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Mail Filtering, Forwarding, and Spam Reduction

Regardless of whether you wish to use a standalone mail client for reading your mail, or you want to use the webmail interface, or you prefer to have your mail forwarded elsewhere, all such configuration must be done through the webmail interface (Horde). Even if you do not use the webmail interface to read your mail, it is the only mechanism that can be used to configure the mail filters.

Note that these filters will be active regardless whether you use the webmail interface, a standalone email client, or forward your mail elsewhere.

This document gives some hints on some of the most common things to change related to filtering and forwarding. Horde capable of much more, so you are encouraged to peruse your configuration and experiment.

Filter Introduction

In order to access your filters, perform the following steps:

  1. If you have not already done so, log into the Webmail interface.

  2. On the left of the page you will see an Mail menu item. Click on the plus icon to expand it if necessary.

  3. Click on the Filters item under Mail

  4. The default rules consist of the following:

Recommended Anti-Spam Filtering

The following are recommended changes to your filtering to minimize the amount of spam you receive, without introducing a significant chance of accidentally deleting valuable email.

  1. Move the Vacation rule to after the Blacklist and Spam Filter rules by using the down arrow at the right end of the Vacation rule. This will ensure that if you blacklist someone, you won't be sending them vacation messages.

    As you add rules, the Vacation rule should remain below any other antispam rules, or rules that deal with mailing list traffic (if, for example, you sort mailing lists into alternate folders).

  2. Enable the Spam Filter rule by clicking on it, selecting the folder that should receive possible spam (it is suggested that you use your Spam top level folder) and then click Save and Enable.

  3. Add in a Discard Spam Rule:

Other Filtering

You may use this filtering interface not only to control spam, but also to pre-sort your inbound mail according to various criteria. One common kind of rule is to sort mailing lists into their own mailboxes. You need to first create the destination mailbox under your main mailbox. In order to facilitate sorting, most reputable lists will have either a Sender or List-Id header that is suitable for the purpose. For mailing lists, filtering based on the Subject does not always work, and filtering based on the From field rarely works.


This server allows forwarding of your mail offsite. If you decide to do so, please note the following:

  1. Please do not retain mail on this server unless you plan to use it or periodically delete it. This is especially true for antispam rules that just file the spam into another mailbox.

  2. It is suggested that you set up a "delete" rule for high scoring spam as described above in Recommended Anti-Spam Filtering. Not only will this reduce network bandwidth, but it lessens the chance that the destination site will blacklist this server.

The only supported mechanism for setting up mail forwarding is via the filter rules in the webmail interface. Specifically, the old method of creating .forward files will no longer work.

In order to set up forwarding:

  1. If you have not already done so, log into the Webmail interface.

  2. In the left panel, click on Mail to expand it.

  3. Under Mail in the left panel, click on Filters.

  4. Once the main panel redraws, click on Forward.

  5. Enter the addresses (one per line) to which the account's email should be forwarded. Click Save.

You can enable/disable the forwarding rule from the main Filters page.


Last Updated: 10 Feb 2010

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