policyd-spf man page

python-policyd-spf — pure-Python Postfix policy daemon for SPF checking




NOTE: Depending on the packaging and distribution, the exact path to the executable may vary.

$ policyd-spf (Start using installed config file)

$ policyd-spf -h (Display usage message)

$ policyd-spf /etc/policyd-spf/policyd-spf.conf (Config file name to use)

Configuration options are described in the sample configuration file provided with the package (policyd-spf.conf.commented) and in policyd-spf.conf(5). The provided setup.py installs an uncommented configuration file in /etc/policyd-spf/.

Additionally, whitelisting certain IP addresses or IP addresses used by listed domains from SPF checks is supported. Skipping SPF checks for local submission or trusted relays is also provided. The sample configuration file and policyd-spf.conf(5) shows the format to use.

Other Documentation

This documentation assumes you have read Postfix's README_FILES/ SMTPD_POLICY_README and are generally familiar with Sender Policy Framework (SPF). See RFC 7208 for details.

See man 5 policyd-spf.conf for configuration file information.

man 5 policyd-spf.peruser provides documentation on setting up and using different configuration options on a per user (mail reciepient) basis.


python-policyd-spf is a Postfix SMTPd policy daemon for SPF checking. It is implemented in pure Python and uses the pyspf module. The SPF web site is http://www.openspf.org/. The Postfix configuration must be changed to check SPF.


Logging is sent to syslogd.

Each time a Postfix SMTP server process is started it connects to the policy service socket and Postfix runs one instance of this Python script. By default, a Postfix SMTP server process terminates after 100 seconds of idle time, or after serving 100 clients. Thus, the cost of starting this Python script is smoothed over time

The default policy_time_limit is 1000 seconds. This may be too short for some SMTP transactions to complete. As recommended in SMTPD_POLICY_README, this should be extended to 3600 seconds. To do so, set "policy_time_limit = 3600" in /etc/postfix/main.cf.

Messages that get a Fail SPF result will be rejected. Messages that get a Permerror are, by default, treated as if they had no SPF record. Messages that get a Temperror result are, by default, treated as if they had no SPF record, but can (and probably should) be deferred if otherwise permitted. Messages that get other SPF results (Pass, None, Neutral, Softfail) will have the SPF Received header prepended. Note: Spamasassisn 3.2 and follow will use this header for spam scoring so there is no need to configure a separate SPF check in these Spamassassin versions. See Spamassassin documentation for details.

Default Mail From rejection/deferal criteria are, by design, conservative. Default HELO check actions are to reject mail with other than Pass/None. HELO records are much simpler than Mail From records and rejecting based on HELO checking does not present a false positive risk. These settings are a matter of local policy and should be adjusted to meet the requirements of site administrators. See policyd-spf.conf(5) for configuration file details.


Policyd-spf will log messages to syslog about it's activities. The "debugLevel" value in "policyd-spf.conf" can be increased to get additional information to be logged. When set to a value of "0", only test results (SPF hits/misses) are logged. Results will be returned to Postfix and logged as a warning by Postfix also. For logging by this policy server, look for "policyd-spf" in your mail log files.

Testing the Policy Daemon

Testing the policy daemon

To test the policy daemon by hand, execute:


Each query is a bunch of attributes. Order does not matter, and the daemon uses only a few of all the attributes shown below:

[empty line]

The policy daemon will answer in the same style, with an attribute list followed by a empty line:

[empty line]

Postfix Integration

1. Add the following to /etc/postfix/master.cf:

policyd-spf unix - n n - 0 spawn
user=nobody argv=/usr/bin/policyd-spf

NOTE: Check the path to both the installed Python interpreter and
policyd-spf. These vary from system to system. To use non-default
settings, you must also add the config file (see above and
policyd-spf.conf(5) for details). If you run other services with
user nobody, create a dedicated user for this policy server and use
that instead.

2. Configure the Postfix policy service in /etc/postfix/main.cf:

smtpd_recipient_restrictions =
check_policy_service unix:private/policyd-spf
policyd-spf_time_limit = 3600

NOTE: Specify check_policy_service AFTER reject_unauth_destination or
else your system can become an open relay.

3. Reload Postfix.

See Also

policyd-spf.conf(5), policyd-spf.peruser(5), python-spf, <http://www.openspf.org>, RFC 7208


This version of python-policyd-spf was written by Copyright © 2007-2012 Scott Kitterman <scott@kitterman.com>. It is derived from Tumgreyspf, written by Sean Reifschneider, tummy.com, ltd <jafo@tummy.com>. Portions of the documentation were written by Meng Weng Wong <mengwong@pobox.com>.

This man-page was created by Scott Kitterman <scott@kitterman.com>.


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