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Setting up A Vacation Auto-Responder

NetGate Internet customer with any type of Hosting account are able to send 'automated replies' or 'vacation messages' to users instantly upon receiving mail. This can be done fairly simply using UNIX's built in vacation message program. You'll need to use a telnet program or SSH client to accomplish this. Windows has telnet built in, but for Macintosh you'll need to download "Better Telnet" from :

Using telnet or SSH, connect to your account.

Configuring a Vacation Message

1. Make sure you are in your root level directory, by typing:

cd ~

2. Create a vacation message by using pico, emacs or some other editor to create a file called .vacation.msg with the desired text.


I am currently on vacation and will not be able to get back until October 12th. Your message has been saved.

If you are not familiar with UNIX based editors, you could create a file on your desktop using Notepad (Windows) or Simpletext (Macintosh) called vacation.txt (or any arbitrary name). Enter the desired text and upload the file using your FTP program and rename the file ".vacation.msg" no quotes. Renaming the file on the server is necessary primarily because Windows does not allow files to be named with leading dots.

3. Set up the .forward file to utilize the vacation message by using pico, emacs or some other editor to create a file called .forward. This file must include the following text, where <username> is the username of your account.

\<username>, "|/usr/bin/vacation <username>"

Again this can be done on your desktop as described in step 2 by creating a file called forward.txt and renaming the file ".forward" (no quotes) once uploaded to the server using FTP.

4. Initialize the vacation message database by typing:

vacation -i

5. Go on vacation! To disable the vacation message, just rename the file ".forward" to ".forward.old" (no quotes).