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By Staff

“Spam” is not the little can of meat that Hormel puts out, it is the annoying and sometimes disgusting email that you receive in you Internet mailbox. We all get spam in our email boxes every day so we know how irritating it can be to have to wade through it all before getting rid of it to make sure we don’t delete important messages. It is a situation that is doubly frustrating for web hosts who are exploited by “spammers.”

Unfortunately there are not a lot of solutions available to stop spammers from sending this “junk” email to web hosts or to anyone else for that matter.  However, there are some steps that web hosts can take to at least slow-down potential spam. While it is not a sure-fire way to stop the spammers completely, it is a solution that will ease their frustration to some degree.

Here are a few things that web hosts can do to slow down the number of spam emails that they receive.

         Regular Monitoring for Spam

         Education on stopping Spam

         Screening your orders for Spam

         Technical Set Up of your site to limit Spam

         Policies against Spam

         Using Filters to fight Spam

Regular Monitoring

An effective, automated solution has not yet been found to get rid of spam. Unfortunately a combination of manual and automated methods must be used. Common spam scripts can be hidden in various files that are uploaded to the web host’s server. This is one way for spam to make its way to a host’s server. In addition, there are other indicators that spam is being uploaded to a server in the form of server loads. If a host’s server load suddenly increases, it could be a clear indication that there are files containing spam scripts. Another thing to tip off a web host could be unusual customer behavior, especially among new customers.

The place to nip this in the bud is at your “uplink.”  If you register your email address with sites such as or, you can divert complaints to your email address instead of to your uplink. You can take care of the problem first before you are notified by your uplink that a problem exists. However, no matter how diligent you are in trying to fight spam, the truth is that there will be many times that you will not be successful.


As a web host, you will need to educate your employees and customers about spam. It will also be your responsibility to keep up with the latest technology to win the fight against spam. Your employees should be trained to look for certain traits of spammers when setting up new customer accounts. Restrict the use of company email to business use only in an effort to cut down on spam.

In regards to your customers, inform them through your website or company newsletter of the latest tools or methods available to fight spam. Inform them on the proper use of email and what to do if they are ever accused of spamming.

Educating both your personnel and customers about spam, it’s effects and how to combat it, can make a difference in how spam can affect your business. Knowledge is power, and arming your employees and customers with the right knowledge about spam can save you a lot of grief.

Screening Your Orders

Screening your new customer orders may not be the most effective way to prevent spam, but when you combine it with other methods, it will have some effect. You can check your customer’s Internet providers and domain names against certain lists or do a search engine search. If a domain name is not registered, it should be a red flag to signal you that this may be a spammer. Find out everything that you can about new customers to make sure they are who they say they are.

Beware of the fact that spanners love sites that have “instant account activation.” If yo offer this, you may want to rethink how it could affect the amount of spam you receive. This situation is ideal for spammers because they instantly set up an account and begin sending tons of spam over the Internet. By the time that you are aware of it, the damage is already done. It’s all right to have an instant account activation feature to make it as easy as possible for customers to sign up, but don’t automate the approval process. You will want to be able to weed through the orders manually.

Technical Set Up

Always make sure that you never allow your servers to be used as “open relays”, and make sure to turn on your SMTP authentication. Make sure that you use a secure mail system for form mail scripts.


Educate your customers on your policies of using your site. Let them know that there are severe penalties for anyone caught spamming. Not that it will stop the real spammers, but it could be a good deterrent. This often makes businesses stop and think before sending out any mail and may make you customers do the same.

Web host providers are running a business, just like you. They have a bottom line to watch as well. They are interested in stopping or slowing down spammers as much as you do, because they have as much, if not more to lose. Web hosting is a business after all, with bottom lines to watch.

PRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=Filters that Fight Back"Using Filters

As a web host you can launch a counter attack against spammers by the use of auto-retrieving filters. Because email systems are so easy to get to, spammers have a field day sending loads of spam emails across the Internet.

With these filters you can literally turn the tables on spammers in such a way that they won'’ know what hit them. The large volume of spam that they send can now cause aa lot pain for them with the use of filters. Think of it, now by reversing the emails sent you can drive the spammer’s costs up, his sales down and literally make his servers come to a grinding halt. Before you decide to use filters, you need to make absolutely sure that you are dealing with a real spammer. There are “black lists” of spammers available on the web to check out. Only if your suspected spammer has made the list should you even consider this option.

Stop Spam

There are a number of things that you can do to try to stop or reduce the amount of spam that you receive. While the use of filters may be your best bet, it is advised again to use them cautiously. Here are a few that you can try alone or use them in combination.

         Complaining to the Internet Service Provider of the spammer. (This was how spam was handled originally).

         Mail Server Blacklists

         Signature-Based Filtering

There are many ways that you can use, you just need to do some research to find them.


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