This option affects the processing of bounce messages that cannot be delivered, that is, those that suffer a permanent delivery failure. (Bounce messages that suffer temporary delivery failures are of course retried in the usual way.)
After a permanent delivery failure, bounce messages are frozen, because there is no sender to whom they can be returned. When a frozen bounce message has been on the queue for more than the given time, it is unfrozen at the next queue run, and a further delivery is attempted. If delivery fails again, the bounce message is discarded. This makes it possible to keep failed bounce messages around for a shorter time than the normal maximum retry time for frozen messages. For example,
ignore_bounce_errors_after = 12h
retries failed bounce message deliveries after 12 hours, discarding any further failures. If the value of this option is set to a zero time period, bounce failures are discarded immediately. Setting a very long time (as in the default value) has the effect of disabling this option. For ways of automatically dealing with other kinds of frozen message, see auto_thaw and timeout_frozen_after.