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Question: private email server
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Question: private email server

RoboCotRoboCot Member
edited October 2012 in Help

I want to install a private mail server and i'm asking for some suggestion.

I want to be independent from data miners like google so i'm going the hard way.

I have 3 users with a maximum of 300 email/day. 5gb of hd space will be ok.

SMTP and IMAP with SSL and maildir (i think it's the better way to file a message. I'm looking for a simple solution for backup or future email transfer to another server).

Will 128mb be enough?

Are there some info i need to know before i try this adventure?

Please note i already have a private server BUT it was setup from a sysadmin i no longer work with. It's a dovecot-postfix setup wich ran for over a year without a single problem. No spammers, no hackers.
I think i'll replicate this setup and rsync the maildir.
Is this a good plan?

Thank you all and please be kind, i'm a newbie.
A sensible one.


  • CiriumCirium Member
    edited October 2012

    Hello @RoboCot,

    Yes it is possible and you can definately run a mail server on a 128MB.
    I myself am running apache, php, mysql, postfix & dovecot mail server only using about 80MB of ram on a 128MB OVZ VPS.

    I can tell you right now that trying to setup dovecot and postfix can be a pain. Simply with all the configuration that has to be done to the two of them.
    However it can be done. I wish you luck. :)

  • Luckily i already have a system correctly configured, so it's a simpler start :)


  • @rajprakash said:

    Thank you! It's a very nice doc!

  • Why not just use Google apps? so much easier....

  • @zhuanyi said: Why not just use Google apps? so much easier....

    I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own! cit. The Prisoner

    Thanked by 1zhuanyi
  • you can setup a email server with postfix, that's not hard, there are plenty of documents on

  • Postfix+dovecot + roundcube would be a nice route to go...

  • @Raymii

    Yes indeed. It is an excellent way to go.

  • RoboCotRoboCot Member
    edited October 2012

    @raymii i don't need webmail. IMAP is good enough for me.

    But I can use fetchmail to import gmail messages.

  • @RoboCot then you might want to do above. You can let dovecot authenticate against PAM, and have postfix authenticate against dovecot (no open relay, SASL). I also prefer maildir above mbox because of the huge mbox size after a few years of mail...

  • @Raymii said: Postfix+dovecot + roundcube would be a nice route to go...


  • @RoboCot what is your budget?

  • 5 Euro/months. More than that it's a waste of money.

  • ElliotJElliotJ Member
    edited October 2012

    Just below your budget, Rackspace Email Hosting ($2/user)
    Stable company, and order via their UK wing if you want to be covered under the Data Protection Act.

    Just thought I should add an explanation on why I'm suggesting a managed solution, rather than suggesting a 'optimal' email stack.
    Out of all the things I'd hate to go down, email is probably at the top of my list. The only reason I stick with Google Apps for my email, is so I can't balls up the server and cause everything to fail - I'd rather someone else deal with it.

  • If privacy is a concern, thus the Data Protection Act, you shouldn't deal with a company that either is US based or has subsidiaries in the United States. Local US law in that case would snake it's legal way into such via the US based entity. Plus US society and legal industry has nearly total disregard for privacy.

    That logic and approach is common in banking and offshore money structuring. You've seen big old Swiss banks brought to task for disclosing account holder info in recent years to US authorities and this was how some of that happened.

    With any privacy concern know the laws of your country and the host country (if applicable).

    Certainly would love to see a sticky for low cost email providers. Gmail and it's "free" competitors aren't feeling like a nice friend these days.

    Thanked by 1RoboCot
  • sandboxsandbox Member
    edited October 2012

    @ElliotJ said: Just below your budget, Rackspace Email Hosting ($2/user)

    Last time I check, you have to order minimum 5 users. So it's $10/mo

  • OliverOliver Member, Host Rep

    With 128MB RAM you can probably fit in amavisd and spamassassin as well, though these days a good set of postfix header and content checks as well as a bunch of other tweaks stops most rubbish coming through.

    Thanked by 1RoboCot
  • @Oliver care to share your postfix anti-spam tweakage? Setting this up at the moment...

  • OliverOliver Member, Host Rep

    I just put the relevant parts online here:

    I am using this on a custom setup I put together years ago that uses MySQL for user/vhosts and it has been running fine for 500+ user accounts and probably double that in forwarders/aliases. It is quite aggressive but I can still count the number of complaints I've had on one hand, and thanks to the error checking codes (the numbers in the body checks) it's easy to see what causes the problem usually. There were a few body checks that caused problems early on but were removed. I think I added a few domains/networks as well that were sending too much rubbish to my server.

    These rules have been copied/edited/customised from sources I found all over the net over time.

    Thanked by 2craigb RoboCot
  • @oliver thanks - look very useful! Will probably mark as spam rather than discard to be on the safe side while I get started with 'em

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