Declude & Smartermail
Idea shared by ActorMike - 1/13/2020 at 7:02 AM
I've been an e-mail admin since the 1990's. I have a concern after the third party tool Declude stopped working after upgrading. After declude stopped working, despite using Cyren, we started getting bombarded with spam. I found the "temporary workaround fix" that Linda posted, however, I thought, what if there was no workaround? I really think that smartertools needs to work more closely with Mail's Best Friend to make sure it works seamlessly with future versions, or even help fund development. I can tell you with certainty, if Declude stopped working, I would 100% start the process of migrating all my customers to Google or Office 365.

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I agree SmarterTools takes it over and builds it in as a first-class citizen within SmarterMail. With their development strength and knowledge of SmarterMail they could have it done within a few weeks time.

I am not sure if I am supposed to share this or not, Linda did not say I couldnt share anything so... I am aware of a new product called Declude Reboot that is to work with SmarterMail v17 as well as be cross platform. Last I spoke to her was towards the end of November and she said they were about 60 days out for an Alpha release on it.

Ill ping her so she can add any more information here.
Been using Declude for a long time.  
From when Scott created it and it was a paid app.

Linda and Mails best friend are awesome.
I hope they have a great working relationship with Smartertools.


Apparently they've been working on it for six years, which is a long time!
Declude with SmarterMail 16 configured as an incoming gateway is simply the best email filtering product that I could find anywhere on the market at any price.

Declude has issues, but these can be fixed with External tests.   I have replaced SPF with Python-based PYSPF, because the embedded SPF does not correctly handle mutli-segment DNS entries.

It does not have DKIM support, but I plan to implement that using Python DKIMPY.

I also plan to distinguish between forward-confirmed and non-confirmed DNS entries using PYTHONDNS.

Don't know much anything about Python, but getting PYSPF working was easy.     I have access to a Python developer for the future stuff.
We never had any luck with Declude ourselves. It was constantly stalling/crashing, constantly needing David to tweak this and that, we didnt really ever see a reduction in spam either.
We have used Declude forever and had less problem with that than Smartermail or anything else for that matter.
Been very stable and functional.  

@echoDreamz I've used Declude for at least 15 years on numerous servers. I have never had problems with crash/stall or needed stuff tweaked all the time. If you do not " see a reduction in spam", perhaps you are not managing enough email volume to know any different, because recently when Declude stopped working with SM 16, I saw a sharp increase in spam even using Cyren. I consider Smartermail useless without Declude for our use. We get large volumes of spam, not to mention the HiJack feature is critical to prevent getting blacklisted from compromised users.

Mike, we operate one of SmarterTool's largest SmarterMail installations. We have created our own "HiJack" type feature that works far better for us than Declude's implementation did and is much more intelligent. Also, Cyren is less than garbage, it is almost the same as having no spam filter at all. Which I guess is a good reason why it is only $600 annually. MessageSniffer is slightly better than garbage, but not by much. 

We've had a better experience using RBLs like GBUDB, Barracuda, HostKarma, Spamhaus and URIBL. Most spam is caught as stopped before it can even reach the delivery spool. Then we use MessageSniffer + a custom system we are currently working on that I guess you could say is like Declude, but is a bit more "intelligent" instead of just using regex expressions.
We use all those RBL's + Cyren+ SpamAssassin and I could see tons of spam getting through after Declude was turned off. I wonder why? Also confused about why you say Cyren/MS are garbage because they are 600.00, but all the ones you mentioned are free aren't they?

Spamhaus isnt free for commercial use, as well, if you go beyond their queries per day (which we do) you have to pay to use their service. We use rsync access with them.

Barracuda is free, they do ask that you register your DNS servers with them

GBUDB is free as well

HostKarma is sorta free, they ask if you are a small biz you put their link on your website, however, our queries to them are very large, so we do have paid rsync access with them.

URIBL for URI blacklists lookup is also really nice for spool checks, we pay for their service as well, so we have access to the URIBL Gold list. Which has really helped.

If you check out other big anti-spam solutions like SpamTitan, MXGuard etc. they are top notch, but for our user base, the cost is in the 10s of thousands per month vs. the cost of Cyren and MessageSniffer for our entire server is only $600 - $700, but, you get what you pay for.
Also... Your barracuda implementation in your screenshot is wrong. Barracuda's hostname is not, it is b.barracudacentral.org with a response address of
We've been using Declude with SmarterMail Incoming Gateways since forever and a day as well (SMv4 at least), and it catches far more Spam for us than Message Sniffer does alone (honestly haven't tried Cyren for a couple of years but when we last tested it Cyren couldn't compare). Although it is important to mention that we were having stability issues with the Decludeproc for about a year with it frequently hanging or crashing, but it has automagically been running flawless the past couple months again (knock on wood).

We have Declude updated daily with MailsBestFriend's filters & IP GeoLocation filter, but also with Senderbase Blacklist, SpamHaus Droplist, SpamHaus EDroplist, and a couple of other third-party lists. We also have a couple of in-house RBLs and filters that we use with it, otherwise TBH most of the URIBL & RBLs can be setup in SM itself, although we still have Declude do the SpamHaus & SEM DNSBLs in addition to the base Declude tests & filters which simply cannot be duplicated in SM as it is now. For a while we were using netFusion's Declude filters with exceptional results but after they were no longer being updated we hesitantly rolled back to the default Declude filters and started adding our own in-house filters.

I was disheartened to hear the lastest news about Declude2.0 (or whatever it was going to be named) being dropped entirely due to lack of resources to devote to it at MailsBestFriend. If I had the programming chops I would jump on helping out myself, but alas outside of some basic scripting and RegEx being able to contribute is outside of my expertise. As of now the future appears very uncertain for Declude and without it I do know personally just how much Spam we would be getting using only SM & Message Sniffer as we have about a 1000 users on a domain that has their incoming email routed through a GMail Gateway instead of our SmarterMail Incoming Gateways with Declude and the volume of Spam that is not caught is almost unbearable.

I wish a benefactor, *ahem* SmarterTools *cough*, with the resources and inclination would roll a Declude-like fork into SM directly...but you know what they say about wishes being horses...
Yes, our routers do the Spamhaus droplists as well along with a few other systems. From what I heard from Linda earlier today, she said they are a few weeks away on an alpha release of Declude Reboot.

It would be neat of ST could roll out an anti-spam service that allows SmarterMail servers to work together to report and check for spam.
Several clarifications:

1) Email filtering can occur as an incoming gateway, embedded process, or outgoing gateway (including all 3).   They tend to serve different purposes.   Incoming priority is spam filtering, embedded filtering priority is breakout detection and containment (if spam filtering is done previously).   Outgoing priority is Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and encryption (primarily web-based relay.)   Declude lacks the features needed to be competitive as an outbound gateway.   This limits its market potential, since any purchased outbound gateway product will offer inbound features as well.

2) It is possible to configure multiple incoming gateways in series, so you are not limited to the features of one product.   I am currently using three gateways in series.

3) Most email filtering products are configured as incoming and outgoing gateways, with very different filtering configurations based on the flow direction.    Increasingly, these products are cloud-based services, partly because of the success of Office365, and partly for other reasons.   This also works against the Declude market potential.

4) From this forum, I have the impression that many Declude sites run embedded, since it works well that way.   As long as you are willing to use a gateway configuration, the choice of email filtering product is completely independent of the email server product.   Running an incoming gateway using SM v16 and Declude allows the mail server to upgrade SM independently of the Declude system.

5) Email filtering has two aspects:   threat knowledge and the rules engine.  I said that Declude is the best available product because of the strength of its rules engine and its extensibility.  Declude relies on RBLs for threat knowledge, as it has no proprietary data source of its own.   Bigger vendors will suggest that they have superior threat intelligence.    This may or may not be true, as I have no way of knowing how to compare options.   I am at minimum impressed by the number of RBL services that Declude can be configured to use.  What I know for sure is that the email filtering marketplace is rife with products that have glaring omissions in their rules engine capabilities.
Hey guys. Just an update about Declude Reboot (DR). There are a few additional things we want/need to add before we go Alpha. I'm guessing we will be ready for Alpha within 2-5 weeks. I can't promise with all certainty that we can deliver within that time frame, but please bear with us... good things are coming :)
Linda Pagillo
Mail's Best Friend
Email: linda.pagillo@mailsbestfriend.com
Web: www.mailsbestfriend.com
Authorized SmarterTools Reseller
Authorized Message Sniffer Reseller

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