Postgrey - Postfix Greylisting Policy Server

Postgrey logo

Postgrey is a Postfix policy server implementing greylisting developed by David Schweikert.

When a request for delivery of a mail is received by Postfix via SMTP, the triplet CLIENT_IP / SENDER / RECIPIENT is built. If it is the first time that this triplet is seen, or if the triplet was first seen, less than 5 minutes ago, then the mail gets rejected with a temporary error. Hopefully spammers or viruses will not try again later, as it is however required per RFC.

See here for a description of what greylisting is and here for a description of how Postfix policy servers work.

Postgrey compared to the example included in Postfix 2.1.1 has the following additional features:

Safe database doesn't lock correctly the database and it might get corrupted after a while (two days mean time for me). Postgrey uses the locking and transaction features of BerkeleyDB to maximize reliability. Additionally only one process is running, thus reducing even more the risk of corrupting the database.
Automatic maintenance
Postgrey does keep track not only of the first time a given triplet was seen, but also the last time. Entries that were last seen more than a defined amount of time ago (one month for example) get removed automatically.
Per-client and per-recipient whitelists. The Postgrey distribution package includes a client whitelist with all (few) broken mail-servers that were identified until now.
Lookup by subnet
Addresses are normally stripped of their last byte, so that mail servers with multiple addresses are recognized as only one.
Auto-whitelisting of clients
Clients which repeatedly show to be able to pass the greylist, are entered in a "clients whitelist", for which no greylisting is done anymore.

This is a graph showing the effectiveness of greylisting. I did turn it on on tuesday:

graph showing effect of greylisting


Download it here

You will also need:

Distribution Packages

If installing it from the source tarball is too complicated for you, an alternative is to use one of the following distribution packages:
OpenPKG includes a postgrey package (thanks to Ralf Engelschall). Just get the package from
Postgrey is available in Debian (thanks to Adrian 'Dagurashibanipal' von Bidder). Just run apt-get install postgrey.
Postgrey is available in Fedora (thanks Christopher Meng). Just run dnf install postgrey.
Note: RedHat users need to enable EPEL first to install it.
Postgrey is available in the main Gentoo repository. Just run emerge -s postgrey.
Harold Paulson did prepare a package for FreeBSD that you can find here.
OpenBSD also contains a port of Postgrey done by Jakob Schlyter.
ALT Linux
Postgrey is available in ALT Linux (thanks to Vladimir V. Kamarzin). Just run apt-get install postgrey.


The [email protected] mailing-list is available for announcements and discussions about postgrey. You can subscribe by sending a mail to [email protected] with subject "subscribe postgrey". You can also access the archives.


Development is done on GitHub. Please use that also for bug reports.


I am rather conservative in including new functionality to Postgrey because I want to keep it a safe and well performing greylisting implementation. If you look for some advanced features, you might be interested in the following patches:

taRgrey (tarpit + greylist) by Satoh Kiyoshi
taRgrey is a patch that makes postgrey into a tarpitting policy server.
p0f passive OS detection by Fedux
passive OS detection and white-listing based on detected OS


Postgrey is described in the following books and articles:

Francisco Javier Rodríguez Arias did write an howto in spanish.