Automatically clearing old emails using CPanel

Depending on the setup of your system, old emails can be a bane. If you forward a copy of all emails to a single account for retrieval by the MS Exchange POP3 connector, you'll experience issues when the other mailboxes become full (a lot of servers won't accept a wildcard redirect for email addresses!).

It's actually fairly simple to solve so let's take a look at a sample setup;


Mailboxes on

  • Ben
  • Postmaster
  • Brian
  • Bill


Mailboxes on Exchange

  • Ben
  • Brian
  • Bill


I've forwarding rules setup so that all mail is forwarded from Ben, Brian and Bill to the Postmaster mailbox. The POP3 connector then downloads from the Postmaster account (and deletes the retrieved mail) so that it can be distributed to the correct mailboxes on the Exchange Server.

The problem comes when mailboxes Ben, Bill and Brian on fill up and reach their respective quotas. At that point, mail will start bouncing back to the sender with "Mailbox full" messages. Not good!

Thankfully, it's actually reasonably simple to resolve.

  1. Log into Cpanel account for
  2. Choose Cron Jobs
  3. Create a new cron job (I selected to run weekly)
  4. As the command enter

find /home/example/mail///cur -name "*" -mtime +days -exec rm {} \;

But replace example with your Cpanel username, and days with the oldest email you want to keep (I want 21 days so simply enter 21).

Save the Cron job and leave it to it, as you're now done!


Note: You will receive error messages when a mailbox is already empty, the system will report that it's unable to delete an item because it is a directory. I find this a useful reminder that the job is executing, but if you find it annoying simply add "-type f" to the command so that it becomes;

find /home/example/mail///cur -type f -name "*" -mtime +days -exec rm {} \;

Couldn't really be much simpler once you know how to do it!