Server-Side Sent Messages

To store a copy of your sent messages on an IMAP server, you can set up your messaging client(s) to either:
  1. Fcc (folder courtesy copy) [*] each outgoing message to an IMAP-accessible mailbox; or
  2. Bcc (blind courtesy copy) each outgoing message to an email address that gets routed to an IMAP-accessible mailbox.
After years of experiments, I have decided that #2, the auto-Bcc option, is what I prefer. Here's why:
  • It's faster because with this option sending a message requires only an SMTP connection. With option #1, sending a message requires both an SMTP and an IMAP connection.
  • I can use Bcc in all my messaging clients, including my NNTP clients, my handheld/mobile messaging clients, and random web-based messaging clients.
  • I can set up server-side filters that will automatically add the recipient addresses of these Bcc'd messages to my server-side address book and server-side greenlist.
  • It is a way for me to monitor the spamminess of my outgoing messages. Note: To ensure that your Bcc'd messages go through the normal spam filters, do not greenlist any message that is from one of your email addresses.
  • I don't have to worry about IMAP clients and IMAP servers that have a problem with Fcc. For examples of Fcc problems, see TBird hangs sending mail to IMAP sent-mail in the MozillaZine forum and spin when copying message to "Sent" folder in
If you use Bcc to get a copy of your outgoing messages onto an IMAP server, you can set up a server-side filter to deliver these messages to a specific mailbox, for example to your Sent mailbox, to your default INBOX, or to any mailbox you like. Because the Bcc address is a blind courtesy copy, you need to filter based on an original-envelope-recipient-address header, for example:
X-Envelope-To: secret-bcc@your.domain
If your IMAP service provider does not inject headers that state the original envelope addresses, switch to one of the IMAP service providers that records the original envelope addresses!

[*] Pine uses the term Fcc, but most other IMAP clients simply use the term Copy.
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