MikeL's FreeBSD howto - popper and imap


Skip popper, use imap. Yeah, I know, some old customers are too difficult to move to imap...

Sorry, I did not document my original install of popper (I used qpopper for some reason, now lost to time), and imap.

I'm getting logspam from qpopper and imap. Starting to document the attempts here to reduce the problem.

If you don't have it already, you may want to find a sample imapd.conf file from the ports tree, and make changes, or simply add the following to a new file:
I don't know yet if this works, but I wanted to document so I wouldn't forget it.


qpopper is incredibly noisy, contantly jamming your syslog full of logspam. The problem with this is that it's basically a silent DOS attack. Each day I get emails from the system to alert me of problems, but I don't see real problems due to the tens of thousands of lines of bogus email login attempts. There's nothing I can do about it, there's creeps all over the planet constantly trying to get in - that's just the way things are. Yes, I should be worried, but the only thing I could do would be to block by IP address, which is constantly changing. Nope - just disable these error messages so you can see the rest of the log.

Create a /etc/mail/qpopper.conf

# 20181206 MikeL
# config file for qpopper

set debug = false
set statistics = false
set reverse-lookup = false
set log-facility = mail
Note that the first 3 lines get rid of specific errors, the last line simply says to put qpopper output into /var/log/maillog, which is already so obscenely noisy that a little bit more won't matter.
Sample msgs eliminated (this is to aid search engines to find this page):
    qpopper[30790]: zzzz at zzz.zzz.zzz.zzz (zzz.zzz.zzz.zzz): -ERR [SYS/TEMP] POP authentication DB not available (user zzzz): No such file or directory (2)
Note that this one is coming with the login of a legit customer who has never complained about not getting email, so from everything I can see, this error is utterly bullshit -- completely benign. I was unable to eliminate this msg, the answer for this was the last line which moves it to the maillog file.

    Stats: zzz 2 5731 0 0 zzzz.domain.com zzz.zzz.zzz.zzz
This is eliminated by the statistics line.

I'm not sure if debug=false is helping.

Note that if you're running popper under inetd, you need simply edit the config file. It is read each time an email comes in as it's a fresh program startup. Otherwise, of course, you'll need to do a popper restart.

This is basically a checklist of how to make popper work. The intent is not to cover everything in detail, merely to point you to each of the tasks that must be performed.

Popper is the program that allows client email programs to fetch their email from this server -- the old way; via POP3. I've not messed with IMAP, so don't even ask.

First time only

Copyright © 1995-2019 Mike Lempriere