Details On Using Catchall Emails

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edited October 2012 in Other / Mixed
I have just implemented this on my projects, so I am not necessarily speaking from "experience" yet. But I think I understand the concept behind using "catchall" emails while using GSA SER. And since this is a somewhat "technical" issue, I thought there were probably some people that could use some help with it. My hosting company uses cPanel, so the example images I have shown are from that. If your hosting provider uses something else, it may be slightly different.

Before I start with the instructions, it is probably a good idea to explain what a "catchall" email account is. It is a special email account that you set up on your own domain (so you can't use Hotmail, Gmail, etc). When you set this account up, and emails that come to and email address on your domain that is not defined, will automatically be sent to this email account instead. (One big advantage of using this in GSA SER then, is that you do not have to actually create a bunch of email accounts. You just enter whatever email address you want, and since it is not found, it is sent to the catchall email account.

OK...so here is what you need to do.

#1) Create an email account (on any domain you own) that will be used as the "catchall" email account. It actually does not matter if you have other email accounts already created that you are using, because only emails for accounts that are not defined will be forwarded to this account.
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#2) Assign this as the "catchall" email for this domain (on cPanel accounts it is called the "default" email).
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You're done creating your "catchall" email account!

Now on your GSA SER projects, you can enter this email/password into the "Verification" area of every project that you want to use this on. For the email address in the "Data" area of the project you can put whatever email address (for this domain) that you want (make sure it is NOT a valid email adddress). If this email address (in the "Data" area) gets blacklisted, just change it a little and you are ready to go again.

*NOTE: I think that you should be able to spin the email address in the "Data" area. CAN SOMEONE VERIFY THIS FOR ME? (Edit...never mind...I found the answer...see second post in this thread.) If so, then you could create a unique spinable email for each project and probably never have to worry about anything ever being blacklisted. (Nice!)

Setting things up this way probably raises some questions for some people. I will try to answer a few of those questions that I came across here.

1.) Is there a problem/conflict between projects since, in effect, they are sharing the same email account? Sven has said that the program keeps track of which URLs are attached to which projects and it ignores the emails that don't apply to that project.

2.) Should I delete messages after they are processed? Yes, on the "Email Verification" screen, click on "Delete message when verification link was found."
*Note: DO NOT select the third option, "Delete all messages...". This will cause problems with this setup.
*Note: It is probably also wise to select the first option to "Wait at least 15 minutes between logins".

3.) What do I do about spam (or any other) emails that accumulate in this account over time?

It is important that any leftover and spam emails get removed from this account from time to time as they will slow down GSA SER. As of right now, I have been able to come up with three options.

1.) Create a "junk" project (in SER) that is normally set to "Inactive" that has the third option selected ("Delete all messages"). Make this project active from time to time to delete old messages that have accumulated. However, this is potentially dangerous. You would have to make sure that all your other projects are stopped and all emails have been verified before you run this. You also would need to make sure that you kept this project inactive except when you specifically wanted to run it or emails that you may have needed would get deleted.

2.) Manually go in and delete all emails that are older than XX number of days (whatevery you decide). This is a pain to do.

3.) Create a "Cron" job that runs on your server that deletes all emails over xx days old. This is a little technical, but I have outlined the steps below. I have tested this and it works, but if you decide to use it, make sure that you set it up correctly or you could delete emails (or other files) from your server that you did not intend to. This works because each email is actually stored on your server as a separate file. This process just deletes files older than a certain number of days.

Here is how to set it up...

1.) Create a Cron job.
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In the "Command" field, enter this line (modified for your setup)...

find -P /home/account/mail/yourdomain.com/emailacctid/cur -type f -mtime +30 -exec rm {} \;

Change the following items in the above line...

/home/account/ ----> What shows in the "Stats" section of your cPanel screen (see picture)
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yourdomain.com ----> your domain name (without www.)

emailacctid ----> the email account you created (name only - without @yourdomain.com)

+30 ----> age of emails to delete (in this case > 30 days)

And don't leave off the semi-colon at the end. All the spaces and everything are important also, so make sure it is entered correctly.

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Comments

  • 0
    I just found this thread where Ozz says he uses the following entry for a spun email address (in the "Data" area).

    https://forum.gsa-online.de/discussion/comment/3918#Comment_3918

    %spinfile-names.dat%{.|-|_}%spinfile-lnames.dat%%random-1-9999%@catchalldomain.com

    (For those that don't understand this..

    SER will take a random line (name) out of the file names.dat
    Add a "." , "-", or "_"
    Add a random line (last name) out of the file lnames.dat
    Add a random number between 1 and 9999
    And finally add the domain name

    So you end up with something like...

    tom-jones546@yourdomain.com
  • 0
    @DavidA2 - Some really great work here, thanks for putting this together. In fact, I have just been playing with concatenate in Excel to pre populate my cron script with some 30+ domains, done in 5 mins! I didn't think of running cron jobs to do this task so thanks again.

    For anyone looking to compliment your strategy with this pop along to http://www.co.cc/ and 'donate' $10. Then grab (mass grab if you want!) as many domains as  you please. I have been using these for several years without any problems and best of all they are practically free :)
  • 0
    @takeachance...Thanks for the heads up on the cheap domains! I will have to check that out.
  • 0
    OzzOzz
    edited October 2012
    great guide!

    especially the "cron job" part was veeeeeery usefull to me. i googled a few days ago about cron jobs but wasn't sure how to do them right.

    also thanks to @takeachance with his tips about catchalls. really appreciated.
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant... :-) 

    Was going to ask these very questions but felt like I'd used up my weekly quota ;-) 

    The only thing I'd like to see a little more on, is the exact time setting to delete emails. Are we talking 1, 7 days, 28 days to delete all emails? If you have 50 emails going to 1 catchall, after three months the spam must be massive and it will slow GSA down to have to sift through all this. What would you suggest for best practice here?
  • 0
    I don't know that anyone can answer this definitively (without some testing). It all depends on how many projects you have going to one catchall. I have mine set at 7 days for right now. I will manually check on the inbox every day or so and see what it looks like. I will try to  remember to post back here what I find out based on this.

    BTW - I am using this setup right now for an ecommerce (Amazon) website. I have over 50 projects set up to link to inner (product) pages on this site. So, this will probably load this email account up more than what most people would try to do. It should be a good test.
  • 0
    I've set mine on 7 days, too, but I can see to set it to 1 day when SER is running without stopping time. 2-3 days would be fine to get a buffer to avoid any problems.
  • 0
    Yeah...I was kind of expecting to set it down to 2-3 days.
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    Thanks...will set this up when I have some time. 
  • 0
    SvenSven www.GSA-Online.de
    Great work and explanation. Thank you guys for helping each other :)
  • 0
    Thought I would come back and post what I am seeing in this catchall email account after a couple days.

    In the two days, I have probably done about 10,000 submissions. I have all projects set to delete emails when a verification link is found. Despite this, I have about 1500 emails in this account right now. The account is using 4MB (not a big amount really). I think based on this, I am going to change my cron job to delete emails over 3 days old.
  • 0

    Once you buy the cheap domains .co.cc  you need hosting, can you use the vps server acct as hosting?

     or its better not and instead grab the cheapest hosting service not related to anything.

  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    edited October 2012
    @DavidA2 & @Takeachance ;
    1) If you have multiple projects for multiple websites are you using a single catchall for ALL projects/websites OR a catchall per website/domain?
    2) Does a domain ever get blacklisted? i.e. any emails with  @website.com? Would we be able to check this?
    3) Is it the emails that are getting blacklisted or the IP's? 
    4) Is your catchall from a website you are promoting or should we purchase a domain just to have a catchall?

    I'm about to setup my catchalls and wanted to make sure I get it right from the start ;-) 
  • 0
    edited October 2012
    1. I use one catchall per project.

    2. I have never seen a root domain blacklisted, they should as it would be easier but I haven't experienced that.

    3. Emails tend to get hit, no issues with my proxies.

    4. No, catchalls are just for emails, nothing else.

    I think u have seen my method for getting cheap/free domains for catchalls, use those they work very well indeed :)
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    Thanks!
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    How important is it for the catchall to be from a seperate domain? I am thinking of just using my websites and setting up a catchall on them. OR is this a big no no!
  • 0
    Personally, I would keep it separate. These .cc domains are cheap as chips so you have no excuse not to use them. As I said earlier simply do a bulk order using terms which are short and not spammy sounding and before long you will have a batch of 30-40 to call on when you need them. If you implement Davids' cron job technique to clear the mailboxes as well you have a pretty much automated set of email addresses for a long time of use :)
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    It's not about the money :-), rather to have another set of account and access details and to come up with the names! Anyways...will take the advice on start on this now. 
  • 0
    What about the hosting for these cheap domains to use for catchall any suggestions? Anyone tried free hosting? Would they permit it?
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    @takeachance - trying out your process now. :-) Just realised my IT skills are seriously lacking! 
    1) What hosting do I use? (Should I use my existing websites hosting?)
    2) Do I setup any URL forwarding? Or do I just setup nameservers and zone records?
    3) How do you access your mailbox? I normally use Google gears, so do I also need to configure that?
  • 0
    1. I use shared Hostgator hosting for catchalls. The hosting company you choose needs to 'activate' catchall forwarding - generally its easier to do a live chat and ask them to turn it on.

    2. Yes, you forward the email to the catchall domain - name servers obviously point to your hosting but other than that no other settings to be messed with.

    3. I access it through control panel for some and outlook for others.

    Haven't much time now but check out - http://support.hostgator.com/articles/specialized-help/email/catchall-email-address-how-to-set which are the settings for hostgator.
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    Do cpanel inboxes have an autospam filter? If so, do we need to overide this by creating a forward rule to the inbox?
  • 0
    I wondered the same thing several months ago. I have not been able to find anything that indicates that they do (by default). My hosting provider does provide a separate service that I can enable that will filter spam messages, but this is turned off by default.
  • 0
    AlexRAlexR Cape Town
    I have subsequently asked my hosting provider and they confirmed that it does not have any filters or spam checks whatsoever. :-)
  • 0
    OzzOzz
    edited October 2012
    If some of the new catchall-users like to get rid of their unused fiverr-hotmails-accounts you can sent some to me for testing new platforms. Just PM me.

    Edit: I have more than enough now thanks to DavidA2. No more accounts needed
  • 0
    Ozz...just dropped you 100 hotmail accounts. Have fun.
    :)
  • 0
    SvenSven www.GSA-Online.de
    Nice - I see someone else might get a present from Ozz (just as I got when doing this CS Addon Installer) :)
  • 0
    OzzOzz
    edited October 2012
    @DavidA2: Thanks a lot!

    @Sven: The present was for the macro guide :)
    And DavidA2 already got the present for his catchall guide as well as S4nt0s, Erbsensuppe and GlobalGoogler for all their guides ;)


  • 0
    SvenSven www.GSA-Online.de
    oki ;) maybe i should sponsor something as well...I think about it.
  • 0
    OzzOzz
    edited October 2012
    wouldn't say no for some proxies as my test machine uses public proxies atm ;)
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