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State of Oregon - Online Services

800 NE Oregon St Portland OR 97232
Phone: 503-731-4486    Fax: 503-731-4034
Email: support@dialoregon.net


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Online Services Whitelist Help

Due to the prevalence of spam on the Internet, Online Services now offers email whitelisting services to help our customers cut down on unwanted email. Whitelisting allows you to specify which email addresses and domains you wish to accept email from and thus block the rest from your mailbox.

Whitelisting can dramatically decrease the amount of spam you receive since you will only allow those you know to send you email. But due to this strict policy, whitelisting may not work for everyone. In particular:

NEW FEATURE AS OF 2/18/2004

Any email blocked by your whitelist is now retrievable via our Webmail reader. Your blocked email will be placed in a special mail folder which you will be able to access from our Webmail reader. Please see below for further information.

Whitelist FAQ

Table of Contents

What is a whitelist?
Who can use the whitelist feature?
How does the whitelist work?
How do I create my whitelist file?
How do I upload my whitelist file?
How do I add/remove addresses without using a whitelist file?
How do I whitelist a mailing list?
How do I activate my whitelist?
How do I disable my whitelist?
Do I need to add OLS Support to my whitelist?
UPDATED 2/18/2004 What happens to the email that gets blocked by my whitelist?
NEW 2/18/2004 Do I need to clean out my blocked mail folder?
NEW 2/18/2004 How will I know if email has been blocked by my whitelist?
Why am I still getting spam after activating my whitelist?

What is a whitelist?

A whitelist allows you to have greater control over who can send you email. Online Services already has a spam filter in place which eliminates about 80% of all the email entering our system each day, but it will not catch everything and thus some spam will make it to your mailbox. Your whitelist will help keep the spam that makes it through our filter out of your mailbox.

Your personal whitelist will include all the email addresses that you wish to receive email from. Any address not included in your whitelist will not make it through to your mailbox. Thus, if an email addressed to you makes it through our spam filter, it will only be delivered to your mailbox if the address is in your whitelist. So your whitelist acts as a second check for any email that makes it through our spam filter.

Who can use the whitelist feature?

Any OLS customers who check their mailbox on our system may use our whitelisting features. In other words, you can use the whitelisting feature if you do not have your OLS email forward to another mailbox outside of our system. If you have a forward on your OLS mailbox, your email will forward before it goes through your whitelist, thus bypassing the whitelist feature. Customers with virtual domains on our system may use whitelisting if their virtual addresses point to mailboxes on our system.

How does the whitelist work?

You must first create your whitelist by adding the email addresses and domains you wish to receive email from. You can either add email addresses individually to your whitelist or you can manage your whitelist by creating a whitelist file on your computer and uploading the file to our system. In addition to creating your whitelist, you must also activate the whitelist option on your mailbox. Your whitelist will not work until you have activated this feature.

What is a whitelist file?

Your personal whitelist file is created as a plaintext file on your computer. Each line in the file contains either an email address or domain from which you want to accept email. After you have created the whitelist file on your computer, you can then upload your whitelist into our system.

Likewise, any time you need to add or remove an address from your whitelist, just make the change to your whitelist file and then upload the file to our system again.

How do I create my whitelist file?

Please refer to the Whitelist File FAQ for help with creating your whitelist file.

How do I upload my whitelist file?

Please use the Whitelist Menu and select the Add/Delete/Upload option.

How do I add/remove addresses without using a whitelist file?

Please use the Whitelist Menu and select the Add/Delete/Upload option.

How do I whitelist a mailing list?

A difficulty with whitelisting mailing lists is that when you receive a message from a mailing list, the From: address on the message may be the actual email address of the person who sent the message to the mailing list. Since mailing lists can have several thousands of subscribers, this would mean you would have to whitelist every email address subscribed to the mailing list in order to receive all the list messages.

Fortunately, messages from mailing lists usually have the same To: address on them. Thus, you can whitelist the To: address for each mailing list you want to receive. For information on whitelisting To: addresses, please see the Whitelist Rules.

How do I activate my whitelist?

Please use the Whitelist Menu and select the Activate/Disable/Status option.

How do I disable my whitelist?

Please use the Whitelist Menu and select the Activate/Disable/Status option.

Do I need to add OLS Support to my whitelist?

No, you do not need to add the OLS Support address to your whitelist. Mail from OLS Support will always be delivered to your mailbox.

What happens to the email that gets blocked by my whitelist?

Any messages blocked by your whitelist will be placed in a special blocked messages folder and accessible via our Webmail reader. Your blocked messages will remain in the blocked mail folder for two weeks before they are deleted (in order to keep your blocked messages folder from growing too big).

Do I need to clean out my blocked messages folder?

No, you do not need to keep your blocked mail folder clean as your blocked messages will be automatically deleted after two weeks in order to keep your blocked mail folder from growing too big.

How will I know if email has been blocked by my whitelist?

Each morning, you will receive an email from OLS Support listing all the messages that have been blocked by your whitelist for the previous day. If you wanted to receive one of those messages, you can retrieve the message from your blocked messages folder via our Webmail reader. You may also want to add the blocked email address to your whitelist if you wish to receive further email from the sender in the future.

Why am I still getting spam after activating my whitelist?

Due to the inherent weaknesses in the protocols used to send email over the Internet, it is still possible to get spam even when using a whitelist. Unfortunately, it is very easy for anyone to pretend to be someone else when sending email. Thus, a spammer can pretend to be someone on your whitelist and send you spam. If you have whitelisted an entire domain, then the spammer can make up any email address using that domain and send you spam.

Until another, more secure method is developed for sending email over the Internet, it will always be possible for spammers to forge email addresses and thus get through your whitelist.


Online Services is a division of IRMD Enterprise Network Services (ENS) - State of Oregon