Setting the message time-out value

When the Router is unable to transfer a message on the first attempt, it continues to attempt delivery at intervals, as specified in the Initial transfer retry interval field of the Configuration Settings document. If a message cannot be delivered (or forwarded to the next server on the path to the user's mail server) within a specified time-out period, the Router returns a delivery failure report to the sender. By default, the message time-out value is 24 hours.

About this task

In the event that mail files on certain servers become unreachable for an extended period, consider increasing the default time-out value on other servers. A higher time-out value decreases the likelihood of important mail being returned because of transfer and delivery failures.

On the Internet, the time-out value for message transfer is typically five days - that is, if the next hop server is unreachable, the connecting server continues to retry transfer for five days before giving up and generating a delivery failure report.

Increasing the time-out value to n days may result in senders receiving a delivery failure report for undeliverable mail n days after the message was sent.

Because each successive retry consumes server resources, a high volume of undeliverable mail can place a significant extra load on the server. If you notice an increase in the amount of pending mail in MAIL.BOX, examine messages to determine the validity of their origins and destinations. If a large portion of pending messages are addressed to nonexistent users or originate from known or possible spam mailers, consider decreasing the time-out interval. Setting a smaller time-out value reduces the time before the server marks a message as undeliverable, thereby decreasing the number of retries.


  1. From the Domino® Administrator, open the Domino® Directory and click the Configuration tab.
  2. To edit an existing Configuration Settings document, highlight and click Edit Configuration. To create a new Configuration settings document, highlight the server for which the Configuration Settings document will apply, then click Add Configuration.
  3. Click the NOTES.INI Settings tab.
  4. Click Set/Modify Parameters.
  5. In the Item field, enter MailTimeout.
  6. In the Value field, enter the number of days after which Domino® returns undeliverable mail to the sender, click Add, and then click OK.
    Note: To specify a time-out period shorter than one day, specify the variable MailTimeoutMinutes in the Item field in Step 5, and specify a time-out period, in minutes, in Step 6.
  7. Click Save & Close.