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Procmail: Suspicious rcfile message – How to solve the error

by | Mar 10, 2021

Stuck with the error, Procmail: Suspicious rcfile message? We can help you.

Recently we had a customer who came across this error while trying to run fetchmail for each mail message.

As part of our Server Management Services, we assist our customers with several such errors.

Today, let us see what causes this error and how we can resolve it.


Procmail: Suspicious rcfile message

An autonomous mail processor, Procmail invoke automatically over the .forward file mechanism as soon as mail arrives.

Once it arrives it will start to look for the file, $HOME/.procmailrc.

The rcfile can contain a mixture of environment variable assignments and recipes.

Our customer received this message:

#*****procmail: Suspicious rcfile “/home/user/.procmailrc”
procmail: Couldn’t read “/home/user/.procmailrc”
not flushed

Though it is not a big issue, it relates to file permission.

Procmail usually gives this error if:

  • The .procmailrc is owned by someone other than the user or root, or is world-writable (independent of who owns it); and
  • It’s not /dev/null; and
  • The directory is both world-writable and world executable but not ‘sticky’ (mode +t).


How to solve the error?

In order to solve this, our Support Techs suggest using the chmod command:

$ chmod 0640 /home/user/.procmailrc


$ chmod 0640 ~/.procmailrc

We make sure the user owns the .procmailrc file and not someone else:

$ ls -al ~/.procmailrc

If the file is not owned by the user, we use chown command to setup correct ownership:

# chown user:user ~/.procmailrc

Finally, we make sure that our home directory belongs to us alone:

$ ls -ald ~

We use chown to setup correct group permission on our home directory:

# chown user:user /home/user

[Couldn’t resolve the error? We are here for you]



In short, the error, Procmail: Suspicious rcfile message, though not a big issue, relates to file permission.


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Our server experts will monitor & maintain your server 24/7 so that it remains lightning fast and secure.


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