How can I stop spambots harvesting my email address?

Junk mail is always a problem if you display an email address on a website. SPAM robots (Spambots) roam the internet looking for email addresses to harvest. These email addresses are added to ‘mailing lists’ and the result is that you get inundated with junk mail.

Once an address has been stolen by spammers there’s no way remove your email address from their mailing lists. It means that for many months or even years after you remove an address, you will still receive residual SPAM mail.

There’s no perfect solution to prevent SPAM, but there are a few things which may help:

Delete your mailbox and set up a new one 

For example, if you have an email address –, close down the mailbox and replace it with another. For example you could set up a free gmail account and use that instead. Gmail accounts have very good spam filters and most is filtered out into a junk folder which you can check from time to time. This is a draconian solution and there are many obvious disadvantages in changing your email address.

Set filters on your email editor

Most email editors allow you to set up filters to remove spam from your Inbox. The problem is that SPAM filters do not always work and it is a nuisance to keep having to check your junk folder to see is something important has been classified as SPAM. You will need to consult your email editor’s support to find out how to set up filters on your system.

Remove the address completely from your website by converting to a graphic 

Remove the address in its text form from your website and convert it to a graphic. Spam robots can’t read graphic text so your email is safe. The disadvantage is that if anyone wants to contact you, they will have to actually type in your email address (ie they can’t click on the graphic to open their email editor).

Set up an email address just for spam

You could set up a free Gmail account – eg A setting can be changed at the mailbox end which sends all suspicious mail that looks like junk to this address. It means that a lot of the SPAM will be filtered out. It also means that you have to check your gmail address from time to time to see if anything important has been misdirected.

Remove your address and replace with an anti-spam form

Remove the email address completely and replace it with a form with a captcha spam filter (you have to type in a number or letters to send the form). This will filter out most SPAM.

Spell out the email address eg info (at) mydomain (dot) com

You can substitute the “@” and “.” symbols from your email with words and characters. Visitors can replace the words/characters with the correct symbols and contact you. This will confuse the Spambots and they will go away – in theory anway. The problem is that Spambots are clever and can work out the address if you use just (at), so add the dashes to make it -(at)-. Spambots might eventually work that out, too. The more characters you put in there the less likely a Spambot will work it out, e.g. info (!!!at!!!) mydomain (!!!dot!!!) com. Computer savvy users will realise that this is an anti-spam precaution and use the correct version if trying to email you. But of course some people might not realise and try to copy and paste the protected address (which will not work of course).

Hide your email address using Javascript code

Javascript code can be used by more advanced users to ‘hide’ the email address. This approach is quite user-friendly as the email address still appears as a clickable link on the page and at the same time is safe-guarded from Spambots. The problem is that you need to be familiar with HTML/Javascript to include this on your web page.
The problem with Spambots is that they get clever and clever and whatever method you use, you may find that they find a way round it.



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