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Recent version of reference on configuration parameter is found at:

sympa.conf parameters part 1

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.

Also see:
sympa.conf parameters index
sympa.conf parameters part 2
sympa.conf parameters part 3

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 %]
manual_6.0/conf-parameters/part1.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/19 07:32 (external edit)

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