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Recent version of reference on configuration parameters is found at:

sympa.conf parameters part 3

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/part3.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/19 07:34 by

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