Frequently Asked Questions

Return to Home Page

Why should I run my own blacklist when there are big public ones?

The big public ones are slower to respond. They have to give the guys who inadvertently send out spam because they let their systems get infected by a spam-bot a chance to get unlisted. With your own list you are simply saying "I have decided not to accept e-mail from you, and that's all there is to it." Within minutes of receiving the first spam from an address, you make sure it was the last one. You can always examine the catch and reverse the decision with a few clicks of the mouse.

What other software do I need?

You should already be running a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) such as Sendmail, Postfix, Exim or DeskNow which supports POP3 (RFC 1939) and DNS Blacklists (DNSBL). To implement Spam Trap you will also need to run a DNS Server such as BIND9 which supports dynamic updating (RFC 2136). You night already have this since it is a good way to reduce traffic through your Internet gateway and improve response time. See the documentation on how to configure your DNS Server.

Will it block Hotmail, Yahoo, and GMail?

A lot of spam comes from the big public providers despite their best efforts to prevent it. Spam Trap has a Whitelist feature which allows you to specify the names of sending servers (not return addresses) which should not be blocked. This way, if you still have correspondants using those services, you can continue to receive mail from them.

Can I share my list with others?

Can I?  Yes, all you have to do is add an NS record to the authoritative DNS for your domain. Should I? It's not a good idea. You need a lot of bandwidth for their inquiries, you don't know who they might share it with, and you end up making decisions about what other people can and cannot receive. That's a lot of responsibility for no compensation. You might even end up arguing with spammers about their listing. It's much more effective if each site has its own blacklist, then it's impossible for the spammers to get off all of them. You could get a friend started by sharing a copy of your list with him. (See below)

Do I have to leave Spam Trap running continuously?

No. Obviously your mail server and your DNS server will be running continuously, and they are the pieces which actually block the spam. If the Spam Trap is not running, new spam will accumulate in the inbox. When you later start Spam Trap it will be analyzed and any necessary changes will be pushed through to the DNS. While Spam Trap is running, it can make your blacklist be a real-time blacklist by responding rapidly to new spam. It also allows you to examine the list of IPs being blocked.

Can I access Spam Trap's data to produce my own reports?

Yes. The data is stored in a CSV (Comma Separated Values) file. Make a copy of that file (SpamTrap.csv) and open it in a spreadsheet, database, or text editor. You could send it to a friend who is just getting started with Spam Trap. Since Spam Trap periodically updates the file, opening it directly would cause Spam Trap to be unable to write to it and it would shut down.

What support is available for Spam Trap?

I am interested in any problems that you report, but cannot commit to any repair schedule. If you want paid support, that's a totally different matter. I support myself as a professional programmer, and when money talks, I listen.

What are the licensing terms for Peacham Spam Trap?

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Licence.