PEP Quick Start
Please consider switching to our new and improved hosting service:
For support call:     778-410-2454

PEP Quick Start

PEP is a very powerful tool with many features. Naturally it has a lot of documentation.  Don't panic! Most of the information in these pages is meant for folks who want fine-tuned control over their mail. You don't need to understand or even read it all.

What is PEP?
PEP stands for Personal Email Processor, and it is a computer program that delivers e-mail messages to your mailbox. It can test each message against a set of rules that you define and take various actions like deleting the message, keeping it, forwarding it to another address, sending it a fax machine or pager, and much more.

What do I need to download?
Nothing. PEP runs on our mail server, you don't need to download anything at all.

What does it cost?
Nothing. PEP is free to use on

Can I use it on another ISP?
No. PEP is exclusive to Islandnet has e-mail/hosting accounts for as low as $4.95/month.

How do I enable PEP?
You need to create or upload a file named "mailrule" and place it in the main directory of your account. This file will contain various rules and commands for PEP.

Ok, but how do I disable it?
Create an empty mailrule file. Simply deleting the mailrule file isn't sufficient, because in that case it will use a default set of rules.

Where exactly does the "mailrule" file go?
In your main directory/folder for parent or child accounts or for Virtual Accounts Mailboxes in the /.mailboxes/ This is the location you will be in when you log in with FTP or with the File Manager. For example, if you log into your account with an FTP program you should see a list of files and folders similar to this:

drwx------ 2 1614 50 512 Oct 24 13:50 .mail
drwx------ 2 1614 50 512 Oct 94 15:30 .mailboxes
-rw-r--r-- 1 1614 50 27 Dec 14 23:05 mailrule
drwxrwxr-x 2 1614 50 512 Aug 8 2009 www

Most of that is irrelevant. The main thing to note is that you don't need to change into a sub-folder - the mailrule file goes in the same location where you see the "bin", "ms2", "temp", and "www" folders.

NOTE: The file name must be spelled "mailrule" and must be all lower-case or it won't be recognised. It must not have any extensions like ".txt" or ".doc" or anything else.

What goes in the mailrule file?
The mailrule file is a plain text file. If you create it with a word processor, make sure you save it as "plain text" or "ASCII".  

Each line of the mailrule file represents a rule that will be applied to incoming messages. Rules must not wrap across multiple lines, and you can only have one rule per line.

Rules all have the same basic format: ACTION if HEADER TEST VALUE P1 P2

  • "ACTION" is an action like "KEEP", "DELETE", or "FORWARD" (there are many more actions available).
  • "HEADER" is a header like "FROM", "TO", or "SUBJECT" (you can specify any header you want, and there are several special headers as well).
  • "TEST" is a comparison test like "EQUALS", "CONTAINS", "MATCHES", etc. (there are several tests you can use).
  • "VALUE" is the value you want to compare the header to. If this value contains any spaces, it must be enclosed in quotes, otherwise quotes are optional.
  • "P1" and "P2" are optional parameters that certain actions might need. Like VALUE, they must be enclosed in quotes if they contain any spaces.

Here's a sample mailrule file : 

keep if from contains
fail if origin contains "Spam not welcome here!"
delete if sascore > 7
forward if subject is "new order"

That example contains 4 rules, but it's easy to see that a complex mailrule file might get difficult to read. Here's the same mailrule file but with comments and blank lines to make it more readable (blank lines and lines that begin with a # are ignored by PEP):


# Keep any mail that comes from my business partner Bob
keep if from contains

# Bounce any other mail that comes from HotMail
fail if origin contains "Spam not welcome here!"

# Quietly delete any mail that has a high spam score
delete if sascore > 7

# And finally, if this is a message from my shopping cart,
# forward it to Bob for processing
  forward if subject is "new order"

How big can my mailrule be?

In theory it can be any length you want, there is no limit to the number of rules it can contain. However, if your mailrule file is quite long (say 100 or more rules) then there's probably a more efficient way to write it.

Does the order of the rules matter?

Yes. Generally speaking, the first rule that matches the message is the one that is used and all subsequent rules are ignored.  

In the example above, we used a KEEP rule to keep mail from and that was followed by a FAIL rule for all hotmail addresses. These work as expected because of the order. If we were to move the KEEP rule down below the FAIL rule, we'd never see any mail from Bob because the FAIL rule came first.

Is there an easier way to maintain my mailrule file?
Yes, you can edit your mailrule file via the web using the  PEP Editor.

Is there anything easier than that?

Yes, you can create a mailrule file simply by selecting different options and filling in some blanks with the  PEP Wizard.

That's better, but is there anything even easier to use?

Yes. You can include a pre-defined set of PEP rules when you include a one of the ruleset in your mailrule,  if you use the Wizard you can include then in the Custom Rules section by using include and the ruleset name. The rulesets can be found at PEP Defined Rulesets