Is Spamassassin still useful in 2009?

Posted on 2009-04-27
Last Modified: 2013-12-09
Last weekend, we switched over our email to a new hosting company.  They use SpamAssassin, but there is still a lot of spam getting through.  But looking at the headers of some spam messages coming through, their scores are very low (see examples in code below).

My question is:
Is Spamassassin still useful in 2009?
If so, can anyone point a Spamassassin newbie like me to some useful tips for more advanced configuration (beyond just score filtering...)?

X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.4 (2008-01-01) on

X-Spam-Level: **

X-Spam-Status: No, score=2.3 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_20,HTML_MESSAGE,SPF_PASS,

	URIBL_JP_SURBL,URIBL_OB_SURBL shortcircuit=no autolearn=no version=3.2.4



X-Spam-Checker-Version: SpamAssassin 3.2.4 (2008-01-01) on

X-Spam-Level: *

X-Spam-Status: No, score=1.6 required=5.0 tests=BAYES_00,FR_ALMOST_VIAG2,

	MILLION_USD,RDNS_NONE,US_DOLLARS_3 shortcircuit=no autolearn=no version=3.2.4


Open in new window

Question by:KTN-IT
    LVL 15

    Assisted Solution

    I personally have not used SpamAssassin before, but from what I understand, you might find this site useful. It has entries where you can select how you want it to be configured and it has a pretty detailed description of what each section does. It will generate a customized file for you after your selections are made.
    LVL 7

    Accepted Solution

    I'm still using it efficiently in my company (150 pers.)
    But, spamassassin by itself is not enough. You don't have specific rules.

    Do consider setting up these rules:
    And this "hidden" page (not referenced on the main site):
    Read the documentation about rules emporium.
    Choose your rules (be careful between standard rules and paranoid rules that will create a lot of false-positives)

    1) Create a /etc/spamassassin/channels.txt containing your rules. My example:
    your_server:/etc/spamassassin# cat channels.txt

    All the "70*" rules are from RulesEmporium (located on
    All this is explained by the author here: - a very short documentation

    2) schedule an update, example in /etc/crontab:
    0 5 * * * root  sa-update --allowplugins --channelfile /etc/spamassassin/channels.txt --nogpg /usr/local/bin/sa-compile

    3) test it by yourself the first time. The downloaded rules will go there (on Debian): /var/lib/spamassassin/your_SA_release

    4) you'll have to reload SA after this update, if you're using it as a daemon (not only the client mode). Add something like  && /etc/init.d/spamassassin reload:
    0 5 * * * root  sa-update --allowplugins --channelfile /etc/spamassassin/channels.txt --nogpg /usr/local/bin/sa-compile && /etc/init.d/spamassassin reload

    5) About the ImageInfo plugin (detects text hidden in images for example), I had some troubles in Debian because of some PERL module somewhere. I can explain if you encounter this problem.

    6) wait for a few spam to enter. That should be quick :)

    By the way, do consider "greylisting" to reduce the amount of incoming spam (It reduced by 90% in my case)

    LVL 5

    Author Closing Comment

    Thanks for your help!

    Write Comment

    Please enter a first name

    Please enter a last name

    We will never share this with anyone.

    Featured Post

    What Security Threats Are You Missing?

    Enhance your security with threat intelligence from the web. Get trending threat insights on hackers, exploits, and suspicious IP addresses delivered to your inbox with our free Cyber Daily.

    Forget those services on TV trying to sell you software – that’s step one.  Almost all of the software you need should be available for free.  The tricky part is doing the work.  If you are not comfortable performing these steps yourself, contact a …
    Operating system developers such as Microsoft ( and Apple have made incredible strides in virus protection over the past decade. Operating systems come packaged with built in defensive tools such as virus protection and a f…
    Migrating to Microsoft Office 365 is becoming increasingly popular for organizations both large and small. If you have made the leap to Microsoft’s cloud platform, you know that you will need to create a corporate email signature for your Office 365…
    This video gives you a great overview about bandwidth monitoring with SNMP and WMI with our network monitoring solution PRTG Network Monitor ( If you're looking for how to monitor bandwidth using netflow or packet s…

    761 members asked questions and received personalized solutions in the past 7 days.

    Join the community of 500,000 technology professionals and ask your questions.

    Join & Ask a Question

    Need Help in Real-Time?

    Connect with top rated Experts

    9 Experts available now in Live!

    Get 1:1 Help Now