Setting up a mailserver for the first time... Advice?


  • SockDev

    Setting up a linux based mail server for the first time ever.

    any linuxistas have any advice?

    I'm thinking of a postfix/dovecot server with squirrelmail for webmail.



  • I did a postfix once. It's pain in the ass.

    If you need this mail to be reliable, better pay someone to host it.


  • SockDev

    @cartman82 said:

    better pay someone to host it.

    got any suggestions then? i'l already paying $75 a year for this server before i add the SSL certificates and DNS. it's not like the server is going to be heavily taxed either.... it's just the smallest server i can get.


  • SockDev

    In my experience, hosting normally comes with e-mail…

    Unless you're talking about something else?



  • I set up Postfix on my EC2 instance, don't remember it being too painful. I'm sure installing it with apt-get walks you through at least some of the setup.


  • SockDev

    @RaceProUK said:

    In my experience, hosting normally comes with e-mail…

    not VPS hosting. there's a decent guide for setting it up though.

    also it's highly annoying when you submit after i press enter twice and then press controll to paste something from the clipboard but because you havent processed the second enter yet you submit the post. HOW DO YOU EVEN BREAK THAT?!



  • @accalia said:

    got any suggestions then? i'l already paying $75 a year for this server before i add the SSL certificates and DNS. it's not like the server is going to be heavily taxed either.... it's just the smallest server i can get.

    I paid namecheap to host 2 mailboxes for two years, for $23.72 USD. So $6 / year per mailbox?

    But if you're already paying for a dedicated server that someone maintains and guarantees certain level of uptime, then go for it. In my case, it was that or to host it myself on my home server, using my cheapo tier cable internet.


  • SockDev

    it's digital ocean. good uptime guarantee. i'd be the one maintaining it, and i'd be paying the (much cheaper) price for a backup MX thingie for when i reboot the server (or fuck up the configuration)



  • I did postfix, nothing to it to install, even with virtual users. The real pain in the ass is cobbling together all pesky things so others don't think you're a fucking spammer, and god forbid you forget one.

    I don't thing RBLs and Spamhaus are still a thing, but back in 2007 it was a PITA to get whitelisted back once you hit them.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @accalia said:

    Setting up a linux based mail server for the first time ever.

    Don't do it.

    @accalia said:

    any linuxistas have any advice?

    Don't do it.

    @accalia said:

    I'm thinking of a postfix/dovecot server with squirrelmail for webmail.

    I'm thinking...

    @cartman82 said:

    If you need this mail to be reliable, better pay someone to host it.

    Email is cheap. Even Google Apps or Office365 are merely $5/month. GoDaddy throws in vanilla POP mail for free with hosting. Lots and lots of other hosting providers do the same.

    Trying to keep on top of all of the blacklisting, whitelisting, bounces and other stuff is just not worth it unless you are doing it on a large scale. Unless you just like dealing with all of that bullshit, or you are doing it as a learning experience, pay someone else to do it.



  • I run a few mail servers with postfix, courier, and postgresql for a user db.

    The basic default install of postfix works ok without too many modifications. However, if you plan on using the server to reliably deliver mail over time, you will need to setup SPF, DKIM, and DMARC. These will ensure that your domain reputation is not damaged by mail spoofing and impersonation.

    Running your own mail server is lots of fun and can be rewarding intellectually. However, if you don't plan on updating and maintaining the server - you will be better served by not running your own server.

    Without posting config files, the best advice I can give is: Make sure postfix can connect to the SASL socket. That has tripped me up several times -- lots of lost time -- and then hand-hits-forehead.


  • Discourse touched me in a no-no place

    @accalia said:

    any linuxistas have any advice?

    Did you read the series about that on Ars last year?


  • I survived the hour long Uno hand

    I did, um, what's it called.... exim4. It took an afternoon with some help from a linux-inclined friend but it was pretty well documented on the web.



  • @Polygeekery said:

    @accalia said:
    Setting up a linux based mail server for the first time ever.

    Don't do it.

    @accalia said:

    any linuxistas have any advice?

    Don't do it.

    This. Pretty much. Unless you actually enjoy learning about such things of course.

    But if it's going to be a chore, don't.


    And I CBA to fix that second quoted quote having spent 30 seconds on trying.



  • I'm not sure you can fix the second nested quote on @Dischorse while still using the [quote] tags.


  • mod

    @PJH said:

    And I CBA to fix that second quoted quote having spent 30 seconds on trying.

    From what I can tell, nested quotes only work if they are at the beginning of the quote they are nested inside. At least if you are using the BBCode solution. You could always resort to HTML solutions.



  • I gave the following configuration a try on EC2
    dovecot + postfix + postgresql

    I can tell you my conclusion in single word:

    #DONTDOIT

    as soon as I finished configuring the server(which took a pretty while) and setup the email on my android google blocked my server ip, I guess because I don't have proper reverse dns, and all the other fancy security stuff they expect you to have.

    yahoo does not send or receive they are more strict about reverse DNS record

    I didn't think they will block me so soon with minimal activity, I didn't even got the chance to do the final touches.


  • SockDev

    good news. i decided to belgium it and just pay for someone else to host my mail.


  • mod

    @accalia said:

    good news. i decided to ■■■■■■■ it and just pay for someone else to host my mail.

    Good choice.


  • Grade A Premium Asshole

    @accalia said:

    i decided to ■■■■■■■ it and just pay for someone else to host my mail.

    A wise choice.

    I am a DIY sort of person, and notoriously frugal. When I say it is not worth the trouble, you can usually believe me.



  • https://mail.google.com/

    freeeeeeeeeeeeee

    freeeeeeeeeeeeee

    https://outlook.com/

    freeeeeeeeeeeeee

    freeeeeeeeeeeeee


  • SockDev

    @ben_lubar said:

    https://mandrillapp.com/

    You mean the one Discourse uses that doesn't send e-mails? :stuck_out_tongue:



  • @RaceProUK said:

    You mean the one Discourse uses that doesn't send e-mails?

    Which is more likely,
    It does not send emails because mandrill or because discourse.

    They do have 99.91% SMTP uptime which is what, less then an hour of temporal downtime a month.


  • SockDev

    @Monarch said:

    It does not send emails because mandrill or because discourse.

    Facts are a barrier to bad jokes :stuck_out_tongue:



  • I'm pretty sure no matter what Discourse tried to use would end up pretty badly.


  • SockDev

    @ben_lubar said:

    https://mail.google.com/

    I use it. but it's only free for @gmail.com addresses. not so much if you want @servercooties.com

    @ben_lubar said:

    https://mail.yahoo.com/

    DO NOT WANT!

    @ben_lubar said:

    https://outlook.com/

    I also have this, but only because i needed that to get the windows account for Windows 8 developer credentially things

    @ben_lubar said:

    https://mandrillapp.com/

    outbount emails that one. i need an pop/imap too.



  • I set up Postfix and Dovecot on my EC2 instance and it wasn't that bad. Worked fine once I had the DNS and RDNS set up.
    I only got as far as a single user though.



  • Depending on what you're doing, you could start with 1 year free aws hosting for micro tier. It would then only cost a few dollars for a domain which you can forward replies to a free Hotmail or Gmail account, and you can send up to 400 emails a day for free using sendgrid, or up to 40k month for like 10 dollars.



  • My recommendation: http://www.zoho.com/

    Disclaimer: not affiliated with these guys, but I'm using their free hosting for my email, after I got sick of running my own mailserver, because running a mailserver is a colossal pain in the ass.

    Their free service is more reliable than my mailserver ever was, and their spam filtering is better than mine as well...



  • @accalia said:

    i decided to ■■■■■■■ it and just pay for someone else to host my mail.

    Have a look at what fastmail.com can offer you. They're good at what they do, and their webmail client is really nice.


  • SockDev

    @flabdablet said:

    Have a look at what fastmail.com can offer you.

    i went with No-ip. they already host my mail for several other domains and while their webapp isn't terribly good it gets the job done. plus i get a discount for bundling that and DNS.


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