Everyone hates spam. Not only is it annoying, but it’s also potentially dangerous.

When your phone vibrates and you wonder who the email’s from, often it’s some company that you’ve never heard of trying to sell you something that you don’t want. Even if you delete the email and forget about it, a week later, another one has snuck into your inbox.

It probably leaves you wondering how on earth they got your information to begin with and how you can protect yourself in the future.

Fortunately, you don’t have to trawl the internet to find out how to stop spam emails. We’ve pulled together five tips that should help minimise the constant junk messages.

What is spam?

If you keep your email inbox relatively clean, you might not even know what email spam is, never mind how to stop it.

Email spam is unsolicited or unwanted mail in your inbox that you never signed up to receive, usually from someone that you’ve never heard of. A lot of the time, spam is simply an annoyance, but if left unchecked, you might be unfortunate enough to receive emails with more malicious content.

So, without further ado, let’s move on to how to reduce the amount of spam you receive.

1. Stop spam emails with unique web design

If you’ve got a personal or business website, chances are you want to have your contact information on display so potential customers can get in touch.

While it's a useful necessity, it makes it hard to stop spam emails because it’s not just customers who can see this information, but spammers too.

A preferred tactic of spammers is to trawl through various sites searching specifically for the ‘@’ character. This lets them find email addresses that they can then add to their mailing lists. Before you know it, they have your email and are sending you regular junk and you're left looking for how to stop email spam.

The good news is that there are a number of ways to reduce spam received from these sources. One of the simplest is to display your email address as an image instead of text when building your website – something you can do with tools like our Website Builder.

This ensures that your details are only readable to humans, though the downside is that most people want to be able to copy and paste your email address, which they can't do with an image.

Alternatively, you could have a ‘contact us’ form linked directly to your email address. This would allow users to still send you emails while preventing spammers from being able to see your actual address.

2. Make use of WHOIS opt-out and domain privacy

By law, when you register a Domain Name, you have to register it with a phone number, personal address and email address. For anyone inside the European Union, this information will be automatically protected by GDPR laws.

But for anyone outside the EU, your information could be publicly displayed on domain directory services such as WHOIS. The main reason for this is so that customers and businesses can easily contact you, the owner of the domain. Unfortunately, spammers can also gain access to this information.

However, you can reduce or even stop email spam from this source by protecting information through additional domain privacy settings. These can be added when you create your domain. Many domain registrars will offer 'domain privacy protection' services that you can opt-in to. As a UK-based registrar, Fasthosts automatically applies domain privacy protection measures, safeguarding the information of anyone who registers a domain with us.

3. Stop email spam with antispam software

One of the best ways to reduce spam is making use of the myriad of antispam software available online. These can dramatically cut down the number of unsolicited emails you receive.

Antispam software typically works by using a range of filters to stop spam emails. Some software will also block emails based on the amount of mail a specific address sends to you.

By using either of these methods, the software will be able to determine whether or not the mail you receive is genuine, or if the item should be sent straight to your spam and junk mail folders.

If your email service comes through using an ISP (Internet Service Provider), then you may already have access to a spam filter.

Some email hosting providers might give you more specific control over your spam filtering. For example, as part of our own Email Hosting packages, we offer spam filtering that covers three core areas:

  • Spam filtering – This lets you set spam filter sensitivity between 0 and 15 and define a method of detecting spam (e.g. by blocking identified keywords in the subject line).
  • A trusted senders list – Trusted sender lists allow you to add senders to a whitelist which guarantees their mail won't be marked as junk. Knowing how to reduce spam this way means you can filter junk while still receiving emails from trusted contacts.
  • A spam block list – Spam block lists allow you to record email addresses that will then be instantly filtered into your spam or junk mail folders.

4. Manage your inbox regularly

You might not realise, but you likely give your email out a lot more than you think. Take online shopping, for example. Usually, when you buy anything online, you have to provide an email address.

This is partly so that the company can contact you with offers in the future. You may think of these emails as spam, but you’re only receiving them because you technically signed up.

However, being a part of these mailing lists has risks. If that company’s website is compromised, a hacker can obtain your email address and pass it along to spammers. Additionally, it may be shady, but some companies can and do sell your contact information to third parties. This then increases both the amount of spam you receive and the risk of your email being compromised.

If you’re looking for a free and straightforward method of reducing the amount of spam you receive, you can simply go through your emails and unsubscribe from any mailing lists or newsletters you’re not interested in.

Legally, marketing emails have to include an unsubscribe option at the bottom of the email. You can use this, or you can unsubscribe in bulk using online services.

5. How to report spam emails

If you’ve tried all these techniques and you’re still struggling to reduce the amount of junk in your inbox, don't worry there's still hope! Reporting spam emails to your email provider (or the spammer’s provider) might be your best bet.

Reporting spam emails is generally straightforward. Almost every email service provider has a button you can push while an email is selected that lets you highlight it as junk.

You can recognise a spam email in a number of different ways. For example, by expanding the email to show the sender’s address you might see that the email you believed to be from a major company, such as Microsoft, is actually from spammer@micro.sooft.offers.com.

Similarly, you should always right-click on a hyperlink to see what the actual address is. If it’s spam, then it’ll probably be a different link than the actual highlighted word.

Lastly, another way of spotting a spam email is by checking the header. This contains lots of information about the email’s journey and you can analyse it to see if it looks legitimate.

By following this advice and best practices, you’ll hopefully be well on your way to reducing the amount of spam you receive, while protecting your inbox from hackers.

Of course, if you feel that your current email hosting service just isn’t cutting it, then you might want to see what Fasthosts has to offer. With both Exchange Email and Microsoft 365, we have all your email needs covered. Alternatively, check out more email-related pieces over on the Fasthosts blog.