Email Testing Tip: Using One Email Account for Multiple Email Addresses

During software testing, we often need to verify and read emails, such as ‘Account Activation’, ‘Password Reset’, ‘Invoice’, …, etc. If possible, for internal testing, I would test emails in Automated Test Scripts with a Fake SMTP server: MailCatcher, as it is quick, safe, and easy to verify (using automated scripts). However, sometimes, using a Fake SMTP server is not possible (requires dev support and setup).

This article shares a tip on how to use the same email account and receive emails from ‘multiple email addresses’.

A typical use case is the ‘User Sign up’ test case.

  • A unique email address can only be used once for sign-up
  • I don’t want to create a new email account every time we test this scenario.
    (‘User Sign up’ might be used often in test automation to create a unique user, to prevent test data conflicts. Check out this article Case Study: User Change Password Automated Test)

A simple solution is adding a plus sign (+) and any word before the @ sign in one email account, e.g. testwisely+101@gmail.com, testwisely+102@gmail.com.

Most apps will treat them as separate unique email addresses, but all emails will arrive at the same account, e.g. testwisely@gmail.com. This is known as email alias (one email address can have infinite aliases).

Here is a test. I sent two emails.

They arrived at the same Gmail account (testwisely@gmail.com).

Email details:

The email was sent to the aliased email (testwisely+102@gmail.com).

This alias trick should work for most email accounts, at least, Gmail and Outlook (I verified today).

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