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Managing POP mailboxes

  knowledgebase  :: network status

Mailbox management is a frequently-overlooked aspect of a firm's IT strategy. In particular, when employees leave, their mailboxes are often left unchecked, and accumulate mail, until they fill their disk quota, and start returning all new mail to sender. This is hardly the way to treat incoming customer enquiries. Also, it is frequently the case that mail being sent from a website to a particular inbox fails to be delivered, after some time, and nobody notices. This failure can occur for many reasons - a problem with the site, a problem with forwarding, a problem with the mail server, a problem with the destination mailbox, a problem with the mail client software, or a problem with the employee doing the work.

Without careful mailbox management, it's very easy to lose mail, upset customers, and cost yourself money.

The easiest way to manage your mailboxes is to reduce their number. Less complexity means the setup is easier to understand, easier to use, easier to test, easier to fix, and easier to change. Although it may be tempting to create numerous email addresses, such as sales@, accounts@, info@ and so on, each address you add is another "strand of complexity" - a series of potential problems - that you need to constantly manage.

There is also the problem of spam. The more addresses you have, the more spam you get, it's that simple.

If you're running out of mailboxes, you have these options:

  1. Reduce the number of mailboxes in use. Delete unused mailboxes. Convert some mailboxes to redirects (see next point). Change your website so that it sends enquiries to a small number of addresses - possibly just one.

  2. When creating an address, use forwards (redirects), rather than real mailboxes. For example, a smaller company might set up redirects for info@, sales@, accounts@ etc (as many as desired) - and redirect the mail for each address to a single mailbox - such as you@yourdomain.com, for collection.

    Each hosting account includes unlimited redirects, so this option costs nothing (although there will likely be some time required to convert existing mailboxes to redirects).

    The biggest problem with redirects is that all the replies will come from your real address, not your redirect address, although you can override this in software, if your mail program has that feature.

  3. Purchase more, they are cheap, especially if you don't wish to convert any mailboxes to redirects. However, if you do this without cleaning up your old mailboxes, you're just storing up problems for later.

We recommend utilising a combination of the above approaches, in the order presented.

NOTE: If you use the "leave mail on server" feature of your email program, ensure you have enough space in the mailbox to store all the mail you will receive in the number of days you set. Failing to do this will cause the mailbox to intermittently go overquota. You will receive an "mailbox capacity warning" message before this happens. To fix, either to reduce the number of days that mail is stored on the server, or increase the quota.

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