Frequently Asked Questions




Q: How is MailSift set up? Will my email system change?

A: By simply re-directing your mail exchange (MX) DNS record from your current Mail Server to the MailSift MX's, your email traffic will be redirected to MailSift. Once scanned, 'clean' email will be sent back to your mail server. No other changes are required either at the server or email client.

We do recommend that once the MailSift MX's are established, you set your firewall to ONLY accept inbound SMTP email from MailSift's IP block. That prevents a spammer from bypassing MailSift and injecting spam/virii directly into your email system.

Q: How do I check Email that is quarantined?

A: MailSift users have a webmail-like online control panel where they can use their browser to login and review their quarantined email. From there they can choose to redeliver wanted emails back into their normal mailbox. You can see a screenshot here

While logged in, the user can increase or decrease the sensitivity of the quarantine filter, as well as 'whitelist' certain email senders so they are never quarantined.

Q: I'm still getting spam. What's wrong?

A: When your MailSift account is created for a particular address, the default Quarantine Setting is pretty lenient and will only block the most obvious, blatent spam. For a lot of people that is fine and they are happy to see a large reduction in spam from their Inbox.

However, the Quarantine Setting can be lowered (made more aggressive) either in the User Control Panel or by the Administrator in the Admin Control Panel. Of course, the lower you set it, the greater the chance that a spammy "looking" email from a legitimate source (such as a newsletter offer from an Ecommerce site) may be quarantined and would have to be redelivered out of the quarantine later on. With experience, you will find a setting that stops most spam, yet doesn't catch legitimate business offers.

Q: It keeps on catching email from my vendor/customer/relative.

A: You have several options:

a) You can whitelist that address so that it is never quarantined. When you redeliver an email, you are given the option to add a particular address to the whitelist or you can add them in the Settings section of the User Panel.
b) You can adjust your quarantine level up (more lenient) and accept a little bit more spam.
c) Let us know and we can make suggestions as to how to make their email a little less spammy, such as avoiding emails with forwards of forwards or emails that were formatted for MicroSoft Word but not mime-encoded as such.

Q: Do I have to delete all that spam in the quarantine?

A: No, you can simply go in and select any email you want to redeliver to your mailbox. Spam that is left in the quarantine for more than the review period default of 10-14 days is automatically purged from the system. Of course, if you find it easier to simply delete known spam as a way of keeping your place, there are tools to do that.

Q: Will I lose any email?

A: You shouldn't, but it is theoretically possible if you ignore the quarantine review period, have a really aggressive quarantine level AND don't have archiving.

Quarantined email is held in the quarantine for a 10-14 day review period. During that period, periodic emails are sent to the user, letting them know about unreviewed spam stuck in the quarantine. It is assumed that sometime during that review period that the user went in and checked for any wanted email. After the 'review' period expires, it is assumed that emails still in the queue are unwanted and are purged from the mailsift system.

If a user fails to check their quarantine for a time period longer than the review period, then a wanted email could be lost. To avoid that, a user could set the quarantine level to a very permissive level (effectively off) during a vacation or other period of time when they can't check the quarantine. Thus they can feel confident a wanted email isn't caught in the quarantine and then purged. Of course, all the spam that would have been caught will come in at the same time as well.

As a final option, MailSift archiving can be turned on for an extra charge. With archiving, both 'good' emails and quarantined emails are saved and available for review later on.

In an emergency, such as an illness, a phone call to PixelGate can get the review period extended, archiving turned on or the Quarantine level adjusted to be more permissive during the crisis.

Q: What happens if my Email Server crashes?

A: MailSift will continue to receive and filter your email, quarantining the spam that it receives. 'Clean' email that can't be delivered to your server during the outage will be queued and periodic attempts to redeliver will occur. When your server comes backup, the queued email will begin to flow to your now restored server.

During an extended outage, the email will eventually be dumped into your quarantine, we you can cause it to be redelivered when your Email Server has returned to service.