Setting up a mail server – requirements

Over the last month or so I have been playing with a VPS that is hosted at TransIP.nl. This is fun. So I installed Ubuntu Server 11.10, and have already upgraded to 12.04 LTS. I have access via ssh with key pairs, and even managed to move the WordPress stuff from mbvelden.net (the old) to muckingabout.eu (the new). Later on I will setup virtual domains with Apache and see how that works.

Now I have decided that I need a real challenge: I am going to setup a mail server. My goal is to have this mail server running within a month so I can stop my hosting program and run entirely from the VPS. Am I not a very ambittious guy?


Of course, I am going to rely heavily on what others have done before me. My main sources are listed at the end. They are there to check if I write something silly here.

My requirements for the mail server are the following:

  • Serve mail for muckingabout.eu, mbvelden.net and muckingabout.eu. This is severely over the top. Why do I want this? Because I can.
  • Provide IMAP, POP3 and webmail access.
  • Only allow authenticated and secure connections through SASL and TLS
  • Serve mail for users without Linux login credentials. This means that I don’t want to create a Linux account for everyone who gets an e-mail account.
  • Filter spam as much as possible and make sure that my server will not be used to relay spam.
  • Detect viruses in incoming and outgoing e-mail

How am I going to satisfy these requirements? Here are some first choices to get started:

  • Postfix as smtp server
  • Use virtual mailboxes for separate domains and non-Linux accounts
  • Use MySQL as authentication backend. This means that all domain, account and access data is stored in a MySQL database.
  • Dovecot as IMAP and POP3
  • Use an SSL certificate

The following picture is very helpful for me and taken from Media Temple.

Sources:

Install Postfix with Dovecot on CentOS on Media Temple. Things work differently on Ubuntu, but this is very close to what I want.

How to set up a mail server on a GNU / Linux system by Ivar Abrahamsen. This does apply to Ubuntu Server, but Ivar uses Courier instead of Dovecot. Still, this is a very thorough document.

 

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