Vmail Customer Documentation

Last updated: April 16, 2024
Audience: All UW


Virtual Email (VMail) Domain is a simple service to enable receiving mail on a domain. It does one thing only: forward email sent to virtual email addresses in your domain to other email addresses.

VMail consists of two parts: MX DNS records pointing to UW servers and a list of email forwarding rules. Each rule specifies what email address in your domain can receive mail, and to what email address that mail should be forwarded. The source address must be in your domain; the destination address can be any valid email address (including non-UW addresses). Here are examples of forwarding rules:

mynetid@mysubdomain.uw.edu mypersonaladdress@gmail.com
campaign@mysubdomain.uw.edu campaign-mydepartment@uw.edu

The benefit of VMail is that it enables receiving mail for your domain without having to set up an entire mail server! It is an excellent complement to email campaigns, in-house ticketing systems and other 3rd party mail services that handle the sending of email.

More information, including Service Level Agreements and forms, can be found in the Virtual Email Domain Service Catalog Entry.


Before you consider VMail, make sure you have the following in place:

  1. A domain you own, for which you or UW-IT controls the DNS records. If you don’t have a domain, you can request a UW Campus Subdomain.
  2. A UW Groups group you control to grant access to view and modify VMail forwarding rules. Learn more at UW Groups homepage.
  3. A basic understanding of how email works, and understanding of SPF, DKIM and DMARC if they are required.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I view or change my email forwarding rules?

  1. Use an SSH client to login to vmail.s.uw.edu
  2. Edit the file /etc/postfix/virtual.<domain> to add or remove forwarding rules.
  3. Save the file and wait roughly 10 minutes for the changes to move through the system.

Can I forward all mail sent to my domain to a single email address?

Unfortunately, no. To do so greatly increases the burden of handling spam, email spoofing and backscatter. You must list out each individual email address that you plan to receive mail in your email forwarding rules. More than one user can forward to the same email address.

Can you help me set up SPF, DKIM and DMARC?

No. VMail is only responsible for supporting the email forwarding rules. Please consult with your 3rd party email service provider.

How can I purchase VMail for my domain? What is the cost?

Please visit the Virtual Email Domain Service Catalog Entry.

How can I get help with my VMail domain?

Please email help@uw.edu and include the words “Virtual Email Domain” as well as the full domain name for your VMail instance, e.g. “mysubdomain.uw.edu”. A ticket will be created to handle your question.