Postmaster account growing.

I’m sure this is more of a mis-configuration on my part than a bug – but one I’ve just discovered none-the-less and would rather not destroy the IWorx installation figuring out the solution on my own … :slight_smile:

After the recent upgrade, I decided to do a backup of one of my accounts. To my surprise, It weighed in at 51MB. Where the heck is this data coming from, I thought? I know it’s not in the files I’ve got on the site and I pull all the email accounts via POP3 … everything should be empty.

Everything was – except the postmaster account, which has many email messages in it.

Where should these be going? Am I missing a .qmail forwarder?

(This is on a legacy RedHat 9 box).


I think you are missing a a file or something since – as I understand it – postmaster email is supposed to to to the email that was supplied with the InterWorx installation.

I think this has been discussed before, just not ssure if it was here or on the Sago forums.

Here, JB check out these forum posts:

Hope this helps.

Thx again Tim,

In troubleshooting you should know that I receive my Logwatch emails daily. Also, I’ve got the following in my ~alias directory:

[root@web1 alias]# ls -l .qmail*
lrwxrwxrwx    1 alias    nofiles        17 Feb 26 09:00 .qmail-mailer-daemon -> .qmail-postmaster
-rw-r--r--    1 alias    nofiles        25 Mar 30  2004 .qmail-postmaster
lrwxrwxrwx    1 alias    nofiles        17 Feb 26 09:00 .qmail-root -> .qmail-postmaster

With the .qmail-postmaster file having the correct address.

The postmaster account still, somehow has many GB of mail in it. What am I missing?

Thx again for trying to help a baby-stepper to the Linux community.


np JB, I’ve been there and am still learning myself :wink:

I’m not sure what you’re missing because apparently so am I. That should be right :frowning:


The postmaster account at the system level is used for mail destined for the server admin. Bounces, cron and other system generated messages will be funneled to this account.


Hey Chris … thx for stepping in.

I think I understand the purpose of the account … what I’m not understanding is that I (as the server admin) am apparently not getting much of that email, unless there’s an amount of it that just stays in there.

In doing a recent backup, I discovered the backup was much larger than I was expecting – only to find a bunch of email in the postmaster backup directory.

I guess my question is, “Is this normal?” (or … should all of it forward to another (my) email account?)


I’m getting a little farther – after digging through the recent backup in:


and finding 2075 files … (!)

One of the headers is:

Received: (qmail 16637 invoked for bounce); 6 Mar 2005 12:02:21 -0000
Date: 6 Mar 2005 12:02:21 -0000
Subject: failure notice

Hi. This is the qmail-send program at
I tried to deliver a bounce message to this address, but the bounce bounced!

Nearly all of them are that (or some variation on a theme).

So – 2 questions then:

  1. what’s the best way to stop these from accumulating


  1. how can I clear out the ones that are there to regain the space?

Thx in advance,


Ok, here’s the story :slight_smile:

When a domain is set up, a postmaster e-mail box is created automatically by vpopmail - it does this in accordance with some e-mail related RFC.

So, the obvious question is - why doesn’t this e-mail account appear in SiteWorx?!

Well, because it’s specifically excluded from the list of accounts.


Well, this is because when the InterWorx e-mail management code was written, it seemed strange that this e-mail box was there that nobody had explicitly created - therefore it was excluded, and promptly forgotten about for a few years.

Looking back with that infamously clear hindsight - I’m not no longer impressed with that decision ;).

So, to answer JB’s question, there are a few options.

  1. Delete the e-mail.

1a) Change the password
/home/vpopmail/bin/vpasswd postmaster@domain.tld
Access the postmaster account like any other e-mail address and delete all or any of the e-mail via an e-mail client

1b) Delete the e-mail at the command line, like this:
rm /home/<user>/var/<domain>/mail/postmaster/Maildir/new/*

  1. Delete the e-mail account alltogether
    /home/vpopmail/bin/vdeluser postmaster@domain.tld

Longer term, we’ll release an update that removes the postmaster account exclusion in SiteWorx so this confusing situation becomes a nothing more than a memory.

Sorry for the confusion Tim & JB & anyone else curious about this.

And thanks for asking these questions so we can get it right :slight_smile:



You’re a gentleman and a scholar, no matter what anyone says … :slight_smile:

I’ve cleared out the email – thanks a million.

Now, back to putting on my Linux Newbie hat: What’s still confusing me, is why does the email directed to bounce and not forward via the aliases that are set? (as, I assume, I’m going to have to periodically monitor this mailbox and clean it out – lest it grows to 600MB again … ;)).

Though your coding explanation is a good one, (which surprisingly I understand), it seems that by logic of the alias – I should be getting those emails, regardless of whether or not I’m accessing the (“non-exsistent”) mailbox directly. No?

I’m having vague recollections of when I first aquired this server a year or so ago not receiving the logwatch logs by default and having to manually set my “normal” email address in Apache directly to get the emails (as opposed to “”).

Is there something else I (and anyone else with this issue) might want to check to verify the correct operation of the .qmail alias’ as my guess is I’ve got a good bandaid going that’s getting me the important stuff and only by accident discovering that something about the aliases aren’t working quite right.

Thanks again for your unsurpassed product support.


To figure out the actual path of these messages we’ll need to see all the header info included in the message (including the headers below the headers below the headers, plus or minus, in the case of double bounces)

Not sure, but I think you may be confusing the the postmaster alias under /var/qmail/alias with the postmaster for your SiteWorx account. I might not even have this quite right, but it’s what makes sense to me :rolleyes:

The “main” postmaster account is where is what you get when you “hostname” at the command prompt. So lets say for example your server is “” that postmaster account will foward email to sent to

If you want to forward your postmaster account for the SiteWorx account you will need to create a .qmail-postmaster file under the /home/ The .qmail-postmaster file will just have one line:


This will foward all mail to this account to the other email and will not be stored in the SiteWorx account.

^^^^ — buy that man a cigar.

(I actually have been having issues with the forwarding of either postmaster account apparently … :o )

At this piont, I have aliases set for both postmaster accounts in question.



(p.s. – I assume that this problem could be existing with any and all Siteworx/postmaster accounts on a given Nodeworx installation. Seems like a bad way to surprisingly run out of disk space when you know your site weight is nominal).

RFC2821 (the email rfc) says that a postmaster account is required to work on any system which accepts email.

Any system that includes an SMTP server supporting mail relaying or
delivery MUST support the reserved mailbox “postmaster” as a case-
insensitive local name. This postmaster address is not strictly
necessary if the server always returns 554 on connection opening (as
described in section 3.1). The requirement to accept mail for
postmaster implies that RCPT commands which specify a mailbox for
postmaster at any of the domains for which the SMTP server provides
mail service, as well as the special case of “RCPT TO:<Postmaster>”
(with no domain specification), MUST be supported.

SMTP systems are expected to make every reasonable effort to accept
mail directed to Postmaster from any other system on the Internet.
In extreme cases --such as to contain a denial of service attack or
other breach of security-- an SMTP server may block mail directed to
Postmaster. However, such arrangements SHOULD be narrowly tailored
so as to avoid blocking messages which are not part of such attacks.

Similarly, RFC2142 requires an abuse role account to work.
(I believe that iworx does not currently comply with this RFC)


Various Internet documents have specified mailbox names to be used
when reaching the operators of the new service; for example, [RFC822
6.3, C.6] requires the presence of a <POSTMASTER@domain> mailbox name
on all hosts that have an SMTP server. Other protocols have defacto
standards for well known mailbox names, such as <USENET@domain> for
NNTP (see [RFC977]), and <WEBMASTER@domain> for HTTP (see [HTTP]).
Defacto standards also exist for well known mailbox names which have
nothing to do with a particular protocol, e.g., <ABUSE@domain> and

Postmaster IS valid. It just doesn’t show up in SiteWorx. Mail to that account goes to the SiteWorx email address, mail to postmaster@hostname.tld goes to the email address specified as the master one when InterWorx was installed. Or so my inderstanding has always been.

I think email sitting there is a glitch. Paul, maybe you should chime in here again and clairify for us :wink:

I gathered from JB’s response is that my suggestion above worked.

Not that I ever doubted myself :cool:

Heh …

So far, so good – though I imagine Tim is right. It seems as if an alias file shouldn’t have to be there in a default IWorx install, no?


(P.S. … Believe me, I’ve found my Linux daddys over here … you’ll get tired of me suckling from the breast of your knowledge … erm, I mean … helping me).