MailServer!

13 08 2008

Well, I was commissioned by my dad to install a mailserver, and I can say I have successfully done so in a day. It wasn’t easy, I got many errors, and sometimes had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but thanks to the forums I was able to get it working perfectly.

The first thing I had to do was find out what all was necessary for the mailserver. I found this great source from the Ubuntu documentation site which laid everything out nicely. I decided to use Postfix for my Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) since it is the default for Ubuntu. Nothing was terribly difficult about installing it, I just followed the default list of settings they give in the guide. One problem I did run into however, was with Comcast not allowing its customers to directly send out e-mail. They had set their service up so that their block of IP’s could not send e-mails out from their own outbound servers. They listed these IP’s on Spamhause.org. This means that if I sent an e-mail to certain addresses, depending on how strictly they followed the lists from Spamhause, the e-mails could possibly not be delivered. This ended up being a real easy fix. In /etc/postfix/main.cf, I just had to change the “relayhost = ” value to whatever Comcast’s outgoing mailserver address was. In this case, smtp.comcast.net.

Since I had no idea what I was doing to start, I felt the Mail filtering option was something I could add later when I had the server working perfectly. So I skipped over that section and to the Mail Delivery Agent (MDA). For that, I chose Dovecot, since they say it was written primarily with security in mind. From the choices of Protocols, POP3, POP3S, IMAP, and IMAPS, I chose IMAP and IMAPS. There was really no specific reason for this, I read on wikipedia that they were all pretty much the same, IMAPS and POP3S just being more secure. For the choice of mailboxes, I went with Maildir instead of the default mbox. This was because they explained Maildir as saving each individual e-mail to its own file. This reduces the chance of accidentally losing an e-mail, because the files are never modified. With mbox however, each file may contain several e-mails, and so that means the files are modified to write new e-mails to them.

I must say that I did not know anything about either OpenWebmail or SquirrelMail. I just chose one quickly. I am not too impressed with SquirrelMail which I am currently using. It’s kind of ugly and that makes it hard to look at. I just read over OpenWebMail and am considering using that just because you simply download and it’s ready, and looking at the screenshots, it looks a lot nicer.

These are all of the problems I ran into installing this server. Everything works perfectly for me now. I know the forums helped me a lot, and without people replying to my threads there, I’d probably still be stuck. The guide which I linked to at the very beginning of this post was a really big help too. Every step is spot on, and really that’s the only reason I even knew which direction I needed to go.

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One response

13 08 2008
Mark

Hello Willem – I thought that I would drop a note on your new server! I saw your post in ubuntuforums.org. I am in the middle of configuring Citadel BBS for my server setup. It is my first server as well, about 6 months now. Glad to see you up and running.
~Mark

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