:fail: :blackhole: mistyped email address


Mar 17, 2004
Deerfield Beach, FL
I have finally taken the plunge and opted to do a global update on all my valiases files to send catch-all mail to :blackhole: rather than :fail:

I've been reluctant to make that change for fear someone might actually type an address incorrectly and I'd like to give them the opportunity to realize their mistake.

BUT I also realize I'm much more likely to have a mail queue filled up with spam that will never make it back to a sender.

So here's a thought, maybe someone can help me out. If the concept is valid, hopefully someone a little more versed in programming can assist with the code.

To be nice, we leave :fail: as a default. A legitimate user types an email address incorrectly. Exim generates a reply, user unknown. No problem here...

Second senario, spam comes in, user unknown reply to address isn't valid... mail hung up in queue for what seems an eternity.

Possible solution? Assuming that the majority of the time a bounced message to a legit user is not going to sit in queue, could we not use a script and cron to frequently scan the queue for messages containing a string common to a bounced message for an unknown user?

My guess that it at least gives Exim one attempt to try to shoot a message back. If it fails, we at least tried to notify the user.

I would guess you could even get a little more creative. Keep your time to flush old messages to something like 4 days but look for the string mentioned above and match the current time to the time the message was received and flush anything over say 2 hours?


Well-Known Member
Nov 10, 2001
ON, Canada
Sounds like what you want is a cleanmailqueue script. It's one of my planned scripts for the near future, but currently all script work is on hold because I'm moving to another city next week or the week after. Right now I'm pretty much spending full time preparing for the move.

By the end of May, I will have that script, and others, ready.


Oct 20, 2003
Mail queue?

It's my understanding that :fail: has Exim returning a 550 error during the SMTP session... the spammer's mail doesn't even enter your system.

Does anyone know, btw, how to tell WHM that all new accounts should have :fail: for the catch all?


Well-Known Member
Oct 14, 2003
Originally posted by squirrel
By the end of May, I will have that script, and others, ready.
Or else our money back? :p

Good luck with your move :)