How to Fight Spam

Opening your inbox can be a chore, or even downright debilitating. I have received some interesting messages over the past few years. Anyone with an email address has seen them.  From Osama Bin Laden personally advising me of his capture, to deposed princes in need of a financial advisor, to the endless solicitation of unwanted pharmaceutical products… I have had to deal with spam.

If you haven’t heard of this before, spam is the common term for unsolicited e-mail messages.  Usually these messages also carry a dangerous payload as well – from viruses to fraudulent scams – which makes them even worse.

Bluehost offers three major solutions for defeating these unwanted emails: SpamAssassin, SpamHammer, and Postini.  All are great products, but selecting the best one for you might depend on your level of technical expertise and the amount of time you can commit to making the solution work.

SpamAssassin is an open source product guided by the Apache Foundation.  Bluehost is committed to open source solutions and SpamAssassin is a great product with a number of configuration options to reduce spam. It does so by scoring messages and rejecting those that appear to be undesirable. SpamAssassin is free to all Bluehost customers.

SpamHammer is another anti-spam tool which uses temporary rejection of messages not from pre-approved senders. This is also free for all Bluehost customers.  One challenge introduced by using SpamHammer is that it can interrupt the instant flow of e-mail most of us are used to. Some e-mails might take a while to be delivered.

Postini is my favorite of the three products because of how well it works and how easy it is to use.  I use it on my e-mail accounts, and Bluehost uses it company wide for all company e-mail addresses.  Although it isn’t free, the cost is so low (currently $1.00 per month) it is well worth the investment.  Postini uses algorithms developed by Google to determine which messages are spam and filters them out (but still allows you to find those rare messages which should not have been filtered).  It does not require any kind of setup, although custom settings can be made.  On most of my accounts I have not even needed to view the settings. The reason Postini works so well is simple:

Imagine you decide to come up with a list of descriptions of spam and block all messages with those attributes.  That works great for a while, but spam changes and evolves rapidly. So you will probably need to update this list of attributes every day to keep up with changing trends.  To solve this problem you get some friends, neighbors, and family together to come up with more criteria.  With more good input, you get better results.

Postini works along these same lines except on a much larger scale.  In this case larger means rules based on billions of messages every day. So when you add Postini to any one of your e-mail addresses you are essentially joining with millions of other friends to combat unwanted e-mail.  That is a statistical recipe for success, and a way for you to make the world a better (and safer) place.

Take a stand today.  Fight spam.  If you need some help, contact us at 888-401-4678 or use our help center.  And if you know how to use these tools, help a friend.

Seth J.
Developer

4 comments

  • question – would any of the three solutions work with the Akismet plug-in that i already have set up in my WordPress account (through BlueHost, of course…. :D)?

  • Do you guys ever give anything away? Every application I open, it is a trial or a promotional. Please improve. Thank you.

    • Hi Claire! We do actually giving away an Apple iPad and several hosting accounts. Just visit our Facebook contest page to enter. But in respect to hosting, all our accounts are unlimited. You can create as many emails you want, have as many websites as you like, etc… And pretty much every tool you need to build a site is open-source and free (e.g. WordPress, Joomla, etc…) Another example: we offer two spam filtering services free (SpamHammer and SpamAssassin) and Posini can be had for $1/month after a free trial.

  • heel Lifts and heel Lifts are the same thing, also known as shoe inserts, it depends upon where you live in the world or who you are talking to, I think of heel Lifts as being height increase options and heel Lifts as leg length discrepancy solutions, both obviously being shoe inserts as they are inserted in to the shoe
    shoe lifts

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