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I have a number of domains hosted at a web hosting service. They use sendmail to handle incoming email. I have six domains on this service (which we can call, and so on). Each email account has the same name and one email box. In other words,,, and all the others go into one box, /var/spool/mail/tango, where my email program on my desktop picks it up.

I have done very little work in sendmail. I haven't had to, and I've been warned it's a steep learning curve. But now I'm running into an issue. I was in a business situation where, for years, my email address was on the website for (We won't go into why this was necessary - it wasn't my preference and it's in the past.) Now I'm using instead of

I was getting about 1,000 or more pieces of spam a day, but SpamAssassin and my own email program caught about 75% of that. (Which still left stuff to delete.) Now, after checking, I see that 90% or more goes to, the one that was on the web for years.

I'd like to deactivate and possibly and tango@ccc.dom, but want to keep using Remember, email to tango at any of these domains will go into one email box.

I've had people tell me that sendmail can be configured so I can deactivate (and other domains) and still use (and others, if I want to). In other words, I can configure sendmail to use this account on some domains and not others. One of the people who was teling me this was in tech support at the hosting service.

But I wrote to tech support with a work order to do this and now I'm told it can't be done.

I can modify config files myself on this account if needed, but I was hoping to just let them do it. (I love delegation -- it means I spend more time doing my stuff.)

Is it possible to keep an email account active on one domain and not others with sendmail, when all domains are hosted on the same server? Is there a name for this process or setting? Any information would be helpful - either pointers to instructions so I can do it, or enough info so I can tell tech support, "This is where to look, and it can be done, so please pass my request on to someone who works with sendmail and knows how to do it."

Is this something sendmail can do?

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Please add an appropriate picture from a comic book :) – Ward Sep 2 '12 at 7:41
@Ward Well, okay, tell me which comic book would be appropriate. – Tango Sep 2 '12 at 17:45

1 Answer 1

up vote 1 down vote accepted

You need to enable FEATURE(virtusertable) in your Next you have to execute three steps:

  1. Rebuild using the command appropriate for your operating system.
  2. Next you need to edit your virtusertable with the following entries: error:550 user unknown
  3. Rebuild the virtusertable database and restart sendmail. On Debian and Ubuntu systems this is done by executing sendmailconfig
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This is Redhat based and in, I have the line "FEATURE(virtusertable',hash -o /etc/mail/virtusertable.db')dnl" I'm not clear about the hash in there, but I would think it means the db in virtusertable.db is built from virtusertable. Unfortunately, there's no sendmailconfig command on this system, but I also know this is based on Redhat, so I'm guessing that uses a different command to rebuild the db and restart. – Tango Sep 2 '12 at 18:07
You run /etc/mail/make, makemap hash virtusertable.db < virtusertable and service sendmail restart – adamo Sep 2 '12 at 20:03
Thanks - it's now working - and I can't believe how little spam I'm getting with my account on several domains blocked off! Out of curiosity, can you tell me what /etc/mail/make does? I figure makemap creates the db file (obviously), but I'm curious about the first step with make. Thanks! – Tango Sep 3 '12 at 6:12
You write your sendmail configuration directives in By issuing /etc/mail/make is compiled into which is the actual file being read by sendmail. – adamo Sep 3 '12 at 7:03
Thanks for the extra info. Much appreciated! – Tango Sep 3 '12 at 21:11

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