How does the spam filter work?

The Spam Filter uses SpamAssassin, a powerful open source tool to determine if an incoming email message might to be spam. Each incomong message is given a score based on a set of rules. The higher the score, the more likely that the message is spam. Any message which gets a score over a user defined level (typically 5-7 points) is considered to be spam. Any message determined to be spam will then be either tagged or deleted. Tagged spam gets text such as ****SPAM**** added to the subject line of the message. This allows the user to easily identify spam messages on his end. Deleted messages get... well... deleted. Deleting messages can be dangerous because once a message is deleted it is gone for good. Although SpamAssassin is pretty good it is not perfect, it is possible for legitimate email (ham) to be considered spam and visa versa.

In the Spam Filter section of the Control Panel you have several options:

The tag option:
If you choose to have SpamAssassin tag your suspected spam you can set up a filter on your email client to move the meaasges to a SPAM folder. This way you can look through the spam later to see if any ham was sent to the SPAM folder. This would be set up on your local email application such as Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.

The delete option:
If you choose the delete option you should be confident that you will not miss any important mail. You can adjust your score level so that most email messages get caught without much chance of ham being considered spam. One way to make sure email from a certain contact gets through is to add their email address to your whitelist.

Setting the score:
You may set the score at which email gets considered to be spam. The default is 7. Many people set it to 5 or lower but the lower you set the score the more likely it is that ham will get tagged as spam .

Using the whitelist/blacklist:
You can add addresses of people you know are sending legitimate email to you, to the whitelist. This will ensure that thier messages to you will not be considered by SpamAssassin to be spam. Likewise you can add known spammers to the blacklist.

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