What is MarxMail and Why do I Want it?
MarxMail - from Computer Tyme Hosting is advanced email system, developed by Marc Perkel. It is - quite frankly the most advanced spam filtering system on the planet. Yes - that quite a claim. How do I do that? I'm glad you asked that question.
This web site is for those people who are looking for individual spam and virus free email accounts. The account will be "email@example.com". We also have other hosting services:
The spam filtering is built on top of existing tools with significant enhancements. I'm using the Exim mail transfer agent and Spam Assassin. I am one of the Spam Assassin developers and about 150 rules in Spam Assassin are mine.
In addition to what I contributed to Spam Assassin - I've written over 100 additional rules that they have yet to adopt. Some of my rules use the combination of Exim filter rules and Spam Assassin working together. This gives me the ability to create flat text file containing blacklists of what spam links to, prohibited hosts, misspelled words, as well as advanced white listing. This basically adds thousands of additional rules that Spam Assassin doesn't have. And it make the filter 99% accurate.
I have written up a Highly Deatiled Explaination of how the Spam and Virus filters work for those of you who want to know what's under the hood and why everyone says that this spam filter is so damn good.
So - the reason you want it is - this works - it works well - and its cheap. There's nothing like a good deal!
What does MarxMail Cost and How do I get it?
A MarxMail account is $30/year for one account and it comes from Computer Tyme Hosting. If you want to have MarxMail then you need to pick a name for firstname.lastname@example.org, and then email me the password you want to use on that account. Once I get it - I'll set you up.
If you own your own domain I can host all your accounts. Then everyone on your domian will have spam filtered email and the advanced features of MarxMail. Domain email hosting starts at $150/year for up to 10 accounts. Is that a hell of a deal or what?
Web Email Interface
We provide a Web Mail Interface using Squirrelmail for when you are on the road. The web interface can be used
with any modern browser. The interface uses the IMAP protocol allowing you full access to your email folders. We use an SSL interface to provide encryption when sending and receiving email.
Very important - when using the web mail interface use your whole email address for your login name and your email password to access your account.
Configuring your Email Client
Our email systems work with a variety of email clients and operating systems. All you have to do is talk to it using standard email protocols. We support IMAP, and POP and we support encrypted secure protocols and SSH
tunneling. The basic configuration to RECEIVE email is:
The reason for this is that email servers can't be an open relay - otherwise evil spammers would take advantage of it and use servers to send spam. We do allow the sending of email through our servers using SSH tunneling. Linux and Macs come with the capability built in. In the windows world there is an excellent SSH tunnel package called Entunnel that I really like. For details on tunneling - email me.
IMAP or POP - We support both protocols - but IMAP has many advantages over POP. POP just allows you to download your email to your computer. IMAP does the same thing - but allows you to have server side folders as well as local folders. The advantage of server side folders is that you can store email server side and then go to other computers to access it. So - if you are at a friend's house you can get your mail by reconfiguring your friend's computer - or - using the squirrelmail web interface.
We also support the SSL secure versions of IMAP and POP so if you don't want the government reading your email when you download it - you can use the secure modes. Personally - I believe all web traffic should be encrypted by default.
Direct IMAP Folder Delivery - In addition to your real email address you can create additional email addresses based on your name and the name of server side IMAP folders. This is done by specifying your name, a '-', and the name of the folder.
Example: Suppose I have a folder called "craigslist" that is in my email@example.com email account. I could leave an ad on craigslist with the reply email address set to "firstname.lastname@example.org" and it will deliver the reply messages to "email@example.com" in the folder craigslist.
Note on using this. Make sure your email client is set up to check your IMAP folders for new email. In Mozilla - my favorite email client - you set the properties on the folder to check for new messages.
This is also handy for something you want to join - something that requires a real email address - but you don't want to actually give them a real address because you don't want their spam. So - you create a temporary IMAP folder called "xyz" and subscribe as "firstname.lastname@example.org". You do your business as marc-xyz and when you're done - you can delete the "xyz" folder and all mail coming to that email address will bounce. It gives you the ability to create working email aliases on the fly.
Or - maybe you want to create an account called "email@example.com" to be delivered into the feedback folder of firstname.lastname@example.org. In that case you would make an alias feedback to point to "email@example.com" that would deliver the messages directly into the feedback folder. This allows incoming email to be pre sorted as it's delivered.
Blackhole Accounts - The accounts firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com are set up for all domains on this system to automatically destroy any email sent to them. So if you want to use this for an email address where typing in an email address is required but you really don't want to give one that works, you can use this. Mail can also be forwarded to blackhole accounts.
Spam Management - IMAP also allows for advanced spam management. If you are using IMAP you can create a series of folders for direct delivery of spam server side. The series of folders should be named as follows:
Spam is processed and classified based upon a points system. 5 points is considered spam-low and 15 points is considered spam-high. Anything under 5 points is considered not spam. There is an internal classification called ham which are messages that score less than -2. These messages are used to train the bayesian filter. The system - developed by Marc Perkel - is called the 4 pile system.
Here's how it works. Messages are processed and scored using ever trick we can find. The messages headers are modified to indicate how the message was scored. High scoring spam (spam-high) is almost always spam and can be safely ignored. Low scoring spam (spam-low is mostly spam - but sometimes a nonspam will end up in this pile. By using two spam piles the false positives are more easily found because there are far less spam messages to look through to find them. Typically - if you receive 200 messages - 160 will be spam. Of those - 130 will be spam-high and 30 will be spam-low. Of the 30 - 1 or 2 will be a false positive. Of the 40 non-spam messages - generally only 1 or two will be missed spam.
If you find a missed spam - drag the message into the spam-missed folder. This tells the system about the missed spam and it will be learned by the bayesian filter so that the next message like that will score higher. A false positive message should be dragged into the correct folder - then copied into spam-notspam so that it too will be learned.
The learner bot comes but once an hour on the hour and learns spam-missed and spam-notspam and empties these folders. Additionally - spam left in he spam-high and spam-low folders are eventually emptied out. Once a week on Friday night the trash bot comes around and deletes old messages from these folders as well as server side trash folders so that junk email doesn't accumulate on the server forever. So - you don't have to deal with your server side spam folders. The system will take care of it for you.
Unlike other spam filters, our spam filter addresses free speech concerns. If you use the IMAP folders them all spam is delivered to you - via the server side folders. But the spam isn't downloaded to you unless you go get it. In this manner you can get your spam without having it delivered to you. So your spam won't clog the downloading of your real email - but it isn't blackholed the way other hosts do. The system is a model for the right way to process spam.
Spam Headers and Using Rules - You can use filter rules on your email client to classify spam and move it into a separate email folder. These rules can be used with both POP and IMAP. If the message is spam - it will have a headers like this:
X-Spam: [SPAM] - LOW
Rules can be configured to look for these headers and take action such as moving or deleting messages.
Viruses - We do not pass messages with Windows executable attachments so your email is virus safe. Using this method we don't have to figure out if the executable attachment is a virus or not. If it's executable - it's gone. You can receive file attachments that are not executable such as pictures and documents.
Managing your Email Domain
If you're not set up for this already just email me and I'll configure it.
You can access and configure your Virtual Email Domain. To do so click on the above link. Use your username and password on my system to manage your account.