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Mail Forwarder or Mailbox? What is the Difference?

We are often asked what's the difference between forwarding an email address and creating a mailbox.  First, the similarity:  both allow you to set up an email address like somevet@yourdomain.com.  Beyond that though, the way they behave is very different.

Mail Forwarder

A mail forwarder is exactly as it sounds - a way to forward email sent to one address (somevet@yourdomain.com) to another (myemail@gmail.com) The email is forwarded directly to the second email address and does not stay on the server (in this case the one for yourdomain.com). This can be a quick and easy way to get email at your personal email address, but it does have a few drawbacks.

When you reply to an email that has been forwarded, the email on the reply is the one that was forwarded to (myemail@gmail.com) not the one it was originally sent to. If you forwarding to your personal email address, whoever you reply to will now have that email address in their records.  This can also cause some confusion for people who expect to use a professional address.

You are adding an additional server to the email path, which creates an additional opportunity for something to go wrong and for the email not to be forwarded. Since it doesn't stay on the server, it can't be retrieved.


A mailbox actually stores your email on the server for each unique email address.  Replies contain the email address that it was sent to (somevet@yourdomain.com) rather than a personal box. You can access the mail either on the web at https://webmail.yourdomain.com or download it on your computer or mobile device using an email client like Outlook or Mac Mail. 

Email is kept in a single account, making it easier to manage. Also, if someone else needs to go into the box for any reason - vacation, illness, etc.- they are not seeing all of your personal email in the process.

Since the email is on the server, we are more able to trace problems.

Can I Have Both?

Email sent to a mailbox can also be forwarded to another email address. In this case, the mail stays in your mailbox and is also forwarded on to another email address.  Please note, however, that your mailbox will fill up. All of the other drawbacks for forwarders still apply.

What Do We Suggest?

Our recommendation is to use a mailbox with no forwarder and download the email to your local devices using an email client. This provides you local backup, minimizes email issues, and provides less opportunity for your email to go awry.

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