What is Plus Email Addressing and How Does It Work?Nov. 22, 2021 (updated Jan. 15, 2023) / My Data Removal Staff
Have you heard of plus addressing or subaddressing? Have you seen it before, but are unsure how it works? This is the post for you.
What is a plus email address?
Plus addressing, also known as subaddressing, is modifying your email address with a + and more characters to create variations of your email address that will still be delivered to your account. You can do it with any email address that you currently have. Plus addressing is automatically enabled for all of the major email providers. Give it a try.
Why would I ever use this?
Plus addressing is a valuable security tool. Many sites have you use your email address as part of your login. If you use the same email for every site you log into, you make hacking into your accounts much easier. You want to make sure that one email address is not the key to all of your accounts. The less information a hacker can gather about you, the more secure you will be. Using a plus address allows you to easily create a unique login for each site you use, while still using just your primary email address.
This doesn't hide your real email address (if you understand how plus addressing works it's pretty easy to figure it out), but it does give you a unique email address you can use to login. If a hacker knew your real email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and wanted to try to get into your online banking account, he would need to know both your password and the plus address (email@example.com) you used. This makes your account that much harder to hack.
How can I create a plus email address?
To create a plus email address, you add a ‘+’ right before the ‘@’ in your email address and then after that you add more characters. The characters you add after the ‘+’ can be anything you want. It can be helpful to be deliberate with what you add to help keep them organized.
You don’t actually do anything in your email account to ‘create’ a plus email address or to activate plus email addresses. They work by default with most modern email providers. You just use a plus email address with a service when they ask for your email address. Then when they send you an email it goes to your inbox. The ‘to’ part of the email address has your plus email address instead of your plain email address.
For example, if your email address were firstname.lastname@example.org, and you wanted to use plus addressing for your online account with Chase, you could add ‘’+chase to make the plus email address email@example.com. On chase.com you would then change your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org. Emails sent to this address would still go to your inbox. If you wanted you could also add some random numbers or characters after the ‘chase’ to make it harder to guess if someone were trying to get into your account. Then it could look something like email@example.com.
When should I use plus addresses?
Plus addresses are great for any time you want to create a unique email address for an account that you will use regularly and don’t want to use a masked email for. (A masked email service uses a third party to route emails to your main account. You wouldn’t want to use a masked email service for anything with sensitive information, like finances. Check out our article on email masking for more information.) Some examples of where it could be helpful to use a plus email address:
- Financial accounts: online banking, 401(k), brokerage/investment accounts, etc.
- Medical/health related accounts: doctor, dental, and other medical accounts
- Other important services: Services that have information you do not want passed through a third party (your masked email provider)
While some services won’t let you use a plus address as your login, many do. And it is well worth your time to consider setting up your accounts with a plus address to protect your accounts and increase your online security. My Data Removal is here to help you in your journey of bringing greater security, privacy, and peace of mind to your life.