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Setting Up Mail Server (With MDA, IMAP And Webmail)

Mail Server

Using your own mail server, you can have mails delivered directly. Certain things I looked out for while choosing a mail server for my personal use:

- Support for regular operating system accounts (unix logins)
- IMAP support (either inbuilt / external)
- Webmail support (either inbuilt / external)
- Maildir format supported
- (Sieve) Server side filtering (
- Ease of installation

I've explored some mail servers. Sendmail's configuration and maintenance are difficult. qmail is difficult to install and in-built features are less, but this is the most popular MTA I guess. Exim or Postfix is what I'd recommend because of their ease of installation, maturity and extensibility. Here is a quick tutorial on setting up postfix in Mepis. Be sure to have a backup mail server if you are setting up your own mail server for higher reliability.

Mail Delivery Agent

A mail delivery agent (MDA) / mail filter is used to process the mail which is received and enables to perform actions such as moving that mail to a specific folder or forwarding it to another email id depending upon the rules you mention. Procmail and maildrop are two very popular MDAs. While procmail seems to be more widely used, I'd highly recommend maildrop for its ease of setup and use. Here is a small tutorial on setting up maildrop with postfix. Visit the maildrop page on Wikipedia for further references.

IMAP Server

I've used Courier-IMAP server for some time. But later I shifted to Dovecot. Dovecot is an open source IMAP and POP3 server for Linux/UNIX-like systems, written with security primarily in mind. Dovecot is an excellent choice for both small and large installations. It's fast, simple to set up, requires no special administration and it uses very little memory. Here is a brief tutorial on setting up dovecot on Mepis

Squirrelmail is one of the first webmail clients. A relatively new webmail client which I have found to be extremely impressive is Roundcubemail (this uses Ajax).

Some other relevant links:

List of mail servers (this list is huge) -
Comparison of mail servers -,
Setting up Courier -
Configuring mail clients for Courier-IMAP -
Exim + Courier-IMAP -
Setting up Qmail -


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