How do I configure my Anti-spam settings?

Spam filtering is enabled by default using Vade for all DreamHost hosted email addresses in order to provide you with the best email experience possible.

This article is a basic breakdown on how to use spam filtering on your domain. If you would like to read more detailed information on spam filtering, please refer to the following article:

It's currently not possible to set up Spam filters with a legacy catch-all address.

Flagging messages as spam

Please note that clicking the Spam button does not teach your specific email address what is and what is not spam. Clicking the Spam button only sends the data off to Vade so they may continue to develop their filtering system for the public as a whole.

So, if a large amount of users mark an address as spam, Vade will eventually update their filters to tag that as spam for all users.

If spam has found its way into your inbox, you can simply flag it as spam. The system starts learning that similar messages are also likely spam.

DreamHost purges all spam and trash email messages after 15 days. Please make sure you check your spam and trash messages within this time frame.

To flag a message as spam:

  1. Log into webmail and select the message.
  2. Click the Spam button. Alternatively, you can right-click a message and select 'Spam' from the menu that opens.
    The message is moved to your "Spam" folder.

Flagging messages that are not spam

Occasionally, the spam filtering service may flag an incoming message as spam when it actually isn't. By flagging a message as "not spam", the service will learn to avoid flagging similar messages in the future.

To flag a message as not spam:

  1. Log into webmail and select the message from your "Spam" folder.
  2. click the Not Spam button.
    The message is moved to your inbox and reported to DreamHost's spam filtering service.

Whitelist and blacklist

Blacklist entries are email addresses or domains you never want to receive email from. Emails from blacklisted senders are quarantined regardless of the email's spam score. 

Whitelist entries are email addresses or domains you always want to receive email from. Emails from whitelisted senders are delivered to the inbox regardless of the email's spam score.

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  • You can edit the settings for the entire domain’s filter settings or each individual user listed.

List entries can be individual email addresses or one entry to cover an entire domain

The limit is 1000 blacklist entries and 7500 whitelist entries. If you are getting close to that limit, consolidate multiple email addresses on a single domain with just one entry for the entire domain.

Whitelist and blacklist entries apply to the envelope or SMTP sender, which does not always match the information in the 'From' details of the header. The envelope sender is often recorded in an email's full headers as the original sender or the return path.


The priority of a whitelist or blacklist entry is generally ignored and only used when an incoming email could match more than one entry.

All whitelist and blacklist entries are stored together and any incoming email is potentially compared against all of them. If there is only one black/white list entry for, and no entry for (meaning all senders on that domain), then the priority doesn't matter. The entry for is used.

The priority comes in to play when there are multiple entries. The priority informs which entry takes precedence. If there is a tie, it is randomly chosen which entry is selected to route the email.

All mail you get from AOL is spam or chain letters; mail you don't ever want to read. But, there are plenty of important emails you do need to read from trusted mail senders that may be using AOL as well. For example, let's say needs to get through. In this case, you would create a blacklist entry for with the priority set to 'Low', and a separate whitelist entry for with a higher priority. With that combination, emails from will be handled by the higher priority whitelist entry, and all other emails from other senders using will be handled by the lower priority blacklist entry.
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The image above illustrates the set up that was discussed in the previous example. The messages from ‘’ will be delivered to the inbox despite the ‘’ domain being blacklisted due to priority settings.

Blacklisting and whitelisting email addresses

There may be some cases where you want to allow (whitelist) some addresses to bypass the spam filters or never see emails from other addresses (blacklist).

To modify your blacklists and whitelists:

  1. Navigate to the (Panel > 'Mail' > 'Anti-Spam') page.

    You cannot access this page if you are NOT the DreamHost account owner. If that is the case, please contact the owner or administrator of your DreamHost account and they can modify these settings for you.

    Once you have logged into your DreamHost panel you can modify your blacklists/whitelists under Mail / Anti-Spam:
  2. Click the 'Edit Filter' link to the right of your domain.
  3. When the next page opens, click the Edit settings button for your domain at the top of the page to whitelist/blacklist addresses affect the entire domain.
    • If you'd like to whitelist/blacklist addresses for an individual email account under that domain, just click the Edit button to the right of the email account.
  4. Enter an address or entire domain to whitelist or blacklist as well as set the priority.

Enabling spam filtering on an existing domain

If you were previously using a domain at DreamHost but did not have spam filtering enabled, DreamHost strongly recommends enabling it.

To enable spam filtering on an existing domain:

  1. Navigate to the (Panel > 'Mail' > 'Anti-Spam') page.
  2. Click 'Enable Filter' next to your domain (only shows for domains with active email hosting).

    Once you have enabled spam filtering on a domain, there is no way to reverse this action.

Disabling spam filtering

It's currently not possible to disable spam filtering.

See also

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Article last updated PST.