View Full Version : Email Quota in 3.0 Presents Issues

06-27-2007, 10:17 AM
As a reseller, I have always opposed limiting quotas on email accounts, and I have always promised clients that we will not impose limits.

As an example why this is a problem, we are a graphic design company (as well as web development) and we have a few days each month where we send high quantities of proofs back and forth with our publication design clients, who are also hosting clients. In any given hour on those days, there may be more than 50MB of file attachments in transit between any of our email accounts and theirs. It would be unacceptable for these emails to start bouncing.

In the WestHost 3.0 reseller environment I can no longer leave the quota field empty for it to be unlimited.

I'm not worried about clients who just want to leave their email on the server (though, if they want to do so and use up their hosting disk space, isn't that their prerogative?) as much as I'm worried about the example above and the fact that I've made promises to existing clients regarding no limits.

Two questions:
1. Will existing 2.0 accounts that get converted to 3.0 accounts retain the "unlimited" email settings?

2. How can I get around this limitation on new accounts in 3.0?


06-27-2007, 02:14 PM
I don't remember ever haveing control over this in the Server Manager when setting up Packages. Do you mean in the Site Manager for each account? We had the same limitation with WH 2.0 accounts in that you could not set a new User account to unlimited. You had to do it manually by editing the files on the server. Can't remember the specifics off the top of my head but the process is or was posted here in the forums. If I find the the thread all post the link.

06-27-2007, 02:24 PM
Found a recent post that addresses it: http://forums.westhost.com/showthread.php?t=9875

The file is /ect/features that you edit the "box" limit is the first variable in an entry. It is interesting that on a new install of a WH3.0 account (I just checked one) the default users that are set up all have unlimited settings i.e. 0. I really find it odd that West Host did not address this issue with WH 3.0. It was something that was requested.

I would think that in the upgrade process any manual changes like this would be retained but not sure. I am going to be on of the testers on the beta run so I'll make sure that one the accounts that get's tested has a user that is set to unlimited. That should let use know if the setting well transfer over. ;)

06-27-2007, 03:21 PM
Hi Shawn,

Thanks for the posts.

You are correct that I was actually referring to the user/email account settings in each hosting account Site Manager. My apologies for the confusion.

And it is worth noting that in the 2.0 Site Manager, you can leave the quota field blank and it becomes unlimited. This seems to be an undocumented (perhaps unintended?) but nevertheless available feature. That is how I have set up all of my clients' email accounts.

Now, when I create a user in the new 3.0 interface, the quota is set to 50MB by default, and it will not allow you to leave it blank or enter a number less than one or greater than 50.

Please do let me know. I considered being a guinea pig, too, but my lack of available time makes me a poor candidate, I think.

Thanks! Fritz

Corrado Fiore
06-29-2007, 02:33 PM
Being a reseller, too, I'm facing ths kind of problem. At the moment:

-- on 2.0, you can set any value in file /etc/hosts, but be warned that any account that is larger than 75 MB will periodically get compressed and archived by WH routines (you'll be warned a few days before it happens). Since POP3 checking involves parsing the WHOLE mailbox file, big mailboxes checking will slow the entire server.

-- if you have a dedicated server, no compression or archival will occur: you are free to set whatever limit you wish on any POP3 account. This happens because the POP3 server will use your dedicated processing power, so it's up to you.

-- IMAP server, even on a dedicated machine, will not handle mailboxes > 100 MB properly. One of my customers is a graphics agency and, just like you, has to deal with big files: in that case, we had to return to POP3, since the IMAP service was completely unusable.

My two cents. :)


07-16-2007, 10:55 PM

You aren't the first or last to have to go back and forth on this issue. As an admin, I've always been in favor of heavily limiting the size of the individual message. You talking about the potential issue of having sent over 50 megs of proofs back and forth, but if you can remove the proofs and have those stored elsewhere, you will result in a significant improvement all around.

I think this is a problem that is really worth re-evaluating your current solution rather then trying to fix the system that has the problem. As another user pointed out, having a large mail spool file really slows down all your processing.

I've never looked, but there should be some packages out there to perform this process. Then you have automated notification to the client. If you change the proof after you first upload it, you can just replace it and the client still sees the correct proof so you don't have version issues.

WestHost - DWinans
07-17-2007, 05:22 AM
Dear Clients,

I wanted to take a moment to address the issues talked about here. The email quota on accounts is put there for a good reason. The archival process that West Host does every few months is also put there for good reason as well. Specificly talking about POP3 here, when you login to you're POP3 account all mail is parsed from 1 text file located in /var/spool/mail/username. The bigger that file is the more resources it takes to process on the server level. Also, after that file grows to a certain size, typically above 700+MB's you will more than likely start running into email errors, or you wont be able to gain access to the email users account at all (Except through pine, which is not for beginners). Keeping the mail boxes at a smaller size helps increase performance on you're VPS and the server you are on in general. While understandable that you may want an email box above 50MB's. Most of the time it is better to keep you're email box on the server managable, and within an acceptable size limit. This will plain and simply save you headache in the future. If you have files that are extremely large and need to be transfered you can do so through FTP more efficiently than you can with email in most circumstances. Although I can see the need for doing so through email as well. As stated previously, you can always set you're email quota to unlimited (Or higher than 50MB's) by editing the /etc/features file. I never suggest having an email box with an unlimited quota as that is just asking for abuse, and more potential problems down the road. There are plenty of ways to keep things managed, and have the quota you need to on an email box. It just takes proper planning. When the 2.0 --> 3.0 upgrade happens all user accounts sould retain their original quotas. Whether you're a reseller, or a standard client you should be concerned about the issue, as it can affect everyone in general, and realize both the benefits and the cons in the situation. If we end up setting up a standard by default that encourages unmanageability, then most users are going to go that route and not think twice about it until they run into a problem they cannot solve because of the actions they took initially. I'd compare what I'm trying to state here to the old phrase about creating backups. "A backup is never important...Until you need it" However I still agree that 50MB's is a bit low for the Maximum you can set.

07-17-2007, 07:15 AM
Fair enough, David. I appreciate your post and can agree that it is better to make it difficult to exceed the desired maximum quota. We all want our mail systems to operate smoothly and efficiently.


07-17-2007, 11:16 AM

Can you clarify one thing for me? I read somewhere that the 75MB limit does not apply to IMAP mailboxes. Is this correct, does the limit still apply to the mbox file, or does the limit apply to any IMAP folder?


WestHost - DWinans
08-05-2007, 05:52 AM
Dear Richard,

The email archival process does not apply to IMAP inboxes actually. Only POP3. So if you're using IMAP you would not need to worry about the archival process.

WestHost - DWinans
08-05-2007, 06:11 AM
Dear Richard,

I'm not sure if you were asking about the Archival process or possibly what folders apply as far as the set email quota. The email quota will count everything within the email users account on IMAP.

08-05-2007, 04:36 PM
Thanks. You got it right the first time ;)

08-07-2007, 09:55 AM
So all my customers use neomail and don't use POP to check their email. So am I correct when I say that Westhost does host mail files over 75MB?

This is throwing a huge wrench into my funness of customers. Nothing like calling up ALL your customers and telling them that their very small 75MB email file is too big and needs to go. I can see if this was 1980, cause back then 75MB file was a little big. But now days.......?

I would have loved to know that westhost doesn't support mailboxes over 75MB when I signed up for hosting. Instead, you just get an email that says "hey, in a week we are going to compress all your customers emails". ummmmm, NO. Call me crazy, but isn't the HUGE SSH LAG a bigger problem here?

Anyways, I hope that I am completely wrong here. Being that all my customers use IMAP which supposedly doesn't slow down the server, I'm not sure why my files need compressed.

08-08-2007, 02:53 AM
Check the directory /var/spool/mail on your server to see whether any files are over 75MB. There will be one file in there for each POP user (which is what Neomail uses isn't it??)

Your IMAP inbox should be located in /var/spool/imap/$USER/mbox

If you installed IMAP and then made the edits to procmail suggested elsewhere in the forum, then it is possible that you are delivering mail to both inboxes and this is your problem.

I have a script which runs every 24 hours and checks whether any account is exceeding 90% of its allocation. If it is I back it up, compress it and send them an email saying that it has been archived - stops me getting lots of MAILER DAEMON messages in my inbox :)

08-08-2007, 08:36 AM
I was mistaken.....I am using POP. With that being said, I have a few questions.

1. Does having over 75MB mail file slow down other VPS users?
2. Is this clause in the fine print somewhere when you sign up?
(The clause I am speaking of would say something like "you can not have over a 75MB mail file) Only reason I'm asking this is because I did a lot of research before going with westhost and I didn't see anything like this.

08-08-2007, 04:51 PM
1) Yes. Every time you receive an email, the server has to open your 75MB file and append the new message to the end. Every time you pick up mail, it has to read the whole file. Disk access is very slow compared to RAM, hence you load down the CPU and slow down every one else's VPS.
2) It used to be in the helpdocs, but I don't see it there anymore. I posted their policy in this blog (http://www.rollingr.net/wordpress/2006/10/29/increasing-the-size-of-your-mailbox/)

08-09-2007, 08:14 AM
Thanks for answering these questions for me. I think that it will be easier for me to move hosts than to deal with this.

I recommend that westhost make it very clear on their VPS packages that they sell that they DO NOT support pop email accounts over 75MB.

08-09-2007, 08:38 AM
I agree that Westhost should state this SOMEWHERE on their site. However, rather than moving hosts you could simply move you email (say host it with GMail)

08-09-2007, 12:01 PM
You are absolutely correct that I could host my email with google or some other email provider, but its the principal of the matter.

Plus, who is to say that next month westhost could come up with some crazy rule about DNS hosting or something, and the resolution could be "well, you could host your DNS somewhere else".

I do appreciate you answering these questions here for me. Between the slowness of website retrieval, SSH lag, and this 75MB email quota........I think its best for myself and my clients to move on to a better hosting solution.

Thanks for your replies.

08-09-2007, 04:46 PM
You're welcome :) However, this is not some new fangled policy of Westhost's - it has been there as long as I've been a customer; it just disappeared off their website when they upgraded the help documents recently (slap wrists). When I first started with them, you were lucky to get a 10MB of email with any of the providers, so 75MB was generous (indeed one of my ISPs still only offers 20MB while the other offers 1GB for 5 inboxes, but it costs an extra $3 pcm).

I should point out that although Google give you a 2GB mailbox, they archive your inbox as soon as you retrieve the mail by POP, so your inbox is not 2GB. If you changed to IMAP and roundcube, you would be in the same position. I'm not sure what Yahoo do.