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sympa.conf parameters

The /etc/sympa.conf configuration file contains numerous parameters which are read on start-up of Sympa. If you change this file, do not forget that you will need to restart Sympa afterwards.

The /etc/sympa.conf file contains directives in the following format:

keyword value

Comments start with the # character at the beginning of a line. Empty lines are also considered as comments and are ignored. There should only be one directive per line, but their order in the file is of no importance.

Site customization


This parameter used to ba named host.

This keyword is mandatory. It is the domain name used in the From: header of mail sent by the Sympa engine. So the SMTP engine (qmail, sendmail, postfix or whatever) must recognize this domain as a local address. This parameter is also the default domain for the mailing lists and is used for mail routing internaly in Sympa if you have defined virtual hosts. Note that a list domain be changed on a per-list basis (see host parameter).




(Default value: sympa)

Username (the part of the address preceding the @ sign) used in the From: header in replies to administrative requests.


email listserv


Added in Sympa 6.2

(Default value: SYMPA)

Display name used in the From: header field of service messages sent by Sympa.


The list of the email addresses of the listmasters (users authorized to perform global server commands). Listmasters can be defined for each virtual host.




(Default value: listmaster)

Username (the part of the address preceding the @ sign) used in the listmaster email. This parameter is useful if you want to run more than one sympa on the same host (a sympa test for example).

If you change the default value, you must modify the sympa aliases too.

For example, if you put:

listmaster_email listmaster-test

you must modify the sympa aliases like this:

listmaster-test: | /home/sympa/bin/queue

See Robot aliases for all aliases.


(Default value:

This is the root URL of the Sympa web interface. This parameter is used to construct URLs while sending notification emails to users.


wwsympa_url https://my.server/sympa


This is the root URL of Sympa's SOAP server. Sympa's WSDL document refers to this URL in its service section.


soap_url http://my.server/sympasoap


Added by version 6.2.

Default value: off

If on is set, distributed messages via lists will be archived. Otherwise arachiving is disabled. This setting can be overridden by each list.

Note that even if setting this parameter to off, past archives will not be removed and will be accessible according to acces settings by each list.


default : 19

This parameter is the count limit (integer) of wrong password submition. If this limit is reached, the account is locked until the user renew his password. The default value is choosen in order to block bots trying to log in using brut force strategy. This value should never be reached by real users that will probably uses the renew password service before he performs so many tries.

spam_protection javascript | at | none

(Default value: javascript)

There is a need to protect Sympa website against spambot which collect email addresses in public websites. Description of the supported values:

  • javascript: the address is hidden using a javascript. Users who enable Javascript can see nice mailto addresses where others have nothing.
  • at: the ”@” char is replaced by the string “AT”.
  • none: no protection against spammers.

web_archive_spam_protection javascript | at | none | cookie

(Default value: cookie)

The same as spam_protection, but restricted to the web archive. An additional value is available: cookie, which means that users must submit a small form in order to receive a cookie before browsing the web archive. This block all robots, including search engine robots.

color_0, color_1, ..., color_15

They are the color definition parameters for the web interface. These parameters can be overwritten in each virtual host definition. Colors are used in the CSS files and unfortunately they are also in use in some web templates. The sympa admin interface shows all colors in use.

To know the exact role of each color_x parameter please consult the color customization guide.

Obsolete color parameters

A few color parameters were used in the past for color definition of the web interface: dark_color, light_color, text_color, bg_color, error_color, selected_color, shaded_color.

These parameters are not used in version 5.1 and higher anymore, but still available in style.css, print.css, print-preview.css and fullPage.css.

Note: light_color is still used for the header color of the New lists presentation array.


This parameter allows you to insert in the upper left corner of the page a piece of HTML code, usually to insert a logo in the page. This is a very basic but easy customization. Example:

logo_html_definition <a href=""><img style="float: left; margin-top: 7px; margin-left: 37px;" src=''http:/logos/mylogo.jpg'' alt="my company" /></a>


Added in Sympa 6.2

This parameter allows you to customized the favicon used by Sympa web interface. This parameter can be defined for a robot.

Main menu custom buttons

You may modify the main menu content by editing the menu.tt2 file but you can also edit the following robot parameters in order to add up to 3 button. each button is defined by a title (the text in the button), an URL and optionnaly a target.

  • main_menu_custom_button_1_title
  • main_menu_custom_button_1_url
  • main_menu_custom_button_1_target

Replace digit 1 by 2 or 3 for the second and third custom button.

example :

  main_menu_custom_button_1_title faq


  main_menu_custom_button_1_target help


Pre-parsed CSS files (let's say static CSS files) can be installed using the Sympa server skin module. These CSS files are installed in a part of the web server that can be reached without using the Sympa web engine. In order to do this, edit the robot.conf file and set the css_path parameter. Then restart the server and use the skin module from the “Admin sympa” page to install preparsed CSS file. In order to replace dynamic CSS files by these static files, set the css_url parameter. The server admin module includes a CSS administration page. By pushing the “Install static css” button in this page, you create the CSS files in the folder whose path is contained by the css_url parameter.

After an upgrade, automatically updates the static CSS files with the newly installed css.tt2. Therefore, this is not a good place to store customized CSS files.


By default, CSS files style.css, print.css, print-preview.css and fullPage.css are delivered by the Sympa web interface itself using a Sympa action named css. URLs look like ''''. CSS files are built by parsing a template named css.tt2. This allows dynamic definition of colors, and in a near future a complete definition of the skin, user preference skins, etc.

In order to make Sympa web interface faster, it is strongly recommended to install static CSS files somewhere in your website. This way, Sympa will deliver only one page instead of one page and four CSS files at each click. This can be done using the css_url parameter. The parameter must contain the URL of the directory where style.css, print.css, print-preview.css and fullPage.css are installed. You can make your own sophisticated new skin by editing these files.

If you want to use the Sympa color parameters inside a static CSS file, you must do two things :

  • define an alias in your Apache configuration that associates the content of the folder whose path is stored in the css_path parameter to the URL specified in css_url;
  • use the Skins administration page after you changed colors in your configuration file to generate the static CSS files.


(Default value : {Sympa install directory}/static-content)

Some content may be delivered by the HTTP server (Apache) without any need to be controlled or parsed by Sympa. It is stored in the directory chosen through the static_content_dir parameter. The current Sympa version stores subscribers' pictures in this directory. Later updates will add stylesheets, icons, ... The directory is created by when started. This parameter can be defined also in robot.conf.


(Default value : /static-sympa)

Content stored in the directory specified by parameter static_content_url must be served by the HTTP server under the URL specified by static_content_url. Check Apache configuration in order to make this directory available. This parameter can be defined in robot.conf.


(Default value: off)


pictures_feature on

Subscribers can upload their picture (from the 'Subscriber option' page) to use as an avatar so that reviewing subscribers shows a gallery. This parameter defines the default for corresponding list parameter but it does NOT allow to disable the feature overall. If you want to disable the feature for your entire site, you need to customize the edit-list.conf file to deny editing of the corresponding list parameter.

Pictures are stored in a directory specified by the static_content_path parameter.


The maximum size of the uploaded avatar file (bytes).


This string is used to generate MD5 authentication keys. It allows generated authentication keys to differ from a site to another. It is also used for reversible encryption of user passwords stored in the database. The presence of this string is one reason why access to sympa.conf needs to be restricted to the sympa user.

Note that changing this parameter will break all HTTP cookies stored in users' browsers, as well as all user passwords and lists X509 private keys. To prevent a catastrophe, refuses to start if the cookie parameter was changed.


cookie gh869jku5


(Default value: public_listmaster)

The create_list parameter is defined by an authorization scenario (see Authorization scenarios).

Defines who can create lists (or request list creations). Sympa will use the corresponding authorization scenario.


create_list intranet


(Default value: listmaster)

The global_remind parameter refers to an authorization scenario (see Authorization scenarios).

Defines who can run a REMIND * command.


(Default value: on)

If set to “off”, it is forbidden to add subscribers (through wwsympa) to a list whose status is different from “open”.


(No default value)

This is a free parameter, a placeholder for data you need to use and are not already present in your Sympa config. As of 6.1, you have only one parameter, but we want to change the code so that you can have as much values as you want for this parameter. That's the reason why the format for this parameter is kind of weird: it is a composite of a parameter name and a parameter value, separated by a semicolon.


Add this line to your sympa.conf

custom_robot_parameter          param_name ; param_value

You will be able to access the custom parameter value in web templates by using this tag:

[% conf.custom_robot_parameter.param_name %]



(Default value: /home/sympa/list_data)

The directory whose subdirectories correspond to the different lists.

Example: home /home/sympa/list_data


(Default value: /home/sympa/etc)

This is the local directory for configuration files (such as edit_list.conf. It contains 5 subdirectories:

  • scenari for local authorization scenarios;
  • mail_tt2 for the site's local mail templates and default list templates;
  • web_tt2 for the site's local HTML templates;
  • global_task_models for local global task models;
  • list_task_models for local list task models.


etc /home/sympa/etc

System related


(Default value: LOCAL1)

Name of the sub-system (facility) for logging messages.


syslog LOCAL2


(Default value: 0)

This parameter sets the verbosity of Sympa processes (including) in log files. With level 0 only main operations are logged, in level 3 almost everything is logged.


log_level 2


(Default value: unix)

Sympa communicates with syslogd using either UDP or UNIX sockets. Set log_socket_type to inet to use UDP, or unix for UNIX sockets.


Deprecated by 6.1.18.

(Default value: /home/sympa/etc/

The file where the daemon stores its process number. Warning: the sympa user must be able to write to this file, and to create it if it does not exist.


pidfile /var/run/


Deprecated by 6.1.18.

(Default value: /home/sympa/etc/

The file where the automatic list creation dedicated daemon stores its process number. Warning: the sympa user must be able to write to this file, and to create it if it does not exist.


pidfile_creation /var/run/


(Default value: 027)

Default mask for file creation (see umask). Note that it will be interpreted as an octual value.


umask 007

Sending related


(Default value: single)

Use this parameter to determine whether your installation runs only one daemon that processes both messages to distribute and commands (single), or if will fork to run two separate processes, one dedicated to message distribution and one dedicated to commands and message pre-processing (fork). The second choice makes a better priority processing for message distribution and faster command response, but it requires a bit more computer resources.


distribution_mode fork


(Default value: 20)

Maximum number of SMTP delivery child processes spawned by Sympa. This is the main load control parameter.


maxsmtp 500


(Default value: off)

This parameter defined the default merge_feature list parameter.


(Default value: off”


automatic_list_feature on

If set to on, Sympa will enable automatic list creation through family instantiation (see Automatic list creation).


(Default value: none)

The automatic_list_creation parameter is defined by an authorization scenario (see Authorization scenarios).

If automatic_list_feature is activated, this parameter (corresponding to an authorization scenario) defines who is allowed to use the automatic list creation feature.


(Default value: )


automatic_list_removal if_empty

If set to if_empty, then Sympa will remove automatically created mailing lists just after their creation, if they contain no list member (see Automatic list creation).


(Default value: )


automatic_list_families  name=family_one:prefix=f1:display=My automatic lists:prefix_separator=+:classes separator=-:family_owners_list=alist@domain.tld;name=family_two:prefix=f2:display=My other automatic lists:prefix_separator=+:classes separator=-:family_owners_list=anotherlist@domain.tld;

This parameter is used to define the families used in user-friendly automatic lists.

It is a character string structured as follows:

  • each family is separated from the other by a semi-column (;)
  • inside a family definition, each field is separated from the other by a column (:)
  • each field has the structure: <field name>=<filed value>

There are no contraint on the field names. They are used in the automatic_list_request.tt2 file. You can cutomize it as you wish.

Basically, each time Sympa uses the automatic lists families, the values defined in this parameter will be available in the family object.

For example, in the example above, you can access the “name” sub-parameter whoes value is “family_one” in templates and scenari in Sympa using:

  • for scenari: [family→name]
  • for templates: [% %]


(Default value: message.footer,message.header,message.footer.mime,message.header.mime,info”)

comma-separated list of files that will be parsed by Sympa when instantiating a family (no space allowed in file names).


(Default value: off)

Set logging of each MTA call. Can be overwritten by -m sympa option.


log_smtp on


(Default value: send,create_list”)

Sympa provides a blacklist feature available for list editors and owners. The use_blacklist parameter defines which operations use the blacklist. Search in blacklist is mainly useful for the send service (distribution of a message to the subscribers). You may use blacklist for other operations such as review, archive, etc., but be aware that those web services need fast response and blacklist may require some resources.

If you do not want blacklist at all, define use_blacklist to none so that the user interface to manage blacklist will disappear from the web interface.

Sympa black list uses scenario. See blacklist implicit rule


Added in sympa-6.2.

This parameter can be set to some local script. In that case list editor can report undetected spams in web interface for list moderation. Then messages are flushed in this script stdin.


(Default value: 5 Mb)

Maximum size (in bytes) allowed for messages distributed by Sympa. This may be customized per virtual host or per list by setting the max_size robot or list parameter.


max_size 2097152


(Default value: reject)

When a robot command is sent to a list, by default Sympa rejects this message. This feature can be turned off setting this parameter to ignore.


(Default value: (subscribe|unsubscribe|signoff))

This is the Perl regular expression applied on messages subject and body to detect misaddressed commands, see misaddressed_commands parameter.


(Default value: 25)

Maximum number of recipients per sendmail call. This grouping factor makes it possible for the (sendmail) MTA to optimize the number of SMTP sessions for message distribution. If needed, you can limit the number of recipients for a particular domain. Check the nrcpt_by_domain configuration file (see nrcpt_by_domain).


(Default value: 10)

Maximum number of different Internet domains within addresses per sendmail call.


(Default value: /home/sympa/bin/

The absolute path to the script that will add/remove mail aliases, see Mail aliases.


alias_manager /home/sympa/bin/


(Default value: /usr/sbin/sendmail)

Absolute path to SMTP message transfer agent binary. Sympa expects this binary to be sendmail compatible (postfix, Qmail and Exim binaries all provide sendmail compatibility).


sendmail /usr/sbin/sendmail

Sympa 6.2 and later also bundles sympa_smtpc program which may be a replacement to sendmail binary. For more details see sympa_smtpc(1) manual page.


(Default value: -oi -odi -oem)

Arguments passed to the SMTP message transfer agent.

Note that -f, -N and -V options and recipient addresses need not included, because they will be included by Sympa.

If the path to sympa_smtpc is set as a value of sendmail parameter (see above), one of --esmtp and --lmtp option is required.


(Default value: defined by makefile, sendmail_aliases | none)

Path of the alias file that contains all list related aliases. It is recommended to create a specific alias file so that Sympa never overwrites the standard alias file, but only a dedicated file. You must refer to this aliases file in your set this parameter to none if you want to disable alias management in Sympa (e.g. if you use virtual_transport with Postfix).


(Default value: hash)

Type of aliases database. btree, dbm, hash and so on. Available when aliases_program is makemap, postalias or postmap.

This parameter was introduced by release 6.1.18.


(Default value: newaliases)

Program used to update aliases database. makemap, newaliases, postalias, postmap or full path to custom program.

This parameter was introduced by release 6.1.18.


(Default value: help,subscribe,unsubscribe,post,owner,archive)

RFC2369 compliant header fields (List-xxx) to be added to distributed messages. These header fields should be implemented by MUA's, adding menus.

Starting with version 6.2, Sympa also adds Archived-At SMTP header field, as defined in RFC 5064.


(Default value: Return-Receipt-To,Precedence,X-Sequence,Disposition-Notification-To)

This is the list of SMTP headers fields that Sympa should remove from incoming messages. Use it, for example, to ensure some privacy for your users by discarding anonymous options. An equivalent parameter can be set in list configuration files. The removal of these header fields is applied before Sympa adds his own header fields (rfc2369_header_fields and custom_header).


remove_headers Resent-Date,Resent-From,Resent-To,Resent-Message-Id,Sender,Delivered-To"


(Default value: none)

You can define a comma-separated list of SMTP header fields that you wish Sympa to remove from outgoing headers. An equivalent parameter can be set in list configuration files. The removal happens after Sympa's own header fields are added ; therefore, it is a convenient way to remove Sympa's own header fields (like X-Loop or X-No-Archive) if you wish.


remove_outgoing_headers X-no-archive"


(Default value: on)

Sympa can be configured to reject messages that seem to be from an automates, based on the From header field value (see loop_prevention_regex) and other SMTP header fields (Content-Identifier, Auto-Submitted). Note that you can disable this feature at a list level too, see reject_mail_from_automates_feature.


reject_mail_from_automates_feature off


(Default value: off)

Sympa's default behavior is to skip archiving of incoming messages that have an X-no-archive SMTP header filed set. The ignore_x_no_archive_header_feature parameter allows to change this behavior.


ignore_x_no_archive_header_feature on


(Default value:
Earlier version: Sender,X-Sender,Received,Message-id,From,X-Envelope-To,Resent-From,Reply-To,Organization,Disposition-Notification-To,X-Envelope-From,X-X-Sender
Sympa 6.1.19 or later: Authentication-Results,Disposition-Notification-To,DKIM-Signature,Injection-Info,Organisation,Organization,Original-Recipient,Originator,Path,Received,Received-SPF,Reply-To,Resent-Reply-To,Return-Receipt-To,X-Envelope-From,X-Envelope-To,X-Sender,X-X-Sender)

This parameter defines the list of SMTP header fields that should be removed when a mailing list is setup in anonymous mode (see anonymous_sender).


(Default value: NONE)

If this parameter is set with a SMTP server address, Sympa will check if alias with the same name as the list you are creating already exists on the SMTP server. It is robot specific, i.e. you can specify a different SMTP server for every virtual host you are running. This is needed if you are running Sympa on, but you handle all your mail on a separate mail relay.

Port number may be specified as host.dom.ain:25, or If port is not speficied, standard port (25) will be used.


(Default value: request,owner,unsubscribe)

This parameter is a comma-separated list of admin suffixes you are using for Sympa aliases, i.e. mylist-request, mylist-owner, etc. This parameter is used with the list_check_smtp parameter. It is also used to check list names at list creation time.


(Default value: The host part of list_check_smtp parameter)

When list_check_smtp parameter is set, value of this parameter is used for SMTP HELO (EHLO) parameter.


(Default value: 10240)

This parameter is related to the URLIZE subscriber delivery mode; it defines the minimum size (in bytes) for MIME attachments to be urlized.


(Default value: From)

Header field name(s) used to determine sender of the messages.

Return-Path means envelope sender (a.k.a. “UNIX From”) which will be alternative to sender of messages without From field. Resent-From may also be inserted before From, because some mailers add it into redirected messages and keep original From field intact.

In particular cases, Return-Path can not give right sender: several mail gateway products rewrite envelope sender and add original one as non-standard field such as X-Envelope-From. If that is the case, you might want to insert it in place of Return-Path.



This parameter was introduced by release 6.1.18.

Bulk mailer


Deprecated by 6.1.18.

Default: <default_pid_dir>/

The location in which the pidfile is created.


Default: 5

The default priority set to a packet to be sent by the bulk.


Default: 1

The minimum number of packets in database before the bulk forks to increase sending rate.


Default: 3

The max number of bulks that will run on the same server.


(Default value: 600)

The number of seconds a slave bulk will remain running without processing a message before it spontaneously dies.


(Default value: 1)

The number of seconds a bulk sleeps between starting a new loop if it didn't find a message to send. Keep it small if you want your server to be reactive.


Default: 10

The number of seconds a master bulk waits between two packets number checks.



Added in Sympa 6.2.

(Default value: 0)

Default limit for the number of subscribers per list (0 means no limit). See max_list_members list parameter.


The default disk quota (the unit is Kbytes) for lists' document repositories.


The default disk quota (the unit is Kbytes) for lists' web archive.

Spool related


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool)

The parent directory which contains all the other spools.


The absolute path of the directory which contains the queue, used both by the queue program and the daemon. This parameter is mandatory.




(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/distribute)


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/moderation)

Directory for moderation spool.


Directory for digest spool.


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/auth)

Directory for authentication spool.


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/outgoing)

Directory for archiving spool.


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/subscribe)

Directory for subscription spool.


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/topic)

Directory for topic spool.


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/bounce)

This parameters value contains the full path to the spool for bounces (non-delivery reports).

Any message addressed to the mylist-owner (unless this suffix was customized) or bounce+* addresses (when using VERP) are transmitted by the incoming MTA to the bouncequeue program.

This program will then put the messages into the directory defined by queuebounce.

This parameter must be an absolute path.

Warning: this parameter must not be mistaken with bounce_path which defines the directory where the last bounce message for each list member is kept for consultation purpose.


(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/task)

Directory for task spool.


(Default value: none)

The absolute path of the directory which contains the queue for automatic list creation, used by both the familyqueue program and the daemon. This parameter is mandatory when enabling automatic_list_creation.




(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/tmp)

Temporary directory used by OpenSSL and antiviruses.


(Default value: 5)

Waiting period (in seconds) between each scan of the main queue. Never set this value to 0!


Added in Sympa 6.2.

(Default value: /home/sympa/spool/viewmail)

Directory containing HTML file generated by MHonArc while displaying messages other than archives. If you upgraded Sympa from earlier version, run to create missing HTML files.


(Default value: 7)

Retention period (in days) for messages with status badin the database spool_table table (spoolname = 'msg'). Sympa keeps messages rejected for various reasons (badly formatted, looping, etc.) in this directory. This configuration variable controls the number of days these messages are kept.


clean_delay_queue 3


(Default value: 7)

Retention period (in days) for messages with status “bad” in the outgoing database spool_stable (spoolname ='archive'). Sympa keeps messages rejected for various reasons (unable to create archive directory, to copy file, etc.) in this directory. This configuration variable controls the number of days these messages are kept.


clean_delay_queueoutgoing 3


(Default value: 7)

Retention period (in days) for messages with status bad in the database spool_table (spoolname='bounce'). Sympa keeps messages rejected for various reasons (unknown original sender, unknown feedback type) in this directory. This configuration variable controls the number of days these messages are kept.


clean_delay_queuebounce 3


(Default value: 30)

Expiration delay (in days) in the database spool spool_table (spoolname = 'mod'). Beyond this deadline, messages that have not been processed are deleted. For moderated lists, the contents of this spool can be consulted using a key along with the MODINDEX command.


(Default value: 30)

Expiration delay (in days) in the database spool (spool_table, spoolname = 'auth'). Beyond this deadline, messages not enabled are deleted.


(Default value: 30)

Expiration delay (in days) in the database spool (spool_table spoolname = 'subscribe' requests queue. Beyond this deadline, requests not validated are deleted.


(Default value: 30)

Delay for keeping message topic files (in days) in the spool database (spool_table spoolname='topic'). Beyond this deadline, files are deleted.


(Default value: 10)

Retention period (in days) for “bad” messages in databae spool_table (spoolname = 'automatic'). Sympa keeps messages rejected for various reasons (badly formatted, looping, etc.) in this directory, with a name prefixed with BAD. This configuration variable controls the number of days these messages are kept.


(Default value: 7)

Retention period (in days) for files put in the tmp dir (as specified by tmpdir). This configuration variable controls the number of days these files are kept.

Internationalization related


Deprecated by 6.1.18.

(Default value: /home/sympa/locale)

The location of multilingual catalog files. Must correspond to ~src/locale/Makefile.



supported_lang fr,en_US,de,es

This parameter lists all supported languages (comma separated) for the user interface. The default value will include all message catalogs but it can be narrowed by the listmaster.


(Default value: en_US)

This is the default language for Sympa. The message catalog (.po, compiled as a .mo file) located in the corresponding locale directory will be used.


(Default value: off)

If set to “on”, enables support of legacy character set according to charset.conf configuration file. In some language environments, legacy encoding (character set) is preferred for e-mail messages: for example iso-2022-jp in Japanese language.



All web pages now use UTF-8 charset



Now all files (including configuration files, templates, authorization scenarios,...) must use UTF-8 charset.

Bounce related

See bounce managment and tracking for general informations.


(Default value: 0%)

See VERP for more information on VERP in Sympa.

When verp_rate is null, VERP is not used; if verp_rate is 100%, VERP is always in use. VERP is used for each subscriber where previous bounce where recognized. In addition VERP for 100% of subscribers if tracking is actived for a list or a message.

VERP requires plussed aliases to be supported and the bounce+* alias to be installed.


(Default value: owner)

If set to string unique, Sympa enables VERP for welcome messages and bounce processing will remove the subscription if a bounce is received for the welcome message. This prevents to add bad address in the subscriber list.


(Default value: owner)

Like welcome_return_path, but relates to the remind message.


(Default value: -owner)

This defines the suffix that is appended to the list name to build the return-path of messages sent to the lists. This is the address that will receive all non delivery reports (also called bounces).


(Default value: /var/bounce)

This is the directory where daemon will store the last bouncing message for each user. These mails will be available through the web interface in the bounce management page.

This directory is organised as follows:

<bounce_path value>/<listname>@<robot_name>/<email_address>

<email_address> is a file containing the last bouncing message for this address in this list.

Warning: this parameter must not be mistaken with queuebounce which defines the the spool where incoming error reports are stored until picks them up and processes them.


(Default value: daily)

This parameter tells what task will be used by to perform bounce expiration. This task resets bouncing information for addres ses not bouncing in the last 10 days after the latest message distribution.


(Default value: Monthly)

This parameter tells what task will be used by to perform bounce cleaning. This task deletes bounce archive for unsubscribed users.


(Default value: daily)

The task eval_bouncers evaluates all bouncing users for all lists, and fill the field bounce_score_suscriber in table suscriber_table with a score. This score allows the auto-management of bouncing users.


(Default value: monthly)

The task process_bouncers executes configured actions on bouncing users, according to their score. The association between score and actions has to be done in List configuration. This parameter defines the frequency of execution for this task.


(Default value: 10)

This parameter is for the bounce-score evaluation: the bounce-score is a mark that allows the auto-management of bouncing users. This score is evaluated with, in particular, the number of message bounces received for the user. This parameter sets the minimum number of these messages to allow the bounce-score evaluation for a user.


(Default value: 10)

Determine the minimum bouncing period for a user to allow his bounce-score evaluation. Like previous parameter, if this value is too low, bounce-score will be 0.


(Default value: 0)

Another parameter for the bounce-score evaluation: this one represents the average time (in days) for a bounce to come back to the Sympa server after a post was send to a list. Usually bounces are delivered on the same day as the original message.


(Default value: 45)

This is the default value for bouncerslevel1 rate entry (see bouncers_level1).


(Default value: 75)

This is the default value for bouncerslevel2 rate entry ( see bouncers_level2).


(Default value: bounce)

The prefix string used to build variable envelope return path (VERP). In the context of VERP enabled, the local part of the address starts with a constant string specified by this parameter. The email is used to collect bounce. Plussed aliases are used in order to introduce the variable part of the email that encodes the subscriber address. This parameter is useful if you want to run more than one Sympa on the same host (a test Sympa for example).

If you change the default value, you must modify the sympa aliases too.

For example, if you set it as:

bounce_email_prefix bounce-test

you must modify the sympa aliases like this:

bounce-test+*: | /home/sympa/bin/queuebounce

See Robot aliases for all aliases.


(Default value: 30)

Site default value for bounce. The list owner receives a warning whenever a message is distributed and the number of bounces exceeds this value.


(Default value: 50)


Site default value for bounce. Messages will cease to be distributed if the number of bounces exceeds this value.


(Default value: 90)


Format: on | off (Default value: off)

This the default value applied to list tracking / delivery_status_notification parameter. See section that describe how Sympa deal with bounces.


Format: on | off | on_demand (Default value: off)

This the default value applied to list tracking / message_disposition_notification parameter. See section that describe how Sympa deal with bounces.


(Default value: 2month)

This parameter defines the default remind_task list parameter.



Format: none | binary_file (Default value: none)

If this parameter is set to binary_file, then Sympa processes will maintain a binary version of the list config structure on disk (config.bin file). This file is bypassed whenever the config file changes on disk. Thanks to this method, the startup of Sympa processes is much faster because it saves the time of parsing all config files. The drawback of this method is that the list config cache can live for a long time (not recreated when the Sympa processes restart); the Sympa processes could still use authorization scenario rules or default for list parameters (set in sympa.conf) that have changed on disk in the meantime. You can work this problem out by frequently running a --reload_list_config using the crontab. In the long term, Sympa should update config.bin files via the task_manager.

You should use list config cache if you are managing a big amount of lists (1000+).


(Default value: off)

If this parameter is set to on, then Sympa processes will use database cache to search lists. Note that list_table database table should be filled at the first time by running --sync_list_db.


(DEPRECATED by Sympa 6.2)

Format: flock | nfs (Default value: flock)

This parameter will tell Sympa how it should perform locks when required (updating DB, updating config file,...). The default method uses the standard flock function. Another option is to use NFS locking ; it requires that you install File::NFSLock perl module first.


(Default value: 1)

Priority applied to Sympa commands while running the spool.

Available since release 2.3.1.


(Default value: 0)

Priority for processing of messages for mylist-request, i.e. for owners of the list.

Available since release 2.3.3.


(Default value: 9)

Priority for processing messages for mylist-owner in the spool. This address will receive non-delivery reports (bounces) and should have a low priority.

Available since release 2.3.3.


(Default value: 5)

Default priority for messages if not defined in the list configuration file.

Available since release 2.3.1.

Database related

The following parameters are needed when using a RDBMS, but are otherwise not required.



update_db_field_types auto | disabled

(Default value: auto)

This parameter defines whether Sympa automatically updates database structure to match the expected datafield types. This feature is available with MySQL, PostgreSQL and SQLite. Note however that since version 5.3b.5, Sympa will not alter DB fileds that have a bigger size (if update_db_fields_types is set to auto).

Supports for PostgreSQL and SQLite are added by Sympa 6.2.



db_type mysql | SQLite | Pg | Oracle | Sybase

Database management system used (e.g. MySQL, Pg, Oracle)

This corresponds to the PERL DataBase Driver (DBD) name and is therefore case-sensitive.


(Default value: sympa)

Name of the database containing user information. If you are using SQLite, then this parameter is the DB file name.


Database host name. You can also use the socket directory e.g. /var/run/postgresql for Unix socket connections to PostgreSQL databases.


Database port.


User with read access to the database.


Password for db_user.


This parameter is used for SQLite only.


If these options are defined, they will be appended to the database connect string.

Example for MySQL:

db_options	mysql_read_default_file=/home/joe/my.cnf;mysql_socket=tmp/mysql.sock-test

Check the related DBD documentation to learn about the available options.


Gives a list of environment variables to set before database connection. This is a ';' separated list of variable assignments.

Example for Oracle:

db_env	NLS_LANG=American_America.AL32UTF8;ORACLE_HOME=/u01/app/oracle/product/11.2.0/server


If your subscriber_table database table has more fields than required by Sympa (because other programs access this table), you can make Sympa recognize these fields. You will then be able to use them from within mail/web templates and authorization scenarios (as [subscriber→field]). These fields will also appear in the list members review page and will be editable by the list owner. This parameter is a comma-separated list.


db_additional_subscriber_fields 	billing_delay,subscription_expiration


If your user_table database table has more fields than required by Sympa (because other programs access this table), you can make Sympa recognize these fields. You will then be able to use them from within mail/web templates (as [user→field]). This parameter is a comma-separated list.


db_additional_user_fields 	address,gender


This parameter refers to the name of the task (Example: monthly) that will be regularly run by the to remove entries in the user_table table that have no corresponding entries in the subscriber_table table.


This parameter refers to the name of the task (Example: monthly) that will be regularly run by the to remove entries in the bulkspool_table table that don't have any relationships to a packet in the bulkmailer_table.


(Default value: daily)

This parameter refers to the name of the task (Example: monthly) that will be regularly run by the to remove entries in the logs_table table.


(Default value: 3)

Datas in logs_table table are removed when they are older than logs_expiration_period. The parameter value is interpreted as a number of month. (FIXME it should be replaced by stand duration expression).


(Default value: daily)


(Default value: 10d)


(Default value: daily)

This parameter refers to the name of the task (Example: monthly) that will be regularly run by the to remove entries in the session_table table.


(Default value: 3d)

Session duration is controled by sympa_session cookie validity attribute, but it is needed for security reason to control this delay on the server side. The default time to leave for sessions. Session with unactivity period longer than this parameters are removed. If this parameter is very long then the session_table may become very large, mainly because most crawler robots do not manage cookies.

Duration values format are easy to read, the format is a string without spaces including y for years, m for months d for days, h for hours min for minutes and sec for secondes.


(Default value: daily)

This parameter refers to the name of the task (Example: monthly) that will be regularly run by the to remove entries in the chalenge_table table. (This table is used to store information about email authentication chalenges).


(Default value: 5d)

Chalenge sent by email are store until they are used, but Sympa may remove chalenges that are too old both for security reasons and to keep table in a reasonable size. This parameter is used to specify what does mean a too old chalenge.


(Default value: 3600)

Defines the default value for the ttl list configuration parameter.


(Default value: 300)

Defines the default value for the distribution_ttl list configuration parameter.


(Default value: 300)

Defines the default value for the sql_fetch_timeout list configuration parameter.

Loop prevention

The following define your loop prevention policy for commands (see Loop detection).


(Default value: 200)

The maximum number of command reports sent to an email address. When it is reached, messages are stored with the BAD prefix, and reports are no longer sent.


(Default value: 3600)

This parameter defines the delay in seconds before decrementing the counter of reports sent to an email address.


(Default value: 0.5)

The decrementation factor (from 0 to 1), used to determine the new report counter after expiration of the delay.


(Default value: mailer-daemon|sympa|listserv|majordomo|smartlist|mailman)

This regular expression is applied to message sender addresses. If the sender address matches the regular expression, then the message is rejected. The goal of this parameter is to prevent loops between Sympa and other robots.


Implemented in Sympa 6.2

(Default value: 86400) maintains a hash table of all processed messages, used to prevent loops and duplicate messages to be sent. This in-memory data structure can grow. The cleanup process removes old entries. The value is expressed in seconds.


Implemented in Sympa 6.2

(Default value: 3600)

Defines how frequently cleans up this hash table. The value is expressed in seconds.

S/MIME configuration

Sympa can optionally check and use S/MIME signatures for security purposes. In this case, the first three of the following parameters must be set by the listmaster (see Configuration in sympa.conf). The other two are optional.


DEPRECATED by Sympa 6.2.

The path for the OpenSSL binary file.


The directory path use by OpenSSL for trusted CA certificates.

A directory of trusted certificates. The certificates should have names of the form hash.0 or have symbolic links of this form to them (hash is the hashed certificate subject name: see the -hash option of the OpenSSL x509 utility). This directory should be the same as the directory SSLCACertificatePath specified for the mod_ssl module for Apache.


This parameter sets the all-in-one file where you can assemble the Certificates of Certification Authorities (CA) whose clients you deal with. These are used for Client Authentication. Such a file is simply the concatenation of the various PEM-encoded Certificate files, in order of preference. This can be used alternatively and/or additionally to capath.


(Default value: /home/sympa/list_data/X509-user-certs)

Directory where user certificates are stored.


The password for list private key encryption. If not defined, Sympa assumes that list private keys are not encrypted.


Sympa can deal with DKIM signature, both for verifying signature of incoming messages and for signing outgoing messages. Please read the DKIM related documentation.

DKIM features has been introduced in version 6.1. Please report to the appropriate manual version.


Sympa can prevent errors due to excessive protection from DAMS. Please read the DMARC page of the manual for further information regarding this issue.

DKIM features has been introduced in version 6.1. Please report to the appropriate manual version.

Antivirus plug-in

Sympa can optionally check incoming messages before delivering them, using an external antivirus solution. You must then set two parameters.


The path to your favorite antivirus binary file (including the binary file).


antivirus_path		/usr/local/bin/uvscan


The arguments used by the antivirus software to look for viruses. You must set them so as to get the virus name. You should use, if available, the unzip option and check all extensions.

Example with uvscan:

antivirus_args		--summary --secure

Example with fsav:

antivirus_args		--dumb	--archive

Example with AVP:

  antivirus_path  /opt/AVP/kavscanner
  antivirus_args  -Y -O- -MP -I0

Example with Sophos:

antivirus_path  /usr/local/bin/sweep
antivirus_args  -nc -nb -ss -archive

Example with Clamav:

  antivirus_path  /usr/local/bin/clamdscan
  antivirus_args  --stdout


sender | delivery_status | none

(Default value: sender)

This parameter defines whether Sympa should notify the email sender when a virus has been detected: sender to notify originator in header of the message, delivery_status to send delivery status to envelope sender of message, or none never to send.

delivery_status option was added in Sympa 6.2.

WWSympa parameters


(Default value: /home/httpd/html/arc)
Where to store HTML archives. This parameter is used by the daemon. It is a good idea to install the archive outside the web hierarchy to prevent possible backdoors in the access control powered by WWSympa. However, if Apache is configured with a chroot, you may have to install the archive in the Apache directory tree.

archive_default_index thrd - mail

(Default value: thrd)
The default index organization when entering the web archive: either threaded or in chronological order.



(Default value:
The file containing the PID of



(Default value:
The file containing the PID of


(Default value: 0)
Lifetime (in minutes) of HTTP cookies. This is the default value when not set explicitly by users.


(Default value: localhost)
Domain for the HTTP cookies. If beginning with a dot (.), the cookie is available within the specified internet domain. Otherwise, for the specified host. Example:

  cookie is available for host ''

  cookie is available for any host within '' domain

The only reason for replacing the default value would be where WWSympa's authentication process is shared with an application running on another host.


(Default value: 60)
Average interval to refresh seed of session cookie.


(Default value : undefined)

Archives are prepared using Mhonarc. You may use an alternative program to process each message to be archived. In such case introduce the custom_archiver parameter which is the path of an external program. CAUTION: Note that Sympa always guess that the custom archiver script accepts two variables : ”–list” whose value is the address of the list (including the domain part) and ”–file” that will contain the absolute path to the message to be archived. Each time the custom archiver is called, it is called with these two parameters with their values filled.


(Default value: home)
Organization of the WWSympa home page. If you have only a few lists, the default value home (presenting a list of lists organized by topic) should be replaced by lists (a simple alphabetical list of lists).


(OBSOLETED since Sympa 5.4)


(Default value: 1)

When using LDAP authentication, if the identifier provided by the user was a valid email, if this parameter is set to false, then the provided email will be used to authenticate the user. Otherwise, use of the first email returned by the LDAP server will be used.


WWSympa will log using this facility. Defaults to Sympa's syslog facility. Configure your syslog according to this parameter.


(Default value: /usr/bin/mhonarc)
Path to the (superb) MhOnArc program. Required for the HTML archive.


(OBSOLETED. Use use_html_editor, html_editor_url and html_editor_init)
Relative URL to the (superb) online HTML editor HTMLarea. If you have installed Javascript application you can use it when editing HTML documents in the shared document repository. In order to activate this plugin, the value of this parameter should point to the root directory where HTMLarea is installed. HTMLarea is a free opensource software you can download here:

Parameters for HTML editor

These parameters are introduced by Sympa 6.2.0 and under development.

If use_html_editor parameter is set to “on”, users will be able to post messages in HTML using a JavaScript WYSIWYG editor. html_editor_url parameter specifys URL path to the JavaScript file making the WYSIWYG HTML editor available. It is relative path under <static_content_url> or absolute path. html_editor_init may specify JavaScript excerpt that enables and configures the WYSIWYG HTML editor, if needed.


use_html_editor on
html_editor_url js/tinymce/tinymce.min.js
html_editor_init tinymce.init({selector:"#body",language:lang.split(/[^a-zA-Z]+/).join("_")});


(Default value: 2d)

Duration before the one time tickets are expired.


(Default value: one_time)


Is access to the one time ticket restricted, if any users previously accessed? Value may be one_time, remote_addr or open.

password_case sensitive | insensitive

(Default value: insensitive)
If set to insensitive, WWSympa's password check will be insensitive. This only concerns passwords stored in the Sympa database, not the ones in LDAP.

Be careful: in previous 3.xx versions of Sympa, passwords were lowercased before database insertion. Therefore changing to case-sensitive password checking could bring you some password checking problems.


The password validation techniques to be used against user passwords that are added to mailing lists. Options come from Data::Password.


password_validation MINLEN=8,GROUPS=3,DICTIONARY=4,DICTIONARIES=/pentest/dictionaries


(Default value: 25)

Default number of lines of the array displaying users in the review page.


(Default value: 10)

Maximum number of lists listed in “Your lists” menu. 0 lists none. negative value means unlimited.

This parameter was added by Sympa 6.2.


(Default value: 25)

Default number of lines of the array displaying the log entries in the logs page.


(Default value: Mailing List Service)
The name of your mailing list service. It will appear in the Title section of WWSympa.

use_fast_cgi 0|1

(Default value: 1)
Choice of whether or not to use FastCGI. On, using FastCGI increases WWSympa's performance by as much as a factor of 10. Refer to and the Apache config section of this document for details about FastCGI.

manual/conf-parameters/conf-parameters.txt · Last modified: 2014/09/22 07:22 by

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