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  1. #1

    Host's Spam Fighting Methods

    Hello, this is my first post--let's hope it's a good one.

    Here's the deal: With my current host, I'm able to keep a fairly tight lid on spam by tweaking the scores for individual tests in the user_prefs file of Spam Assassin. That, combined with a few text filters and the usual measures of disabling the catch-all email account, etc., gives me pretty good control over the war on spam.

    I'm looking to switch hosts and I've come up with a short list of good candidates (thanks in large part to WHT). What I've discovered, though, is that many hosts don't use Spam Assassin. And the ones that don't typically have some type of global protection with only one or two settings that's adjustable by the user--some don't appear to have ANY adjustable settings by the user. One of these hosts told me that his spam protection is "better" than Spam Assassin, but honestly, while I would love to believe this is true, I find it doubtful that it could be better than the highly configurable system I'm using now with Spam Assassin.

    My questions:

    1) Are there hosts out there who DON'T use Spam Assassin who can tell me why their system is more effective for fighting spam than one with configurable Spam Assassin?

    2) Are there customers of hosts who don't use Spam Assassin who can say that their host does a great job of eliminating spam for the most part? (Notice I said "for the MOST PART." I know perfection is not possible.)

    3) Is Spam Assassin used only on hosts with CPanel or are there also non-CPanel hosts who use Spam Assassin? Seems I haven't yet seen it on a non-CPanel host.

    Thanks for any info/opinions on this. Love this site, BTW!

  2. #2
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    SpamAssassin is a perl program and does not eliminate spam by itself. You need to configure your procmail (or your email reader) to handle spam the way you want.

    As far as I know you (or your host) can install it on a unix/linux environment

    I do not use spam assassin for all my accounts. I prefer a local filter as mailwasher, - or similar.

    I remember seeing a free spamassassin client, too. BTW, gmail and GMX.NET have excellent antispam tools.
    Gonzalo
    "To venture is to risk one's life; not to venture is to lose one's reason to live"

  3. #3
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    1) There are a few - but, most of them do use SpamAssassin (or some form thereof)

    2) That's highly subjective - but, for true control - I would look to a 3rd party mail filtering company (like Postini).

    3) SpamAssassin is open source software - which means it can be installed even on servers without a control panel. That said, there are many other control panels out there that do implement it outside of cPanel (H-Sphere, for example).
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  4. #4
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    We have had tremendous success with the filtering services from MXLogix.
    Dan Bulmer
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by crusetech
    We have had tremendous success with the filtering services from MXLogix.
    How are you guys integrating that with H-Sphere (if you are)? (Feel free to PM me since this is getting OT).
    Simpli Networks, LLC :: http://www.simplinetworks.com :: Proudly 100% Owned.
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    We offer REAL 24x7x365 in-house support - proudly serving our customers since 2005!
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  6. #6
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    1) I'm a big fan of Vircom's ModusGate. Very effective at filtering SPAM with frequent (15 minute I believe) updates from their centralized database. As advertised it blocks most of that stupid stock market crap SPAM. If a customer is sensitive about losing important emails it has a built-in quarantine that is emailed on a scheduled (usually daily) basis to each end user, or a web-based quarantine for immediate release.
    http://www.vircom.com/Products/ModusGATE.aspx
    If you have to operate your company behind the scenes or under a fake name, maybe it's time to leave the industry and start something fresh.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mripguru
    How are you guys integrating that with H-Sphere (if you are)? (Feel free to PM me since this is getting OT).
    SA is bundled into H-Sphere's version of Qmail. So if your host is using H-Sphere they will be using SA to help block incoming spam. You can see more info on how it works here on the GUI side here >> http://www.psoft.net/HSdocumentation.../antispam.html
    Jason T. Dickman - Senior Server Tech
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  8. #8
    Yes, I've since learned that H-Sphere comes with SA. However, with the H-Sphere version of SA, the only configuration that can be done by the user is to set an overall score (very loose to very aggressive) and whitelisting/blacklisting.
    I don't believe that's enough to do a good job battling spam. Being able to tweak SA's user_prefs file gives me some control and is much more effective than just relying on out-of-the-box SA. For that reason, I've chosen a cPanel host. I do wonder, though, WHY a user can't edit the SA user_prefs file in H-Sphere like one can in cPanel. To me, that's a real negative with H-Sphere. Perhaps someone can shed some light on that.

  9. #9
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    You can configure procmail to do almost anything you want with SA, for instance you can send spam to junk folders but you will end up wasting time. You could also automatically delete spam but it is risky.

    There are many solutions according to your requirements, The best antispam solution I have ever tried is a combination of several things:

    email aliases (emailias.com)
    black holes
    spam assassin
    mailwasher
    hotmail accounts (pop-like) with exclusive filtering (and other free excellent email services like Gmail.com and gmx.net)
    challenge messages ( 0spam.com , bluebottle.com )
    Local filters (email client)
    some I cannot recall now
    and when none of the above works, the magic delete key Incredible: It is faster and better than all of the above working together

    This is esier -and more fun- than messing around with procmail

    Hope it helps
    Last edited by freeflyer; 11-11-2006 at 12:58 AM.
    Gonzalo
    "To venture is to risk one's life; not to venture is to lose one's reason to live"

  10. #10
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    Hsphere has an excellent spam control filter.... you can control it from within your account. you can set the spam control level, specify what to do with spam marked messages, and last, control white and black lists.
    GS RichCopy 360 Enterprise - Voted #1 for data migration and replication in terms of performance and features. Replicate data across between servers in the same network, WAS, or even across the internet

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by freeflyer
    You can configure procmail to do almost anything you want with SA, for instance you can send spam to junk folders but you will end up wasting time. You could also automatically delete spam but it is risky.
    I probably should have mentioned I'm using shared hosting, not a VPS or dedicated server, so Procmail isn't really an option (I think. Right?). But cPanel does have filters which allow me to do with tagged spam what I like. And TheBat! email client has good filtering too.

    Quote Originally Posted by freeflyer
    There are many solutions according to your requirements, The best antispam solution I have ever tried is a combination of several things:

    email aliases (emailias.com)
    black holes
    spam assassin
    mailwasher
    hotmail accounts (pop-like) with exclusive filtering (and other free excellent email services like Gmail.com and gmx.net)
    challenge messages ( 0spam.com , bluebottle.com )
    Local filters (email client)
    some I cannot recall now
    and when none of the above works, the magic delete key Incredible: It is faster and better than all of the above working together

    This is esier -and more fun- than messing around with procmail

    Hope it helps
    You make some good suggestions, some of which I've used/do use. However, learning to effectively tweak Spam Assassin's user_prefs file has been very effective for me--and less work than doing all of those things. :-)

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ITAhmed
    Hsphere has an excellent spam control filter.... you can control it from within your account. you can set the spam control level, specify what to do with spam marked messages, and last, control white and black lists.
    Yes, ITAhmed, that's what I said the H-Sphere version of Spam Assassin does. But why do you consider that "excellent?" The power of Spam Assassin lies in its flexibility. The H-Sphere version of SA has all that wonderful flexibility stripped from it. What you get is akin to a trial version of software in which all of the "really good" features are disabled--all you get are the very basic ones (spam control level, whitelist, blacklist). If those simple settings don't work well enough for you, you're out of luck--there's nothing more you can do (as far as SA is concerned). If, however, you're using cPanel's version of SA, you can tweak the scores for individual tests until the cows come home--or until spam is controlled, whichever comes first.
    Last edited by LongArm; 11-11-2006 at 02:02 PM.

  13. #13
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    I'm using the full power of the exim filtering language to kill spam. However you need to write to a file that jailshell locks you out of. My host was kind enough to grant me full ssh access. Spam is really getting out of control.

  14. #14
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    MailScanner helps get the most out of Spam Assassin.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by LongArm
    You make some good suggestions, some of which I've used/do use. However, learning to effectively tweak Spam Assassin's user_prefs file has been very effective for me--and less work than doing all of those things. :-)
    My case, I think, is especial. I get more than 100 valid email messages a day. When I do not use those filters I get more that 500 spam messages a day plus the valid ones (not exagerating) .

    But you might be right: SA could do the job well, but depending on your host. I used it with its full capabilities when I was hosted by site5. When I moved from there, and tried several hosts and found easier to use third party email and third party anti spam tools and learnt a moral:

    The less you depend on your host the easier you will move and the better your services will be

    That is what I do not rely just on Spamassassin
    Gonzalo
    "To venture is to risk one's life; not to venture is to lose one's reason to live"

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