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Obscure email addresses with asterisks in JavaScript

Want to obscure an email address with JavaScript? Here’s how. Why might you want to do it? A bit of privacy!

We have lots of subscribers at Ultimate Courses, and I like to see a dashboard shared with my team members when new subscribers join. But, for privacy reasons, I of course want to protect their email addresses before our API sends them back. So, enter obscuring!

What obscuring allows us to do is take an email like this:

…and turn it into this:


What I’m doing is replacing the number of characters in the email with an asterisk *.

First, let’s create our function that accepts an email string:

const obscureEmail = (email) => {};

Now, we’ll use String.prototype.split to split the email by the @ symbol.

A string split returns an array, and with modern ES6 features, we can infact easily destructure the “name” before the @ symbol and “domain” extension:

const obscureEmail = (email) => {
  const [name, domain] = email.split('@');
  console.log(name); // toddmotto
  console.log(domain); //

From here, we need to replace the name with asterisks, but I want to keep the first character instead of obscuring it all.

To get the first character from name we could use substring or just a quick property lookup - as it’s shorter I’m going to vote for name[0].

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We can then cleverly use new Array(name.length) to construct a new array from the length of the string, which will give us an array with undefined values (we don’t care what’s in it, we’re going to join it):

[undefined, undefined, undefined, undefined];

Moving on, we can call new Array(name.length).join('*') which will then join all 4 values and use 3 asterisks. Essentially, if you look above, each comma , will be replaced by * a there are 4 items, there are 3 asterisks.

Then we can append the domain and we’re done:

const obscureEmail = (email) => {
  const [name, domain] = email.split('@');
  return `${name[0]}${new Array(name.length).join('*')}@${domain}`;

const email = obscureEmail('[email protected]');
console.log(email); // t********

🏆 Oh, and if you’d like to learn even more JavaScript, visit our JavaScript courses to see how they can help you level up your skills.

P.S. Here’s a StackBlitz embed with everything inside, so you can have a fiddle with it in real-time:

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