Mail Server

Synopsis: This is a simple one – I wanted to build my own mail server. I do not like using a generic email address, and I have administered a mail server for a long time, but have never had my own one. So, I set up the domain

Setting up Ubuntu

I consider myself a little bit of a linux aficionado, having had various distros installed as my primary OS since 2017. I have built, managed and setup several servers with various different distros. For my mail server, I wanted to use Headless Ubuntu 20.04 lts, so that it will run for a long time. In addition to this, the platform I use to host my websites, vultr, makes it VERY easy to setup an ubuntu 20.04 server.

Vultr is an excellent hosting platform, and has proven to be very cheap, reliable and useful in my various different projects I have undertaken. To sign up to vultr or to check them out – see here.

So, I setup an ubuntu server – importantly with 4GB of ram, and got started. First – I wanted easy remote access, so using the vultr interface i added my ssh keys for my regular computers, so I can connect as root when I need to. Now – strictly – this is poor security practice. You should never connect as root as your primary method of interacting with your server – but, it is just me, and I intend to add another account later, when everything is setup. So I can justify it to myself for the short term.

Then bam. Server is built. I can ssh in. First things first, update and upgrade.

$sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get upgrade

Thats really it for setting up ubuntu with Vultr. Easy, quick and I can setup my server in Australia, which of course I want to do – hopefully it means I am giving my money to someone local rather than overseas.

Choosing a Mail Platform

Now I have a server, it is time to choose a platform. I am too poor to buy on-premise exchange, and I also only have like one mail account, so an enterprise level solution is not necessary. We also just setup a linux server, so exchange seems kinda silly. I avoided google mail – again, because I am poor and I wanted to host my own server. So – a google search of best FOSS (free and open source) mail servers returns the following candidates.

MailServerPros Cons
iRedMail– Forced TLS
– Tonnes of documentation and forums
– Unlimited accounts
– Works well with ubuntu
– built in antispam
– Not the most popular server
– Not overly feature rich
Postal– Popular– Poor customer service
– hard to google issues because postal always comes up with the USPS
hMail Server– Easy to use and manage– Build
– mostly for windows
Table 1: Demonstrating the pros and cons of different mail servers

As you an see above, I was pretty much already sold on iRedMail. They have a lot of documentation – which I love – and they have tonnes of great reviews as well as paid technical support if needed. So, they were the ideal choice.

Building, setting up, issues