Postfix Mail handling

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Inspecting Postfix’s email queue

This post explains how to view messages in the postfix queue, another post on this blog explains how to delete or selectively delete from the postfix queue

1- Postfix maintains two queues, the pending mails queue, and the deferred mail queue, the differed mail queue has the mail that has soft-fail and should be retried (Temporary failure), Postfix retries the deferred queue on set intervals (configurable, and by default 5 minutes)

In any case, the following commands should be useful

1- Display a list of queued mail, deferred and pending

mailq or postqueue -p To save the output to a text file you can run mailq > myfile.txt or postqueue -p > myfile.txt


the above commands display all queued messages (Not the message itself but the sender and recipients and ID), The ID is particularly useful if you want to inspect the message itself.

2- View message (contents, header and body) in Postfix queue

Assuming the message has the ID XXXXXXX (you can see the ID form the QUEUE)

postcat -vq XXXXXXXXXX Or to save it in a file

postcat -vq XXXXXXXXXX > themessage.txt 3- Tell Postfix to process the Queue now

postqueue -f OR

postfix flush 4- Delete queued mail

Delete all queued mail

postsuper -d ALL Delete differed mail queue messages

(The ones the system intends to retry later)

postsuper -d ALL deferred Delete from queue selectively

To delete from the queue all emails that have a certain address in them, we can use this program (perl script)…

NOTE: This perl script seems to be free, and is all over the internet, i could not find out where it originates or who wrote it.

1- Download this file, unzip, and upload the file to your server, then from your bash command line, Change Directory to wherever you uploaded this file, for example cd /root (Just an example, You can upload it wherever you wish)

NOTE: A second script here works differently, i have not yet tested it, download it here

Now, from within that directory, execute…

./postfix-queue-delete.pl anyaddress@example.com Any mail that has this email address in it’s IN or OUT list will be deleted

The script uses the postqueue -p then looks for your string, once found, it deletes the email by ID, this means that this script can delete messages using any text that appears when you run mailq (or postqueue -p), so if you run it with the parameter joe all mail with addresses such as joefriend@example.com and

Other moethods exist, like executing directly

mailq | tail +2 | grep -v '^ *(' | awk 'BEGIN { RS = "" } { if ($8 == "email@address.com" && $9 == "") print $1 } ' | tr -d '*!' | postsuper -d -