To keep the Procmail FAQ at a manageable size, I've opted to list
only the most central web links in the FAQ itself.
This page, then, is more of a kitchen-sink collection.
The URL of this page is
and it is mirrored at the following sites:
- North America
Please use a mirror if you can.
You will also doubtlessly find a few broken links.
Please mail me about those so I can fix them,
for the surfing pleasure of coming generations.
$Id: links.prep,v 1.279 2001/04/03 06:39:19 era Exp $
details recent developments
Just to keep this link collection reasonably self-contained,
here is a fleshed-out repeat of the central links mentioned in the FAQ itself.
I also try to include links to "competing" link collections.
I do not wish to hijack information from other sites and thus
I hope you will check out what these other collections have to
Please mail me if you have links to other collections you
think I should include.
So far, only a handful. Please mail me if you learn about others.
The official Procmail site will naturally have a collection of related links
(small but focused; I believe all of them are also in this collection,
Infinite Ink's Procmail Page
This is a good switchboard site with links to all sorts
of Procmail-related stuff. Again, in the below listing, I have tried to
avoid duplicating links which are already available from
the Infinite Ink page. Check it out.
FREE's Procmail Anti-Spam Links
Open Directory Project's
constitute a good virtual link collection. The bulk of it is in their
has a similar directory, but it's IMHO not as well maintained.
Still, try a search on "Procmail".
You can probably find some other useful sites by starting with this
canned Alta Vista search for "procmail".
This merely attempts to strip out sites which have archives of the
Procmail mailing list and/or otherwise a lot of Procmail material, on
the theory that if you've looked around a little bit you will already
have seen the stuff they can offer. What is left then is a very disparate
collection of lone Procmail-related pages
(presently, some 3,000 hits).
In and of itself, this is not particularly useful; you should
refine the search to suit your needs before you actually use it.
(Of course, in many situations, the mailing list archives contain
exactly the stuff you're looking for. This one is primarily useful if
you've been reading the Procmail mailing list yourself and are
looking for information you know is not in the archives. I managed to
find a couple of the Rich and Famous pages and a few of the tutorials
using variants of this. Caveat Utilitor: A lot of the stuff you find
will be very old.)
There are several good tutorials for Unix newbies, although many of them
are more or less tied to the site where they were written. For the most
part, these tutorials do not presuppose a lot of knowledge about Unix
or mail handling on Unix.
None of the material in the "howto" section is exactly rocket science,
either -- let's just say it contains a lot less of this "pause now
if your head hurts already" nonsense.
If you're only interested in spam filtering, check out the
- Newbie-level material
Many of the documents towards the end of this list
contain some minor glitches or inaccuracies.
But they all have their merits when it comes to
presenting the issues, and none of the examples
should be dangerous or anything.
(You might want to check out the
pitfalls section of the FAQ
for some typical problems if you'd like to try to figure out
where they go wrong.)
- Brief howto-type documents
See also the next section, "Pearls from the Mailing List",
for some practical examples of how to accomplish slightly
tricky things with Procmail.
The Procmail pages in the
"Rich and Famous" section (below)
also contain suitable working examples, including several
approaches to refusing junk mail, vacation recipes,
ftp-by-mail servers, etc.
basically assumes you are somewhat familiar with the manuals
and with "normal" stuff people do with Procmail. It does have
an introductory section, though, and some tips for debugging
Here's a collection of pointers to good articles in the on-line
archives of the Procmail mailing list.
Many of these are answers to recurring questions, but above all,
all of them should be worth a look simply because they are good
examples of coding style and problem solving.
(Dsiclaimer: Okay, maybe not my own
The archive server doesn't always manage to find all messages in
a thread, so if you get the feeling you are missing part of the
picture, you may want to dive up to the "Thread Index" for the
month you are looking at, and look for related messages.
This is a useful trick to add to your toolbox.
Frequently, people use something like
when they would not need to call an external program
It's a simple optimization, although understanding
the syntax is a bit challenging if you haven't
worked a lot with Procmail's advanced constructs.
The FAQ has a
short aside about this topic
but you might want to look at the following
treatment of the subject from the mailing list:
(but do read the entire thread)
Forwarding to a pager
One of David Tamkin's classics; his
pager forwarding recipe.
(You might also want to look at
which is about chunking a long message into shorter pieces for a pager.
Another thread is at
with some additional ideas about chunking messages.
The archive missed some follow-ups; look at the threaded index for
cues. Also check out the thread
"Condition with BODY length?")
How to reply with a copy of the headers you are replying to
Another pearl by David: a
sed script for sending
bounces which include the headers of the bounced message
Counting the number of recipients
A frequently wanted item from the archives is the Canonical Recipe for
Counting the Number of Recipients. This is trickier than it seems at
first because you have to use
Resent- headers if they
are present, and try to parse out the actual addresses from each line.
This version was mostly hashed out by David Tamkin and Philip Guenther.
A summarized version is at
Keeping a list of spammers (or other addresses) in a file
Another one from the archives, on how to keep your spammers list in
an external file which Procmail reads
(by yours truly, no less
Here's a slightly different tack on the same topic:
-- this is more about keeping stuff in lists than about spammers.
And here's a posting specifically about killfiling mail from certain
people -- not particularly spammers:
Sending a periodic notification about new mail
And here's a thread where David Tamkin and Bennett Todd develop
a method for sending a notification when there's new mail, but
only send one notification per day (or whatever period you choose):
(read the follow-ups, too -- notice
this one, by Rik Kabel, as well.)
David Tamkin's take on trimming long
... and an older sketch by yours truly:
There's an old archive file called "Best of the Procmail List"
which is still available from the Procmail distribution sites.
Jari's Procmail Tips page
started out as a condensed (and later, expanded
version of that file.
This section includes some good examples of more-complicated
mail processing systems and library files.
Many of these are systems you can install and
use without delving into the details of how they work or
even necessarily learning how to use Procmail on its own.
Again, some of the
"Rich and Famous" pages below
would fit in this category, too.
Alan Stebbens' Procmail library
This is a collection of
-- smallish Procmail scriptlets --
for building an advanced mail handling system.
Just install the whole package and use the parts you want;
the examples include an autoresponder and an
"ftp by mail" system.
You can get it by e-mail from Alan's Mailer Daemon at
(use the Subject line "send procmail library"
-- without the quotes, of course)
or get a
mirrored copy from the "Procmail Mirror Cupboard"
Jari Aalto's Procmail library
Like the previous item, this contains a number of
small plug-in functions you can call from your own scripts.
Included are a MIME attachment killer/extractor, an autoresponder which
requires the correspondent to know a secret cookie before it will
respond, a parser for different kinds of dates, and a lot more.
The primary location for this is now
This must be the prime example of a Procmail application
in widespread use.
It is a mailing list server (a la Listproc and Majordomo)
written entirely in the form of Procmail scripts.
Available from the main Procmail site and mirrors.
a copy of the INTRO file.
You can find more information in the SmartList distribution.
You'll also want to check out the
which is now maintained by Peter Hartzler.
Procmail with Perl embedded
This is a somewhat experimental offering by Eli the Bearded.
Procmail makes for a very nice framework for filtering spam,
although your provider should also offer other front-line
defenses such as total blocking of all connections from
known spam factories.
If you are merely looking for a way to put Procmail to use
for blocking unwanted mail,
it's probably best to simply download one of the prepackaged
solutions listed here.
Check out the link to Leah Roberts' link site
Most of the below sites are listed there, and some other useful ones
a password-based spam deflector by Bill Evans.
Catherine A. Hampton's
both bounces and auto-replies to unwanted mail.
reportedly catches 90-95% of the author's spam.
Bob's Spam Filter
comes with a pretty good introduction on setting up Procmail.
is easy to configure even without learning Procmail's language.
The Simple Procmail Anti-Spam Template, or
by Chrissy LeMaire,
allows you to filter on keywords in files. Not the best possible approach,
but it makes it easy to get started.
Another package is
by Farhad Anklesaria, who describes it thus:
"nothing startlingly new here, just a convenient package that we are
using and that anyone else is welcome to."
Bob's Spam Filter
is pretty much run-of-the-mill, and requires some slight adaptation,
but it's simple and straightforward.
is intended for Procmail newbies (and incidentally his pages include
regular expression primer
for the Unix challenged).
Timo Salmi has created a passwording
which comes with extensive comments
(mostly geared towards newbies).
You might also want to check out
"anti-spam-and-other-garbage rules" package.
This also has a very informative companion page, called
"Enhancing E-Mail Security with Procmail".
Don Doumakes has implemented
NoCeM for E-mail,
a rather novel concept; when you come up with a good Procmail
recipe, you PGP sign it and send it off to a nocem-e
On the receiving end, you have software to automatically add recipes
from people you trust, with the option to add recipes from other
To subscribe to Don's list, see the instructions on
his Abuse page.
(Don's page also has many links to non-Procmail spam tools.)
Dougal Campbell has started up a general
nocem-e-notices mailing list
[The original NoCeM is for Usenet and works rather differently;
has an introduction and some tools.]
a script by Doug Muth which uses Formail to pick out appropriate
complaint addresses from a spam message.
The above link is to an old version which used
the newest version uses only
sh and is available at
is a similar script by Bill McFadden.
a Perl script by Terry Jones for determining if a message is spam
(or rather, actually, a framework for hooking up your own spam-detecting
The following links don't necessarily have a lot with Procmail to do,
but may be useful to you if you are looking for more information
about spam, or filtering lists you can use, etc
Spam recipe collections
Many sites publish their own lists of
blocked domains which you can download and use in your own
Procmail recipes. Due to the nature of the problem,
blacklists grow outdated fairly quickly nowadays, but
some of these contain other useful stuff too:
Thanks to the providers of these services!
A collection of recipes; there are various cocktails to choose from,
including the best of the others listed below.
by Elliot Lee has a similar combo, which includes a copy of AOL's
(old) filters, an (old) Cyberpromo filter, and some additional stuff.
(not Procmail-compatible out of the box --
does anybody have a good conversion script?)
with their local installation instructions and a
broad selection of scripts to pick and choose from
maintains various FAQs with lots of useful addresses and IP numbers
you can use.
makes available their list of
smtpd blocked sites.
This should be rather easy to transform into a set of
Net Access' UCE filter
has some brief instructions for how to set up a spam filter of
your own. This assumes you have already set up Procmail and understand
a bit of how it works. (You'll also probably want to request a copy of
Net Access' own filtering rules.)
simple score-based filter
which they offer as a model for how to roll your own. The list
of blocked domains is hopelessly outdated, but it's useful as
a starting point for your own experiments.
This section has links to programs which are not necessary
for operating Procmail but which can be helpful in
configuring Procmail, writing advanced scripts,
diagnosing problems in your setup, and other associated chores.
This listing is not nearly exhaustive, and is somewhat likely to contain
broken links at any given time. A good place to look for Procmail-related
As a rule, these pages contain both some sort of short introduction to
Procmail and some example snippets from the authors'
Eli the Bearded
- Various interesting stuff, mostly to keep unwelcome stuff out
(not just spam, though)
- Another really elaborate live
with some nifty header handling
(thanks to Eli for the pointer)
- Several modular example
(thanks to Simeon)
- Worth checking out for the copy of Craig Johnston's
.procmailrc alone, with more to come.
And of course, there's this
magazine article about Procmail,
- Automatic Quoted-Printable decoding, some examples, and
some good texts about why to use Procmail in the first place
Felix von Leitner
.procmailrc (including more umlauts as well
as PGP attachment handing), and a little bashing of elm's
- Another live
.procmailrc with some interesting
features; note the strong similarities with the previous one
(it's not clear to me who's borrowing from whom, but you
might want to compare them just for fun)
Jari's Procmail tips page
is also available in a
this is a vast and sometimes slightly verbose collection
of bits and pieces of Procmail information.
Jari's Procmail library
contains various parts you can plug into your own recipes.
Jari's University account is being closed but his stuff lingers on.
For the time being at least, there is a mirror of Jari's ftp directory
(not just the Procmail parts)
Chris has a
wishlist for Procmail bug fixes and new features
and a budding
Procmail on NeXTStep/OpenStep
My Deja script
... and yours truly
Procmail debugging tips
Moronic Mail Responders
(No! Don't click that link!)
Here's where I try to include other relevant stuff about mail handling
in general. Sendmail and spam filtering are two obvious picks of topics,
but if you have other relevant links you think would fit here,
please don't hesitate to mail me with them.
Spam, or unsolicited bulk e-mail, is an ubiquitous problem on today's
Internet and apparently one of the foremost reasons people get
interested in using Procmail.
Other sections on this page contain spam-related material
Spam-Fighting Tools section under Applications
If everything else you read here is
<insert favorite language you do not understand here>
to you, the following might help.
Among the entries in the
several are fairly newbie-oriented. Try the Filtering Mail FAQ for starters.
The net is full of Unix-related pages, but it's hard to find something
reasonably newbie-oriented which still is general enough to be of
interest to Unix newbies everywhere. But try these:
In general, look for information about shell programming,
and mail handling on Unix.
Any decent Unix beginners' book should treat both of the first topics
Links are to ISI's ftp RFC archive, with the secondary pointing to
Institut Pasteur's repository in France.
has a listing of other RFC repositories if neither of the ones
listed here seems to work.
Here are links to other topics which might be of interest to the broad
Many of the below documents are Usenet FAQs; when available, I've included
a pointer to a primary site, but otherwise, I've used pointers to the WWW
FAQ archives at
faqs.org (USA) and
(the Netherlands) -- you should primarily use the one closer to you.
If you are comfortable retreiving the FAQs by ftp instead, by all means
use that and get them from your closest RTFM mirror.
(In Internet topology, Australia and the Far East are generally closer to
the US than to Europe. As for Africa and the Antarctic, I really don't know,
but I'd guess users from those continents, too, had better try the
US sites first. YMMV.)
Other than FAQs, this is mostly link collections of all sorts.
If you find one that you think should be listed here, let me know.
Useful things you can do with e-mail,
part I: The Accessing the Internet by e-mail FAQ
This is rather newbie-oriented, but has a lot of pointers to
valuable or interesting gateway servers.
Useful things you can do with e-mail, part II: The
(Yes, the title and the formatting are atrocious, but it has addresses of
a couple of mail bouncer services, and a host of other useful things.
Here's a German mirror,
stats of various ftp-by-mail servers
user+box@host Addressing FAQ
by Eli the Bearded
Chris Lewis' newly revitalized
Unix Email Software Survey
is a good overview of different mail utilities.
The Sendmail FAQ
The Fetchmail FAQ
The LAN mail protocols FAQ
provides a nice overview of protocols and clients
(and not just for LANs).
The MIME FAQs on
1 (general introduction --
6 (decoding tools --
are of particular interest.
These FAQs appear to no longer be maintained or posted, so these links
might stop working. For the time being, as a first aid, there is a mirror at
-- obviously, some or all of the material will be out of date, but it's
better than nothing, and many of the links to tools etc still work.
Also check out the various other FAQs for the
newsgroups -- on
Other Related Documents and Link Collections
-- email filtering for other platforms,
and other offerings for Unix users
is a tool for finding messages in mbox folders.
The Open Directory Project's
mail filtering stuff
is probably in better hands than this little link collection.
A promising newcomer on the Unix filtering scene is
by Mr. Sam.
vacation(1) comes standard with most Unix distributions.
It's just a simple autoresponder (not a filtering program) but it
does what it does reasonably well if that's all you need (and you
don't happen to be the lucky owner of one of the many wonderfully
broken versions out there).
is written entirely in Perl, for better or,
well, for worse.
Another Unix offering for the strong of stomach is Elm's filter
program. The syntax is Pascal-like and it's otherwise not too exciting
either. See the Mail Filtering FAQ above for details, or check out
Sven Guckes' filter page
The HTML Writers' Guild's
contains interesting information about the filtering capabilities of
several e-mail clients, including Mac and Windows programs.
the Andrew link collection
is a filtering system for Usenet news, for use with INN.
(Also available as an
alt.sources posting at
-- this is verison 1.2.1 from 1996, which still seems to be the newest.)
Another popular news filtering system is Brad Knowles'
See also the pointer to
Doug Oard's links, above.
How Do You Spell The Guy's Name?
(Look at the word count near the bottom of the page ...
apparently, there actually is a Steven van den Bergh who is
not the author of Procmail
To Cover Page
Procmail Mirror Cupboard