Design & UX - - By Sean P Aune

10 Fantastic Spam Filtering Solutions

No matter how much people hate it, it doesn’t seem like spam is going anywhere any time soon. Luckily, there are numerous ways out there to prevent the spam from ever leaving your server, or if you just want to stop it at the mailbox, you can do that, too.

We’ve gathered up 10 solutions that will let you create a spam-free inbox, or just stop it dead at the server end. Luckily some of these are even free!

Anti-Spam Mail Solutions

0Spam: 0Spam works with POP, IMAP, Gmail and AOL to download your email before it is delivered to you, sort out the spam, and then just delivers the good mail to you. You can use CAPTCHA to verify senders, set up whitelists for individual emails or entire domains, customize verification emails, download lists that include a week’s spam and more. The service is free for single email accounts that receive less than 1,000 spam messages a week. If you need to cover multiple accounts or have more spam than the free levels, you can pay for a premium account.

AlienCamel: Offering both IMAP and POP email choices, AlienCamel offers you unlimited email storage on their servers, and sorts your email for you into “Pending” and “Spam” folders so you can view everything before you download it to your system. The service works with the majority of the popular email clients for both Windows and Mac OS X, and they are also currently testing an iPhone app. The service costs $8 USD a month, or $80 a year. The major drawback is it doesn’t work with your existing address, but it does allow you to create disposable email addresses on the fly, which is a nice bonus.

Spam Arrest: Spam Arrest allows you to set up a whitelist for your contacts, but after that, every person who emails you will receive an automated CAPTCHA reply that they must respond to for their email to get through to you. This only happens on their first email, so they won’t have to do it again, but could be annoying to some people. All spam messages are held on the Spam Arrest servers for 7 days so you can see if there are any you want to let through. The service is $5.95 USD when paid monthly, with growing discounts for paying up to two years in advance.

Spamfence: Spamfence is a little awkward, but an interesting concept. You need two email addresses with your mail provider: Mail is delivered to the first address, passed on to Spamfence to check it for viruses and spam, and then the cleaned email is delivered to the second address with an additional header added to tell you about the email. It’s a free service, and worth a shot if you just have too much spam to deal with.

Vanquish Anti-Spam: While Vanquish Anti-Spam will cover 5 of your email addresses and hides the cost of the service fairly well, it is included on this list more for its oddness than anything. If a spam message should happen to get through and waste your time, you can send a bill to the spammer to pay you for that intrusion on your inbox. How this is enforced isn’t made completely clear, and it is currently set at $.05 per email, but it is just such an “out there” idea, you kind of have to laugh.

ZoEmail: ZoEmail creates email addresses with “keys” (such as “sean.key@zoemail.com), and only emails sent with a known key are allowed in. You can create keys to use with online retailers, friends and so on. Cost is extremely low with the smallest email box costing you $.99 USD a month.

Server Side Anti-Spam Solutions

GFI MailEssentials: Using two spam detection engines, MailEssentials attempts to reduce the rate of false positives, and make sure that email gets to the folder it truly belongs in. The system supports Microsoft Exchange 2000, 2003, 2007 and Lotus Domino, and offers a plethora of blacklists and whitelists based on criteria of your choosing.

Mailprotector: Directed at business and corporate users, Mailprotector tests each email for origination, routing, construction, communication and content, and then assigns it a score based on the results. Fail the test, and it’s off to the spam folder.

SpamAssassin: Released by the Apache Foundation, SpamAssassin is a versatile spam filtering system that can be placed anywhere in the email stream to do its job. Due to this feature, it can work with a great number of email setups, including Gmail. It can be used on servers running Linux, Mac, Unix or Windows.

SPAMFighter: SPAMFighter is an Exchange Module that will work with Microsoft Exchange Server 2000, 2003 and 2007 or Microsoft Small Business Server (SBS) to expunge your system of spam before it gets delivered. Besides just fighting spam, the system can also generate analytics to show you just how much email it is stopping, how many users are on the system, and more.

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