How to Hide Your Email Address from Spammers

Every small business owner should have their contact information listed on their website for customers to get in touch. Sometimes, listing your email address directly on your website may be the most convenient way for your customers to contact you. However, simply listing your email address in plain text can lead to high levels unwanted spam. In this article, we’ll discuss the best approaches for listing your email address directly on your website.

Spammers are Out There and They’re Looking for You

It seems near impossible to prevent spammers from getting a hold of your email address! Unfortunately, there are so many devious techniques a spammer can use to collect your email. They can illegally buy bulk lists of email addresses, use “harvesting” programs that scour the internet, trick you into giving it to them by subscribing to fraudulent online services, use dictionary programs, make educated guesses with common names like “info” or “help” @yourdomainname.com”, and more.

One step you can take to foil spammer’s evil little schemes is by not listing your email address directly on your site. Simply listing your email address in plain text with a “mailto” link is a guaranteed way of attracting spam. Spammers have devious, readymade programs that continuously scan sites looking for unprotected email addresses just like that. These programs can even use search engines such as Google to find everything that contains the ‘@’ character.

What to do?

There are several things you can do. Let’s start off with some very basic approaches. The best are saved for last!

Replace Symbols to Disguise Your Email

It is possible to post your email address without listing the ‘@’ and ‘.’ symbols. In this scenario, email@domain.com becomes email (at) domain (dot) com. Human visitors are capable of figuring it out and replacing the words with the correct symbols before emailing you, and many spammers are stopped right off the bat by using this approach.

However, the downside is that replacing words with symbols can be confusing and creates unwanted hassle for a user. Plus, there are some harvesting programs that can still get around this.

Post Your Email Address as an Image

There are a variety of free online email-to-image converters available, allowing for you to post your email address as an image on your site. The email address is once again masked to spammers and the human users are then required to retype the address.

Once again, this is not ideal, as it creates a lot of extra effort for site users wishing to get in touch. Plus, some spammers are aware that email addresses are being “nobbled” in this way and slowly finding ways around it.

Use JavaScript To Mask Your Email Address

Finally, we get to the best option. For the best security, you can shroud your email address with JavaScript. This allows you to directly list your email address, but have the actual address masked with JavaScript code to prevent it from being recognized by spammers’ harvesting programs.

The only downside is that your visitors must have JavaScript enabled to use it (which most do). You can mask it with HTML characters as well, but JavaScript is preferred. JavaScript offers the highest level of protection against harvesting and makes it safer to list your email address.

Quickly Conceal Your Email Address

You can use our handy tool above to mask your email address either using the simpler HTML method or the JavaScript method as we discussed above.

Why Not Use a Contact Form?

Using a contact form is a good alternative to listing your email address directly. It’s easy for users to contact you while making it tougher for spammers to harvest your contact details. There are a number of free contact form plugins available on most CMSs. This is another option for you to keep in mind. While contact forms are great, remember that some of your users may prefer to send you an email directly. They may also wish to email you an attachment which many contact forms don’t allow.

Conclusion

The bottom line is to make sure you protect yourself against spammers. Harvesting software is becoming ever more potent and there are a number of less tech-savvy methods for spammers to use as well. Don’t let them get your contact details without a fight! Use JavaScript to mask your email address if you must list it.