Personal Spam Filter Service

Update: Implemented Dylan’s solution, ported to Dreamhost.

Spoiled by the high quality of spam filtering at my workplace, I now want the same level of service on my personal mail. Dreamhost’s filters (using SpamAssassin) are not even coming close. Not willing to farm my email life out to Google or Yahoo!, I want to retain my owned domain email addresses yet have the spam removed before I download my mail. I found a review of personal spam filtering solutions at PCWorld and even signed up for a trial of (only $4 a month!) but was disappointed to find that this particular service does not support downloading mail via IMAP. I want to be able to synchronize message status between at least two computers, so POP won’t do it for me.

Have you found an affordable, effective, personal spam filtering solution for owned domains?


  1. Dylan Bennett says:

    I wrote a blog post on using GMail as a spam filter that got a bit of popularity across the web. It can be found here:

    Someone has since taken the idea I implemented and figured out how to use it for DreamHost e-mail accounts. You can find the wiki entry here:

    I know you said you don’t want to farm your e-mail out to Google or Yahoo!, but this would at least farm out the spam filtering end of it to Google. (And it provides a remote backup of all your e-mail to boot.)

    To this day, I still use the solution I outlined in my blog post. It can sometimes take a bit for Google to start really knowing your spam/ham patterns, but it gets quite good. My personal e-mail account on my domain gets upwards of 6,000 to 10,000 spams a month and Google lets through maybe 5 to 8 of those in a given month.

  2. rkassissieh says:

    That is brilliant. Thank you, Dylan. Thank you, blogosphere!


  3. keith says:

    To extend beyond here – you mention DREAMHOST as your hosting service. How has that worked for you? I currently use for my host and I really like it, but am looking at other services to consider. I have looked at Lunarpages and I did not like it at all… please let me know your opinion… or, if you want to – create a new post to start this discussion.

    love the blog by the way – i am a former tech coordinator at both the school and school district level and can relate well to your experiences… thanks for sharing!

  4. rkassissieh says:

    Dreamhost has been fine. It was the best when I first got on, but these days, they experience periodic, short service interruptions. When I shopped for other providers, people said similar things about other leading web hosts.

  5. rkassissieh says:

    I have this running nicely now. It is dead easy to set up! One problem. I have two Dreamhost accounts on the same domain and can’t figure out how to configure .procmailrc to forward mail for one DH account to one GMail address and mail for a second DH account on the same domain to another GMail address.

  6. Dean Brady says:

    I’m curious if you are still using the same spam setup (this post was 2 years old). I’m also spoiled at work and my personal domains are just getting hammered now with spam…