An unfortunate side effect of having a successful website is unsolicited mail, also known as email spam or junk.
There are a number of ways to try and combat unwanted email communications, but in reality you're never going to eliminate all of it. Let's look at some of the different programs available and how they work:
Spam AssassinFREE with any of our hosting accounts.
This is your very first line of defense (and pre-installed on every account on our servers) and works at the server level. The program looks at every one of your incoming email and evaluates based on a point system. If the email scores let's say five points (you can set the level), it will either get thrown into your Spam Box, or gets a one-way ticket to cyberspace. You will need to enable the software and decide what to do with emails that fit the bill.
It is safe to assume that everything tagged junk by Spam Assassin is in fact junk. The problem with Spam Box is that eventually it will fill up. Most of us don't remember to periodically check and dump the box - so we usually suggest to just discard junk messages.
Box TrapperFREE with any of our hosting accounts.
Box Trapper also works at the server level and is a program which assumes that ALL mail sent to you is garbage and sends out a reply to senders not on your 'approved' list, requesting verification that this is a valid email address. Once that verification is received, the email is delivered to your inbox. It works quite well, and goes through this process once for any new email sender. Of course, it DOES require the sender of an email to actually respond - and that's where it could get tricky. We don't know if the sender of an email to you has similar programs in place? Or if the email requesting verification ends up as junk mail at the other end.
Postini$5/month with any of our hosting accounts.
Postini, again, works at the server level. Similar to Spam Assassin, this program 'quarantines' suspicious messages and sends you a report once a day with a link to your message center. You do need to skim over those quarantined messages, as Postini can be a little over zealous at times. However, a quick click on 'approve sender' will take care of that particular email address in the future. Postini is by far the most efficient program for filtering out unwanted email and is highly configurable.
Rules and Junk Filters in your email programFREE with many email client software (Microsoft Outlook, Windows or Mac Mail, Google or Yahoo! Mail. etc.)
These filters are executed once the email gets to your computer. You likely have a junk box or folder where some of your email ends up. These rules and filters can be configured but usually aren't highly effective. Things that shouldn't, get through and email from people in your address book ends up in junk. Still, you should configure at least the very basics, to filter out messages that contain "Viagara", etc. and known spam senders.