How can I get number of messages count in Postfix's mailq? mailq command display entire mails in mailq but i would like to know count only.Is there any command for this. My OS is centos 5.5.

5 Answers 5


I use this:

mailq | grep -c "^[A-F0-9]"

You can pipe the output of mailq through various other filters such as uniq, sort and wc to get other statistics.

  • This is not accurate. When the Postfix queue is empty, then run 'mailq', we will get "Mail queue is empty" which also match "^[0-9A-Z]". And in such a situation it is not accurate.
    – andy
    Jul 7, 2015 at 12:59
  • 1
    A better regex is ^[A-F0-9] which correctly results in 0 when the mail queue is empty. I've edited the answer.
    – Ladadadada
    Oct 6, 2015 at 16:26
  • 1
    How silly, the last line of the output is the count
    – Geoffrey
    Jan 2, 2017 at 23:37

either mailq | tail -n 1 or find /var/spool/postfix/deferred -type f | wc -l

both works

  • 1
    I get "682430 Kbytes in 26472 Requests." for the first one and "23" for the second one.
    – rob
    Dec 18, 2017 at 13:28
  • 1
    The second one only shows deferred messages, adding the active queue the counts should match up: find /var/spool/postfix/active /var/spool/postfix/deferred -type f | wc -l.
    – royarisse
    Nov 30, 2021 at 8:50

Pipe the ouput to wc, if further refining is required, use grep.


I use

/usr/sbin/postqueue -p | /usr/bin/tail -n1 | /usr/bin/gawk '{print $5}'

seems quicker than grep but no 0 returns


I use:

mailq | grep -c "^$"

This is essentially the same as @Ladadadada's answer of:

mailq | grep -c "^[A-F0-9]"

Except I am just looking for the empty lines which follow each message entry in the mailq log, rather than something that looks like the start of a valid message-ID. It is therefore better performance-wise, although the difference is only noticeable on very a-typical mailq log sizes.

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