Spam Blocker

April 21, 2009

in e-mail,privacy & security

by David Hakala

Spam – unsolicited commercial email – accounts for more than half of all email traffic. In any given month, it is not uncommon to receive several hundred offers to buy things you don’t want. This is true even if you are careful to avoid leaving your email address where it will attract spammers. Every email account should be protected against spam. You need a spam blocker.

There are many spam blocker programs on the market, some of them free. Examples include Mailwasher, SpamEater Pro, CA Anti-Spam, SPAMfighter, ChoiceMail One, Spam Killer, Spam Buster, Spam Net, and others. But frankly, most email users don’t need the added complexity and burden on your computer’s resources of a third-party spam blocker.

Your email service provider should be blocking spam for you. It’s in the provider’s best interest to block spam before it enters the servers so it does not consume computing resources. Usually, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) also provides your email service. Ask what spam blocker techniques your ISP is using. If lots of spam still gets through to your inbox, consider switching to another email service provider. You can keep your current ISP.

I use Google Mail as my email service provider. A highly effective spam blocker is just one of Google Mail’s many benefits. I check my “junk mail” folder on about once a month, and it always contains 500 or more bits of spam that never bothered me. One click and they’re all deleted forever, or I can check to see if an email I really wanted was inadvertently labeled “spam.” You can add specific email addresses to your Gmail spam blocker and never see mail from that address again.

You can configure Gmail to route email to your local computer’s email client, such as Outlook. This can be a second line of defense against spam. Outlook, Mozilla Thunderbird, and other quality email clients have spam blockers built into them. Spam is routed to a “junk mail” folder where you can review and delete whatever you wish at your leisure.

With these two spam blockers in place, I see one piece of spam every few weeks in my inbox. Hundreds more bits of spam are blocked. It’s easy to set up and costs nothing extra. Try it!

David Hakala has perpetrated technology tutorials since 1988 in addition to committing tech journalism, documentation, Web sites, marketing collateral, and profitable prose in general. His complete rap sheet can be seen at

{ 1 comment }

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