Frequently asked questions

Authors:Michael JasonSmith;
Contact:Michael JasonSmith <>
Copyright:This document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License by

If you have a question that is missing from the list below feel free to ask in the GroupServer Development group.

How do I...

... add another site administrator?

Multiple people can administer a site. A person must already have a profile to be an administrator. (The easiest way to create one is to create a support group and add the new site administrator to that.)

  1. Log into the ZMI.
  2. Visit the folder for your site in /groupserver/Content.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Click local roles at the top of the page.
  5. Enter the user-identifier (it is the last segment of the profile URL, between the / characters) into the User entry.
  6. Select DivisionAdmin from the Roles list.
  7. Click the Add button.


The site administrator can change any group, but only group administrators will receive notifications about each group. A site administrator can be made a group administrator using the Manage members page.

[From Support]

... change the host name?

GroupServer uses two slightly different host names: one for the web-site and one for the mail-host. To change the host name for the site both will have to be changed.

  • Change the host name for the web site.

    1. Log into the ZMI.
    2. Visit the DivisionConfiguration for your site (by default /groupserver/Content/initial_site/).
    3. Change the canonicalHost property to the new name.
    4. Click the Save changes button.
    5. Change the proxy forwarding (see Configuring a web proxy).
  • Change the various names for the mail-host.

    1. Change the configuration for postfix (see Configuring postfix).
    2. Log into the ZMI.
    3. Visit the DivisionConfiguration for your site (by default /groupserver/Content/initial_site/).
    4. Change the emailDomain to the new name, which may or may not be the same as the canonicalHost property. The emailDomain property of the DivisionConfiguration is used by the Start a group page to determine the email-address of a new group ({groupId}@{emailDomain}). (If absent the emailDomain of the GlobalConfugration object is used.)
    5. Click the Save changes button.
    6. Change the email address for each and every group.
      1. Log into the ZMI.
      2. Visit the ListManager for your site (by default /groupserver/ListManager).
      3. For each group
        1. Select the group
        2. Select the Property tab.
        3. Change the mailto property so it contains the correct address.
        4. Click the Save changes button.


... create a new site?

GroupServer can handle more than one site. Each site will have its own set of groups, while the profiles will be shared between the sites. Sadly, the process is very manual, and prone to problems.

  1. Copy the folder for the initial site.
    1. Visit the /groupserver/Content folder in the ZMI.
    2. Select the folder.
    3. Click the Copy button.
    4. Click the Paste button to paste it into the /groupserver/Content folder.
    5. Select the new folder.
    6. Click the Rename button.
    7. Give the folder a new unique name. The new name must be unique among the sites, and all the groups.
    8. Click the Ok button.
  2. Create a new user group for the site.
    1. Visit /groupserver/acl_users
    2. Select the User Groups tab.
    3. Click the Add... button.
    4. Set the Name of the new user group to {site-name}_member, where {site-name} is the name of your site.
    5. Click the Add button.
  3. Update the site configuration.
    1. Update the site title.
      1. Visit the folder for your new site.
      2. Select the Properties tab.
      3. Edit the title.
      4. Click the Ok button.
    2. Update the URL
      1. Visit the DivisionConfiguration in the folder for your new site.
      2. Set the following at a minimum.
        • Update canonicalHost to be the hostname of your site.
        • Ensure that canonicalPort is correct. If this site is going to be an HTTP site canonicalPort should be 80; for HTTPS it should be 443
        • Add a new property named emailDomain. This is the domain used after the @ in the email addresses for the groups on the site. It may be the same as canonicalHost or different.
      3. Click the Save Changes button.
  4. Delete the groups.
    1. Visit the groups folder in your new site.
    2. Select all the groups.
    3. Click the Delete button.
  5. Set the permissions.
    1. Visit the folder for your new site.
    2. Select the Security tab.
      • If there is no DivisionAdmin role listed enter DivisionAdmin into the User defined roles entry and click Add Role
      • If there is no DivisionMember role listed enter DivisionMember into the User defined roles entry and click Add Role
    3. Click local roles at the top of the page.
    4. Set yourself as a site administrator.
    5. Set the user-group.
      1. Select the name of the user-group for the site from the Group list.
      2. Select DivisionMember from the Roles list.
      3. Click the Add button.
  6. Add the proxy configuration for your new site.
  7. Add the Postfix configuration for your new site.

<> <>

... change the email address for a group?

The email address for a group is normally the group-identifier followed by the domain name for the site. However, it can be changed:

  1. Open the list object in the /groupserver/ListManager folder.
  2. Edit the mailto property to the new value.
  3. Click the Save changes button.


... change the footer?

To change the footer edit a file called footerlinks.xml in the ZMI.

  1. Log into the ZMI.

  2. Visit the file /groupserver/Templates/output/footerlinks.xml.

  3. Change the contents of the page template to the footer you desire. Something like the following:

    <ul class="inline-list pull-right">
  4. Click the Save Changes button.


... change the host name?

The host-name is normally set during installation. However, it can be changed afterwards.

  1. Visit the /groupserver/ folder in the ZMI.
  2. Open the GlobalConfiguration object.
  3. Edit the canonicalHost property to the new value.
  4. Click the Save changes button.
  5. Visit the /groupserver/ListManager folder.
  6. Change the email address for every group in the folder


... change the password for another person?

For security reasons, people can only change their own passwords. GroupServer deliberately prevents administrators from changing the passwords of other members.

If someone has forgotten their password then they should use the Password reset to set a new password. The page is linked from the Sign in page.


... change the Reply-to behaviour for a group?

GroupServer sets the email address in the Reply-to header when sending a message from a group. The address can be that of the group, the author, or both. The default Reply-to is set depending according to the type of group.

Group type Default Reply-to
Discussion Group
Announcement Author
Support Author

To change the default Reply-to

  1. Visit the Group page.
  2. Select Change the general properties in the This group section of the Admin area.
  3. Select the new setting from Email replies go to…
  4. Click the Change button.

[From Support]

... change the support email?

The email address for support is first set during the GroupServer installation. To change it

  1. Visit the /groupserver/ folder in the ZMI,
  2. Open the GlobalConfiguration object, and
  3. Edit the supportEmail property.
  4. Click the Save changes button.


... create a page?

Some pages in GroupServer (such as /about) are editable.

  1. Visit the folder that should contain the page in the ZMI.
  2. Add a new folder.
  3. Visit the new folder.
  4. Select the Interfaces tab.
  5. Select Products.GSContentManager.interfaces.IGSContentManagerFolderMarker in the Available Marker Interfaces list.
  6. Click the Add button.


... delete a post?

Once a post has been made then the group members will receive an email message containing that post, and there is no way to recall the message. However, a post can be hidden in the archive: click the Hide button next to the post. The post will be replaced with a message saying why it was deleted.

To actually delete a post:

  • Any associated files must be removed from the file table,
  • The first_post_id, last_post_id and num_posts must be updated in the topic table, and
  • The post itself must be removed from the post table.

After deleting a post anyone following a link to the post on the archive (from the earlier message) will see a 404 (Not found) error rather than the nicer 410 (Gone) error.


... disable email address obfuscation?

You cannot disable this feature. If a person posts from a domain controlled by DMARC (RFC 7489) then GroupServer rewrites the From header so others will receive the message. (If this was skipped then the message will fail the DMARC check and the group members would never see the message.) This conforms to the draft DMARC interoperability specification.


... disable HTML email

HTML formatted email messages from a group can be disabled for an entire site.

  1. Log into the ZMI.
  2. Visit the DivisionConfiguration for your site (by default /groupserver/Content/initial_site/).
  3. Add the htmlEmail property.
    1. Add htmlEmail to the Name entry.
    2. Select boolean as the Type.
    3. Leave the Value as blank (False).
    4. Click the Add button.

To enable HTML formatted email messages either delete the htmlEmail property, or set it to True.

[From Support]

... import posts from another system?

To import posts from another system first export the posts as an mbox file, then use the mbox2gs script to import the posts into GroupServer (documentation).


... make all the members of a group moderated?

Ideally you would change the moderation of a group to Moderate specified members, and all new members that join this group before the new members are added. However, if this was skipped, and a large number of people has been added, then it is possible to set the list of moderated members.

  1. Visit the /groupserver/ folder in the ZMI.
  2. Open the acl_users object.
  3. Select the User groups tab.
  4. Open the user-group.
  5. Copy the list of user-identifiers from the Users list into a text editor.
  6. Remove the identifiers for each the administrator and moderator.
  7. Visit the /groupserver/ListManager folder in the ZMI.
  8. Open the mailing list object for the group.
  9. Copy the list of members to be moderated from the text editor into the moderated_members list.
  10. Click the Save changes button.


... remove a user?

When a person leaves their last group on a site they are no longer a site member, but they will still have a user-object. These objects can be deleted, but it is discouraged.

  1. Visit the /groupserver/ folder in the ZMI,
  2. Open the acl_users object,
  3. Select the user-object to delete, and
  4. Click the Delete button.


... scan for viruses?

... secure GroupServer?

Ensuring the following should enhance your security, and the members of your site should notice very little change.

  • The GroupServer site should only be accessible via HTTPS (as in HTTP over TLS). See Secure connections: TLS, SSL, and HTTPS.
  • Postfix should be using SMTPS (as in SMTP over TLS).
  • Postfix should be grey-listing all incoming messages.
  • Postfix should be running DMARC checks for all incoming messages.
  • Postfix should add DKIM signing to messages from the groups.
  • Scan for viruses.
  • Keep the operating system up to date.
  • Keep GroupServer up to date.


... set multiple people to receive the support email?

The easiest way for multiple people to receive messages to the Support email address is to create a new Support group.

  1. Start a secret group.
  2. Change the group type to Support.
  3. Add the people who need to receive the messages to support to the group.
  4. Change the support email address to the email address of the new group.


... turn off a feature?

Normally the easiest way to turn off a feature is to hide it in the CSS.

  1. Get used to changing the skin.
  2. Make your own skin, based off the Blue or Green skin (see Development guide).
  3. Hide the interface element in question by setting it to display: none.

For example:

Why do I see...

... an error setting up the database?

Towards the end of the GroupServer installation process the system will try and create some tables. If the permissions for PostgreSQL are set to IDENT based authentication you will see the following error:

psql: FATAL: Ident authentication failed for user “gsadmin”

Change the PostgreSQL authentication to md5.

  1. Open the file pg_hba.conf. (It is normally found within /etc/postgresql, but the specific location depends on your version of PostgreSQL and distribution.)

  2. Change ident to md5 in the lines that read:

    host  all  all  ident
    host  all  all  ::1/128       ident

    They should end up like the following:

    host  all  all  md5
    host  all  all  ::1/128       md5
  3. Restart PostgreSQL.


... an error with distribute?

Sometimes there is an issue with installing the distribute package:

Error: There is a version conflict
We already have : distribute 0.6.24

The solution is

  1. Go to your GroupServer folder,

  2. Get pip to install the correct version of distribute:

    $ ./bin/pip install "distribute == 0.6.49"
  3. Carry on installing GroupServer:

    $ ./


... “couldn’t install: lxml”?

To compile lxml the system needs at least 1024M of RAM.


... email messages with the wrong CSS?

The web-hook that adds a message may use different URL to the one used for normal web traffic (see Change the skin). If this is the case GroupServer may have to be explicitly told the skin to use.

  1. Visit the /groupserver/ folder in the ZMI,
  2. Open the GlobalConfiguration object,
  3. Set the emailSkin property to the same value that is used in the proxy configuration.


... “Error with the configuration file” when sending the digest?

Specify the full path to the gsconfig.ini on the command line to senddigest. (See also Daily digest of topics.)


... no email when I make a post?

If you are testing, ensure that your group members are on One email per post.


... Request Entity Too Large?

Email messages are added to GroupServer, by postifx, using a web-hook. Because of this the proxy can block a message if it is too large. Adjust the client_max_body_size parameter in nginx or similar variable in your proxy of choice.


... so many errors when installing?

GroupServer can only run as a normal user, never as the root superuser. Change the ownership of the GroupServer directory and all of its contents to a normal user.