How to avoid receiving spam

Spam is one of the worst aspects of email. ProtonMail provides many different features to help you combat spam. In this article we share tips and tricks on how to identify, avoid, and deal with incoming spam.

Using + to trace Spam

Some site collect your information to sell to other people. To detect this, you can use a custom tag in your email address for every site you sign up for. For instance, if you were joining the Washington Post email list, you could sign up with This will deliver the email into your account, while allowing you to identify where you inputted the email address. If you receive email to this address from anyone other than the Washington Post you will know they either sold your data or experienced a data breach.

To learn more about using + in your email address, please see: Addresses and Aliases.

Spam filtering

ProtonMail provides whitelists and blacklists that allow manual control over the spam filtering process. These lists are uniquely customized for your account. You can update your lists in the settings of your account. You can learn more about Spam filtering, whitelists and blacklists here.

Add additional addresses

You can create additional Protonmail email addresses by upgrading your account. This will provide you with dedicated addresses that can be used for different purposes. For instance, you could use one to sign up for information from websites who may not be 100% trustworthy. If you start receiving spam to this account, you are able to disable the address and no longer receive mail to it.

Use Custom Filters

ProtonMail also supports adding custom filters. With custom filters, you can set your inbox to automatically detect certain message patterns and send them directly to spam or trash. For example, if you are getting a lot of newsletter or registration spam, a filter like this can be used to almost entirely eliminate the problem.

Read Terms of Use

In addition to the above tip, always try to avoid entering your email address in untrustworthy websites. These websites have a reputation of tricking users into entering their personal information only to sell it to third parties.

Be sure to read the terms of service and spam policy of the website you are on, prior to entering your email address in any form on the internet. Some forms/websites will explicitly state that you are providing them with the right to sell or share your information and/or use it to communicate with you for any reason in the future.

Messages received from unrecognized senders should be treated with extreme caution, as they may contain malicious code. We recommend not opening any emails or attachments from email addresses you have not verified as a legitimate sender.


If you are receiving messages marketing messages that you would rather not receive, it is best to unsubscribe from the email list rather than putting the message in your spam folder. You will find an unsubscribe link at the bottom of most marketing emails. If you do not see one, try responding back to the email with the word “unsubscribe.” In most countries, organization’s are required by law to remove you from their marketing lists once you have requested this be done.

If you are having trouble with the current spam filter please see: Spam filtering not working properly.

Still receiving spam?

If you are still getting spam after following these steps, send an email to with the headers of the spam messages and our team can take a closer look at it and try to resolve the issue. To find the headers of emails, you can follow the instructions here.

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  1. dean peyton

    very hard to find unsubscribe once you have an account. how?

  2. ProtonMail Support

    Please contact us on or via the Report bug button.

  3. Anonymous

    Is it possible to set up a filter that will mark mail that has been flagged as spam to be marked as read so the mailbox count doesn’t increase?

  4. ProtonMail Support

    The Spam filter takes precedence over all custom filters, which means that custom filters aren’t executed on messages going to the Spam folder.

  5. John Wayne

    I was always under the impression that if you hit unsubscribe from an email to was a validation that there is actually a user at the other end.

  6. Dave

    It depends on who is on the other end. Sometimes an otherwise legitimate company steps over the line in how they collect email addresses for marketing and sends you spam, but they will still honour an unsubscribe request. However the sort of spammer offering cheap v1agra and fake Raybans doesn’t have any kind of reputation to maintain so has no motivation to honour any kind of unsubscribe request.

    If it’s a legitimate company, it might work. You can still use the + trick to create a unique email address every time you give it out, meaning it’s easy to block if they start sending you spam.

  7. Cliff Williams

    Why is there no way to turn OFF the spam filter. It is sending some very important emails to spam and no way to turn it off. Very irritating.

  8. ProtonMail Support

    If messages from a trusted sender are mistakenly delivered to your Spam folder, moving the message to the Inbox will automatically add that sender’s address to your whitelist. You can read more about this here:
    You can also contact our support team at, or using the support form at for further assistance.

  9. Joseph R

    This is ridiculously complicated and completely unnecessary. Every other email provider I have ever used is able to permanently block any sender with a simple right click. Unwanted emails don’t go to the spam folder, they just are automatically deleted from the server without ever having to see them. This is the 100% must have feature that needs to be implemented by the time my account comes due for renewal, or it’s bye bye Proton.

  10. Steven

    In order to know that good messages end up in the “Spam” folder “mistakenly” you need to KNOW it in the first place. Do you get it at all ? I’d need to monitor the “Spam” folder constantly, which defeats the purpose of you so-called “Spam filtering”. instead of giving inane excuses and tedious workarounds, tell your programmers to implement an option to TURN OFF SPAM filtering, like every other civilized email service. I won’t pay subscriptions for people too lazy to implement features available everywhere else (turn off spam filtering).

  11. ProtonMail Support

    This is now possible using a custom Sieve filter. Please contact our support team using the support form at for help setting it up.

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