Why Using Dummy Email For Testing Just Doesn't Work

Why testing with existing dummy mail providers doesn't always work.

Email for testing workflows might not be the most fun part of a QA professional's life. It usually requires a lot of manual work setting up test email accounts. Is there a better way to go about it?

How dummy emails work

Temporary email accounts can be used for several different purposes. Due to their temporary nature, most addresses stop working after a specific time. Frequently, the lifespan of such an account ranges from 10 minutes (hence the term '10minutemail') to a few hours.

Dynamic aliases are variations of legitimate email addresses that don't disappear unless the main account gets deactivated. They're also meant to be used only once and then disposed of or replaced.

Email addresses are often required to use an app or ask a question on a public forum. People create temporary emails mostly to stay anonymous on the internet. If you were to leave your private email, you would likely get tons of spam later on, or your address could be used for malicious purposes.

QAs and developers often use temporary emails to test email workflows. Apps will prompt their application to perform a specific action to send an email to a disposable account. If an email is received, they check if links work as expected or dynamic content is pasted correctly.

Testing email delivery on complex platforms can take quite a while, especially if tests return numerous errors and everything needs to be fixed and tested again. This article will focus on using dummy emails for testing rather than sending real-life delivery instructions to an address that doesn't exist.

Where to create test email accounts

Now we will discuss places where you could come up with various test email addresses.

Malinator

Mailinator is one of the most popular tools that assist you in email for testing. Its free plan allows using multiple inboxes with the @mailinator.com test email domain. The premium plan is a better option with a private domain and email inboxes that only you can access.

Guerilla Mail

Guerilla Mail is a free service offering test email addresses without registration. All incoming messages are displayed directly on the homepage. The page's UI is rather rough, but you don't create test emails for aesthetics in any case.

Maildrop

Maildrop is an open-source project for generating email addresses in an instant. You can pick from one of the suggestions (jealouswhale@maildrop.cc) or type in your lesson. Maildrop also features a spam filter, preventing unwanted messages from entering your inbox.

Temp mail

Temp mail is another tool for generating disposable email addresses. It allows you to claim random email addresses and check their inbox without refreshing the page. Temp mail talks get killed a few hours after creation, giving you space to add new emails to your QA process.

How To Create a Fake Email Address With An Existing Account

With Gmail, you can create unlimited email addresses from within your account. You don't need to go through any configuration and get addresses like fnfh3443hj3hgt@gmail.com. Just add a '+' to the username and follow it with any word or combination of alphanumeric characters.

If appropriately configured, each message will end up in mailtrapsupertesting@gmail.com's mailbox. Add those addresses to your QA procedure and start prompting different processes that will send an email.

A simple label on the emails sent to mailtrapsupertesting+signup@gmail.com. This method likely also works with other email providers, but we haven't tested it yet.

Conclusion

When you go through this article keenly, you will learn how to make a fake email account from an existing one, and you will also learn how to test email addresses and many other essential things.

Ready to dive in?Start building email applications today.