How to utilise the SpamAssassin Spam Filter

An often underutilised feature within all our hosting accounts is SpamAssassin spam filtering. When enabled it allows you to filter out spam messages with the goal of keeping your inbox clear of junk email and nasty attachments. Unfortunately spam detection is not perfect for everyone straight away, it requires some tweaking to fit your workflow which we’ll run through below.

To use the feature simply go to Mail -> Your@EmailAddress.com -> Spam Filter

spamassassin

  1. The first step is to turn the spam filtering service on
  2. Next we need to decide how we want to deal with spam:
    1. The first option simply adds a tag to the email and leaves it in your inbox. If you run rules in Outlook for sorting messages this can be useful as you can make a rule to action mail with the ***SPAM*** tag in the subject.
    2. The next option deletes all spam messages completely. This setting should only be used once you’re confident in your spam detection that there is little chance of false positives. We’ll run through how to do that below
    3. The last option moves detected spam to a dedicated spam folder. This option is great if you primarily access your email via an IMAP connection or through our webmail client. Simply check the Spam folder periodically to make sure there are no false positives.
  3. The next thing to configure is spam sensitivity. The spam filter runs through every incoming email and gives it a score from 1-10 where 1 is very unlikely to be a spam message and 10 is almost guaranteed to be a spam message. By adjusting what the minimum score the filter declares a message as spam we can control how aggressive the spam filter is. Our goal is to get it to the point where as much spam as possible is being caught without a significant number of false positives. The default value of 7 is pretty good but if you are still getting to much try 6, then 5 while if you’re getting to many false positives, try setting it to 8.
  4. There’s also a black/white list available to overrule the spam filter. You can specify individual email addresses (email@address.com)or whole domains (*@domain.com) in these lists. An email in the whitelist will be ignored by the spam filter and always make it to your inbox, while an email in the blacklist will always be classed as spam.

If after using this spam filter for a while and optimising it’s settings you find you are still receiving too much spam or getting too many false positives we do have a premium anti-spam filter available, which come standard with our managed hosting plans.

Any questions? Contact Us for more info.

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