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Destination Email Address

DOEmail is not a service used for permanently storing and reading email. Thus DOEmail must be given an email address to send your email to after it has been processed and cleared. This is set when you sign up for a DOEmail account, and can be changed from the settings page if you have an existing DOEmail account.

Typical DOEmail users will forward existing email account to their doemail.org email address, then instruct DOEmail to forward clean email to a newly created email address used for storing and reading email. For example, lets assume Joe has a public email address is joe@joescompany.com. Joe also created a special email address just for storing and reading his email, named joesecret@joescompany.com. Now when Joe signs up for his DOEmail account: joe@doemail.org he would specify joesecret@joescompany.com for the destination email address. Then Joe would instruct his email server to forward email from joe@joescompany.com to joe@doemail.org. Thus the final email path would look like:
joe@joescompany.com -> joe@doemail.org -> joesecret@joescompany.com

It is also possible depending on what type of email SMTP server you are using to use your existing email account to forward to DOEmail and to also be the destination email address. This can be accomplished with Postfix using address extensions, ie: joe@joescompany.com -> joe@doemail.org -> joe+cleanmail@joescompany.com. We have also confirmed similar setups can be performed using Exim and Stalker Communigate Pro. If you are a Stanford user or want more information please see the FAQ or contact us.

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Access Control Lists (Whitelist, Blacklist, etc)

DOEmail operates primarily by applying lists of rules called access control lists to incoming email. These access control lists are further divided into specific white and blacklists.

Blacklists are the 'bad' lists. Incoming email is checked against them first. Any email that matches a rule on a blacklist is deleted.

Whitelists are the 'good' lists. Email not matching any blacklists is run through them. If the email matches a whitelist rule, it will then be cleared through DOEmail and sent to your destination email address.

Email is typically made up of multiple header fields, and a message body. The header fields that DOEmail checks its rules on are: From, Sender, To, and CC. The following is a list of the current types of rules and what field they match in DOEmail:

  • Whitelist Email Addresses - matches a full email address (user@domain.com) in the From or Sender header fields
  • Whitelist Domains - matches the domain of an email address (domain.com) in the From or Sender header fields
  • Mailing List Whitelist - matches a full email address (user@domain.com) in the To or CC header fields
  • Blacklist Email Addresses - matches a full email address (user@domain.com) in the From or Sender header fields
  • Blacklist Domains - matches the domain of an email address (domain.com) in the From or Sender header fields

Typically you will want to place people that you exchange email with regularly onto the whitelist email address list. If you are a part of a large organization and you receive email from many people in that organization, you may even consider whitelisting the entire domain.

Mailing lists most often include the mailing list address in either the To or CC field of an email. For example if you were on the Linux High Availability mailing list, you would notice that each email from this list contains the address linux-ha@lists.linux-ha.org in the To header. If I add linux-ha@lists.linux-ha.org to my Mailing List whitelist, then when an email comes in from the mailing list, DOEmail will check the To and CC fields against linux-ha@lists.linux-ha.org, find the match, and deliver the email to my destination email address.

Email that does not match any of the access control lists goes through the sender confirmation process.

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Virtual Addresses

Virtual addresses are email addresses you can create and give to specific people. These addresses have the unique property that any email sent to them that does not match a blacklist rule, will automatically be delivered to your destination email address. In a way, they are like a whitelist. When would you use them? One exmaple would be if you were signing up for an online account that required an email address that would likely send automated email, thus not being able to go through the sender confirmation process. It would also be difficult to whitelist the sender address ahead of time for something like this, because it is most likely unknown. By creating a virtual address and signing up with that, email sent to the address will be cleared through DOEmail and delivered to your destination email address.

What does a virtual address look like? For an example lets suppose your email address is joe@doemail.org. A virtual address would be of the form joe+(address extension)@doemail.org. Any combination of lowercase letters and numbers (no spaces!) can be substituted for the address extension. Valid examples include: joe+bank@doemail.org, joe+sherry23@doemail.org, etc.

Virtual addresses can also be deleted at any time, at which point any email sent to the deleted address must now match a whitelist entry or go through the sender confirmation process to be cleared through DOEmail and delivered to your destination email address.

Currently management of virtual email addresses is only accessible through the DOEmail Thunderbird Add-on.

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Sender Confirmation

Email receieved that does not match any of the access control lists, or a valid virtual address, enters the sender confirmation process. The email is stored in the pending folder, and an email is dispatched to the sender. This email is called a sender confirmation email, and contains instructions to the sender on how to confirm themselves with DOEmail. An example email looks like this:


When the sender clicks on the "Click to Deliver Email Button" they are taken to a page similar to this:

Once the sender completes the instructions, they will be added to your email address whitelist, and any pending email from them will be removed from the pending folder and delivered to your destination email address.

You can view an example of the email that senders will receive from you by logging in, clicking User Menu at the top, clicking Settings, then scrolling down and clicking the "Preview HTML Sender Confirmation Email" button.

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Pending Email

Pending email is email that has been received by DOEmail on your DOEmail email address, that did not match any blacklist, whitelist, or virtual address rules. A sender confirmation email is sent to the sender, and the email is stored in the pending folder. It is held for up to three weeks before being deleted. Currently from the web interface you can view a list of senders that have email pending to you, and clear it by clicking on the sender's address. From the DOEmail Thunderbird Add-on you can further view the subjects of each email that is pending.

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Automatically Whitelisting your email recipients

DOEmail can be configured to automatically whitelist recipients of email that you send. To enable this you must first set up a special DOEmail address that receives these BCC'd emails. For this example lets assume your DOEmail email address is foo@doemail.org. Login to the DOEmail website, click User Menu at the top, then click Settings. On the Settings page find the "BCC Code" setting. If I were to set my BCC Code to 'secret', then the address I would BCC all my email to would be foo+secret@doemail.org. Feel free to choose any code you want, but it can only contain lower case letters, numbers, and no spaces.

To enable automatic BCC'ing in Thunderbird click the Tools menu at the top, then Account Settings. On the Account Settings pop up window find the corresponding account you send email from, click the Copies & Folders sub-menu for that account, then enable the "Bcc these email addresses:" checkbox, and enter the email address you just setup in that box.

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