Suggestion: regarding system updates email notifications


First: the context. Second: the suggestion.

** The context for my suggestion first:

It's been like that ever since I have virtualmin on my dedi, when there's an update, every hour, I receive an email from webmin @ [my reverse], to tell "Package updates on [my reverse]", with inside the body, for instance here,

An update to webmin from 1.921 to 1.930 is available.

An update to usermin from 1.771 to 1.780 is available.

Updates can be installed at https://[my reverse]10000/security-updates/

Guilty as charged, here, I waited to install the updates because I was busy with stuff.
But, still, an email every hour is absolutely too much. I trust that can certainly be configured somewhere...

But: where? I have given the same email as admin to multiple virtual servers, this might also be my root email, and as things are, I simply have NO clue where, in webmin and virtualmin, there is the wrong setting for email notifications.
I've been searching for 35 minutes now, I've opened every user in virtualmin's virtual servers' users under each domain, and still don't find where that email of mine is given so that update notification emails are sent to it every hour. I will find, eventually, but I shudder at the thought others must undergo the same chore.

** My suggestion now.

I strongly encourage the addition of content to the body of those emails.

There should be an hyperlink pointing to a page where those precise emails for updates can have their settings altered.
I'm not saying it should point to the webmin/virtualmin configuration page, no. I'm saying: it should point to a page that doesn't require logging in, to change email settings.

You know, just like those newsletters we receive here and there, or the commercial emails when they're from legit companies respecting the law, at the bottom of those emails, there are an "unsubscribe" and/or a "change settings" link of sorts. When you click it, it leads to a page in which yo do NOT have to login with a username password, but you can immediately alter the frequency of incoming emails for this precise communication channel.


This is what I suggest, summarized:
- (1) a link at the bottom of system update email notifications,
- (2) leading to a page in which we can configure the frequency of emails (as this is about security, maybe do not offer the possibility to never receive them again, say, the minimum frequency would be once a week),
- (3) and that page would NOT require to be logged in to webmin/virtualmin, the hyperlink would be configured so that it leads to a page built just for that purpose, in which the only thing that can be configured is the email frequency.

I fear that's a bit of work, but I believe this would be a very user friendly principle, so if this is done some day, this will be great :)



Howdy -- thanks for your suggestion!

Regarding the schedule you're receiving those updates on, you can tweak that by going into the dashboard, and next to where it says "Package updates", click the "Package updates available" link. On that screen, there's a "Scheduled Updates" tab, where you can specify the schedule that you receive those updates.

It's not possible to change the message body, but Jamie will be able to comment on that.

I was afraid that would be an undoable suggestion.

Still, I'm trying one last time to insist on the good behind the idea, I suspect virtualmin/webmin may have multiple "sources" for the settings that result in having someone receive an email about updates.

For "sources", I mean "options pages" and/or "modules."

I tried what you mentioned Andrew (screenshot: , in which it has been saved as weekly, for some reason it doesn't show the email address once the page is saved and reloaded), but that didn't stop at all the hourly updates flood (screenshot: ).

As the software updates pages indeed has the weekly option now, it must come from somewhere. And at this point, this is precisely the moment an email body addition linking to page in which we can adjust email frequency for each exact communication purpose, that would come in handy: no need to actually know what panel page it's coming from, would you see the idea?

(With that, sure, I could just install the updates and let go. But I thought I would seize the chance to make a suggestion I had in mind for a while, etc.)

Assigned: Unassigned ยป

Thanks for the suggestion!

I'm passing this along to Jamie for further comment.

Adding a link to where there notifications come from is a good idea - I'll do that.

If you can't figure out how to turn them off, also check at System -> Virtualmin Package Updates.


The thing that needs fixing is the email notification's schedule. The check is set to 1 day, but the notifications are being sent every hour. Sometimes I need to be off the grid for 1-2 days. Having multiple servers, just imagine the amount of emails only for this.

You can configure how often the update email is sent at System -> Software Package Updates, down the bottom of the page.

Thank you Jamie for taking your time to reply.

I have double checked on two machines and none of them have any setting for email notification frequency.

In case it matters, one system runs Ubuntu Server 14.04 and the other one 18.04 running Webmin 1.940

The URL checked was: https://fqdn:10000/package-updates/

If the setting referred to is "Check for updates on schedule?", it is set to daily.

Thank you.

Ilia's picture
Submitted by Ilia on Fri, 01/03/2020 - 04:24

Module configuration, has an option Hours to cache updated and available packages for, if you set it to very low value or disable it, is it possible that it would be the cause of your issue?

If we understood correctly, you are getting more than one email per day, even though the option Check for updates on schedule set to Daily, correct?

Yes. The check is set to 1 day, but the notifications are being sent every hour. The option "Hours to cache updated and available packages for" is at default value of 6 hours.

Do you perhaps also have the "Virtualmin Package Updates" module installed with notifications setup there as well?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaah, so there WERE two packages managing the updates, concurrently?!?

System > Software Package Updates
System > Virtualmin Package Updates
(edited: at first I wrote Services > ) Dang, I had managed to fully miss it.

Thank you for your final question here Jamie, that solved the problem for me, as I was still getting my hourly emails despite configuring it differently in the Virtualmin part of the admin, when clicking the unmissable updates prompt and following it to where it was taking me.

Here's for the constructive criticism: back to the square one of my Issue report, if there are multiple modules that can affect the triggering of the sending of an email to tell us of updates, that email message ought to contain either (a) a clearly visible explanation to where that precise email sending has been configured, or (b) a link to a particular page not requiring username:password logging in which emailings frequencies can be configured or toggled off (at least not entirely, but allowing a much greater duration between emails).
Ooooooor - have the system do something about competing modules doing the same thing, if - not sure - that is doable, of course.

"Virtualmin Package Updates" was the culprit indeed. Thank you

That "Virtualmin Package Updates" is an old one which isn't part of new Virtualmin installs - it's actually best to just remove it by running dpkg --remove webmin-security-updates