Spamassassin timeouts - Just an observation

Martin Hepworth maxsec at
Wed Dec 24 08:36:37 GMT 2008

2008/12/23 Steve Campbell <campbell at>:
> BTW - I've been gone a few weeks, and was just reading my email from that
> time. I do not want to imply that NOBODY EVER ANSWERS QUESTION ON THIS LIST.
> My reference to the "Solved" line just meant there has never been a
> definitive resolution for me. The spamassassin timeout problem has been
> fixed for quite a few people it appears. I am guessing that sendmail
> configs, mimeDefang, and a lot of other variables could be causing this.
> Please don't misunderstand my prior post. I'm all for this mailing list,
> it's great. I just don't want to start another thread like the "NOBODY" one.
> steve
> Steve Campbell wrote:
>> The topic seems to come up quite often, and although the answers are
>> usually pretty much the same, I never really see much of a "Solved" reply.
>> I upgraded from version 4.58, where I saw maybe 3 or 4 timeouts, to 4.71,
>> and saw an immediate increase to around 100-300 timeouts. I ran all of the
>> --debug and --debug-sa flavors of help I could think of. I reviewed the
>> logs. I run a caching nameserver. And I zeroed out some RBL scores. I still
>> have yet to find why this happens. I eventually upgraded to 4.72, and
>> started using clamd. I still get the large numbers of timeouts. I would
>> think that the fact that this doesn't happen with all of my large batches
>> indicates I'm not using any dead RBLs.
>> I'm still exploring the causes, but haven't had much luck. I find it odd
>> that SA would really keep RBLs that have expired over time in their default
>> files, so I really don't think it's that. I do all of my checking of RBLs in
>> SA. I always do my configuration and language upgrades, and search for
>> rpmnew and rpmsave files. This has happened on 3 different but very similar
>> servers that I run.
>> I'm not really asking for assistance here, but just wanted to let others
>> who are seeing this problem to  be aware that there is something unique
>> triggering this. I'm fairly confident that it is not happening at all sites,
>> but something here is causing it. It may not even be related to MS/SA, but
>> totally something else.
>> The most I could ask for is a small checklist of what to ensure I have
>> set. Every time I try to use the debug procedures, the tests perform
>> flawlessly with no errors. It is very sporadic. We receive those normal
>> bursts of spam, but for the most part, the batches ares small. The average
>> amount of email per day is usually around 10k emails, but I get the above
>> stated 100-300 timeouts. I'm going to try and match batch numbers to
>> timeouts and see if this will reveal anything. I only run 3 Children on a
>> fairly hefty Dell PowerEdge, but I do use 30 messages per child. I don't
>> think this is excessive thought.
>> Hope everyone has a Happy Holiday.
>> Steve Campbell
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Vast majority of these timeouts are down to the timeout being too low
(I find the default of 75 way too low in most cases) and/or too many
RBL's in SA (try turning most of them off and just running a couple).
This seems to sort out 95% of the problems.

Martin Hepworth
Oxford, UK

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