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Postfix Documentation
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Doing more work with your SMTP server processes

With Postfix versions 2.0 and earlier, the smtpd(8) server pauses before reporting an error to an SMTP client. The idea is called tar pitting. However, these delays also slow down Postfix. When the smtpd(8) server replies slowly, sessions take more time, so that more smtpd(8) server processes are needed to handle the load. When your Postfix smtpd(8) server process limit is reached, new clients must wait until a server process becomes available. This means that all clients experience poor performance.

You can speed up the handling of smtpd(8) server error replies by turning off the delay:

    # Not needed with Postfix 2.1
smtpd_error_sleep_time = 0

With the above setting, Postfix 2.0 and earlier can serve more SMTP clients with the same number SMTP server processes. The next section describes how Postfix deals with clients that make a large number of errors.

Postfix Documentation
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