I now handle spam using a combination of two email accounts, based at email hosting company Rackspace. First, I have my old always-public address--let's just say that's firstname.lastname@example.org, and it's pretty much the same as it's always been, other than now being hosted at Rackspace. (I was able to move my mail to Rackspace because I use my own domain for email; if your email address ends on gmail.com or icloud.com, you won't be able to do this solution.)
I also have a second account at Rackspace, email@example.com, which is now playing spam-catcher for all my of junk (and sometimes my incorrectly-classified legitimate) email. How does it work? Rackspace offers a number of options for spam filtering, including the fairly-typical Add a Marker to the Subject, Move to Spam Folder, and Delete Immediately. None of those, though, met my needs.
But Rackspace also offers a fourth option I hadn't seen elsewhere: Deliver to another email address. All you evil-thinkers out there, relax: the other email address must be on your own domain, so you can't just merrily forward your spam off to your worst enemy. I enabled this option, and told it to use the firstname.lastname@example.org address.
After configuring the main account to send all spam to the spamtrap account, I just had to configure my devices. On my main Mac, I created a new account in Mail, pointed it at the email@example.com account, and made it active. So now, when working at my main Mac, I get spam, but it comes into its own mailbox, and can be dealt with when I'm ready.
I also created this same account on the other Macs and iOS devices I regularly use, but did not activate it. Because Rackspace is forwarding the spam to the spamtrap account, I won't see any of those messages when away from my main Mac. But if I do want (or need) to check what's been trapped, I can do so by either enabling the account (which I can do if I've got a fast connection), or by using a webmail interface to the account (which I do when I have a slower connection). Using either method, though, my main inbox is no longer flooded with spam when I'm away from my main Mac.
The final word
I know there are many ways to handle spam, and many don't involve spending money. But for me, the ability to travel without getting inundated with spam, and yet be in full control over how and when spam messages are handled, makes the solution worth the annual cost to my wallet. If you've never considered using your own domain for email, maybe this article will convince you to give it a try--it's not expensive, and you can keep the same email address forever. But that's a subject for another article.
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