Can email addresses have hyphens, minus signs, and dashes?

The short answer is yes, email addresses can include these characters, but with some exceptions. The two biggest factors to consider are hyphen placement and email service provider. Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.

Placement - email addresses cannot have a hyphen (or minus sign, or dash) as the first or last letter in the domain part. Similarly, the hyphen cannot be placed directly in front of or following, the dot (.). Have a look at some examples of correct vs. incorrect use:





Email service provider (ESP) - based on RFC standards, email addresses can technically have hyphens and other special characters in the local part. However, many ESPs enforce restrictions against them.

Gmail and Yahoo! are two examples of popular providers that prevent users from including hyphens in their email addresses. Keep in mind that many other providers allow hyphens; it varies from case to case.


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