How To Get a PO Box

And 3 Reasons Not To

Post Office boxes have been around as long as there has been mail to deliver. They’re considered a reliable and safe way to receive mail.

These days, people are used to a different level of convenience, one that can be provided by a Virtual PO Box. The modern digital lifestyle lets you avoid banks, skip lines at restaurants, and have groceries delivered to your door.

This raises an important question: Why do you still have to go to the Post Office to check your mail?

That’s why we’ve put together this quick guide. While it might still be useful to know how to get a PO box, it’s more important to look at the future of mail delivery, how it’s changing, and how that affects you.


How to Get a PO Box in Three Easy Steps

Getting a PO box is incredibly simple. Here’s the process in just three quick steps:

Step #1: Choose a Location

One of the first considerations everyone getting a PO box should consider is the location. You can get a PO box from the United States Postal Service at most of their Post Office locations, even if your home or business is in another state.

That said, most people prefer to get a postal box at a post office location near their home or place of business for maximum convenience.

Step #2: Choose a Size

Once you’ve selected a location, you need to consider what size of PO box will work for you. Depending on how much mail you plan on receiving (or whether you intend to get parcels*), you’ll need to pick from the following general sizes:

  • Extra Small - 3” x 5.5” - Usually fits anywhere from 10-15 letters or two rolled magazines.
  • Small - 5” x 5.5” - Fits 15-20 letters, or up to five rolled magazines.
  • Medium - 11” x 5.5” - Big enough to accommodate larger envelopes, or even flat-stack multiple magazines
  • Large - 11” x 11” - Can fit roughly two small boxes inside, with room for letters
  • Extra Large - 22.5” x12” - Largest option, can fit most flat rate boxes or moderately sized packages

PO box cost will vary depending on mailbox size and location.

*As noted below, UPS and regular FedEx do not deliver to USPS PO boxes.

Step #3: Finalize Your Selection and Redirect Your Mail

Once you’ve picked your size and location, you’ll need to choose a lease term of six or twelve months and complete the Form 1583, a simple one-page form to confirm your identity. You will need two forms of ID, one of which must be a photo ID. Once you get your PO box keys, you can start sharing your new address and redirecting your mail.

Overall, the process of getting a PO box is simple and has been in use for many decades.

But should you get a PO box at all these days?

Now, 3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Get a PO Box

PO boxes are old-school. In a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, they fail to keep up. Here are three reasons why you should skip getting a PO box and look for a better solution:

Reason #1: PO Boxes Are Inconvenient

Is there anything in your life that you purposefully put in a spot that’s out of your way?

Probably few things, because you value convenience. Right?

Convenience is why people buy washers and dryers for their homes instead of making trips to the neighborhood laundromat, and why you order food from Grubhub. It’s much easier.

PO boxes are the pinnacle of inconvenience. You must go somewhere offsite, every day, just to check whether you have mail. Opting for Informed Delivery may seem like the solution, but it is merely a digital preview of incoming mail and packages soon to arrive. Informed Delivery with a PO Box does not confirm delivery or allow you to access or manage your mail in any way.

What’s worse, you may have to travel way out of your way to get the right size PO box.

You’re also locked into a specific PO box rental period and might have to pay extra if you cancel too soon.

If you move your home or business and need to change your PO box, that will add even more inconvenience. You will fill out forms, pay new fees, and then wait to get confirmation in the mail.

Plus, your mail is totally inaccessible when the Post Office is closed.

If you’re looking for convenience, PO boxes shouldn’t be high on your list.

Reason #2: PO Boxes Have Limited Mail and Package Receiving Capability

FedEx and UPS will not deliver to a USPS PO box, which limits it as a porch piracy solution. If you or your senders prefer one of these services to the USPS shipping, you may be out of luck.

If you order PO box that's too small, all your mail may not fit inside.

What happens when your mail doesn’t fit, or you get a package? Well, that depends.

You may receive a note in your PO box to retrieve your mail at the service counter or get a key to a larger storage box.

If your volume of mail becomes an ongoing problem because it will not fit in your PO box, your postmaster will likely ask you to get a larger PO box size. Not only will you need to pay more per month, but you will need to change you mailing address to the new PO box number and inform all your senders.

Reason #3: The Future of the PO Box is Already Here

Digital Mailbox Service

Believe it or not, traditional PO boxes are already obsolete. Digital mailbox options are available, and you can now have all the benefits of a PO box without stepping foot in a post office or a mailbox store.

Virtual addresses, which are sometimes called virtual PO boxes, allow you to have your mail delivered off-site like you would with a PO box. But instead of checking your box every day, an automated system scans the outside of your mail or packages and delivers the image to you digitally in your personal digital mailbox.

All you have to do is use an app or go online, choose which letters you want to forward, discard or open and scan, and then read your mail on your phone, tablet, or PC.

Plus, since digital mailbox providers like iPostal1 use real street mailing addresses, you can have packages delivered via any carrier. You get to pick your address from over 3,000 locations for added flexibility. Since your mailing address is a real street address, not a PO Box, you can also use it to register your business. This will save entrepreneurs time and money, while upgrading your business image vs. using your home address for business.


If you’re considering getting a PO box for your mail, you’ll be happy to know they’re pretty easy to get.

But "easy to get" doesn’t mean convenient. You will continually have to go to the post office to manage and retrieve your mail from your PO box. Who has time for that?

If you plan on receiving parcels from UPS or FedEx, or want to register your business, you might as well forget it! You’ll need a real physical address. And if you need to get a larger PO box, what a hassle!

That’s why you should consider an online PO box instead. They’re the modern solution to your mail needs and will save you time and keep you in touch with your mail, no matter where you are, either with an app or online.

Be honest. Aren’t you ready for a mailing address solution that’s super-convenient, flexible, and fully meets your personal and business needs?

How to Get a Virtual PO Box

Getting a virtual PO box with iPostal1 is easy. You choose a mailing address from the iPostal1 network of over 3,000 real street addresses to which you want to direct your mail and receive packages. These packages can be delivered through any carrier (like FedEx or UPS).

The process is pain-free and takes only a few minutes!

How to set up an iPostal1 virtual PO box:

  1. Choose an Address. Select from over 3,000 addresses in the U.S. and other countries. Set up a virtual PO box address in multiple locations to create a broader market presence. You can select an address near your home or office and pick up mail when you want. You can also choose an address in another city, state or country, if you desire.
  2. Choose a Plan. iPostal1 offers mailbox plans based on how much mail you expect to receive a month. Virtual Office plans add a local or toll-free phone and fax number.
  3. Checkout. At checkout, provide your contact information plus credit card or PayPal account.
  4. File Form 1583. After signing up, you will be assigned a personal mailbox number and receive instructions on how to upload a simple, one-page form (Form 1583) required by the USPS that authorizes your mailing address location to receive mail on your behalf. You’ll also submit two forms of ID. iPostal1 makes this process easy.
  5. Redirect Your Mail. To receive mail at your new address, file a Temporary Change of Address form with the USPS and/or notify senders directly.

    Now you can:

  • View and Manage Your Mail from Anywhere 24/7. See your mail as soon as it is received. Use our free app or any computer to view an image of the outside of each mail item you receive. With a click or tap, tell your mail center what you want to do with each item: forward, scan, schedule a pickup, discard, or shred.
  • Receive Mail & Packages from Any Carrier. Because every iPostal virtual postal address is a real street address, not a standard postal box, you can receive mail and packages not only from the USPS, but also from FedEx, UPS and other carriers.
  • Add Locations with Just a Click. It’s fast and easy to add additional address locations for business or personal use. Manage mail for all locations from one login.

View Plans View Locations

PO Box Frequently Asked Questions

What is a PO Box?

A post office box, or PO box, is a mailbox at a post office with its own unique box number that postal customers can rent if they wish to receive mail away from their domicile or place of business.

Key access is required to obtain individual PO box contents. Lobby access to all boxes is usually available 24/7, and postal box renters visit their post office locations very frequently to see if they have mail.

How much does the average PO Box cost?

USPS PO Box rental prices vary according to the location of the post office and the size of the postal box. Therefore, it isn’t useful to discuss average PO Box cost.

You could spend as little as $20 for a 3-month rental of the smallest box at an inexpensive location or as much as $360 for the largest box at an expensive location. That’s a huge cost difference! And at the end of the day, it’s just a standard PO Box with its inherent limitations.

You’ll need to contact your post office to find out the prices of boxes they currently have available, if any.

When should I rent a PO Box?

Renting a standard PO Box at a USPS location is an option for receiving mail away from your home or office that could make sense in some circumstances. USPS PO Boxes are worth considering when:

  • You receive lots of mail (but few packages) and don’t mind going to the post office every day to view and retrieve your mail.
  • You don’t need to use your address for general business purposes.
  • You don’t care about the powerful virtual mailbox features of an iPostal1 virtual PO box over the limitations of a traditional post office box.

What is the difference between a standard PO box and a virtual PO box?

A standard PO Box, available at local post office locations, offers a secure, physical space for mail collection. However, PO boxes require in-person visits for mail retrieval. Digital mailboxes from iPostal1 extend beyond these limitations. With an iPostal1 digital mailbox you can view and manage your mail and packages online 24/7 using our website or app, with options to forward, open and scan, recycle, shred, or store your mail for pickup.

What is the difference between USPS Informed Delivery for PO Boxes and managing mail and packages with a virtual PO box?

USPS Informed Delivery for PO boxes provides digital previews of letter-sized mail scheduled for delivery, giving users a heads-up on what they may expect in their PO box. However, this service is limited to letters and doesn't include package handling. iPostal1's virtual PO box service takes it a step further. It not only allows users to view their delivered mail, but also view and manage mail and packages. Users can request mail to be opened and scanned, forwarded to a different address, or even shredded, providing a more comprehensive and interactive mail management experience.

Virtual PO Box Plans

Virtual Mailing Address

With digital mailbox for me and my family.

Starting at




  • Get a real physical street address

  • View and manage your mail and packages from anywhere

  • Prevent mail and package theft

  • Protect your privacy

Click to Learn More

Virtual Business Address

With digital mailbox for my business.

Starting at




Includes everything in Virtual Mailing Address plus:

  • Get mail in your business name

  • Use it to register your business

  • Upgrade your business image

  • Optional office building address

Click to Learn More

Virtual Office

With digital mailbox plus phone and fax.

Starting at




Includes everything in Virtual Business Address plus:

  • Local or toll-free phone and fax

  • Call forwarding and voicemail

Click to Learn More


Tailored offering for your company's specific needs.

Custom pricing

Available solutions include:

  • Digital mailroom

  • Software licensing

  • White-label partnerships

Contact Us

* Plan pricing varies by "Standard", "Select", "Premium", or "Prestige" mailbox locations.

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Virtual PO Box Locations

iPostal1 mailbox locations are professionally-staffed and secure. We can receive your mail and packages and then forward, scan, recycle, shred or let you pick them up. Access your digital mailbox using our app or website.

Choose from our network of over 3,000 locations or view only office buildings and workspaces or discounted international forwarding locations to save up to 80% on international shipping from the U.S.

List your Shipping Store, Workspace or Mail Center address on iPostal1

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