What is an Email Firewall?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

An email firewall is an application that is designed to monitor and filter inbound email messages that may be problematic if they are received and opened by a recipient. This type of application gateway includes a number of features that include a combination of software that helps to reduce spam emails while also scanning attachments for signs of viruses or malware that could infect the system of whomever opens the mails. Many email firewall products also provide functions that make it possible to scan inbound emails associated with multiple accounts using different domain names, as well as providing customization tools that make it possible to block certain domains while allowing others to always pass through to the inbox.

Email firewalls prevent the delivery of spam to a user's inbox.
Email firewalls prevent the delivery of spam to a user's inbox.

One of the greatest benefits of an email firewall is to prevent the delivery of spam to a user’s inbox. Doing so helps to minimize the potential for receiving an unsolicited email from an unknown source that contains a virus or some other form of malware that would infect the user’s hard drive. In some cases, the flagged emails are directed to a spam folder that the user can review at his or her leisure. This makes it possible to extract emails that are flagged for some reason, but are from a trusted source, such as a vendor who periodically sends out mass emails that some servers may view as spam.

One of the greatest benefits of an email firewall is to prevent the delivery of email spam to a user's inbox.
One of the greatest benefits of an email firewall is to prevent the delivery of email spam to a user's inbox.

Another important advantage of an email firewall is the ability to manage multiple email accounts through a single application gateway. This can be especially helpful for a business, since the approach provides some degree of uniformity in how inbound emails are handled for all end users working through a single server. For example, an infected email containing a virus has much less chance of reaching the inbox of any users connected with the server, which in turn reduces the potential for the email attachment to be opened and begin to spread the threat throughout the network of users.

The good thing about an email firewall is that the application is relatively inexpensive, and provides an excellent level of protection. When paired with the right antivirus program, the chances of receiving an infection via email are extremely low. As with antivirus and spyware protection programs, it is possible to secure free versions of the email firewall, although the free products may be somewhat limited in terms of customization of settings and the range of protections provided.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including wiseGEEK, and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

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Discussion Comments


@mobilian33 - I agree porn sites are a hot bed for viruses, but even if you don't click on them there are plenty of other ways to pick up viruses. Any computer without some type of firewall is just a sitting duck for hackers, and they don't even have to be very good hackers.

Some of the most destructive computer viruses every released started through an email message. The email antivirus firewall costs a little more, but I am beginning to think that the extra feeling of security it gives you makes it worth the cost.

Just think of all the information you would lose if your computer went down, not to mention the inconvenience of not having it. Even worse is the thought of someone stealing all of the information on my computer and using it in some way.


There is no perfect way to protect you computer from viruses, but the main way to keep it clean is to stay away from pornographic sites. I don't know why, but these sites are where you are most likely to get a virus. Even if you have no type of antivirus firewall protection, you can avoid most viruses by not going to porn sites and by not downloading a lot of files from the Internet. Only download stuff that you are 99 percent it is not infected.


I don't know whether I am lucky or the risks of being targeted by a virus through email is low, but in all of the years I have used an email account, I have not had my computer attacked via a message I received in my Inbox. While I use the regular online security system, I am not set up for any particular email firewall protection.

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