Tuesday , 24 May 2016
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Cronjob to delete all emails older than one month from server.

Is there any way to remove old emails automatically from server?

Before starting with the cronjob script we must know the locations where the emails stored in server. Then we can move to the steps to remove them 😉 Exactly there have three folders for managing received mails on a cPanel based server. That are cur, new, tmp. The main differences between these three are;

new : This is the folder where all emails are first received.
cur : Is the folder having emails that are opened/read by mail client.
tmp : Is the folder contains processed emails for delivery purpose.

In most cases these emails in the server cause high disk space usage in the server. We can remove older email by using different ways. Here I’m explaining steps to remove one month older emails from the server by the help of cron. To clear old emails from server means, remove email related files from cur folder under mails directory and all other mail user directory. There are cur and new directories under the mail folder for cPanel default mail and also the same in each users domain directory. ie /home/username/mail/domain.com/***/cur Here *** represents each mail user folder. (admin/ for [email protected])

STEP 1 : Creating an executable file with command to remove emails

For simplicity, create an executable file under anywhere (here I selected the location under root) and place the script to remove older mails. Here I’m using the find command to find and remove mails which are older than 30 days (-mtime switch for finding mails older than 30 days. For more about find command please refer this, >> Find command usage with example <<

[[email protected]]# touch mailcleaner.sh

Edit the file using your favorite file editor

[[email protected]]# vim mailcleaner.sh

find /home/username/mail/yourdomain.com/*/cur -type f -mtime +30 -exec rm -f {} ;

Then change that file to an executable one. (ie file permission to 755)

[[email protected]]# chmod 755 /root/mailcleaner.sh

STEP 2 : Creating CRON job

Next step is to set the cronjob under root (for setting a cronjob refer this link ). Here I’m setting the cron job to run every 1 day of the month.

For more commands about cronjob, please refer this >> Job scheduling using Cron <<

[[email protected]]# crontab -e
 0 0 1 * * /root/mailcleaner.sh > /dev/null 2>&1
[[email protected]]# crontab -l : To list all cronjobs.

In this case the file mailcleaner.sh will execute first day of every month and remove all emails older than 30days.
Thank you.


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  1. Hi Arun,

    Thank you for posting these useful documents.


  2. Many thanks Arun!

    For some reason (Centos) the exec did not work, but this part did:
    -exec rm {} \;

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