Set Up Local Email Forwarding

1.5 hours
  • 4 Learning Objectives

About this Hands-on Lab

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.

Learning Objectives

Successfully complete this lab by achieving the following learning objectives:

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

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:

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.

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.

Additional Resources

You have just taken over a new server in your role as the system administrator. You will need to configure any email bound for the root user to get forwarded to your cloud_user account so that you can keep tabs on the system. Once you finish your modifications to the email aliases, send a test email with an attachment and verify that you received the message from your cloud_user's mailbox.

Note: If you have trouble connecting via ssh, wait a minute or so and then try again. The lab sometimes needs a bit of extra time to finish provisioning before ssh connections are possible.

What are Hands-on Labs

Hands-on Labs are real environments created by industry experts to help you learn. These environments help you gain knowledge and experience, practice without compromising your system, test without risk, destroy without fear, and let you learn from your mistakes. Hands-on Labs: practice your skills before delivering in the real world.

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