I'm using postgrey on all my MX servers (main and 2 backups). I need to disable greylisting on a main server when receiving mails from backup server. How to do that?

When I add IP/FQDN to /etc/postgrey/whitelist_clients, it doesn't help.

Specifying POSTGREY_OPTS="--inet=10023 --whitelist-clients=/etc/postgrey/whitelist_clients" in /etc/default/postgrey didn't help either.

  • Can you check your init script to see whether /etc/default/postgrey is read while starting the postgrey service?
    – clement
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 16:27
  • It looks like so. # Read config file if it is present. if [ -r /etc/default/$NAME ] then . /etc/default/$NAME fi and NAME=postgrey. It's Ubuntu default.
    – Xdg
    Commented Apr 21, 2014 at 16:54

2 Answers 2


You performed the right steps, adding to whitelist_clients. It is better to create a new file whitelist_clients.local, which is not modified while upgrading the postgrey package and is also read by postgrey. Then, restart postgrey.

But, due to a bug in the Debian postgrey init script, postgrey is not actually being restarted by running service postgrey restart (even stopping it is broken). Either restart the whole machine, or kill the postgrey process manually and start it again (using service postgrey start).

The issue is told to be fixed in June 2014 and restart is hopefully working in future Debian/Ubuntu releases.

  • 1
    I just tested in Ubuntu 14.04 and indeed, the service postgrey stop does nothing. A good ol' kill <pid> though... works as expected. Then you can just do a start and it restarts. Commented May 24, 2016 at 20:19
  • In debian 8.5 postgrey is properly restarted, Although there still is this in the log: "Couldn't unlink "/var/run/postgrey.pid" [Permission denied]"
    – Lenne
    Commented Oct 21, 2016 at 14:24
  • If you use 'kill -9', you won't delete the '/var/run/postgrey.pid' file, which would cause that problem.
    – Mr Ed
    Commented Apr 17, 2019 at 8:49

What worked for me (Ubuntu 12.04) was adding the offending domains to '/etc/postgrey/whitelist_clients' (whitelist_clients.local didn't work for me), using 'kill -9' on the postgrey process, deleting '/var/run/postgrey.pid', then 'service postgrey start'.

My problems were caused by outlook.com (hotmail, outlook, etc), which appears to retry sending on many different IPs, which isn't handled by postgrey very well, i.e. it doesn't get the same IP twice so the email message isn't accepted.

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