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How to Reduce Spam on SmarterMail VPS

Wiki article: How to reduce Spam on SmarterMail VPS

SmarterMail VPS Information

How many domains can be added for each SmarterMail VPS plan?

The VPS-1 plan

Includes the free version of SmarterMail which will support a single (1) domain with up to 10 users within the single(1) domain.

The VPS-250 plan

Includes the Enterprise version of SmarterMail and will support a 250 Mailboxes or Domains.

  • There is no additional charge for domains added up to 250 Domains.
The VPS-1000 plan

Includes the Enterprise version of SmarterMail and will support a 1000 Mailboxes or Domains.

  • There is no additional charge for domains added up to 1000 Domains.

Moving from Shared to VPS hosted SmarterMail

  1. Pre-setting the DNS records.
    • At your DNS provider edit the "mail" record setting the TTL to 600. If you do not have a "mail" record, create one as a CNAME, and point at the server listed under the domains MX record.
    • Ensure the MX record points to
  2. Ensure the domain has already been added to SmarterMail, this should be done through the WCP automatically and only have a single user "mailadmin" setup by default.
  3. Ensure you have the URL and login details for SmarterMail to login and manage ALL domains. The user will be "admin" if you don't have this login information contact support.
    • Example SmarterMail URL:
  4. Request a ZIP copy of the SmarterMail domain. Our support should be able to copy this to your server, this process can take 20-30 min depending on the support activity at the time. We highly recommend doing this in the evening.
  5. Unzip the archive containing the domain, you should find either a folder named or sub folders such as Aliases, Users, Stats and some files. If you find, with the folders underneath copy the folder to C:\SmarterMail\Domains and confirm the overwrite. If the ZIP contained the Aliases, Users and Stats folders with files copy all the contents and browse into the directory and paste, confirming overwrite.
  6. Login to the SmarterMail admin portal, search the domain and click "Edit" which should open a new window, click the "Reload" button. Select the domain again in the admin portal and click "Manage" then under "Tools" select "Users" and verify all users exists. If they do not try restarting the SmarterMail Service on your VPS and repeat this process.
    • NOTE: The SmarterMail Webserver service should remain STOPPED, it is not needed when using IIS.
  7. Finalize the DNS by changing "mail" record in DNS to an "A" record and the VPS server IP for the record data, and TTL 14400.
    • Example: >> Type: A >> Data: >> TTL 14400

How can I migrate my smartermail accounts from another hosting provider?

Things to do on the new SmarterMail VPS before the move: - On the NEW SmarterMail server

 - Copy domainList.xml from the old server 
 - Copy lastlogin.xml from the old server
 - Copy files from old to new server to have an initial base set of files

Steps to start/complete the migration: - On the NEW Mail server (right after midnight suggested)

 - copy all changed files to new server

- On OLD Mail server

 - stop spool, pop, imap (services via webmail)
 - stop IIS site
 - leave SmarterMail running (for SMTP - incoming messages will still be delivered to the spool)

- On NEW mail server

 - copy changed files again
 - restart New Mail Server
 - disable domain on OLD mail server
 - Add mail forwarding on OLD SmarterMail server to the NEW SmarterMail server  
 - Change DNS for any mail records (A and CNAME) and for the MX record
 - copy spool from OLD mail server over to NEW mail server
 - send test email using an outside email address
 - send test from webmail on New Mail Server to an outside address

What if my current host uses an older version of SmarterMail?

No problem. Let us know what version (we can handle version 3.x and after) you currently have and we can start at the same version, and then perform the upgrades to the latest version.


AVG Anti-Virus is installed by default on SmarterMail VPS's. This takes precedence over any SmarterMail Anti-Virus specific settings because AVG is installed directly within Windows and not "integrated" within SmarterMail. We do NOT recommend installing or enabling the ClamAV option, because we find the AVG solution much more robust.

To test if the AVG Anti-Virus is working for the SmarterMail VPS, simply send an email from any (non-filtered) smtp server to an email account on the SmarterMail VPS containing the Anti-Malware Testfile. Simply place these ASCII characters into the TXT body of the email, and send. This mail should not arrive, being filtered by AVG. If the file is not filtered you should contact support for assistance in tuning the AVG settings.


SmarterMail VPS - Problems and Solutions

After Migration some Email Blank/Empty

  • Stop Smartermail Service
  • Delete the mailbox.cfg from the affected folder or folders.
  • Start Smartermail Service

Unable to Upload Files to File Storage

When attempting to upload files to file storage, the upload process does not complete. This is usually accompanied by the error "Error uploading one or more files. Please verify that the file does not exist and is not of a restricted type." To resolve this issue, these following changes need to be made:

  • In IIS, set the SmarterMail Application Pool to use "Integrated Mode" instead of "Classic Mode"
  • Recycle the SmarterMail application pool
  • Edit the SmarterMail web.config file (usually located at "C:\Program Files (x86)\SmarterTools\SmarterMail\MRS") with these two lines:
<add key="MailServiceAddress" value="" />
<add key="MailServiceAddress" value="IPC" />
  • Save the web.config file
  • Restart the SmarterMail Application service
  • Logout, then log back in to SmarterMail

Preparation & Setup

After the initial order is placed an email with the SmarterMail login details will be sent to the email address on file, usually in less than 24hrs.

Options for managing the SmarterMail Server

The SmarterMail server will be ready to use. There are a few options on how domains can be setup. Read through these options so you will know how to proceed. RDP service is DISABLED for SmarterMail VPS servers.

  1. SmarterMail managed using the web portal. This process is easy:
    1. Browse to the IP address of the server, domains can be added directly through the SmarterMail Admin portal.
    2. Add individual user accounts either directly through the Admin Portal or by logging into the "management" using the email account setup during the process of adding the domain.
  2. SmarterMail can be integrated into our Control Panel (WCP), with which domains can be easily added, users managed and DNS management will be provided (clicking Domain Information, will provide the DNS servers). For this option submit a request to our support team.
  3. SmarterMail can be used along side Shared or VPS web hosting, simply request our support to configure your specific domain or reseller account to use your SmarterMail VPS.

See the SmarterMail documents for more details on managing your VPS.

Setup appropriate MX and A records

When your domain is added to the SmarterMail server and DNS for your domain is not provided by Hostek, the following steps will configure the domain's DNS to allow browsing directly to the webmail portal using and allow mail to be delivered to the server for the domain.

  1. Create an "A" record named "mail" (or the prefix you prefer) pointing to the IP address of your SmarterMail server.
  2. Create an "MX" record pointing to "" (if you used a different prefix than use "").
  3. Login to your SmarterMail VPS and verify the hostname is the same as the domain name you selected. Found under Settings >> General Settings >> Hostname.
  4. If, when you have pointed the hostname to the server IP address and waited for the DNS propagation to complete (usually 4hrs), the SmarterMail admin page does not load, please contact support.

Adding Domains

  1. Login to with the SmarterMail Admin user.
  2. Select the option to to "Add Domain"
    • Adding a domain may be different depending on the version of SmarterMail, so check the documentation for your specific version.
  3. When completing the new domain configuration you will be required to provide an "Domain Administrator" we recommend providing a generic user for management or assigning this level of permission to the person responsible for managing the domain.
Adding Users

There are two ways to add users depending on the login.

SmarterMail Primary Admin

  1. Select the domain, and click "Manage"
    • Alternate: Login with the DOMAIN Admin (configured when setting up the domain for the first time)
  2. Navigate to Settings >> Domain Settings >> Users
    • Add the user with app appropriate settings.

To setup SmarterMail for SSL or TLS

This wiki covers setting up TLS or SSL for SmarterMail for v11, for more version specific help refer to the SmarterMail documentation. This applies to SmarterMail VPS and Windows VPS with SmarterMail Add-on.

  1. Complete the order for the SSL certificate. We recommend
  2. For Windows VPS with SmarterMail, log into the server via Remote Desktop.
    • The SSL Certificate should have already been setup within IIS, for accessing securely. Export the certificate in a non-browsable directory (example: c:\certs).
    • Skip the next step.
  3. For SmarterMail VPS ONLY, request the path to your PKEY file from support after the certificate has been installed.
  4. Log into SmarterMail as the Server Administrator 'i.e. admin'.
  5. Within the SmarterMail Admin panel, select Settings > Bindings > Ports.
  6. Set the Protocol, Encryption, Name, Port, Certificate Path (enter the path to your PKEY file) and Description. NOTE: Any custom ports not using the default or alternate ports pre-allowed through our firewalls may require additional support to configure.
  7. Select Settings > Bindings > IP Addresses
  8. For each IP Address that you want to use with the SSL /TLS service, right-click and choose Edit. Then, check the new Port that was added and click Save.
  9. Test, use an SSL/TLS capable email client to test these new configurations.


How to Increase Email Disk Space for a Domain

There will come a time when your domain may reach its limit for email space and you may need to increase it to allow new email messages to be sent and received for that domain.

  1. Login to your SmarterMail with your admin login.
  2. In the left hand menu select Domains (The Globe).
  3. Select the domain by clicking the checkbox for that domain.
  4. Click on Actions at the top then select Edit.
  5. Click the Limits tab in the pop-up window that opens up.
  6. Adjust the Disk Space field to the appropriate size you need.
    NOTE: This value is in MB. You may set it to 0 to be unlimited and just be limited to your servers a lotted space.
  7. Click Save to allow the changes to take full effect.

Blacklist Removal


Anti-Spam Administration

There are a few things to keep track of when managing a mailing VPS, and spam administration is certainly one of the more important aspects. There are a few terms commonly used when referring to spam:

  • RBLs - (Real-time Black Lists) check incoming IPs to see if they are listed in their database. These lists can contain individual IPs to entire 'block's (such as of IPs.
  • URIBLs - (URI Black Lists) are similar to RBLs, except rather than tracking IP addresses, they track domain names, or URIs (website addresses).
  • IP Block - An IP block is a group of IPs written in a specific notation, called CIDR notation. This notation easily condenses many IPs into an easily-readable code (see link for more details).
  • Spam Weight - This is a number that represents the importance of a RBL/URIBL list detection. The higher the Spam Weight number (calculated by the specific RBL/URIBL's algorythm), the more of a chance the sending message is spam.

How RBLs / URIBLs Work

If a RBL or URIBL detects that the sending IP (your SmarterMail VPS) is on its list during their spam check, it will add the its specific Spam Weight on to the total weight of that e-mail.

Based on the servers settings, once a max spam weight is reached, the action for that weight is applied. These actions are usually either: move the message to junk mail, or delete the message entirely. Which of these actions are selected depends on the Spam weight of the offending e-mail.

A very important note, however, is that the individual mailbox receiving the spam can override the server's actions. We'll take a look at how below.

Trusted Senders

All account levels of SmarterMail users (Server Administrator, Domain Administrator, and Mailbox Administrator) can add trusted senders. Once a trusted sender is added, they will bypass the above RBL/URIBL spam weight checks and go straight to the inbox.

To add a Trusted Sender in SmarterMail, go to 'Settings' (or Security, depending on your account level) and click 'Trusted Senders' - then click 'New'. This will allow you to add entire domain names or individual email accounts to the trusted sender list.

Sometimes more adjustments to spam weights and e-mail filtering are needed or preferred. This is where custom user settings come in handy.

Custom User Settings

Within the 'Settings' (or Security, depending on your account level) menu, there are a couple relevant spam management options you or the user can edit.

Spam Weights - Editing these spam weights overrides the spam settings for an individual account. The actions made by the server regarding spam can be edited within the Spam Filtering menu.

Content Filtering - The content filtering area allows for the addition of keywords that can set off custom-created actions. For instance, these actions can set any e-mail that contains the word 'apple' to be deleted right away. Filters for keywords should be very specific otherwise important emails matching the vague filter may NOT make it to the inbox.

Additional Anti-Virus and Anti-Spam Programs

Sometimes premium third-party e-mail protection and spam prevention is preferred. provides a few options for this.

AVG CloudCare AntiVirus

Pre installed on all Windows VPS Servers.

Our included AVG CloudCare Anti-Virus provides an active scan of incoming and outgoing messages for viruses and other malicious attachments. AVG CloudCare will quarantine any e-mail that is considered a threat in its secure vault. These safely quarantined e-mails will then not be accessible by SmarterMail, thus preventing an accidental download or exposure to the malware.

SmarterTools - Commtouch Premium AntiSpam

Optional on all Windows VPS Servers with SmarterMail.

If spam problems are running errant on your server and the above SmarterMail modifications are not enough to keep things under control, we offer an excellent program called Commtouch Premium AntiSpam. Though this software is a yearly commitment at $38 a month, it will protect mailboxes from 99.5% of spam with it's real-time outbreak protection. This is the best protection plan out there to prevent against spam in the inbox.

Pages in category "Email-VPS"

The following 6 pages are in this category, out of 6 total.