Best email forwarding service for 2020 (free and premium)

A lot of us manage multiple email accounts, and I personally like routing everything to one place so I don’t have to bounce between different providers or tabs all day long. This is a list of the best solutions for an email forwarding service, including what I use for my business.

  1. Mailgun
  2. Forward Email
  3. Pobox
  4. ForwardMX
  5. ImprovMX
  6. @Emailforward.mx

1. Mailgun

Type: Premium.

If you use a transactional email service provider such as Mailgun, they also have the ability to set up mail forwarding and routing rules. This is a great solution and can be set up relatively quickly.

Mailgun
Mailgun

For example, say you have an email coming into [email protected] You can then forward all mail from that address to [email protected] with a simple click. Essentially you can set up all your domains in Mailgun and configure any routing you want.

As of February 2020, Mailgun no longer offers a free plan, and the email routing/receiving is only available in the Foundation plan or higher (starting at $35/month).

With that being said, if you send a lot of transactional emails, Mailgun is still worth the price, in my opinion. They have, by far, the best control panel that is also really easy to understand. I have yet to find a provider that has the same inbound routing capabilities. Mailgun is what I use for emails on all my sites.

2. Forward Email

Type: Free and open source.

Feeling adventurous? Check out Forward Email. It’s a free, encrypted, and completely open-source solution. No logs or emails are stored. The code is open to the public on Github (fully transparent) so you don’t have to worry about any secret data collection happening!

Forward Email
Forward Email

Forward Email is pretty simple to set up, you just add a few DNS records and you’re done. As of October 2018, you can even “Send Mail As” using Gmail. The developer of the project is also very active. 👍

3. Pobox

Type: Premium.

Pobox is by far my favorite premium email forwarding service if that’s all you need. $34 a year and you can create as many aliases as you want on all of your domains and then forward the emails to your primary Google email account.

Pobox
Pobox

4. ForwardMX

Type: Premium.

ForwardMX is a great cheap solution. For example, perhaps you don’t have that many domains but still need more functionality than other free tools. ForwardMX has great smaller plans, starting at $9/year for 5 domains.

Forward MX
Forward MX

5. ImprovMX

Type: Free and premium.

ImprovMX is free for up to 1 domain (max 5 aliases/domain) and great for smaller projects. Simply point your MX records and forwarding everything from one domain to any email address you want.

ImprovMX
ImprovMX

6. @EmailForward.mx

Type: Premium.

@EmailForward.mx is a cheap premium service that you can use to set up email forwarding and start receiving emails with your domain name. The cost is $1 per month, billed annually. One interesting feature it does have is two-factor authentication. This is great a little additional security.

@Emailforward.mx
@Emailforward.mx

Summary

Hopefully one of the above solutions works for you. I’m personally a big fan of Mailgun and Pobox. There are definitely other great SMTP solutions that do email forwarding, such as SendGrid, SparkPost, etc. But some of these can get quite complicated, and if you’re just needing to forward emails, one of the above solutions is quick and easy.

Any other good email forwarding services that we missed? Feel free to mention them below.

Brian Jackson

I craft actionable content and develop performance-driven WordPress plugins. Connect on Twitter or subscribe to my newsletter (twice a month, no spam).

55 thoughts on “Best email forwarding service for 2020 (free and premium)”

  1. I had issues with deliverability using ForwardMX because their servers are based in Switzerland and France. (That may be a privacy plus for some.) There’s a free trial, so use that to see if you encounter issues.

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    • Thanks for the heads up Parker! I’m personally using Mailgun right now and highly recommend it for email forwarding. Never had a single issue.

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  2. I also encountered issues regarding ForwardMX. Mails stuck for several hours. This is a no no and I’m going to change back to mailgun too. I’m very sad, because ForwardMX was exactly what I wanted. But email has to be reliable.

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    • Hey SB! Yes, I just updated the post above. I personally use Mailgun for all of my email forwarding and it works great. No delivery issues.

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    • Same problem here, problems to receive emails and delay to receive emails every day! Support doesn’t respond to my emails.

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      • Hey Henrique, I recommend using Mailgun or Pobox. I personally am using Mailgun right now for free and never had a single issue. I’ve also used Pobox previously and their support is amazing!

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  3. I have had the same problems with forwardMX. There is often a long delay and one of there servers has been down for a while. There is no response to emailing them and no number to call so I have to switch to something more reliable.

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    • Hey Stuart,
      I’ve heard others with similar issues. I personally use Mailgun and love it. Pobox would definitely be my first premium recommendation, used Pobox for about 2+ years previous to Mailgun and never had any routing issues.

      Reply
  4. Do any of these services forward the email before it gets to the the original email service provider server or do they all go to the email service provider server then get forwarded to the new email service?

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    • Hey Laura,
      With most of these, you are pointing your MX records (email DNS records) to the third-party service. Someone sends an email to you, the email gets routed to the third-party service and the relay the message (forward it) to wherever your route is setup.

      Reply
  5. Same old story with ForwardMX – forwarding just outright stops for hours or a day at a time. Support is non-responsive. Belongs on a worst list, not a best list

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    • Hey Eric,
      I’ve heard others with similar issues. I personally use Mailgun and love it. Pobox would definitely be my first premium recommendation, used Pobox for about 2+ years previous to Mailgun and never had any routing issues.

      Reply
  6. I’ve been using PObox since 1996 but I don’t supply a domain, I use an email address @pobox.com as my primary address which forwards to gmail. What i’m looking for is sometimes called Disposable email addresses only I seldom throw them out. Most Disposable services seem to be for very short use when an email is required (think Mailinator). I currently use Sneakemail and E4ward and am looking for similar service(s). I generate a unique email at these services that I use when signing up for a new service. It allows me to detect when they leak my email and I start receiving spam. It also allows me to delete that email without the headache of worrying about any other uses for that forwarding email. I hope this doesn’t make me sound like a spammer; I just like to shield my personal email most of the time and such forwarding services allow me to.

    Got any suggestions for similar tools/services?

    Reply
  7. Hi Brian, this is an interesting article, which I found when searching for a forwarding solution for my personal email. My registrar, Namecheap, has its own free catch-all forwarding but their spam filter is overly aggressive and inconsistent. I can no longer afford to miss important emails (and not even know about them unless I’m infomed by the sender that they bounced).

    One thing which I’m concerned about is trust: We trust our cloud email to businesses such as Google, but with a forwarder, we’re letting another party process all our email (including password resets or other security-related communications).

    Mailgun and Pobox seem like they’re well-established large(ish) operations and one could assume a high level of trust. There is scant information about the likes of Forward Email and even less for ImprovMX (other than the little info provided by their host sites). Forward Email *seems* trustworthy in that it’s open-source software on GitHub, but it also seems like a one-man operation. Even if the version running is trustworthy, what if he gets hit by a bus?

    I think these points should be taken into consideration when choosing a mail forwarding solution, in addition to delivery reliability.

    That said, based on your recommendation I’m leaning toward Mailgun for my personal use. I am moderately tech-savvy, but I’m apprehensive about incorrectly configuring Mailgun and losing critical inbound emails in the process. You mention that it can be setup “relatively easily” but it looks quite complex to someone who is unfamiliar with many of the terms.

    Do you happen to know of a good step-by-step tutorial to set up Mailgun for forwarding? In my case, I think I would need set up the rules on Mailgun, then remove Namecheap’s catch-all forwarding from the MX record, and then add Mailgun’s, using settings I have yet to fully understand.

    P.S. I posted this once and it didn’t show up. Apologies if it ends up as a double-post (edited using feedback from the Orwell feature).

    Reply
    • Hey Gary!
      I’m catching up on things now that I’m working on my projects full-time. Hopefully, you got it figured out by now. I still use Mailgun for all of my email forwarding needs. They no longer offer this in the free version, but for my business, it’s well worth the cost. Also, as you said. I don’t have a trust issue with Mailgun. They are a very large company and someone I can rely on to deliver emails for my business.

      Reply
  8. ForwardMX is great when it works, but of most of the time, it takes hours to get emails. This is horrible for anything important. Support is non-existent.

    Thanks for the suggestion of Pobox, I’m planning to switch over if the delay to receive emails is reasonable and there’s actually any support available.

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  9. Basically, Namecheap is domain registrar but they offer Free email forwarding for everyone, even the domain name not registered with them.

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  10. ImprovMX is the new ForwardMX :-)

    They changed owners and the service is now very reliable.

    They introduced “premium” for $9/mo (which is OK considering they support unlimited aliases). But free still works great!

    Definitely justifies swapping ForwardMX and ImprovMX in your list!

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  11. ForwardMX as stated above is terrible!
    As soon as all my mails clear I will be gladly leaving them. Worse service ever!

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  12. We just switched from ForwardMX to ImprovMX… ForwardMX does not respond to email… email usually takes about an hour to receive … last few weeks we didn’t receive any mail at all… ImprovMX delivers in just a few seconds!

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  13. A sloppy, uninformative article written by yet another lazy author who can’t be bothered to do proper research, demonstrated by the very brief descriptions of a very narrow band of offerings.

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    • Hey Paul!
      These are all products I have used over the years, so to say I haven’t done proper research is just plain false. In fact, I probably know more about Mailgun than most developers. I would love to find more time to add to this, but I have a million tasks at the moment. People read my blog because I share things I personally use, not crap you see on other blogs. That’s why I don’t allow guest posts or sponsored posts.

      Mailgun and Pobox I still use on a lot of my sites. They are great services!

      Reply
  14. The easy way is to just get a anonymous domain provider, on that you can pay with crypto and only need a email address, then just configure c-panel to forward you email. With your own domain you can set up unlimited email box & WordPress has Themes with function`s for hosting your own email server etc.

    Reply
  15. You might want to add a disclaimer that ImprovMX is only free for a maximum of 5 domains. Anything over that requires a paid subscription.

    Thanks for the recommendations though! I’m now running ForwardEmail on most of my sites.

    Reply
  16. As far as I can understand for the new Mailgun pricing apart from the Routes being taken out of the free plan which is now called Flex, by the way, I don’t think you get any free emails either. Unless I am mistaken?

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    • Hey George!
      Thanks, I’ve updated this slightly to better reflect what is actually happening. You are correct, the email receiving/routes are only available now in the Foundation or higher plan. The free plan is being discontinued altogether and replaced with a free trial.

      Reply
  17. Hi Brian,
    just a small question – if I may. I understood that you used pobox.com in the past. Do I get it right that I cannot add more than five recipients to any forwarder?
    There will certainly be a good reason for it – but how can I deal with it when I have a larger recipients list?
    So – any recommendation is welcome.
    Thank you,
    regards,

    Philip

    Reply
    • Hey Philip,
      Yes with Pobox, you can only forward up to 5 destinations. I know with ImprovMX, they can do more on their paid plans.

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    • You might be better of considering a Groups option like Google Groups or Yahoo Groups, as these are tailored for large subscriber lists. I do acknowledge that Groups are not the same as forwarders, so it depends on whether the actual email address is critical or not.

      Reply
  18. It’s one stop solution for email forwarding needs. Thanks, Brian Jackson, for your kind efforts to bring them to us.

    Reply
  19. I have worked with Fordwardemail.net and it was perfect but today I got an Email message after 4 hours and other Emails still didn’t receive them yet and It’s been 12 hours now

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  20. I’m using Dynu for store and forward inbound, it’s about USD10 per domain, SMTP (outbound) is another 10USD, for that I’ve been using Mailgun for years and I still have not had an invoice with more than USD0.01 from 4 domains billing together. They only charge you after you reach a certain minimum due so I don’t think that’s going to be anytime soon.

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    • Thanks for the tip Gustavo about Dynu! Ya the issue with Mailgun though is the routing tools are no longer available unless you pay for the Foundation plan. Thankfully anyone who was already using Mailgun still has the routing rules in place, you just can’t create new ones or edit existing ones without upgrade.

      Reply
  21. Hi there.

    Regarding Postmark, I just wanted to mention that they do not offer email forwarding:

    “You can use their inbound domain and email forwarding to configure routing to different addresses”

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    • Hey Matt,
      I’ve just updated the post with more information on some of the services. I actually removed Postmark. Thanks for the tip!

      Reply
  22. Hello! Thank you for this great list; it’s helping me in my decision moving forward. An update: ImproveMX now only allows one domain on their free plan, which is a shame, as I chose them based on being able to add up to five. It looks like they aren’t currently removing any extra domains that already existed before this change, but we’re not being allowed to add any more (I currently have two, and get a paywall when I try to add a third).

    Reply
    • Hey Amy,
      Thanks for the heads up. Bummer about the change. I’ve updated the ImproveMX section in the post above regarding number of domains in the free plan.

      Reply

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