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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