Email Whitelist and Blacklist

NB. This guide is valid only for customers still using the 'Hostflow' panel.
Hosting Controller Customers should click here

All of our Web, ASP, SellerDeck & Email hosting accounts come with the ability as standard to specify whitelist and blacklist email adddresses, which then overrides the default server actions and external databases when a confirmed email address is found in your lists.

What are Whitelists? A Whitelist is a self maintained list of email addresses from which you wish to receive communications from, without them being tagged as spam, unsolicted, dangerous or having the content blocked due to the nature of that content. You add individual email addresses to your own list as described below and when ever an email is received into your domain, it is then checked against your whitelist to see if you have established any rule about that particular email address. If a rule to whitelist the email address exists, then the email is allowed to pass into your mailbox without passing through the server wide spam/content detection and tagging system, but if the email address does not exist in your whitelist or a whitelist does not exist, then it is checked as normal by the tagging system and action conducted on the email if appropriate. 

What are Blacklists? A Blacklist is again a self maintained list of email address from which this time, you do NOT want to be allowed to pass freely through the tagging system and wish to have tagged or blocked dependant on its content. This is not a deletion system and simply ensures that any emails that appear within your Blacklist are tagged or blocked if appropriate, with which these Tagged emails can then be handled by your email clients rules features as explained within the Spam Tagging page. 

Creating & Using White & BlackLists: The method for utilising your own White & BlackLists requires the use of an FTP application to access the FTP space of your hosting account. Customers utilising Email Host accounts will need to Login to their Customer Level Control Panel and request Whitelist & Blacklist additions via the Support > Ticketing system, as Email Host clients do not get FTP access by default.

Create your Initial Lists:

  • Using a text editor like Notepad or WordPad create 2 files, one called "whitelist.txt" and the other called "blacklist.txt" (without the quotes).
  • Within your "whitelist.txt" file add email addresses (1 fully qualified email address per line - i.e. name@domain.tld) which will be email addresses that you do NOT wish to be checked or tagged under any circumstances and save the file to your hard drive once completed.
  • Within your "blacklist.txt" file add email addresses (1 fully qualified email address per line - i.e. name@domain.tld) which will be the email addresses that you DO want Tagged at all times if they are sent to your domain and save the file to your hard drive once completed.

Initial Usage Creation:

  • Login to your hosting account using an FTP application.
  • You will see a number of folders already present in the form of /documents, /log & /reports and maybe some others.
  • Create a folder called "bw-list" - without the quotes.
  • Move into your newly created "bw-list" folder and upload your "blacklist.txt" and "whitelist.txt" in ASCII mode only.

Implementation of your lists: The server will once every 60 minutes (1 hour) conduct a search of your root folder for the /bw-list folder and for the files "whitelist.txt" & "blacklist.txt". If these files are found for the first time, then the appropriate action is conducted on the files to incorporate them at the server level for usage once emails arrive for your domain. If the files changed then again this is reflected in the server copies that are used to manage your email tagging services. 

Updating/Amending your lists: Updating your lists is simply a case of adding and deleting full email addresses from your own copy of the "whitelist.txt" and "blacklist.txt" files on your own computer, and then uploading the changed files using FTP to the "bw-list" folder of your hosting account. Within 60 minutes (1 hour) your changes will take effect for emails received into your domain.

Points of Note:

  • Ensure you only place one (1) email address per line within your list files.
  • Do NOT leave blank lines above, between or below your list email addresses.
  • If you empty a list file, then upload the empty list file to your bw-list folder and do not simply delete it, i.e. upload an empty "whitelist.txt" or "blacklist.txt" file as required if you have emptied one or both of your lists.


If you encounter any difficulties in using this facility, have questions or concerns, then please email your sales manager or support assistant.