Protecting your email accounts: SpamAssassin vs. the Doteasy Email Protection System

Spam is electronic junk mail or any unsolicited commercial email. More than 95% of email messages sent worldwide is believed to be spam. Spam is not only a bother to email users, it increases the workload of your mail server and chews up a lot of network bandwidth.

Doteasy offers many ways to help you fight spam. One way is to use the cPanel Email Filters tool to create rules-based filtering for your email accounts. However, the problem with this method is you’re always a step or two behind the spammers – keeping the rules accurate and up-to-the-minute is a never-ending job and often you won’t know the latest spam keywords and trends until you have already received the spam message in your inbox.

Other more effective ways to fight spam is to use SpamAssassin and/or the Doteasy Email Protection System.

SpamAssassin

What is SpamAssassin?

SpamAssassin is an anti-spam tool that is integrated into cPanel. SpamAssassin is currently only available to subscribers of the Doteasy Business Hosting plans.

SpamAssassin uses rules and a score-based system. There are a number of rules; each rule performs a test on the email and has a score. When an email is processed by SpamAssassin, it is tested against each of the rules. For each rule found to be “true” for the email, the score associated with the rule is added to the overall score of that email. Once all rules have been processed, the total score for the email is compared to a pre-set threshold value. Whether the processed email is blocked or delivered depends on the settings you have chosen.

SpamAssassin uses the following anti-spam techniques:

  • Keyword filters
  • Open relay blacklists
  • A statistical filter
  • Email header analysis
  • Negative rules
  • Internal or local whitelists and blacklists
  • Email content database
  • The Sender Policy Framework (SPF)
  • And more…

PROS of using SpamAssassin

  • Easy to use
  • Free (included free with all Doteasy Business Hosting plans)
  • the Apache SpamAssassin interface is right within cPanel

CONS of using SpamAssassin

  • No Bayesian training. Bayesian filtering requires training to be effective, and training is only effective when there’s actual user input. However, training is not offered on the cPanel interface. Without actual training, the Bayesian filter does lack a lot of punch.
  • Lacks advanced/custom rules. Because SpamAssassin is not an email filter, you are unable to create advanced or custom filtering rules. You can, however, create blacklists and whitelists, and customize the spam threshold value from the cPanel interface.
  • Lacks per-user customizations and configurations. Once enabled, all settings will apply towards all email accounts hosted on the hosting account, including all email accounts under the primary domain name as well as addon domains.
  • Spam folder contributes to the domain email storage usage. When the Spam Box feature is enabled, SpamAssassin will deliver all tagged messages into a spam folder in your email account. Unfortunately, with the number of spam message going through the Internet everyday, the Spam folder can fill out quickly and you will need to empty it regularly to ensure you don’t exceed the allowed email storage quota.
  • SpamAssassin rules only applies to spam emails. SpamAssassin doesn’t have any virus scanning rules. You will need to consider using a separate anti-virus tool for virus scanning

For more information on how to configure SpamAssassin, please visit our article How to configure SpamAssassin in cPanel.

The Doteasy Email Protection System

What is the Doteasy Email Protection System?

The Doteasy Email Protection System is a complete hosted email filtering solution. While SpamAssassin is simply a filtering system, the Doteasy Email Protection System is an email spam firewall.

The Doteasy Email Protection System uses a variety of techniques to detect spam, one of which is SpamAssassin. The Doteasy Email Protection System has many built-in rules (or tests) based on SpamAssassin. Other techniques include keyword search, header analysis, Bayesian statistical analysis, blacklists, whitelists, open proxy lists, DNS verification, content filtering rules, sender policy framework, and more.

Unlike SpamAssassin where you are unable to train the Bayesian filters, the Doteasy Email Protection system comes with per-user Bayesian filtering. That means, you can train the filters on a per-domain as well as a per-user basis.

The Doteasy Email Protection system also comes with different response actions you can choose from: tag, quarantine, return or block. You can also create rules to block emails with certain attachments.

All rules and actions are customizable from the Doteasy Email Protection system dashboard.

PROS of using the Doteasy Email Protection System

  • Separate web-based interface that is dedicated to the Doteasy Email Protection System.
  • All rules, options are settings are customizable on a per-domain as well as a per-user basis. This allows your users more control over their own email rules and preferences.
  • Trainable Bayesian filtering on a per-user and per-domain basis. Bayesian filtering needs to be trained to be effective, and it is most effective when there’s actual user input.
  • Custom filtering rules. You can create custom rules based on sender, networks, domains, file extensions, blacklists, whitelists, and more.

CONS of using the Doteasy Email Protection System

  • The Doteasy Email Protection System is an optional add-on service, currently offered at $6.95/month, on a 12-month term. However, the service is compatible with all Doteasy web hosting plans, so you do not need to upgrade your existing hosting plan to use the service.
  • The Doteasy Email Protection System is ordered on a per-domain basis. Once you have ordered it, the service is extended to all email accounts under that domain name. However, if you host more than one domain on your hosting account, you will need to order separate Doteasy Email Protection services for each of the domain names.

For more information on the Doteasy Email Protection System, please visit our library of Doteasy Email Protection System articles