spamc - client for spamd


spamc [options] < message


Spamc is the client half of the spamc/spamd pair. It should be used in place of spamassassin in scripts to process mail. It will read the mail from STDIN, and spool it to its connection to spamd, then read the result back and print it to STDOUT. Spamc has extremely low overhead in loading, so it should be much faster to load than the whole spamassassin program.

See the README file in the spamd directory of the SpamAssassin distribution for more details.


All options detailed below can be passed as command line arguments, or be contained in a configuration file, as described in the CONFIGURATION FILE section below.

Assume input is a single BSMTP-formatted message. In other words, spamc will pull out everything between the DATA line and the lone-dot line to feed to spamd, and will place the spamd output back in the same envelope (thus, any SIZE extension in your BSMTP file will cause many problems).

Just check if the message is spam or not. Set process exitcode to 1 if message is spam, 0 if not spam or processing failure occurs. Will print score/threshold to stdout (as ints) or 0/0 if there was an error. Combining -c and -E is a no-op, since -c implies the behaviour of -E.

-d host[,host2]
In TCP/IP mode, connect to spamd server on given host (default: localhost). Several hosts can be specified if separated by commas.

If host resolves to multiple addresses, then spamc will fail-over to the other addresses, if the first one cannot be connected to. It will first try all addresses of one host before it tries the next one in the list.

-e command [args]
Instead of writing to stdout, pipe the output to command's standard input. Note that there is a very slight chance mail will be lost here, because if the fork-and-exec fails there's no place to put the mail message.

Note that this must be the LAST command line option, as everything after the -e is taken as arguments to the command (it's like rxvt or xterm).

This option is not supported on Win32 platforms.

Filter according to the other options, but set the process exitcode to 1 if message is spam, 0 if not spam or processing failure occurs.

-F /path/to/file
Specify a configuration file to read additional command-line flags from. See CONFIGURATION FILE below.

Print this help message and terminate without action.

For TCP/IP sockets, randomize the IP addresses returned for the hosts given by the -d switch. This provides for a simple kind of load balancing. It will try only three times though.

Send log messages to stderr, instead of to the syslog.

-L learn type
Send message to spamd for learning. The learn type can be either spam, ham or forget. The exitcode for spamc will be set to 5 if the message was learned, or 6 if it was already learned.

Note that the spamd must run with the --allow-tell option for this to work.

-C report type
Report or revoke a message to one of the configured collaborative filtering databases. The report type can be either report or revoke.

Note that the spamd must run with the --allow-tell option for this to work.

-p port
In TCP/IP mode, connect to spamd server listening on given port (default: 783).

Just output the SpamAssassin report text to stdout, if the message is spam. If the message is ham (non-spam), nothing will be printed. The first line of the output is the message score and the threshold, in this format:

Just output the SpamAssassin report text to stdout, for all messages. See -r for details of the output format used.

-s max_size
Set the maximum message size which will be sent to spamd -- any bigger than this threshold and the message will be returned unprocessed (default: 250 KB). If spamc gets handed a message bigger than this, it won't be passed to spamd.

The size is specified in bytes, as a positive integer greater than 0. For example, -s 250000.

If spamc was built with support for SSL, encrypt data to and from the spamd process with SSL; spamd must support SSL as well.

-t timeout
Set the timeout for spamc-to-spamd communications (default: 600, 0 disables). If spamd takes longer than this many seconds to reply to a message, spamc will abort the connection and treat this as a failure to connect; in other words the message will be returned unprocessed.

-u username
This argument has been semi-obsoleted. To have spamd use per-user-config files, run spamc as the user whose config files spamd should load. If you're running spamc as some other user, though, (eg. root, mail, nobody, cyrus, etc.) then you can still use this flag.

-U socketpath
Connect to spamd via UNIX domain socket socketpath instead of a TCP/IP connection.

This option is not supported on Win32 platforms.

Report the version of this spamc client. If built with SSL support, an additional line will be included noting this, like so:
  SpamAssassin Client version 3.0.0-rc4
    compiled with SSL support (OpenSSL 0.9.7d 17 Mar 2004)

Disables the 'safe fallback' error-recovery method, which passes through the unaltered message if an error occurs. Instead, exit with an error code, and let the MTA queue up the mails for a retry later. See also EXIT CODES.

Just output the names of the tests hit to stdout, on one line, separated by commas.


The above command-line switches can also be loaded from a configuration file.

The format of the file is similar to the SpamAssassin rules files; blank lines and lines beginning with # are ignored. Any space-separated words are considered additions to the command line, and are prepended. Newlines are treated as equivalent to spaces. Existing command line switches will override any settings in the configuration file.

If the -F switch is specified, that file will be used. Otherwise, spamc will attempt to load spamc.conf in SYSCONFDIR (default: /etc/mail/spamassassin). If that file doesn't exist, and the -F switch is not specified, no configuration file will be read.


    # spamc global configuration file 
    # connect to "", port 783
    -p 783
    # max message size for scanning = 350k
    -s 350000


By default, spamc will use the 'safe fallback' error recovery method. That means, it will always exit with an exit code if 0, even if an error was encountered. If any error occurrs, it will simply pass through the unaltered message.

The -c and -E options modify this; instead, spamc will use an exit code of 1 if the message is determined to be spam.

If the -x option is specified, 'safe fallback' will be disabled, and certain error conditions related to communication between spamc and spamd will result in an error code. The exit codes used are as follows:

    EX_USAGE        64  command line usage error
    EX_DATAERR      65  data format error       
    EX_NOINPUT      66  cannot open input
    EX_NOUSER       67  addressee unknown
    EX_NOHOST       68  host name unknown
    EX_UNAVAILABLE  69  service unavailable
    EX_SOFTWARE     70  internal software error
    EX_OSERR        71  system error (e.g., can't fork)
    EX_OSFILE       72  critical OS file missing
    EX_CANTCREAT    73  can't create (user) output file
    EX_IOERR        74  input/output error
    EX_TEMPFAIL     75  temp failure; user is invited to retry
    EX_PROTOCOL     76  remote error in protocol
    EX_NOPERM       77  permission denied
    EX_CONFIG       78  configuration error


spamd(1) spamassassin(1) Mail::SpamAssassin(3)




The SpamAssassin(tm) Project <>


SpamAssassin is distributed under the Apache License, Version 2.0, as described in the file LICENSE included with the distribution.