C# code to validate email address

What about this?

bool IsValidEmail(string email)
    try {
        var addr = new System.Net.Mail.MailAddress(email);
        return addr.Address == email;
    catch {
        return false;

Per Stuart's comment, this compares the final address with the original string instead of always returning true. MailAddress tries to parse a string with spaces into "Display Name" and "Address" portions, so the original version was returning false positives.

To clarify, the question is asking whether a particular string is a valid representation of an e-mail address, not whether an e-mail address is a valid destination to send a message. For that, the only real way is to send a message to confirm.

Note that e-mail addresses are more forgiving than you might first assume. These are all perfectly valid forms:

  • cog@wheel
  • "cogwheel the orange"@example.com
  • 123@$.xyz

For most use cases, a false "invalid" is much worse for your users and future proofing than a false "valid". Here's an article that used to be the accepted answer to this question (that answer has since been deleted). It has a lot more detail and some other ideas of how to solve the problem.

Providing sanity checks is still a good idea for user experience. Assuming the e-mail address is valid, you could look for known top-level domains, check the domain for an MX record, check for spelling errors from common domain names (gmail.cmo), etc. Then present a warning giving the user a chance to say "yes, my mail server really does allow as an email address."

As for using exception handling for business logic, I agree that is a thing to be avoided. But this is one of those cases where the convenience and clarity may outweigh the dogma.

Besides, if you do anything else with the e-mail address, it's probably going to involve turning it to a MailAddress. Even if you don't use this exact function, you will probably want to use the same pattern. You can also check for specific kinds of failure by catching different exceptions: null, empty, or invalid format.

--- Further reading ---

Documentation for System.Net.Mail.MailAddress

Explanation of what makes up a valid email address

This is an old question, but all the answers I've found on SO, including more recent ones, are answered similarly to this one. However, in .Net 4.5 / MVC 4 you can add email address validation to a form by adding the [EmailAddress] annotation from System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations, so I was wondering why I couldn't just use the built-in functionality from .Net in general.

This seems to work, and seems to me to be fairly elegant:

using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;

class ValidateSomeEmails
    static void Main(string[] args)
        var foo = new EmailAddressAttribute();
        bool bar;
        bar = foo.IsValid("[email protected]");         //true
        bar = foo.IsValid("[email protected]");       //true
        bar = foo.IsValid("[email protected]");     //true
        bar = foo.IsValid("[email protected]");      //true

        bar = foo.IsValid("fdsa");                          //false
        bar = foo.IsValid("fdsa@");                         //false
        bar = foo.IsValid("fdsa@fdsa");                     //false
        bar = foo.IsValid("fdsa@fdsa.");                    //false

        if (new EmailAddressAttribute().IsValid("[email protected]"))
            bar = true;    

I use this single liner method which does the work for me-

using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;
public bool IsValidEmail(string source)
    return new EmailAddressAttribute().IsValid(source);

Per the comments, this will "fail" if the source (the email address) is null.

public static bool IsValidEmailAddress(this string address) => address != null && new EmailAddressAttribute().IsValid(address);