Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I run a large mailing list (30,000 users). Every month I get a whole slew of bounces in my mailbox from the "mailing list memberships reminder" that get sent out. I thought that these were supposed to go to the program and automatically unsubscribe people, not go to me.

We are running a standard unmodified MacOS Server installation.

Here is a typical bounce:

From: Mail Delivery System
Subject: Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender
To: mailman-bounces@mailinglists.COMPANY.COM

This is the mail system at host mail.COMPANY.COM.

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster.

If you do so, please include this problem report. You can
delete your own text from the attached returned message.

                  The mail system


Any idea what to do?

share|improve this question
up vote 2 down vote accepted

Mailman is supposed to send those emails out with "From" being "mailman-owner@..." and, if you configured VERP, some sort of encoded mailing list address in the envelope sender. Make sure mailman-owner and mailman-bounces are aliased to a path (on my machine, that looks like mailman-owner: "|/var/lib/mailman/mail/mailman owner mailman" not an alias for you.

If you have configured VERP, make sure you followed the instructions for configuring Postfix or whatever MTA you're using. In postfix, the most important thing is to put recipient_delimiter = + in your /etc/postfix/

Also, be aware that it's possible to configure Mailman to send the bounces to the list owner as well as the program. In that case, you'll see them but Mailman is also seeing them. Look in the bounce log file to see if Mailman is seeing them. You should see entries like [date] [process id] [listname]: [mailing address] bounce score: 1.0

share|improve this answer
What's VERP? I'm not familiar with that. How would I know if bounces were going to both the list owner and the program? How would I change that? Doesn't Apple ship this with a correct configuration? – vy32 May 3 '10 at 6:37
- VERP means that it sends the messages with an "encoded" sender so that when it gets a bounce it doesn't have to try to guess who the message was for. - As I said in my answer, look in the bounce logs. - If it's not going to the right place, fix your aliases. - Apple doesn't know what you're doing with your computer, that's your responsibility. – Paul Tomblin May 4 '10 at 1:18

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.