SpamAssassin enabled and still getting spam

SpamAssassin is a great tool that runs on the server-side for filtering out spam or junk email from your Inbox. However in certain cases, you might still continue to receive spam even with SpamAssasin turned on for your account.

In this article, I’ll cover some of the reasons why SpamAssassin might be letting through what you consider spam into your email Inbox, and what you can do to try to reduce the amount of spam you have to manually review.

How SpamAssassin scores spam messages

There are many different factors that SpamAssassin uses while trying to determine if a message is possibly spam or not. If you review our guide on why does SpamAssassin label my email as spam that should give you a good understanding of what it’s looking for when scoring a message.

You can also take a look at the long list of SpamAssassin tests performed in v3.3.x for the complete list along with scores of all the various tests SpamAssassin runs on your messages.

What if spam is still getting past SpamAssassin

You can adjust your SpamAssassin score settings to be more aggressive, by lowering the required_score value required to be met before a message is flagged as spam.

You can also blacklist or whitelist an email address or domain in SpamAssassin. So if you have one particular domain or user that keeps sending you spam that is getting by SpamAssassin, you could add them to your blacklist to have their messages automatically flagged as spam. Alternatively if someone you want to always be able to email you is having their messages flagged as spam, you could add them to your SpamAssassin whitelist.

Another thing that you can do is to block certain IPs from sending you email, or you can use cPanel user level email filtering to block other types of messages that SpamAssassin seems to be missing.

SpamAssassin alternatives

It’s important to keep in mind that heavy use of SpamAssassin can cause a lot of usage on your server. If you’re on a VPS or dedicated server you can always find the number of times SpamAssassin has to run to see if possibly seeking out an alternative might be best for you.

Because SpamAssasssin won’t catch everything, you might also possibly be interested in simply utilizing your local mail clients built-in spam tools. You could also purchase the McAfee Email protection service which is a 3rd party spam scanning service.

Another popular alternative if you continue to receive spam while using SpamAssassin, would be to use Google to filter your email for spam by using Gmail for POP3. Using this method, you would have your Gmail account pull all of your new email onto Google’s servers and then scanned there before being placed inside your Gmail account’s Inbox.

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