Article ID: 114845, created on Sep 26, 2012, last review on Aug 27, 2016

  • Applies to:
  • Plesk for Linux/Unix


Many email messages are being sent from PHP scripts on a server. How to find domains on which these scripts are running if Postfix is used?


Note: This article is for Postfix. If Qmail is used as a mail server, see article
1711: Many email messages are sent from PHP scripts on the server. How can I find the domains on which these scripts are running?

There is a way to determine from which directory the PHP script sending mail is run.

Note: Depending on the operating system used and Plesk version, the paths can differ slightly from those listed below.

  1. Create a /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-wrapper script with the following content:

    Create a file and open it for editing:

    # touch /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-wrapper
    # vi /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-wrapper

    Add the following content:

    (echo X-Additional-Header: $PWD ;cat) | tee -a /var/tmp/mail.send|/usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-bin "$@"

    Note that this should be two lines, including #!/bin/sh.

  2. Create a log file, /var/tmp/mail.send, and grant it a+rw rights. Make the wrapper executable, rename the old sendmail, and link it to the new wrapper. Then run the commands below:

    # touch /var/tmp/mail.send
    # chmod a+rw /var/tmp/mail.send
    # chmod a+x /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-wrapper
    # mv /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-bin
    # ln -s /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-wrapper /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix
  3. Wait for an hour and change the sendmail back:

    # rm -f /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix
    # mv /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix-bin /usr/sbin/sendmail.postfix

Check the /var/tmp/mail.send file. There should be lines starting with X-Additional-Header: pointing to the domain folders where the scripts that sent the mail are located.

The directories, from which mail PHP scripts are run, can be seen using the following command:

    # grep X-Additional /var/tmp/mail.send | grep `cat /etc/psa/psa.conf | grep HTTPD_VHOSTS_D | sed -e 's/HTTPD_VHOSTS_D//' `

NOTE: If no output is shown from the above command, it means no mail was sent using the PHP mail() function from the Plesk virtual hosts directory.

Usually, that means one of the mail accounts has been compromised. Check the login attempt count:

# zgrep -c 'sasl_method=LOGIN' /usr/local/psa/var/log/maillog*

If an unusually high number of login attempts is shown, it is very likely accounts were compromised. Try identifying these accounts in the following way:

# zgrep 'sasl_method=LOGIN' /usr/local/psa/var/log/maillog* | awk '{print $9}' | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | head

To stop spam from being sent, change passwords for the compromised accounts and restart the Postfix service.

For Plesk 12 also visit Administrator's Guide page

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