Set up an email server

     Not too sure if this is the right sub forum to throw this in, regardless. I'm intrigued about setting up my own email server. From the little amount of research I have done it seems extremely hard to do. On top of the difficulties of creating and running one, I live in an apartment with my one computer. I don't know if I could run a server while running windows (I'm sure I couldn't), so I've pretty much given up hope on getting one going. Not to mention I am a novice at writing even HTML so any real coding would take me substantial time to learn.

     Despite these setbacks I am still curious about what It would take. Probably a dedicated server (though I imagine a crappy old comp might work?), and a lot of coding and upkeep to make sure it runs smoothly?

     I don't know, would anyone care to set me straight? Maybe its not as hard as I'm thinking, or maybe it would be impossibly hard for someone like me.




I've never done this myself, but I know webmin has the ability to configure postfix. I'm as clueless as you about how to use it though. Want me to lend you a Debian VPS and we can mess about with this? Shouldn't take much to host a mail server locally 

You better know alot about things like DNS about how the certs and keys work or you will get rooted and every one that uses it will too.

Oh no I wasn't gonna use it on a regular basis, I wasn't even going to port forward it if I didn't have to. I don't trust my skills that much yet XD

I dunno about hosting it from your house, most residential(?) IPs get blocked form communcating with email servers I think, cause spam. Ars Technica did a big guide on setting up your own email server a while ago I think.

I can't imagine that would work, how would Outlook communicate with an exchange server? (this may not be how i think it works but seems like it would break a lot to do that)

You can run it from windows. Your main PC, just fine. Look into Apache for an easy way to go about it.

One thing to consider though. If you are going to do this, you better be DAMN sure you are going to run the server near 100% uptime, and for a Looooong time. Maybe even years. Because if you set up your own email, and you link it to all of your accounts because its so cool to have your own email (not poking fun, rational thought), then you decide later to wipe the OS, or that you dont want to deal with the server anymore, and stop it, then ALL of those emails will disappear. If anyone tries to send you an email, it will not deliver, and you will have a LOT of trouble getting everything fixed.


Just something to think about.

Have you done this before? And also do you know what would be better: Debian or CentOS? Also, I don't know that I want to set this up publicly, I just want to learn how this works (I actually have a web host that does my real custom email, so thats not an issue). I have a local DNS server (BIND9 on Debian) so can I add records only locally that point to the server so I can JUST send and recieve mail on a LAN?

I can put all this on a seperate VLAN if need be.

Thanks! And yes I know it would need to be a very reliable server, that's why I'm only doing it to test things. I don't trust MediaCom with that much :P

This is the guide I used to set up my mail server.

I had to do a fair bit of troubleshooting to get it working but once you have it up and running you don't really need to worry about it.

Okay thank you. Do you prefer Debian or something like CentOS? Every web hosting company I've seen uses CentOS, but Wendell says his favorite is Debian, and I have ZERO experience with CentOS or Fedora. Is it worth it to learn how to use it, or should I stick with Debian?

I can't see it really making much of a difference. It'll probably be easier to stick to something you know.

Okay. I had just heard that CentOS is more "stable" but Debian seemed stable enough to me so I never really learned CentOS. I do wonder about cpanel though, do you like cPanel or webmin better? Frankly I've used webmin and love it, but I've never tried cpanel so maybe its even better?

I've never actually touched Outlook, but I'd imagine you could get it to talk with any kind of POP3 or IMAP server, couldnt you?