Mailing List or Mail Alias

If you need a single E-Mail address to reach several people, you have the choice between a mailing list and a mail alias.

From the point of view of the user of a mail alias / mailing list, there is no difference:

  • you send an E-Mail to a single E-Mail address and that E-Mail is delivered to all members of the alias/list.

From the point of view of the owner of a mail alias / mailing list, there is a difference:

  • A mail alias is very simple:

    • it is just a short notation for a group of people: sending an E-Mail to a mail alias is exactly the same as sending an E-Mail to each of the members yourself
    • a mail alias only helps in keeping the members together so that you don't need to distribute and keep the list of the members the same / up to date in every place (addressbook) you want to use it
    The main disadvantages of a mail alias are:
    • mail aliases do not hide (temporary/mail) errors from the sender
    • you cannot change the members of a mail alias yourself, only helpdesk can do that
  • A mailing list involves some more administration but also gives some features that might be handy:

    • it has the same advantage as a mail alias: you only need to keep the list of members up to date in single place and not in all places (addressbooks, ...) it is being used
    • you can keep the list closed: not everybody can send to it
    • you can keep it moderated: messages sent to it must be approved before they are actually delivered
    • you can keep archives
    • mailing lists also cope well with messages being (temporarily) delayed, refused, ...
    • you can change the members of a mailing list yourself, you don't need helpdesk to do that

    There are no obvious disadvantages, you just need to set it up and learn how to use and administer it.


  • for a short list, holding not too many members, that rarely changes and for which no moderation, archives, ... are needed and that anybody is allowed to send E-Mail to, a mail alias is all you need

  • if you have a list with dozens or more members or for which you need the extras (closed, moderation, archives, ...) you need a mailing list

Mail Aliases

If you want a new mail alias, fill in this request form; helpdesk will create it for you.

The list of current mail aliases is available on the internal web server (only from within departmental networks or via VPN).

Which mail aliases your account is member of, is shown in the details of your account.

Mailing Lists

The central KULeuven Mailing List service is the best option to create/manage/use large (and small) lists of e-mail addresses.

The Mailman software that has been set up at our department is only used to keep existing mailing lists active ... no new mailing lists will be added and the existing ones are strongly encouraged to switch to the above KULeuven service.