How to Set a Default Email Address

Tutorial showing how to set up a catch-all Email Account in cPanel so you can see any emails sent to invalid email addresses on your domain.

If your friends, family, or business client makes a spelling error when sending you an email, your email client may never receive it. You can, however, configure your account settings to forward those mails to a designated account.

What is a Default \ Catch-all Email Address?

cPanel allows you to configure a default address to receive any mails not sent to a valid email address, but it is not set by default. It is this default address that is referred to as a catch-all email address. cPanel refers to it as the “default address.”

To give an example; You have the email address sales@yourdomain, and someone sends a mail to admin@yourdomain. Without a the catch-all address, you would never receive it.

You can only set up one catch-all mail address per domain. If you wish for those mails to be sent to more people, you can set up email forwarding from the default address.

How to set a Default Email Address in cPanel

This tutorial assumes that you have already logged into your cPanel and already have created an email address.

How to Create a Catch-all Email Address in cPanel

Other Options

Instead of forwarding the emails to an address of your choosing, you have a number of alternatives:

  • Discard the email while your server processes it by SMTP time with an error message. — This option allows you to discard all emails to incorrect or nonexistent email addresses while sending back a message to the sender warning that it has not been received.

And, under the Advanced Options drop-down menu:

  • Forward to your system account - Each cPanel account has a system email account. If no default email address has been configured, all your invalid mails will end up there. The easiest way to access these mails is via webmail.
  • Pipe to a Program — You can choose to pipe the emails to a program.  A typical use case is to pipe customer support emails into a ticketing system.
  • Discard (Not Recommended) — You can choose to discard the mails. This may be useful if you receive a lot of spam to random email addresses or old email address that has since been deleted.


I cannot see the option to create a default address in cPanel?

This is most likely because it has not been configured in WHM. If you are on shared hosting, you should contact your provider and ask them to enable default addresses.

If you have Reseller Hosting, VPS, Cloud, or Dedicated, you can enable the Default Address Manager in WHM. You will find this under the Feature Manager’s default feature list.

Jonathan Griffin. Editor @ The Webmaster

Editor, SEO Consultant, & Developer.

Jonathan Griffin is The Webmaster's Editor & CEO, managing day-to-day editorial operations across all our publications. Jonathan writes about Development, Hosting, and SEO topics for The Webmaster and The Search Review with more than nine years of experience. Jonathan also manages his own SEO consultancy, offering SEO developer services. He is an expert on site-structure, strategy, Schema, AMP, and technical SEO. You can find Jonathan on Twitter as @thewebmastercom.

Read more about Jonathan Griffin on our About Page.