Prevent [email protected] bounces with sSMTP

Björn asked:

Refrased question

I have a VPS that only needs to send e-mail, so I don’t have a pop3/imap deamon running like courier or dovecot. I have multiple domains that all have mailboxes hosted elsewhere, f.e. with Google Apps.

The websites on the VPS need to be able to sent mail from (i.e. From:) and to these domains. That’s why I have installed sSMTP and configured it to let an external email/smtp service handle this (

Now, so far, this all works like I want.

My problem currently is that there are sent about 400 e-mails a day to [email protected] and/or [email protected] and I’m looking for a way to alter the e-mail address to a working address.

I think these e-mails are (partly) sent by Cron, for each task it has performed it sents an e-mail. I have tried out different things to alter the address, like change /etc/aliases and /root/.forward (see below).

File: /etc/aliases

# See man 5 aliases for format
postmaster:    [email protected]
root:          [email protected]

File: /root/.forward

[email protected]

I also have edited the crontab (crontab -e) and specified a MAILTO="" on the first line to try and disable cron mails. All to no help.

I’m looking for any help on what other area’s in Ubuntu I might have missed, or perhaps this is something I can handle on SendGrid’s end. Or maybe I do need a (pop3/imap) mail server, then I’d like to know which one is easy to setup and if I can limit it to these two addresses.

Any solution to prevent the bounces (400 per day) I get because the address does not exist.

Hope this clears up some things 🙂 if there are any questions left unanswered, please let me know. Thank you for any help!

  • System: Ubuntu 10.04
  • Mailer: ssmtp
  • SMTP:

My answer:

You’re actually receiving mail with ssmtp? That’s a strange configuration. Anyway…

So ssmtp reads a file /etc/mail.rc (which may or may not exist, and which your distribution’s copy may look for elsewhere, so check the man page!). If you put something like these in the mail.rc then it will forward your mail:

alias postmaster postmaster<[email protected]>
alias abuse abuse<[email protected]>

Make sure you answer to the [email protected] address as well. Certain spam blacklists will list you if mail sent to either address bounces.

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