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= Troubleshooting tips =

 * Sending test e-mails from an account where your HCoop e-mails are being forwarded to can produce misleading results. In Gmail, for example, the test e-mails can seem to disappear. Check for a {{{.public/.forward}}} file to make sure you know whether and how you have forwarding set up.

This is the chapter of the MemberManual that describes how to receive and manage your email.

Quick Setup

IMAP: mail.hcoop.net:993 (SSL) or mail.hcoop.net:143 (STARTTLS) - use the hcoop username only, or a virtual email address

SMTP: mail.hcoop.net:465 (TLS)

POP3: mail.hcoop.net:995. If you're using Thunderbird, make sure to uncheck "Use secure authentication". Do not use port 110; it is not available.


HCoop offers a variety of ways to wrangle and access your email. Your email address is your login name, @hcoop.net.

Email sent to any of your HCoop-managed domains can be configured using Domtool. Please consult the Domtool User Guide for details on how to set that up.

We use the Maildir format (that is, a directory which contains files, each file containing exactly one message) rather than the mbox format (where all messages reside in one large mbox file).

By default, all email is delivered to your ~/Maildir directory. This directory is created for you when your account is created. So please do not delete the ~/Maildir directory if you value mail delivery and access.


This section contains some topics relating to email delivery.


The ~/Maildir directory resides on its own volume, and has a separate quota from the rest of your home directory.

Before copying over any existing email, be sure that you have enough disk space in your quota. Log into ssh.hcoop.net and run

fs listquota ~/Maildir

This will give you the name of your mail volume, available space (in MB), used space (in MB), the percentage of your volume used, and the percent of space used on AFS by all HCoop volumes.

If you need more space, just request a quota change using the portal.

Sub Addresses

All mail address support sub-addressing in the form mailbox+$address@domain which is delivered to mailbox@domain. This allows you to easily generate one-time use addresses that can be blocked by a filter later if the source ends up spamming you without resorting to a catch-all, and more generally to make it easier to filter your mail (e.g. ClintonEbadi uses clinton+amazon, clinton+paypal, etc. and procmail rules for filing them into folders).


Both Exim filters and Procmail are available. You can use either procmail or an Exim filter, but not both. Here are some considerations for deciding which one to use.

  • If you are not familiar with procmail, and simply want to send mail to another email address, using an Exim filter will be best.
  • If you want to use a more readable syntax, which uses if ... then statements, then using an Exim filter instead of procmail will be more tolerable.

  • If you already know procmail, you can use it.

It is recommended that you not use procmail going forward because it has been unmaintained for about a decade, and can have reliability issues during delivery.

Please read the following subpages for specific information on each method.


If you want email sent to your HCoop email address to be forwarded elsewhere, you can do that as follows.

  • Make a .public/.forward file in your home directory.

If you are forwarding to GMail: you must read Google's Best Mail Practices document to avoid causing all coop mail to be flagged as spam. Currently, what you can do on the delivery side is:

  • Do not enable a default alias (catch-all address). This is the number one thing you can do to help the coop avoid the wrath of Google; when you have a catch-all you will more likely than not receive several thousand spam messages per month. Often, Google rejects them upon forwarding so you never see them, but it wastes resources for us and makes Google think we're spammers.
  • Add your hcoop mail account as an addition identity in gmail. According to Google "Go to your Mail settings and Accounts tab and add the address you are forwarding from to 'Send mail as'. This is a new feature from user requests, where Gmail will detect that you forwarded from that account and help prevent displaying a phishing warning."

Official Mail and Gmail

Gmail has decided that official communications from Hcoop are spam for reasons they prefer to keep mysterious. To help you receive official communications, there are a few steps you should take.

  • Remove the spam tag from any official mail that gets classified as spam
  • Add a filter for "from:(*@*hcoop.net)" with the setting "Never send to Spam" (see Google's Using filters and labels documentation).

    • In January 2013, you could do this by searching for the above text and clicking the down arrow in the search box to create a filter from the current search

Dealing with spam

Note that scanning for spam must be manually enabled for each account with "setsa on" from the terminal. A virtual account would use "setsa user@domain.com on".

Spam is an inevitable fact of life. See the SpamAssassin subpage for details on using SpamAssassin, which is our preferred solution to the spam problem.

Configuring Mail On Your Domain

If you use the domtool dom type and are using HCoop's DNS servers, mail will be handled automatically.

If you are using another DNS provider, you will need to:

  • Use the handleMail action in your domain to enable mail handling by HCoop's mail server

  • Create the DNS record MX 1 mail.hcoop.net. to have mail routed through HCoop's mail server

Changing Default Behavior

If you are using Easy_domain, mail routing for your domain is controlled by the environment variables DefaultAlias and DefaultAliasSource. By default, $your-hcoop-username@$domain is routed to your local HCoop mail account. You can override DefaultAliasSource to use another address, or a catch-all. Additional aliases can be added using the emailAlias from to action. For example, assuming a hypothetical user alice:

dom "foo.com" where
  DefaultAliasSource = userSource "bar";

dom "baz.com" where
  DefaultAliasSource = defaultSource;

dom "quux.com" with
  emailAlias "bob" "bob@elsewhere.com";
  emailAlias "admin" "alice";

dom "foobar.com" where
  DefaultAlias = false;
  emailAlias "bazquux" "alice";
  • Instead of alice@foo.com, bar@foo.com would be delivered to alice's local mail account, and all other addresses at foo.com would be rejected

  • Any address at baz.com would be delivered to alice's local mail account

  • alice@quux.com would be delivered to alice's local mail account thanks to DefaultAliasSource. bob@quux.com would be forwarded to bob@elsewhere.com. Additionally, admin@quux.com would also be delivered to alice's local mail account. All other addresses at quux.com would be rejected.

  • foobar.com disables the default alias entirely, and instead bazquux@foobar.com is manually set to deliver mail to alice's local mail account. All other addresses at foobar.com would be rejected.

See DomTool/Examples#Mail documents how to configure more complicated setups including aliasing a single address to multiple targets.

Virtual mailboxes

Virtual mailboxes are a good way to give someone a "vanity address" on one of your domains, where they can receive and check email. See the Virtual Mail subpage for full details on how to use them.

Mailing lists

Instructions for setting up mailing lists on your domain are available on the Mailing Lists subpage.


This section explains how to access your email.


HCoop has a webmail interfaces that allow you to access your email using a web browser.

It is powered by Roundcube and is available at https://webmail.hcoop.net. It uses fancy AJAX and requires a fairly modern browser.

Configuring email clients

Please consult the email clients subpage for examples of how to get IMAP and POP3 access working with various email clients.

Sending Mail

When at all possible, send mail through our mail hub. In the past, you could send from arbitrary machines, but the self-appointed spam police of the world have decided that mail for a domain originating from multiple locations is a sure sign of spamming. Additionally, it is highly likely that your ISP's entire netblock has been blacklisted already. If you are using your hcoop.net address you must send mail through us because our SPF records mandates it in order to reduce the likelihood Google et al will flag our messages to members as spam.

Configure mail.hcoop.net as the outgoing SMTP server in your mail client. You can use either port 25 or port 465. You must enable TLS SMTP auth, and you will need to authenticate with the same username and password that you use to get mail from POP3 or IMAP. Virtual mailbox names and passwords may be used here. The server will not query you for a username and password by default. Thus, you will get confusing error messages if you don't configure your client to attempt to authenticate with plaintext SMTP auth using TLS.

The SMTP server requires a TLS aware mail client. MacOS X <= 10.6 Mail, Outlook, and Opera do not seem to support this at the moment. Mozilla supports TLS and runs on MacOS X, Windows and Linux. Mail on OS X 10.7 (Lion) supports TLS for SMTP, but it must be configured using the account preferences dialog rather than the initial account setup wizard.

You may also want to reconfigure your domain to use addDefaultSPF which sets an SPF record indicating that all mail for your domain will go through our mail servers (more generally, any mail exchanger you've set). If you ever send mail from another host by changing the From, you do not want to do this as it would increase the likelihood that mail is marked as spam.

ISPs that block SMTP

Some ISPs and possibly other networks discriminate against the SMTP protocol. Some block or filter in or outgoing SMTP altogether.

If you need to send mail using HCOOP's mail server and experience long delays, this is likely due to your network. You can test out the mail server's responsiveness by doing "telnet mail.hcoop.net 25" on both your local machine and ssh.hcoop.net. If you immediately get a "220" banner, the server is working fine and you can type "QUIT".

To work around this issue, you can use mail80.hcoop.net as the server, and configure your email client to send mail through port 80.

Mail clients that don't understand TLS

You can also set up a custom SSH tunnel to port 25 on ssh.hcoop.net, if your MUA can't/won't use TLS.

Configuring programs to send mail through HCoop

For information on how to send mail through HCoop's SMTP server, check out our SMTP Clients subpage.

Troubleshooting tips

  • Sending test e-mails from an account where your HCoop e-mails are being forwarded to can produce misleading results. In Gmail, for example, the test e-mails can seem to disappear. Check for a .public/.forward file to make sure you know whether and how you have forwarding set up.


MemberManual/Email (last edited 2022-08-11 15:39:23 by 129)