Increasing the size of your Westhost mailbox

Westhost limit the size of your mailbox to 20MB, which is a bit puny these days. However, the reason that they do this is that they keep all your mail in a single file, so every time you check your email, you have to read the whole file starting from the top. This places a large load on the server if you have a huge file.

You can override this by manually editing the file /etc/features. This file contains lines of the form
username:mail=20,ftp=-1,description=Account details
Just change the mail=20 as you see fit to specify the size of your mailbox in Megabytes (MB), so for 60MB you would have
username:mail=60,ftp=-1,description=Account details

NOTE: Westhost will automatically archive and delete mailboxes over 75MB as described below

Large Mailboxes


Your mailbox on the server is a single text file containing all of your e-mail, using the industry standard “mbox” format. Anytime you log into the incoming mail server to check your e-mail the mail server needs to read this file so your e-mail client (e.g. Outlook, Eudora, Thunderbird) can determine whether or not there is any new e-mail to download.

As the size of your mailbox increases, it takes more and more time to read that file when you check your e-mail. Large mailboxes keep the server busy for extended periods of time, needlessly degrading server performance for everything else. This translates into sluggish websites, delayed e-mail, and general unresponsiveness.

Archiving Large Mailboxes

In order to keep server performance high, we perform scans every other month and archive mailboxes that are larger than 75 megabytes. Archived mailboxes are compressed using the GNU ‘gzip’ program and are only kept until the next scan (at which point old archives will be automatically removed). If you ever need to have your archived e-mail restored please contact support for assistance.

Clearing Out a Large Mailbox

To clear out a large mailbox you will need to delete old e-mail. The easiest way to see what e-mail is being stored on the server is by checking your e-mail by logging in at From here you will be able to selectively delete any e-mail you no longer wish to keep. Deleting an e-mail off of the server will not effect any copies of a message you have already downloaded to your computer through your e-mail client.

Preventing Large Mailboxes

The best way that you can prevent your mailbox from growing too large is to configure your e-mail client to automatically remove e-mail from the server as it is downloaded. Nearly every e-mail client does this by default for you, unless you have specifically configured it not to. If needed, you can consult the help files for your particular e-mail client to learn how to change this setting.

We also strongly suggest only using a catch-all e-mail address when absolutely necessary. Spammers will try to guess e-mail addresses using your domain name. When you have a catch-all e-mail address they will always be guessing correctly, thus greatly increasing the amount of e-mail delivered to your mailbox. If you need to receive e-mail by a variety of names (e.g.,, etc.) we advise you either use e-mail aliases or to setup separate mailboxes for each address. You can make all of these changes by logging into your Control Panel (Site Manager) at (make sure to replace with your actual domain name) and clicking on E-mail / FTP Management on the top horizontal navigational bar.