June 28, 2022

Are Email Addresses Case Sensitive?

Reading time about 6 min

Ever wonder if capitals matter in email addresses? This article is all about email address syntax. Learn what to expect when you create an email address with capitals, special characters, and international symbols.

You need a new email address for personal or professional reasons. Perhaps you just want to create an additional account or maybe you’re about to launch the next trendsetting newsletter.

You sit down in front of the keyboard and start playing with different cap combinations. You like what you see. The new address reflects your style. It nails your brand. Should you worry about capitalization?

So, are emails case sensitive?

No. Email addresses are not case sensitive. If your email address is [email protected] but someone enters it in all lowercase letters, you’re still going to receive the email. When you’re the sender, it’s also easier for both machines and humans to read in all lowercase.  

Are emails case sensitive in the address field?

Again, the short answer is no, but there are unique exceptions. Consider these two email accounts — the same address but different lowercase and uppercase letter combinations.

[email protected]

[email protected]

On rare occasions, an outdated server or program might not interpret the capitalization correctly. The vast majority of today’s email servers can handle uppercase letters in an email address. 

But just to be on the safe side, we recommend you avoid crazy capitalizations. Having a mixture of capitals and lowercase can make your email address difficult to read.

So, to be sure, does capitalization matter in emails?

No. Email ISPs are case insensitive. They take [email protected] and [email protected] as the same email address so no matter how the sender capitalizes it, the message will reach the inbox. 

Complying with email address standards

Every email address has to follow certain rules. Otherwise, email servers won’t read the address correctly, leaving you unable to send or receive emails from it. It’s like writing your postal address not in the established way but in free-form description instead. The system can’t read this.

Fortunately, email address standards are straightforward.

Username standards

The information that appears before the @ symbol is your username (also known as the local part of the email). It’s your unique address. You can use up to 64 Latin characters and the numbers 0 through 9.

Domain standards

Information located after the @ symbol represents your email server or domain. It gives directions as to where to send your email. You’re allowed to use as many as 255 Latin characters and numbers 0 through 9. It usually is the same as your website domain: example.com

Can you use special characters in an email address?

When you choose the best font for email messages, you’re using digital typography to your advantage. Applied correctly, it’s a valuable tool for crafting compelling emails and powerful newsletters.

Special characters have that same appeal, but you don’t see them in very many email addresses. The problem isn’t just legibility. Different email marketing platforms impose different standards that can affect deliverability.

Most email servers recognize the special characters in this lineup.

! # $ % & ‘ * + – = ^ _ {} ~

However, Gmail.com doesn’t allow characters from this set:

& = _ ‘ – + ,

Greater than and less than brackets or more than one period in a row are also not allowed in Gmail addresses.

A unique email address helps you stand out, but it’s probably best to resist the temptation of special characters.

What about using international symbols in an email address?

International symbols are the characters used to write in languages such as some Slavic languages, Chinese, and Greek. After all, not all languages use the Latin alphabet.

The vast majority of email communication is based on Latin symbols and ASCII character encoding standards. This forms the basic text language and syntax that allows communication between computers and other devices.

Unicode is a character encoding standard that bridges the divide between international and Latin symbols. The encoding makes it possible to send and receive emails in languages such as German, Hindi and Japanese.

It’s important to note that international email services use Unicode, but not all email service providers support international symbols.

Brevo fully supports international symbols in email addresses. Customers can have non-ASCII or non-Latin characters in the local part of their contacts’ email addresses and still be able to send email campaigns to them.

You can even create a free Brevo account using an email address with international characters.

How do different email services handle things?

Are email addresses case sensitive with all major servers? For example, are email addresses case sensitive in Gmail?

No. In general, the biggest ISPs and webmail providers (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) are case insensitive to the username of your address.

You can add uppercase letters before the @ with these services if that’s something you really want to do (to highlight your name, for example).

As mentioned earlier, it’s very unusual for capital letters in email addresses to cause problems sending or receiving messages.

What are the best practices for creating an email address?

You want to compose an email address that’s easily recognized by internet service providers and your recipients.

These four tips can help:

  1. Avoid uppercase letters: Eliminate the chance of server or sender confusion, and it makes the address easier to read.
  2. Use periods sparingly: They can make an email address more readable, but some email providers limit their use.
  3. Keep it simple: Save special characters, clever name spellings, puns and wordplay for social media posts.
  4. Don’t change others: Don’t try to modify a working email address that doesn’t adhere to best practices.

So, are emails case sensitive in Gmail?

You have the answer. When friends wonder about using special characters in email addresses, you can give them sound advice. You understand email address syntax.

Craft your new username according to service standards. Double-check your email server’s domain name requirements. Take one last look. Make sure you’re happy with the results.

Planning on using that new address to send marketing emails? If yes then the next thing that needs your attention is your sender name. This differs from your sender address and contains 20-30 characters.

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