Pretend my name is John Doe; I own the domain name johndoe.com. I will be using this domain for a portfolio site, to host small projects, etc.

When setting up the email server I thought through some ideas for my email address and, honestly, none seemed too appealing:

  • admin@johndoe.com seems like it's for inquires relating to the website itself
  • contact@johndoe.com seems weird and not used often
  • johndoe@johndoe.com seems overly redundant, strikes me as odd
  • me@johndoe.com seems too playful

Am I better off using a known provider such as @gmail.com or @yahoo.com?

What email address should I use which is consistent, less likely to be forgotten, and the least confusing for clients, employers, and anyone emailing me?

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    Do whatever you want, really, this has absolutely nothing to do with UX, just your opinion, and all answers will be based on personal opinions as well – Devin Apr 16 '16 at 15:31
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    @Devin I mean it's the end user, the one who's emailing me, that's getting an impression. – Insane Apr 16 '16 at 15:38
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    Consider a new domain. john@doe.com reads well, and has a bonus of giving out vanity emails to family members. – Denis Apr 16 '16 at 17:21
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    @Denis I would if my last name wasn't a common noun. I'll get back to you when I'm rich. – Insane Apr 16 '16 at 21:02
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    And as you can see on the current answers, all are just personal opinions, which goes against the format of UX.SE, I think this could be solved in chat – Devin Apr 16 '16 at 22:02

I would personally recommend the equivalent of john@johndoe.com, which is the format I use. I agree with your assessment — to me, emails like me@johndoe.com and hi@johndoe.com seem a bit too playful or informal. I like to use one email address across all the services I use, so something that is completely neutral is key. Hard to get more neutral than john@johndoe.com, in my opinion.

The benefit to john@johndoe.com is that it helps reinforce the fact that this person is, indeed, emailing you, and no one else. contact@johndoe.com would probably work in most contexts, but to me it adds a layer of ambiguity — when I see that, I have to think twice and make sure that there's no one else who would be receiving this email ("is this really going to John, or is there a dedicated support person answering emails?"). This is less problematic when it's someone's personal site, but for small businesses where it's really not clear whether there might be a support staff responding to emails, I then have to look it up and potentially resort to omitting a name in the salutation of my email, or writing "Dear John Doe Support", or something similar. Not optimal.

Lastly, I live in America but have a non-American first name, which gets misspelled a lot. Having to type my first name twice in my email address helps reinforce the spelling, leading to less awkwardness for the other person.

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    Great advice, Atei! I'd like to add one thing about "typing the name twice reinforces spelling" – it'll either keep people from misspelling or make them copy/paste to avoid it. (Autocorrect changed Itai to Atei, but I'll keep it for irony reasons) – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Apr 17 '16 at 18:33
  • @QPaysTaxes Haha, I love that; "Atei" is definitely a new one for me, and I've gotten everything from "Etai/Etay" to "Italy". Granted, autocorrect on copy and paste is definitely an issue, but if the person emailing doesn't notice that, they probably wouldn't have bothered to spell my name right anyway. ¯_(ツ)_/¯ – Itai Ferber Apr 18 '16 at 22:30
  • No, I'm saying that they'd copy and paste to avoid having to type it. It doesn't necessarily mean they care. And glad you enjoyed my [autocorrect's] failure! – Fund Monica's Lawsuit Apr 18 '16 at 22:38
  • @QPaysTaxes Ah, got it. Agreed! – Itai Ferber Apr 18 '16 at 22:40
  • admin@johndoe.com - for admin stuff
  • support@johndoe.com - for support stuff
  • hr@johndoe.com - for hr stuff
  • contact@johndoe.com - for communication over mail

Such email ids are fairly standard nowadays.

Am I better off using a known provider such as @gmail.com or @yahoo.com?

If you own your own email domain name then why go for other email providers. Its always nice to go with your own.

I will suggest you to go with contact@johndoe.com as it looks very consistent. This format is being used widely nowadays. Its also very easy to remember for the people emailing you.

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    Also, urgent@johndoe.com, mobile@johndoe.com (equivalent to mobile phone number instead of landline one), work@johndoe.com, priv@johndoe.com, … – Bergi Apr 16 '16 at 20:33
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    support@johndoe.com: where the cops email when they can't figure out the identity of the dead body – icc97 Apr 17 '16 at 15:40

You don't say what kinds of projects - that may have a big impact. Web projects? Development? UX? Design? SEO? Who do you want to attract? For the most part, we don't remember someone's email address letter for letter, we either have a card, put it in the phone, or email a quick note on the spot. So the email address is really more for impact than mnemonic purposes.

For example, if you're a developer or designer who wants small business owners as clients, having something fun communicates that you are friendly and approachable. A friend had something like knockknock@... and she's a designer with no shortage of clients. me@johndoe.com is pretty bland and would hurt you if you were posting SEO gigs.

If you love spam, then go with admin@johndoe.com, contact@johndoe.com, support@johndoe.com since these are the first addresses a spammer will hit with emails to test out a domain.

Once you have a domain, you can easily set up a forwarder through cPanel that will forward your letstalk@johndoe.com to your johndoe@gmail.com email address. And while it used to be easier, there's still a way to send FROM gmail as letstalk@johndoe.com

One more thought - depending on your name, definitely think about readability. For example, if your name is Iliad, don't use something like hiIliad@iliad.com because typing it from a card to a mail client would be frustrating.

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    +1 on the spam note. And, from practical experience, I want to add that this will also be the case if you make the name exactly match the domain, as in example@example.com. – mattdm Apr 17 '16 at 13:12
  • let's stalk John Doe chuckles – user40156 Apr 17 '16 at 14:17

Yes, contact@ or John@johndoe.com

Or a gmail. Many people are giving out their Twitter names instead of email nowadays when they present or on their sites, but always good to have different contact options.

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    I find a @gmail.com address to be very unprofessional. It's the new Hotmail. – Lightness Races in Orbit Apr 17 '16 at 15:06

info@johndoe.com or questions@johndoe.com

I feel like "info" is sufficiently informal that it doesn't sounds stuffy, but at the same time it's pretty standard.

"Questions" is less standard, but easy to remember. Although people might not remember to pluralize it, so I'd have "question" (without the 's') forward to you too.

Whatever you use, make sure the "from" field is set to something meaningful. I get a lot of emails from "admin", which just it less likely that I'll notice the mail in my crowded inbox and makes it harder to find what I'm looking for when I have to go back through old emails.

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Just to add to this thread, I have often seen people in Germany use info@johndoe.com. Depending on your addressed user it might come of as too distant / weird though.

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