Mail Server - Overview


This series of articles are aimed at showing you how to install a mail server that has the ability to utilise multiple domains and multiple users. These assume that you have done an Ubuntu Hardy install to our specifications and have followed the pre-configuration steps to prepare your server to send mail successfully.

To start with, let's take an overview of the installation and install some basic packages.

Contents

Overview

This series will go much further than the simple setup for application mail sending and look at installing a complete mail server for multiple domain and multiple users.

The end result will be a mail server with secure POP and IMAP access.

Multiple domains and users

Having the ability to host multiple domains and users needs no real explanation except to say that whatever setup we use needs to be easily administered and easily accessed by the admin users.

There are a couple of ways of approaching how to define domains and users.

Firstly, there is the 'flat file' method. This simply uses a text file containing the relevant data.

Secondly, a database is used to control the data. We will be using the database method.

MySQL

In this series, we will setup and use MySQL to control our domains, users, password, addresses and so on.

It may seem like overkill if you only have one or two domains and, indeed, it may well be for those cases.

However, once created, administering the database is very simple. Adding new users and new domains is actually easier than using the 'flat file' approach.

The finalised mail server will have the ability to host from one domain and one user to many thousands of domains and associated users.

Any extra time taken to complete the installation is well worth it when the end result is so robust and so scalable.

Courier

To control our POP and IMAP access to the emails, we will use the Courier package. As with most things, there are other packages available such as Dovecot.

You are free to use whichever one you prefer. However, in this case, we will install and configure Courier for our needs.

We will also configure Postfix and Courier to allow secure access to our mail using encrypted connections - similar to the way you would use an 'HTTPS' connection for sensitive information when browsing the web.

Summary

The following articles will allow you to install and configure a complete mail server that is usable by a single domain or many thousands of domains.

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