The Architecture of Mailinator

by Volker Weber

Paul Tyma is one of my heroes. He developed and runs Mailinator:

Almost 3.5 years ago I started the Mailinator(tm) service. I got the bulk of the idea from my drunk roommate at the time and the first incarnation took me all of about 3 days to code up. In some senses it was a crazy idea. As far I know, it was the first site of its kind. A web-based email service that allowed any incoming email to create an inbox. No sign-up. No personal information. Send email first, check email later.

Paul has developed an interesting architecture for his service. It lets him handle 4.5 million emails a day on a 2GHz processor with 1G or RAM and a slow 80G hard drive. Fascinating read.

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Hmm, at least Spamgourmet has been around a lot longer - still an interesting and useful service.

Urban Hillebrand, 2007-04-01

Great article, very interesting. With regards Mailinator vs. the others like Spamgourmet, the thing I like about Mailinator is the entry bar: it’s non-existent. No accounts required, nothing. Just give out a Mailinator address, use it, forget it.

Ben Poole, 2007-04-01

Right you are. For me, this is a reason to stick with spamgourmet: Even if it's only some kind of registration email, I usually still prefer to be the only one to read it - and this will make some kind of (one time) registration necessary. I guess this is a matter of taste :)

Urban Hillebrand, 2007-04-01

I used to use Mailinator, but not anymore: often it does not work for it's purpose as mail does not arrive there. I think more and more (mail)providers are not delivering mail anymore to

Sander Jonkers, 2007-04-01

I made the same experience in the last year. mailinator unfortunatly is blocked by many company web sites which desperatly try to collect new e-mail adresses for there mass mail business now.

Alexander Kluge, 2007-04-01

Did you actually read the article linked from here, or maybe the faq? If you did, have you tried alternatives domains like, or

Volker Weber, 2007-04-01

Yes, especially with the tee-mobeil registration the stop working with ALL of these alternative domainsh

Alexander Kluge, 2007-04-01


If you are following up to my post: If *I* can read in the faq about alternative domains like, do you think site owners blocking mail to can read that faq too?

Sander Jonkers, 2007-04-01

Sander, yes they can. But it's often quite surprising what people don't know even if they could know.

Alexander, the Hotschpott registration is probably an exception. Judging from my logs, the majority of their registrations were on mailinator. ;-)

Volker Weber, 2007-04-01

This works better for me:

An alias on my mailbox, with POPfile classifying all mail: pure spam (from parties I don't know), bulk mail (from parties that I know but send mail automatically), etc.

As soon as too much spam arrives on the alias, I remove the alias and create a new alias. Because POPfile works so great, I haven't done this in the last year.

Plug for POPfile: it's great, it's cross platform and it's open source. See

Sander Jonkers, 2007-04-01

very nice link and article. didn't know the service so far. i also read his blog. very amusing too (especially his tips on "hiring processes").


marcel sauer, 2007-04-01

Old archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


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