How to use Spam Assassin

SpamAssassin is an anti-spam tool which helps filter out unwanted messages.

SpamAssassin works for all of the email accounts in your cPanel. It can be set to mark spam messages so they are easy to notice. You can also choose to configure SpamAssassin to automatically delete any emails marked as spam.

HostGator recommends activating SpamAssassin as soon as you create an email account or log in for the first time.

How to Enable/Disable SpamAssassin

To enable or disable SpamAssassin:

  1. Log into cPanel.
  2. In the Mail section, click the SpamAssassin icon.
  3. In the gray box, click Enable SpamAssassin to enable; or click Disable SpamAssassin to disable.

Depending on the option you selected, you will receive a confirmation message on the next page stating that SpamAssassin was either enabled or disabled.


Spam Score Limit

SpamAssassin screens each incoming email message and scores it based on its spam characteristics. By default, SpamAssassin considers messages with a score of 5 to be spam; however, you can adjust the spam score limit according to your preference. Simply select the desired spam score limit from the Score drop-down menu in the Filters section. The lower the score, the more restrictive the filter will be:

  • 0 means everything incoming will be marked as spam.
  • 5 is the default setting (and works well for typical users).
  • 10 means that any message with a score of 10 or less will not be marked as spam.
If you are unable to set a spam score limit in the Filters drop-down menu, you can also change the default score using the following method:
  1. Under SpamAssassin Configuration, click Configure SpamAssassin.
  2. In the required_score field, enter your preferred value.
  3. Click Save at the bottom of the page.
Note: Changing these settings affects all email accounts in your cPanel.

Auto-Delete Spam

The auto-delete function automatically deletes messages which meet or exceed the spam score limit. Auto-delete can be enabled in the Filters section by clicking Auto-Delete Spam; it can be disabled by clicking Disable Auto-Delete Spam.

Note: Enabling auto-delete could cause you to lose emails that are not spam if SpamAssassin is not configured properly.

Email Filtering with SpamAssassin

You can use Spam Box or email filtering to move spam from your inbox to another folder.

Spam Box

When Spam Box is enabled, a spam folder is created. Spam is then delivered directly to this folder, allowing you to review all mail marked as spam before it is deleted. To enable Spam Box, simply click Enable Spam Box in the Spam Box section.

Accessing Your Spam Folder

Spam is delivered to your spam folder when you have Spam Box enabled. However,  you will need to subscribe to the spam folder in your mail client in order to view or process spam messages held there. You can learn how to subscribe to your spam folder in this article:

User Level Filtering

The settings you choose for SpamAssassin are applied to all email accounts in your cPanel. You can also use filtering for each individual email account to direct spam appropriately for that account.

Note: SpamAssassin must be enabled to set up the following filter.

To filter an individual email account:

  1. Log into your webmail.
  2. Create a folder called spam. (Use all lower case letters to name this folder.)
  3. Exit webmail.
  4. In the Mail section of cPanel, select the User Level Filtering icon.
  5. Click Manage Filters next to the appropriate user.
  6. Click Create a New Filter. You will be taken to a new page.
  7. In the Filter Name field, enter a name for the filter (such as SpamAssassin or whatever desired).
  8. Under Rules, select Spam Status from the first drop-down menu.
    Note: If this option is not available, check to make sure that Spam Assassin is enabled.
  9. In the adjacent drop-down menu, select begins with.
  10. In the large, blank box below the drop down menus, type the word Yes.
  11. Under Actions, select Deliver to folder from the drop-down menu.
  12. Click Browse and select the "spam" folder.
  13. When finished, click Create.

Now you can log back into your mail client and subscribe to the new spam folder.


Advanced Spam Assassin Configurations

Our shared servers support custom Spam Assassin configurations. For more information, please see the following article: