Can I download Mailman’s raw archive (“.mbox”) file?

When you enable Mailman archives, Mailman stores all messages in a file called “listname.mbox” (where “listname” is the actual name of your list).

Although customers don’t have access to the live, up-to-the-minute copy of that file on our Mailman servers, our backup system makes daily backups of the file that you can download.

The easiest way to download a copy of that file is to use the File Manager within our My Account control panel. To do so, you will need to select "Browse Backups Directory" and open the directory for the most recent backup. You can then find the archive file under mailman > listname.mbox > listname.mbox.

Alternatively, if you would prefer to use an FTP program to download the file, you can follow the instructions on our backup page to create an FTP account that has access to the backups. After connecting with that account, you’ll find the file in this location: backups-tigertech > current > mailman > listname.mbox > listname.mbox.

What format is the mbox file in?

An mbox file is a standard format containing a text copy of one or more email messages. It’s not specific to Mailman, or to our systems. Most email import and export programs can work with mbox files and convert them to other formats.

If you’re interested, the file format is described on the Wikipedia mbox page and in Internet RFC 4155.

How do I open the mbox file?

Many mail programs allow you to open or import an mbox archive. Once you've done so, you should be able to see all of the messages within it, along with their attachments.

We usually recommend Mozilla Thunderbird, along with the ImportExportTools plugin.

Why doesn’t my list have an mbox file?

Mailman only creates an mbox file if you have list archives enabled using your Mailman settings administration page. If you don’t have that turned on, we don’t have any copy of old list messages, unfortunately.