my own domain for private relay to hide my email on was straightforward. I’m happy to report that supports SPF, DKIM, etc. to increase email security, block spam, etc. You will need to be able to set up and manage your DNS records to complete the process but end-to-end it took under 5 minutes to have everything validated and working.

You should know, though, that you should create a new fresh domain to use as your email relay and not a domain you’re already using for emails unless you want to hand over all email control to This is because needs to be the primary MX record and have the ability to create and delete email accounts. If you need to buy a domain name, I recommend NixiHost.

If you’re using your own domain, you can turn on a “Catch-All”. There’s no reference in the help documentation about how this works, but it “seems” to work the same as on-the-fly email creation. The downside though with turning on Catch-All is spammers who may try to spam you use brute force dictionary-based attacks.

I have decided to leave Catch-All off, even though it means I lose on-the-fly aliases on my custom hide my email domain.

On my To-Do List is to see if you can use a subdomain with a custom domain on On Lite accounts, you’re limited to only one domain so I have been unable to test this. But if you can add subdomains for a custom domain, then you could theoretically leave the Catch-All on for your subdomain, as it’s more likely that a subdomain would be much safer from dictionary-based spam attacks. (AnonAddy) On the Fly Alias / Catch-All offers on-the-fly private email relays, without having to use the platform. This works in two ways, the first is with the relay. You can tell someone your email is and will just work AnonAddy will deliver the email and you can then disable it in the dashboard or by clicking on the deactivate link (explained later) in the header of the email.

The other way to create on-the-fly private email relays is to use your own domain and enable the Catch-All functionality. Although I’m not a fan of this given it’s possible for bad actors to abuse this by spamming your domain with typical email aliases e.g. contact, info, support, etc.

Overall though, I do like that gives you the ability to create aliases for private email relays without having to configure them in advance in the dashboard. It is an advantage of over Apple’s Hide My Email.

If allowed you to create dynamic emails with subdomains on your custom domains, it would be awesome. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to test this on my Lite plan as I’m limited to one domain.

Receiving Relayed Emails

One of my favorite things about is that forwarded emails are clearly labeled when they hit your inbox. I’ve obfuscated the screenshot below, but it will tell you the email alias used and the address it was forwarded to. There’s also a link to deactivate the alias.

AnonAddy Forwarded Emails

This is the best thing about and gives it an edge over Apple’s offering. Knowing which alias is used for your email relay means it’s easy to track if and where an email address has been leaked, stolen, sold, or used without your permission.

Everything else in your email will look normal without any addition or change. In my tests, HTML and rich emails were still rendered correctly when forwarded by AnonAddy/

Sending from Email Addresses

One cool feature of that I haven’t seen elsewhere is that you can send emails from your relayed email address. This functionality is only available from the web interface and is hidden under the 3 dot menu on the far right of the alias (see picture).

AnonAddy Send From

What this does is creates an email relay in the other direction. You enter the destination email and you will get an alias email to send to, which sends via It strips out your own email, and then forwards it to the recipient. I haven’t come across any private email offering that offers the same feature. To be clear, it’s not a web-based form for sending from, you email from your normal email client but don’t need to mess around with From headers.

AnonAddy/ Tips: Store Receipts and Other Emails 

If you want to use AnonAddy/ for email receipts when you shop in-store, I would recommend being on a paid plan and creating a custom name alias for receipts with some random word you can always remember e.g.


A random word is good because if the email leaks in a breach or hack you can delete the alias. A random word will look more normal if you have to speak, write, or tap it out in-store, and if you keep it short, it will be much faster in day-to-day life. This is my recommended approach for stores where the cashier asks for a receipt but not for stores I shop at regularly.

While supports the on-the-fly creation of alias emails, it’s limited to subdomains at domains or requires you to have Catch-All enabled on your own custom domain. The former can make emails just long and awkward unless your Username or Username alias is short and the latter has risks of abuse from bad actors.

As for stores that you shop at regularly, I have set up multiple aliases in advance and labeled them. My approach is to use the store name and a common random word e.g. squirrel. This would give me something like:


Because in-store, if your email is needed to login or link to a loyalty program, or you need to validate your email in-store to redeem reward points, re-enter it to get the receipt, etc. a simple consistent alias approach across stores makes life easier. You also get all the benefits of still being able to delete and burn the email if there’s a breach and just create a new alias for the store e.g.

I still use and keep the truly long random AnonAddy-generated email addresses for online shopping, but these are best for online-only services, where you can use a password manager to avoid keying in something long and complex and don’t have to repeat it 10-times to a confused and suspicious store associate (who may think you’re lying) or slowly entering it in-person with a long queue of people behind you. Bandwidth Quota calculates usage based on email bandwidth. According to the FAQ.

The average email is about 76800 bytes (75KB), this is roughly equivalent to 7,000 words in plain text. So the 10MB monthly allowance would be around 140 emails and the Lite plan’s 50MB would be almost 700 emails.

I’m not sure where they get the 75kb from, as I fact-checked this and found articles dating back to 2004 suggesting this was the average size of an email. It’s hard to believe emails have stayed at around 75kb in size since 2004. I have done some random sampling of my inbox (hardly scientific) and most emails I receive are closer to the 100kb range and newsletters closer to 250kb-500kb.

I haven’t hit the quota and I am on the Lite Plan. I have 200+ aliases. The free plan would not suffice if you’re using this for receiving daily newsletter subscriptions, as you could quickly max out your bandwidth. If you’re a heavy user of, then you definitely want the Pro plan as it has no bandwidth limits.

If there’s a con to, it’s that if you go over the bandwidth limit on the Free or Lite plans, your email delivery will stop (although you do get a warning at 80%). On the plus side, you can upgrade/switch plans and you will get pro-rata for what you have already paid – so upgrades are easy. But, if you’re worried about exceeding bandwidth caps, go for the Pro plan. Quirks 

I have been using for a while now, there are a few quirks that I have found, so sharing them below:

Delete vs Forget Aliases

  • lets you pause an alias, but it also offers “Delete” and “Forget”. It’s a little confusing, but “Deleted” aliases can be restored, so if you change your mind and need the email address it can be recovered. If you “Forget” an alias, it is permanently lost forever and cannot be recovered. I understand why they have both options because you might accidentally delete and what to re-use it or need it later (especially for custom names, or if you need to get a confirmation email at an old email address, account recovery, etc). That said, I do find the terms “Delete” and “Forget” a little confusing, Delete is more like a “Suspend” or “Pause” and Forget is really a “Permanent Delete”. If in doubt, pick Delete not Forget. Either way, both options bounce a received email.

Username Aliases (paid plans)

  • On paid plans, you can create an additional Username, but if you delete it (in my case accidentally, duh!) it is lost forever and cannot be restored.  Deleted usernames also count towards your limit, something I didn’t notice at first. So be thoughtful when creating an additional Username and don’t delete them! Honestly, shouldn’t let you delete Username aliases and instead just let you turn them on/off. I am still a little upset that I wasted and lost my alias with an accidental delete. *sigh* In fairness, there are legitimate security reasons why deleted username aliases can’t be recreated, but a disable function would make more sense.

Bandwidth Quota

  • the bandwidth quota resets each month, calendar month not your sign-up or subscription date, which makes it easy to remember when your quota resets. You get alerts when you’re at 80% of quota, but there’s no ability to buy additional bandwidth. To get additional bandwidth you need to upgrade to a higher subscription tier. If you hit the quota and don’t upgrade, your email delivery will just stop. It would be great if it would let you buy additional bandwidth in a month or buy a bank of bandwidth to use. The workaround is you can upgrade your plan from Free to Lite, or Lite to Pro to get more bandwidth, and you will get a pro-rata credit for what you have paid in the month. If all bandwidth limits worry you, you may be better off on the Pro plan with unlimited bandwidth.

Custom Domain Catch-All

  • If you want to have aliases created on the fly on a custom domain you have to enable a catch-all, but as I have said earlier in this review that opens the door to dictionary-based spam attacks. I haven’t had this happen yet and  seems to have good spam filtering. But with Catch-All on there is a risk of hitting your bandwidth quota because of bad actors. Turn off the Catch-All on custom domains to minimize this risk. Support

I have found email support to be friendly, and responsive and they are open to receiving bug reports. But honestly, after setup you really shouldn’t need any support, it all works smoothly and as described.


There’s a lot more I could write about, it supports so many other things that make it worthwhile including PGP encryption. But this would quickly become a how-to-use guide to rather than a review and the online help has all the instructions you need. The FAQ is also comprehensive.

In summary: Pros:

  • works on all operating systems and platforms
  • free plan available
  • paid plans very price competitive vs alternatives
  • easy to use, clean interface but with advanced features for power users
  • unlimited standard aliases (free), unlimited aliases (paid)
  • PGP encryption support to protect your emails
  • doesn’t store emails, they just pass through the server
  • lite subscription is very affordable at US$1 per month
  • temporarily pause / deactivate a relay
  • aliases can be words, random, UDID, or custom
  • send from your relay email address (so you can keep your real email private)
  • forward relayed emails to multiple recipients (up to 10 on pro plan)
  • displays header on the relayed email letting you know it was forwarded and what address was used
  • can create relays on-the-fly
  • supports custom domains giving an additional layer of privacy
  • can label addresses (so you know that quaint.squirrel is the email you used for ShopXYZ)
  • browser extensions and mobile app for easy management and creation of email addresses
  • software is OpenSource, so you could technically self-host Cons:

  • not explained upfront that your username is your private email relay name (so choose wisely)
  • monthly bandwidth limit on Free and Lite plans (but alerts when you are at 80% of quota)
  • email delivery stops if you exceed bandwidth quota on Free and Lite plans
  • on-the-fly email creation for custom domains only if you turn on Catch-All
  • catch-all on custom domains feature is not clearly explained and the associated risks
  • the delete / forget options on aliases is a little confusing (if in doubt, pick delete)
  • the free plan will queue your email delivery if the server is under load
  • deleted usernames can’t be restored / they are lost forever
  • hard to manage/group email aliases as your list grows (no folders, favorites)

In my experience, is the best alternative to Apple’s Hide My Email. It’s easy to use and offers enough features to satisfy even sophisticated users (custom domains, on-the-fly creation, API, etc.).’s support for PGP encryption and 2FA for added security is also a plus.

To get the best results from, I would recommend using your own custom domain name for the best private email relay solution. So budget at least another US$10 for a domain name renewal each year to give yourself the best email privacy protection. The included domains on the lite and pro plans should suffice for most people.

The best part about is that it is platform-agnostic, so if you want something that works on Windows, Apple, Android, or anywhere else is great. There are browser plugins and mobile apps available, making it easy to manage across devices and platforms.

Overall, is a great email relay service. The lite plan, at US$1 a month is incredibly good value and if you care about protecting your email address and online privacy, it’s worth the investment.

Important: I am not affiliated with any of the manufacturers, brands, services, or websites listed on this page and this is my personal experience.  If you find this helpful and want to say thanks, please buy me a coffee or take a look at my book on Amazon. It keeps this page ad-free. Thank you!

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