Message timeouts

After sitting in the queue for a few days, a message will time out. This is to insure that at least the sender is aware of the inability to send a message. The timeout is typically set to five days. It is sometimes considered convenient to also send a warning message if the message is in the queue longer than a few hours (assuming you normally have good connectivity; if your messages normally took several hours to send you wouldn't want to do this because it wouldn't be an unusual event). These timeouts are set using the Timeout.queuereturn and Timeout.queuewarn options in the configuration file (previously both were set using the T option).

Since these options are global, and since you can not know a priori how long another host outside your domain will be down, a five day timeout is recommended. This allows a recipient to fix the problem even if it occurs at the beginning of a long weekend. RFC 1123 section 5.3.1.1 says that this parameter should be ``at least 4-5 days''.

The Timeout.queuewarn value can be piggybacked on the T option by indicating a time after which a warning message should be sent; the two timeouts are separated by a slash. For example, the line

OT5d/4h
causes email to fail after five days, but a warning message will be sent after four hours. This should be large enough that the message will have been tried several times.


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Last modified: Friday April 02, 1999.