Handling spam on the road with a laptop, an iPhone, and a cloud-based IMAP server

I currently run my own mail server on linode, and I use client-side spam filtering on my Mac.  It works great.  If I happen to get spam in my inbox, which happens maybe once or twice a week, I mark it as spam using a handy GUI in my email client and the email is moved to the spam filter, and the filter learns from the email.  Similarly, if a message goes to spam erroneously, I simply mark it as “not spam”, the message is moved to my inbox, and the filter corrects itself again.

This system works because I have three main machines:  a desktop, a laptop, and my iPhone.  The desktop runs my “main client,” so I leave it always on and always filtering spam.  In this way, when I check email on my phone or laptop, the spam has been filtered.

I’m not going to have an always-on machine as I transition to a mobile lifestyle.  So I have been looking at server-side spam filtering.  The trouble with that is the interface.  How do I mark an email as spam or not spam?  The process of training on a server is much more cumbersome and spammers continually adapt to the filters.  I wonder, is there a reasonably good server-side spam filter system out there for my circumstances?



  1. Most email solutions provide spam filtering as well as IMAP/S or EWS access to your mailbox.
    Even ISP provided services offer this, such as godaddy, O365, etc. The web interface allows you to manage your spam settings. Often an ISP will include an email account with each domain hosted, so you can prototype before you make a binding decision.

    If you prefer a free solution, outlook.com (formerly hotmail) and gmail can be configured to relay for your domain and then you can use their tools to manage your junk mail preferences through their web interface.
    No matter which of these options you choose, the solution is server based and you don’t need an added system to perform the filtering for you.

  2. Hi, Lee, you are right, spam filtering on the server is common. However, as I mentioned in my post, the interface is the problem there. I like to have my own email server because of server caps (I keep all my email from forever ago for reference, finding that’s handy). I think gmail has the best webmail interface and spam management, and perhaps I’ll take another look at that, but I just don’t want to keep all my email on their server. I think perhaps the best solution is going to be to use gmail’s inbox and spam filter, but archive everything on my own server for posterity.

    1. Rich, have you tried Thunderbird? It’s free/open source and you can set it up to remove the email from the gmail server after it has downloaded it to your own machine, and it has it’s own spam settings on top of gmail’s.

      1. bill, that’s what I’m doing right now with Apple Mail and a great tool called SpamSieve. It is the best spam filter setup ever. I tried GMail’s interface again and once again stopped using it because it’s just very inconvenient to have to go to the webmail interface to mark an email as spam. The problem is “solved” by just continuing to do on my laptop what I did on my desktop.

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