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qgreylist - simple greylisting for qmail

What is greylisting?

Greylisting is a spam control method. It works by returning a temporary SMTP
error to the first delivery attempt. Most spam is sent from bulk
mailers which don't retry, so these are blocked. Real mail servers will retry
later after a temporary error, allowing the message through.

See for more details.

What is qgreylist?

qgreylist is a 'lite' version of greylisting. The page suggests
using the source IP, the envelope from address and the envelope to address.
This, in my opinion, is too extreme.

qgreylist, on the other hand, just greylists by source IP address. This is
mainly because it's written as a wrapper for qmail-smtp so has no other
information available. For home and small office use this works nearly as well.


qgreylist is written in perl. It has been tested with perl 5.8.0, but should
work with much older versions as long as Sys::Syslog is available.

Download qgreylist

The latest version can be downloaded here:

Installing qgreylist

Unpack the tar file

  # gzip -d -c qgreylist-$version.tar.gz | tar xvf -

Configure qgreylist

Edit qgreylist/greylist and check the settings. You may wish to change
the location of the greylist files ($base) and perhaps some of the timeouts.

Create the greylist IP folder
(This is the value of $base - default: /var/qmail/greylist)

  # mkdir /var/qmail/greylist

and set the owner/permissions so that the owner of qmail-smtpd can create
files (This is probably qmaild).

  # chown qmaild /var/qmail/greylist

Copy greylist somewhere sensible.
I suggest using /var/qmail/bin/ but it's up to you.

  # cp qgreylist/greylist /var/qmail/bin/

qgreylist is now ready. You now need to change things so that qgreylist is
called between tcp-env and qmail-smtpd

If you are using inetd, change your inetd.conf from (on one line):

        smtp stream tcp nowait qmaild /var/qmail/bin/tcp-env
        tcp-env /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd


        smtp stream tcp nowait qmaild /var/qmail/bin/tcp-env
        tcp-env /var/qmail/bin/greylist /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd

then kill -HUP inetd-pid

The change for tcpserver or xinetd is similar - just
add /var/qmail/bin/greylist directly before /var/qmail/bin/qmail-smtpd
and restart.

Note: if using tcpserver, there may be a softlimit setting which is too low
for perl to launch - try a larger value.

That's it - greylisting should now be working.


Send some emails from an external host which *isn't* allowed to relay. If you
don't have an external account send a 'help' command to a majordomo or
simillar list server to get a reply.

For each external server which attempts to send mail a file will be created
in /var/qmail/greylist. Check this is happening. If it is not, check the
permissions/owner on the directory - you will not receive any mail until this
is fixed.



Updated default timeouts

Added support for matching IPs based on class-C (/24) address, rather than the
full IP address - enabled by default

Added support for whitelists


Changed to auto-configure the domain from /var/qmail/control/

Fixed logging problem when removing old hosts

Added greylist-info, a tool to dump the contents of the greylist database.


Initial release


Jon Atkins <>
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