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Set Up Local Email Forwarding

A Linux system administrator should have a basic understanding of working with local email accounts. Many services will forward email messages to the local administrator (`root`) containing notifications about tasks and other relevant system information. Understanding how to forward an email on a local system is important in making sure that a system administrator does not miss out on any essential information. This learning activity will assist you in developing the skills necessary to set up local email forwarding on a system and learning how to access that email.

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Path Info

Clock icon Beginner
Clock icon 1h 30m
Clock icon Nov 12, 2018

Contact sales

By filling out this form and clicking submit, you acknowledge our privacy policy.

Table of Contents

  1. Challenge

    Set up the Alias

    1. Log into the server, and switch to the root user.

      sudo su -

    • Run the following command to add an alias to all mail destined for the root user so that it will instead get sent to the cloud_user account:

      echo "root: cloud_user" >> /etc/aliases

  2. Challenge

    Re-generate the Aliases Database File

    Run the following command to re-generate a new /etc/aliases.db file so that your new email alias rule gets registered:

  3. Challenge

    Send a Test Email

    Generate an email to test your new forwarding rule. You can use the following command to send a copy of the /etc/services file as an email attachment, along with the subject line "Just Testing" to the local 'cloud_user' account:

    mail -s "Just Testing" -a "/etc/services" cloud_user@localhost < /dev/null

    We are using a null message body, as we are just checking for the attachment.

  4. Challenge

    Read the Email, Then Remove It

    Go back to the 'cloud_user' account, and run the mail command to view the cloud_user's email message:


    The message sent from the root user should be in the list. Press the number corresponding to the message (typically '1') and then press enter. After you have finished reviewing the message (you can press the spacebar to scroll through the attachment), press the Q key to close the message, then press the D key at the ampersand (&) prompt to delete the message. Finally, press the Q key to quit out of the mail application.

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