How Do I Setup SpamAssassin?

Once you have installed the proper SpamAssassin package, you must enable the filter. To do this, go to the "SpamAssassin" section of your Control Panel. From there, select "On" and click the "Apply" button. Your SpamAssassin filter has now been enabled with the following default settings:

  • Filter Sensitivity is set to 6

  • Spam Reports are placed in the body of suspected spam emails

  • HTML emails that are flagged for spam are automatically converted to plain-text

You may alter these and other settings at any time through the SpamAssassin Control Panel.

Step 1.

Set your filter sensitivity. Sensitivity ranges from 2 to 12. This value refers to the minimum score required for an email to be flagged as spam. Therefore, the lower this number, the more sensitive your filter becomes. Initially, you should select a setting somewhere in the middle (5-8). If you recieve a large amount of spam emails, you should make your filter slightly more sensitive (closer to 5), while if you only recive a few spams, you should set your sensitivity closer to 7 or 8. It is a good idea to frequently adjust your filter sensitivity until you find the perfect fit.

Step 2.

Immediately create you White List. This White List contains the email addresses and domain names that you are expecting to recieve legitimate emails from. When an address is placed on your White List, SpamAssassin automatically forwards it to your inbox without attempting to filter it. It is a good idea to place important addresses and contacts here. You should also White List any mailing lists, newsletters, or other bulk correspondence that you plan to recieve as these can easily be mistaken for spam.

Step 3.

Create some message rules with your Email Client. SpamAssassin will never delete any of the emails it recieves. It simply places an easy to recognize "*****SPAM*****" flag in the subject line of suspicious emails and forwards them to your email client. It is not reccommended that you immediately delete these flagged emails, especially when you have just setup your spam filter. Instead, create a message rule that looks for the "*****SPAM*****" flag in the subject line of incoming emails and forwards these emails to a "Spam Trap" folder. Be sure to check your "Spam Trap" folder occasionally to ensure that some legitimate emails aren't being accidentally filtered.

If you find that a number of legitimate emails are being mistaken for spam, you may want to reduce your filter's sensitivity level. If you notice that a number of spam emails are making it through to your inbox, then increasing your filter's sensitivity should help.

Once you have completed these steps, SpamAssassin will effectively filter at least 95% of the spam emails sent to your domain. Other settings in the Control Panel allow you to customize where SpamAssassin places its reports, enable and disable HTML conversion, and create rules for your White and Black Lists.