Tag Archives: ssmtp

sSMTP Installing and Configuration and Use Tips

Recently I was looking at creating a method of sending a warning email when ever my house temperature went below a threshold. I remembered that sSMTP was a simple way to send automated emails and CRON emails. I have some simple notes on what I did.


Very easy, just use apt-get from the command line…

sudo apt-get install ssmtp


The configuration file (/etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf) can be edited using any test editor you typically use.


Config at /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf

Below is my config file with the critical info blocked out. Lines in Red are what I modded to get ssmtp working for me.

The key pieces to get it working for me at least were…

hostname = My ISP’s domain

root = my complete email that I use at the ISP

mailhub = I looked it up in Thunderbird, it is the smtp.myispsdomain.net part.

AuthUser=my complete email that I use at the ISP. It might be different for you. Years ago it used to be just the user name part of email without the domain.

AuthPass = The password that goes along with my email.

I commented out the defaults for the ones that existed in the code.

The config file is a bit ugly after I touched it but I was trying to get this up and running quick and didn’t clean it up. But, hey it works!


 # Config file for sSMTP sendmail
 # The person who gets all mail for userids < 1000
 # Make this empty to disable rewriting.
 #root=postmaster  <--- comment out
# The place where the mail goes. The actual machine name is required no
 # MX records are consulted. Commonly mailhosts are named mail.domain.com
  #mailhub=mail <-- comment out
# Where will the mail seem to come from?
# The full hostname
 #hostname=raspberrypi <--- I was testing and kill this, failed to work
 # hostname has to be the mail domain! Or else it complains about
  # the raspberrypi part! The STMP server at frontier does that is.
# Are users allowed to set their own From: address?
 # YES - Allow the user to specify their own From: address
 # NO - Use the system generated From: address
 #FromLineOverride=YES <-- Commented out and set below, I was testing!
# New Code put here 11302015
#UseSTARTTLS=YES <-- Tried this, I didn't need it for my ISP.

CRON Email

Once installed if you or root on the machine have any CRON jobs, you will start to get email from them. You can stop this by appending …

> /dev/null 2>&1

to the end of the commands that are being run by CRON. Which will cut back on the emails that you will receive.


I installed mail utils to allow sending simple messages…

sudo apt-get install mailutils

Then I sent a message via the command line…

echo "Test" | mail -s "Test Subject" me@myispsdomain.net

…and I was able to see it work OK.

Send files via email

If you want to send files you have to install mpack.

sudo apt-get install mpack


Then you can send files to your email like this…

mpack -s "Test" /tmp/web/log.txt me@myispsdomain.net

 Command Line Usage

If you execute ssmtp with an email address it will let you create an email from the command line. Which is good for quick emails to for example remind yourself of something, or send a snippet of code to yourself. You edit the email in the form of the example below and hit Ctrl-D when done and then it will send out.
ssmtp recipient_email@example.com
The following is an example right off the command line. Note the one line of space after the Subject, this is a must have…
erick@raspberrypi ~ $ ssmtp me@myispdomain.net
Subject:This is a test of ssmtp from the command line!

Hello there this is a test of the ssmtp from the command line tool. It could be used to send a reminder or small snips of code. Use Ctrl-D when you are done.

It is called up by using ssmtp emailtosendto@domain.com


Example of Sending CPU Temp Warning Emails

When I am away from home I can infer if my house is running to cold, which may indicate a problem with the furnace. The Raspberry Pi is light loaded, usually just idling, so the CPU temperature tracks the room temperature, with an offset. When I am away, I set the house thermostat at 47 degrees F. If it drops below this value the CPU temperature of the Raspberry Pi will drop below 34 degrees Celsius. So I can just have it send me an email if this happens. Then I can double check a log that is created of the temperature reading to see what is going on. Also I run a webcam pointed at an actual thermometer for a sanity check, this is logged by using fswebcam to take an hourly snapshot. So I have my bases covered for the most part. Obviously if the power is out, I am in the dark about the temperature, because the whole thing is down! Solving that is a future project.

Below is the snippet of code from a shell script that sits in /etc/cron.hourly that handles the warning emails that are sent to 2 addresses. variables mailaddr and mailaddr2.

temp is the CPU temperature in Celsius as an integer stripped using cut from the thermal_zone0 reading.

minimum and maximum are my temperature thresholds. I don’t care much about maximum but I have it set at 65 Deg. C. just in case.

# Read the temp and cut it to grab leftmost 2 characters, integer Temp
temp="`cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp | cut -c1-2`"
#echo $temp

# Mail if about or below the limits
if (( $temp > $maximum )); then
   #echo "above"
   echo "Rasp Pi CPU Temp = $temp. " | mail -s "Rasp Pi HIGH CPU Temp > $maximum" $mailaddr
   echo "Rasp Pi CPU Temp = $temp. " | mail -s "Rasp Pi HIGH CPU Temp > $maximum" $mailaddr2

elif (( $temp < $minimum )); then
   #echo "below"
   echo "Rasp Pi CPU Temp = $temp. " | mail -s "Rasp Pi LOW CPU Temp < $minimum" $mailaddr
   echo "Rasp Pi CPU Temp = $temp. " | mail -s "Rasp Pi LOW CPU Temp < $minimum" $mailaddr2


Boot Email

I want to know if an when the Raspberry Pi I run 24/7 ever reboots due to a power outage, so I have it send me an email. The line of code below handles it and is in the root crontab. I have it sleep for 180 seconds first, then send the email. This allows the cascaded routers which I have the Pi connected to and the cable modem, time to come on line.

@reboot sleep 180 && echo "Rasp Pi Rebooted" | mail -s "Rasp Pi Reboot!" me@myispsdomain.net

I also log boots in a file that I can view online, just to keep track in one record.

@reboot date >> /var/www/bootlog.txt

Keeping track of boots helps for instance if I am away from home and the power goes out. If I get the email that the Pi rebooted, I can check to see how long the power was down and what the temperature of the house is to see if all is well.

Every hour I take a time/date stamped webcam snapshot of a thermometer so I can just look to see how many are missing and have a rough estimate of how long the power was out and how cold the house got and verify that it is getting warmer because the furnace is on!

In the future I will connect a BME280 sensor to the Raspberry Pi that will be able to read ambient room temperature directly, along with humidity and barometric pressure. So I won’t have to infer the house temperature via the CPU temperature.


This is the page I used to configure ssmtp on the Rasp Pi.


CPU Temperature Monitoring on the Raspberry Pi

One of my thoughts for using the Raspberry Pi is to monitor ambient temperature in my house and send me warnings if it is too low. This would be helpful when away from home in the winter and there is an issue with the heat that I might need to know about fairly quickly.

Eventually I might consider building in a weather station capability into the Raspberry Pi by using both an indoor temperature, humidity and barometric sensor and an outdoor temperature and humidity sensor. So with that in mind I also want to make some simple graphs of data every hour or so. Something that can be just saved into a text file and requires no extra graphing code on the client or the server.

CPU Temperature Experiment

I started out by experimenting with taking reading of the CPU temperature of the Raspberry Pi in order to get a little practice with some live data while I was awaiting the arrival of a Bosch BME280 ambient temp., humidity and barometric pressure sensor.


I plan on using sSMTP to send me warnings, such as when my ambient temperature falls below a critical value. I have already worked up some code to monitor the CPU temperature and email me if it goes out of a specific range, to get a bit of practice with coding this into a script. Plus it was a good way to try out sSMTP. sSMTP will be covered in more detail in a separate post.

Snippet of script that sends email if the upper and lower CPU temp limits are exceeded

The temperature read by the cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp is in milliCelsius, so using cut on it will grab whole degree values. The rest of the code is pretty straightforward. The variables minimum and maximum are setup to be the appropriate values in whole degrees Celsius. mailaddr is exactly what it sounds like. What is nice is that it just gives you a very simple method of sending a basic email warning when the temperatures get out of bounds.

# Read the temp and cut it to grab leftmost 2 characters, integer Temp
temp="`cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp | cut -c1-2`"

#echo $temp

# Mail if about or below the limits
if (( $temp > $maximum )); then
   #echo "above"
   echo "Rasp Pi CPU Temp = $temp. " | mail -s "Rasp Pi HIGH CPU Temp > $maximum" $mailaddr
elif (( $temp < $minimum )); then
   #echo "below"
   echo "Rasp Pi CPU Temp = $temp. " | mail -s "Rasp Pi LOW CPU Temp < $minimum" $mailaddr



Simple Graphical Temperature Logging

To just monitor the CPU temperature on a hourly basis and have a simple graphical representation of it I had to do some digging online.

I dug around the web and found a bit of Perl code to make a simple ASCII graph of the temperatures that I was measuring for the CPU. I wanted to be able to simply post to the web a running capture of temperatures, grabbed hourly by using CRON. I did not want to have to rely on graphing tools either on the Raspberry Pi or the client computer to interpret data. I spent a while searching for something simple and this was about as easy as it can get. I found a one line, long line! Method for creating a simple graph using Perl. I looked around a lot on line and wanted to avoid anything that would have to be installed on either the Raspberry Pi or the client machine to be able to plot data. So after a long search this piece of Perl code is about as simple as it gets and will plot and ASCII based graph across one line each time it executes.

The key variables in the code are min, max and w. The variable w controls the width of the plot in characters that it will be allowed to reach when the input value is at max. The variables min and max control the minimum and maximum input values expected and scale the graph accordingly. PLOTTABLE_FILE is the path/filename of the file that the output will be sent to.


Perl Code Snippet

The code resides in a script in the /etc/cron.hourly directory and produces a file that is readable via the web, with a new entry every hour. The filename is cputemp, not the lack of a .sh extension. This is important when you create scripts that will reside in the “CRON” folders. It also has to be made executable by using sudo chmod +x filename.

(cat /sys/class/thermal/thermal_zone0/temp ) | perl -ne '$min=20000; $max=65000; $w=79; use POSIX; $d=ceil(log($max)/log(10)); $w-=$d; $v=$_<$min?0:$_>$max?$max:$_; $s=$w*$v/($max-$min); $bar=join("", ("*")x$s); $bar=~s/.$/|/ if $v==$max; print sprintf("%${d}d ",$_)."$bar\n";' >> $PLOTTABLE_FILE

Sample Output

Below of a capture of a few lines of output from the text file that is generated by the Perl code. It does not look as clean as it would by looking at the text file. So I have a capture of that here…. cputemp-milli-celsius

42236 *********************************************************************
41160 *******************************************************************
41160 *******************************************************************
41160 *******************************************************************
40084 *****************************************************************
41160 *******************************************************************
42774 **********************************************************************
44388 ************************************************************************
45464 **************************************************************************
45464 **************************************************************************
46002 ***************************************************************************

Alternate Method to Read CPU Temperture for the Raspberry Pi

There is another way to read the CPU in a more human readable form. Executing the line below…

/opt/vc/bin/vcgencmd measure_temp

…will show a result like this…



Source of Perl Script


Additional utilities for a Linux Server


Sometimes it is nice to have an ftp server, you might have Samba and ownCloud, but sometimes you really need ftp to do something. It is the right tool at the right time and I can’t imagine running a server without FTP installed.

sudo apt-get install vsftpd
Edit the configuration file

Back it up first then do an edit

sudo cp /etc/vsftpd.conf /etc/vsftpd.orig
sudo nano /etc/vsftpd.conf

uncomment local_enable = YES

uncomment write_enable = YES

In this manner you will be able to read and write to your home directory. With SSH and FTP you can do just about anything remotely to your server. You can ( put ) FTP a file up to your home and move it anywhere and in the opposite direction also ( get ).

For example I downloaded the zip file for the OwnCloud Music App on a Windows computer, then FTP’d it the Linux server into my home directory and moved and unzipped it in the proper directory using SSH. Zip/unzip is not loaded by default with the Ubuntu Server disc, to get it see below.

This is powerful and with that power comes danger. You don’t want anyone to be able to SSH and FTP in, so be careful when opening these ports. I get “hits” on port 22 for SSH a lot, I don’t even open port 21 for FTP outside of my LAN. When I mean hits, I mean I can see IP addresses come in on my routers log that are from outside the US, by looking them up, or browsing to them. Sometimes using a ping command to the IP a return will come from another IP. These cyber-criminals try to get in on open ports.

vsftp website…


Zip/unzip is not loaded by default with the Ubuntu Server disc

Zipping and unzipping files from the CLI is an important thing to be able to do.To get it…

sudo apt-get install zip unzip

More info on how to use it….




Editing shell or config files on a Windows machine, presents you with the CR-LF and LF issue, for Win and UNIX respectively. Scripts won’t run, problems happen with config files when they are not in the right format. Frequently I encounter this when I coy and paste some code from the Web into eMacs or Notepad, then save it on the Linux server. Then I need to execute dos2unix on it to make it run right.

UNIX and DOS endlines

I had a brain dead moment where I forgot about the entire UNIX and DOS endline thing when I was working on getting the server to auto shutdown.
So when I grabbed the autosuspend script with copy and paste and I brought it into eMacs in Windows, saved it to my /files/public folder on the server and tried to execute it. Lots of $’\r’: command not found.

The solution is to use dos2unix to convert the endlines, if you don’t have it, just do…

sudo apt-get install dos2unix

Then do dos2unix filename and it will modify it in place. Which is good but beware of this default behavior. It does have other options, which can be explored using dos2unix –help.

It’s one and only job is to remove CR-LF (Carriage Return-Line Feed )and just leaving LF ( Line Feed ) as UNIX/Linux wants it to be. If a file acts screwy when brought in from Windows it is most likely this issue. I even had to do it on the autosuspend.conf file!

You can always check a file with the command

cat -e filename

BAD example…

 # Source the configuration file^M$
 . /etc/autosuspend.conf^M$

GOOD example….

 # Source the configuration file$
 . /etc/autosuspend.conf$

The caret M$ is DOS, $ is UNIX.

Emails using ssmtp

It is great that CRON and other applications send an email to the root on a Linux server, which can be read simply by using mailx from the CLI. But, what if you are not logging into the machine very often at all. Using ssmtp might work well for those situations. Even my Netgear N150 router has something similar as far as sending email. On the router, you input email account settings on it and will email you the log file and other information you would like at regular intervals. Ssmtp may be of interest to me with regards to the server at some point and I have noted it for reference.

It would be interesting and a great idea to have the server be able to send emails of certain things, issues it may be encountering.

This looks interesting, I might do this at some point….

How to send email alerts from Ubuntu Server using ssmtp