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I had to setup a QMAIL auto reply (Out of the Office) message on 5 email addresses and since I haven't done it for a long time it took me a couple 20 minutes to consult Qmail (Life With Qmail http://lifewithqmail.org (great website!) documentation and read a couple of online forum threads until I finally remembered, how I used to be setting up a vacation message manually via qmail's .qmail file.
Of course Setting qmail auto reply can always be done via QmailAdmin or VQadmin .. – Qmail Vpopmail web frontends however on many Qmail mail servers Qmailadmin or/and VQadmin is absent due to some reason or even on a big mail servers the server doesn't run Apache at all. Hence it is good to know how to set qmail vacation message directly via plain SSH terminal connection and this is why how this article got born.
So here is how I enable qmail auto reply "manually", through .qmail for my email address firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. Set a /var/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/.qmail file with the following content:
| /usr/bin/autorespond 86400 3 /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation
2. Create /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation directory
linux:~# mkdir -p /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/
3. Create /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message file with auto reply message
First create the message file with touch command:
linux:~# touch /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message
Then put with vim or mcedit etc. an auto-reply vacation message similar to the sample below:
Subject: We have received your message. Thank you!
Dear Customer, we thank you for the interest in our services.
A member of our team will reply promptly to your enquiry shortly.
4. Set proper permissions for vacation/message and .qmail files
/home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation/message and /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/.qmail files has to be owned by user/group vpopmail:vchkpw, e.g.:
linux:~# chown -R vpopmail:vchkpw /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/vacation
linux:~# chown vpopmail:vchkpw /home/vpopmail/domains/my-email-domain.com/info/.qmail
If you are a qmail administration with the requirement to create auto reply message for employees going on a holiday often (in a middle sized company office), setting up the out of the office auto reply manually one by one is a time consuming, annoying task and "crazy" task. Therefore some time ago while still I was employed in a Bulgarian mid-sized company called Design.BG, I've written a tiny shell script which creates qmail email users vacation messages by passing few arguments.
Here is my create_vpopmail_vacation.sh shell script
Note that this script might have a lot of bugs and is not much tested, so read it carefully and test it before you put it for daily use 😉
Happy Hacking! 😉