What is the maximum length of an email address?

by | Mar 22, 2023

The length of an email address is not unlimited, it is set by the relevant RFC. The Mindbaz experts will explain you how to create a proper email address, whether for business or not. 

Length, format, definitions, let’s start:

What is RFC?

An RFC, Request For Comment, is a document that outlines the technical aspects and specifications of the Internet, or computer hardware. Here we are interested in the RFC of the IETF.

The Internet Engineering Task Force is an organization that defines the guidelines and standards of Internet.

RFC 3696 – What are the guidelines for the length of an email address

RFC 3696 is the document that interests us here. It outlines the format for email addresses and is based on RFC 2821 and RFC 2822  

An email address can have a total length of 320 characters. 64 characters for the local address before the @ (which counts as 1 character) and 255 characters for the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name) as mentioned in section 3 of the RFC:

In addition to restrictions on syntax, there is a length limit on email addresses. That limit is a maximum of 64 characters (octets) in the « local part » (before the « @ ») and a maximum of 255 characters (octets) in the domain part (after the « @ ») for a total length of 320 characters. Systems that handle email should be prepared to process addresses which are that long, even though they are rarely encountered

RFC 3696 – Section 3

An illustration is always better than a long text:

image : maximum size email address rfc 3696

Note that a domain name is limited to 63 characters as specified in section 2 of the same RFC:

A DNS label may be no more than 63 octets long. This is in the form actually stored; if a non-ASCII label is converted to encoded « punycode » form (see Section 5), the length of that form may restrict the number of actual characters (in the original character set) that can be accommodated. A complete, fully-qualified, domain name must not exceed 255 octets.

RFC 3696 – Section 2

The length of a work email address

It’s the same principle than on the diagram above.

The local address: 64 characters

Let’s take our contact email address as an example: contact @ mindbaz.com

The part of the address that you will change for each employee and for each purpose is the local address. This is “contact”. It should not exceed 64 characters. 

The domain address: 255 characters

This is the default part of your email address. In our example, it is “mindbaz.com”. 

That’s it, you now know the maximum length of an email address!

You now have all the information you need to create an email address with the perfect length. It’s one of the elements that will impact your deliverability. 

Other statistics are taken into account like the sender name you choose or the bounce rate of your emailing campaigns. Check our articles to learn more about this topic:

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