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Monthly Archives / April 2018

  • Apr 01 / 2018
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Linux, Python

Using procmail with custom python script

If you want to execute some special commands, log or make an API call when you’re receiving an email onto your server, you can easily set up this by using procmail. Procmail is designed to filter and sort emails but can make any call you want.

Here, as an example, we will set up a simple call to a python script that will read the content of the mail (headers and body) and put the information into a log file.

1. Install procmail

Depending on the OS you’re using, you should find a package pre-compiled in the common repositories.

For example, on a Debian-based:

or on a CentOS-based:

2. Build the python script you want to call to analyze the message

You now have to prepare your script you will execute when receiving an email, that will read and parse the content to log interesting information in a file.

Let’s create a script called procmail_script.py

3. Configure your user to pass the mail to your script

So that you can pass rules you want to execute when receiving an email, you need to create a file (hidden) called .procmailrc that will take place in the home directory of the user you want to use.

For example, for executing rules when receiving email to [email protected], you will have to put that file into the home dir like /home/mailuser/.procmailrc

This will perform multiple steps:

  1. Check that the mail recipient is [email protected] or [email protected]
  2. Put a copy of the email into the procmail-dir directory
  3. Pass the message to our python script procmail_script.py
  4. Discard the message if the script succeeds (remove from queue) or copy it to procmail-failed-dir if failed (so you can process it later)

4. Prepare an email and perform a testing locally

First, create a sample mail that you will use for testing in a file called procmail_test.txt:

Then, you can test it by executing procmail manually:

Now, open the file /opt/mailAnalysis.log and you should have something like:

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