Special MIME headers

If you inject mails in SMTP format into MailerQ, you can add special headers to your message that are read and recognized by MailerQ, and that control the delivery of your message. Headers that start with "x-mq-*" are automatically recognized by MailerQ, stripped from the email message and converted into JSON properties before the message is sent to one of the message queues.

Almost all "x-mq-*" properties are converted into JSON properties, even custom properties that do not have a special meaning (like "x-mq-meaningless"). However, the following properties have a special meaning and have influence on the handling of your message.

x-mq-envelope explicit envelope address
x-mq-ip IP address to send mail from
x-mq-tag adds a tag to the message
x-mq-delayed time when message should be sent
x-mq-maxdelivertime max time for delivery
x-mq-maxattempts max number of delivery attempts
x-mq-retries interval in seconds between the attempts
x-mq-inlinecss instruct MailerQ to inlinize the CSS code
x-mq-results-queue alternative queue for the results
x-mq-failure-queue alternative queue for the failures
x-mq-success-queue alternative queue for the failures
x-mq-retry-queue alternative queue for the retries
x-mq-smarthost-hostname hostname of smarthost to send email to
x-mq-smarthost-port portnumber of the smarthost
x-mq-smarthost-username login for the smarthost
x-mq-smarthost-password password to access the smarthost
x-mq-dsn-notify the events for which to receive a DSN
x-mq-dsn-ret whether to send the full body or just the headers in DSN
x-mq-dsn-orcpt the original recipient for the DSN
x-mq-dsn-envid unique identifier for the DSN message
x-mq-keepmime do not remove the full mime object after delivery

Example message

The following message would be an example MIME message that holds some extra meta properties:

from: info@example.com
to: peter@smtpeter.com
subject: example message
x-mq-maxdelivertime: 2016-10-23 23:00:00
x-mq-inlinecss: 1
x-mq-custom-identifier: my-id

this is the body of the mail

When the message above is injected into MailerQ, it will be transformed into a JSON object that is sent to the inbox queue. The JSON object will have the following properties:

    "envelope": "info@example.com",
    "recipient": "peter@smtpeter.com",
    "mime": "....",
    "ips": [ "" ],
    "maxdelivertime": "2016-10-23 23:00:00",
    "inlinecss": true,
    "custom-identifier": "my-id"

To ease readability, we have left out the mime data. The mime data would be identical to the injected mime, without all the x-mq-* headers.

Envelope address

The envelope address from an injected mail is extracted from the MIME message. MailerQ checks (in this order) the following properties to extract the envelope address: "x-mq-envelope", "return-path", "from" and "sender". The first valid email address to be found in one of these headers will be used as envelope address.

The envelope address is the address that is used in the "MAIL FROM" communication.

Local IP addresses

If your server has multiple IPs to send out mail from, you can use all of them to send out mail from. To control the IP address that is going to be used, you can use the "x-mq-ip" property.

To allow multiple IP address for sending out the mail, you can add a list of available IP addresses:


MailerQ will pick one of the IPs to send out the mail. Be aware that you can of course only use addresses that are actually bound to the host that MailerQ runs on. Other IP addresses will result in failed deliveries.


You may be injecting different types of messages into MailerQ, for example messages belonging to your various customers or campaigns. To help you get a better overview, MailerQ allows you to tag your messages with one or more labels of your choosing. These tags will show up in the management console, allowing you to monitor and control all deliveries belonging to a tag. To add a tag in a MIME email you can add one or more "x-mq-tag" properties to the header:

x-mq-tag: Customer Name
x-mq-tag: Example Campaign

MailerQ will track messages belonging to a tag and allow you to monitor them in the management console. See the tags page for more information.

Delivery time

When a message cannot be delivered immediately because of unresponsive receivers, greylisting or throttling, MailerQ publishes back the email to the outbox queue for later delivery. This can result in emails that are sent much later than the time that you first added them to the message queue.

If you do not want an email to be delivered after a certain time, all you need to do is add the "x-mq-maxdelivertime" header to the message. The "x-mq-delayed" property does exactly the opposite: it delays the email so that it is not delivered before a specific time.

x-mq-delayed: 2016-02-10 12:00:00
x-mq-maxdelivertime: 2016-03-10 00:00:00

Timestamps in MailerQ are always in UTC. MailerQ is not very tolerant in parsing timestamps, so better make sure that you use the right formatting (YYYY-MM-DD HH:MM:SS).

If you do not specify an explicit max delivery time, MailerQ will attempt to deliver the mail within 24 hours (default) after the mail was first picked up from the outbox. You can change the default in the configuration file.

Maximum number of attempts

Just like a maximum delivery time, you can control the maximum number of attempts MailerQ should make sending an email. If a first attempt fails because a remote server is unreachable or does not immediately accept the message, MailerQ will make a new attempt a little later.

x-mq-maxattempts: 3

Interval between attempts

If a mail is retried, MailerQ waits a while before the next attempt is sent. You can set this dely in the headers of the message.

x-mq-retries: 300,600,3600

The above setting means that the second attempt is ent 300 seconds (5 minutes) after the first attempt failed. If the second attempt failed too, MailerQ waits another 600 seconds (10 minutes) for the next attempt. After that attempt, all further attempts will be sent with a one hour (3600 seconds) delay.

Inlinize CSS

When you send out HTML emails, you face the problem that not all email clients support stylesheets that are set in the header. Some email clients (especially web based clients) strip out the CSS code from the HTML header. This often messes up the layout and look of your messages. To overcome this, it is better not to set CSS settings in the header in the first place, but use style="..." attributes in the HTML code instead.

MailerQ can do this automatically. If you set the x-mq-inlinecss header to true, MailerQ parses the HTML email, and converts the CSS code from the HTML header into inline style="..." attributes in the HTML body.

x-mq-inlinecss: 1

Custom result queues

After MailerQ has processed an email, it publishes the result of the delivery to one or more result queues. The default queues to use for this are configured in the global configuration file, but you can set other queue names in properties to tell MailerQ to use other result queues.

x-mq-results-queue: name-of-results-queue
x-mq-failure-queue: name-of-failure-queue
x-mq-success-queue: name-of-success-queue
x-mq-retry-queue: name-of-retry-queue

Note that when only one if these "x-mq-*-queue" properties is used, all the queues mentioned in the global configuration file are ignored. This is even so if you have not even specified all possible queues in the MIME header.

Smarthost settings

Instead of having MailerQ sending messages directly to the final recipient, it can be sent to an alternative mailserver instead: the smarthost. The default credentials can be set in the config file, or they can be provided the following properties:


Read more about using a smarthost

DSN settings

Some mail servers initially seem to accept a message, but send back a bounce email later. Delivery Status Notification (DSN) messages help you keep track of what happened to your mails. The following options specify which Delivery Status Notifications you want to receive:


Read more about Delivery Status Notifications

Keep messages after delivery

When a message is completely processed - either because it was successfully delivered, or the delivery failed - MailerQ publishes it to the results queue, where you can pick it up for further processing.

By default, MailerQ throws away the mime data to make room in the JSON object and in the message store. If you do not want the message data to be removed, you can tell so by adding the keepmime option:

x-mq-keepmime: 1