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BlackMail is a highly configurable SMTP mail filter that runs at a system level as a proxy to your existing mailer. It is Free Software released under the GPL.

How can BlackMail help you?

Selectively reject bogus or spam mail during receipt, saving you extra storage space or irate users.
Will block unwanted mail relaying (if your mailer is unable to.)

How does BlackMail work?

Blackmail operates at a system-wide level: all incoming and optionally outgoing mail is filtered.
The filtering consists of various checks on the SMTP envelope and message headers: if any tests fail then the mail will be bounced. Blackmail can...

Check against spam sites
Check against spam keywords
Check host names and email addresses using DNS for validity
Check against the 'RBL' (Realtime Blackhole List) for spam IP addresses
Check that To: and From: address do not match (a common spam signature)
Check correct header formation e.g. Message-ID

The spam sites and spam keywords are of your choice, you can block who or what you want. Minimal sample lists are provided.

What systems are supported by BlackMail?

BlackMail is known to work with:

Mailers: Smail, Sendmail, Qmail, Fetchmail

OSes: Aix, various BSD, Irix, Linux, NeXTStep 3.x, Solaris, SunOs, SVR4
(Re-confirmation is required for some of these OSes.)

It should be possible to use BlackMail with most SMTP mailers on most UNIX systems. Blackmail is not designed to run on Windows or OS/2, but if you wish to port it...

How effective is Blackmail?

Naturally this is difficult to measure, but the feedback I have received has been positive and I personally find very little spam getting through.

Download the source code

Download the latest blackmail-xxx.tar.gz file from:

UK (master site)

There has been no demand for any precompiled binaries to date, so none are provided! Compiling the source should be straightforward and fairly quick even on lowly machines.

Development status

Coding on Blackmail is sporadic.
The 0.31preX releases that were in the 'development' directory have been moved to the general source directory.

Mailing List

The BlackMail mailing list is a forum for discussing installation, use and development of BlackMail.
To join send an email to with "subscribe blackmail" in the body of the message. To unsubscribe, send "unsubscribe blackmail" to the admin address. You'll get the submission address when you subscribe.
You can also browse the list archives online.


BlackMail was written by Ken Hollis and has been maintained by James Murray since version 0.28pre1 with many contributions from mailing list members. Please send questions to me or the mailing list.