It is quite common to open your email inbox and find pages of unsolicited emails. Putting an E-mail address out there on the Internet usually results in unwanted mail filling your inbox before you have a chance to delete and block it. Sorting through this spam mail is not only time consuming, but is an aggravation most of us will agree we could do without.
Here are some tips to help a savvy domain owner and email user utilize the tools at their fingertips to reduce the amount of spam mail received, and possibly eradicate it altogether.
Identify Spam Mail Using SpamAssassin
Offered as part of the cPanel interface and available for Windows and Linux through the Plesk interface, this weapon against spam is often overlooked by users. Although disabled by default, you can put this tool to use by choosing to enable SpamAssassin in your mail settings. It is possible to configure SpamAssassin to blacklist and block a sender’s messages or whitelist senders so that their messages are auto-accepted through the server.
SpamAssassin incorporates a series of tests and identifies criteria for likely spam messages. Messages are identified by a point system assigned by SpamAssassin based on the test criteria. It is possible to set the sensitivity for SpamAssassin so that it is more or less likely to identify spam. If you find that more spam mail than you want is still being allowed through, adjust the threshold lower until you reach a filter point where you are happy. Identified spam messages will still be delivered to your Inbox. However, they will have text included in the subject line that flags them as spam. You can configure the email client to delete or send them to a “spambox” folder on arrival. Enabling Autodelete and Spambox configured to the same criteria will result in priority being given to Autodelete.
Use BoxTrapper As An Effective Spam Elimination Tool
If you have set up SpamAssassin but find that the spam mail is still being received at high level, then BoxTrapper is a helpful tool to use. Accessed on the cPanel in the Mail section, it autoresponds with a verification message to senders asking for a response before their mail is accepted. Upon verification, senders are added to a whitelist and will not be asked to verify subsequent emails. Email addresses that you have used for sending mail are also added automatically to the whitelist.
BoxTrapper stores messages for a period of time, which are designated in the configuration settings. The receipt of excessive amounts of spam in this folder may make it necessary for manual deletion to avoid storage issues. Be certain that you check these lists for possible emails that were overlooked and assigned to spam by mistake to avoid missing important communications or allowed E-mail marketing messages.
Register A Domain Privately To Help Avoid Spam
It is possible to use domain privacy by registering the domain through a company that provides WHOIS privacy or delegates WHOIS. Under ICANN guidelines, when a domain is registered, the registrar’s name, address, telephone number and email address is forwarded to the WHOIS database where the all public domain information is recorded. These guidelines further require accurate contact information for the registrar of any domain. This gives spammers the opportunity to acquire email addresses directly from WHOIS records.
However, surveys completed by the ICANN Survey and Stability Committee show a marked decrease in spam emails between e-mail addresses accessible through the WHOIS database and those that used domain privacy measures. Companies providing this service supply their own contact information for your account and act as your registrar to prevent spammers from collecting your contact information from the WHOIS database.
Disable Your Catchall Mailbox To Help Eliminate Spam Emails
Disabling your catchall mailbox is a wise choice as spammers become more creative in circumventing email security. Provided by most web hosting companies, catchall mailboxes “catch” all emails sent to any valid but undesignated email at your domain and forward them to a specific email address. The catchall mailbox is helpful for catching misspelled legitimate emails and avoids your company losing valuable business queries. Unfortunately, this means that any email address ending in “@yourdomain.com” goes straight to the catchall and gives spammers a wide range of random characters to insert as an email address. If you designate as many legitimate emails as possible, including possible misspellings and common choices such as “firstname.lastname@example.org.” A small amount of spam may still make it through, but spammers are blocked from sending copious amounts of unwanted mail.
Proper Configuration Of Server-Side Account Level And User Level Filtering Helps Reduce Spam Mail
Most users find it simpler to use Account Level Filtering and User Level Filtering through the cPanel interface. These filters are both used in conjunction with SpamAssassin and configuring SpamAssassin to sort mail identified as spam, which is done quickly by designation within Spam Status. Server-side Account Level filtering and User Level Filtering provide excellent spam filtering, as well as offers filtering such as sorting of client emails into folders. These filters kick in once the main account filter has done it’s job.
Though it may seem that spam mail is a battle that cannot be won, you can stage a strong defense against spam attacks by using the above tools to allow your system to filter out unwanted mail. Ultimately this should result in more productivity, less aggravation and more efficient use of your domain’s email system.
About the author: Brian Flores blogs InMotion Hosting, a web hosting company in Los Angeles, CA.