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Recent version of reference on configuration parameters is found at:

sympa.conf parameters part 2



(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.

manual/conf-parameters/part2.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/19 07:33 by

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