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    Which secure email server to use?
    Contributed by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 00:12:21 GMT

    Ask Debianplanet
    Sendmail, qmail, smail, exim .. Which one do you think offers easy configuration (it's only for a few users), easy mail backup, secure imap/pop3 login and with some kind of plugin: spam protection and virus detection.
    To me, they almost look the same, most servers that are packaged in debian have all or most of the features mentioned.

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  • "Which secure email server to use?" | Login/Create Account | 12 comments

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    Exim --> Postfix (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 00:25:00 GMT

    How easy is it to transition from Exim to Postfix? I've been running Exim simply because it was Debian's default, but for security reasons I'd like to switch to Postfix (because the parts of it that matter don't run as root, and breaking the SMTP listener won't get you much). The transition is all that's holding me back -- I don't know how easy Postfix is to set up, whether it has automatic support for running Procmail for any user who has a ~/.procmailrc file (no need to set up a ~/.forward), how easy it is to administer, etc. Aside from security issues, I've really been pretty happy with Exim.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Exim --> Postfix (Score: 1)
    by trevorcor on Friday, December 14 @ 11:29:46 GMT
    (User Info)

    Postfix pretty much just drops in. No .forwards, no -- and postfix is pretty damn easy to administer.

    The postfix .debs even have similar debhelper configuration.

    [ Reply ]

    Another angle on this...home use? (Score: 1)
    by Hackel on Friday, December 14 @ 00:34:46 GMT
    (User Info)

    Another thing that has always been frustrating to me is most email packages seem designed primarily for servers. I don't need nor want to deliver any mail locally, I just want a means to send outgoing email, and have local root, postmaster, etc. sent to my email account. I can choose to install a "satellite system", but what if I don't want to forward to an external SMTP server? I had been running sSmtp, but I found it to generate too many errors. I tried to switch to postfix, but got a considerable number of errors during the install on sid, and I don't actually want to run an SMTP daemon process. I have finally settled on Exim, with a modified "satellite" configuration. This seems to be working relativeliy well. Is there anything else I should be aware of?

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Another angle on this...home use? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 02:17:44 GMT

    Um, why don't you just use sendmail?

    `apt-get install sendmail` then through all of the dpkg configuration options, except maybe the smart host which you probably want to make your ISP's mail server.

    To get your user account and root mail delivered elsewhere, edit /etc/aliases and do a `newaliases` afterwards, or just use .forward files in the appropriate home directories.

    How could it get any easier?


    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 1)
    by AfroDawg on Friday, December 14 @ 01:24:59 GMT
    (User Info)

    Definitely qmail. It's extremely easy to configure, and extremely secure (no security holes found to this day). I believe it supports POP3, but I run it with Cyrus to support IMAP which works great (I'm not a big fan of POP3). For mail backup, I assume you're referring to POP3/IMAP/mbox/Maildir mail backup, and not the SMTP spool backup as that's very dynamic and useless to backup. In that case, yes it's easy to backup, especially if you use Maildir to store your e-mails. I got Cyrus working with SSL by simply wrapping it through stunnel. For spam/virus protection, I can't say, because I haven't bothered with it, but I'm sure there are solutions out there for that as well.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 1)
    by ShOOf on Friday, December 14 @ 02:21:33 GMT
    (User Info)

    I second qmail, real easy to use and hasnt failed me yet. And as far as virus protection, qmail-scanner does a great job.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 04:20:59 GMT

    I second qmail, too.


    - extremely secure

    - extremely simple and easy to configure


    - qmail is not DFSG compliant

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 1)
    by zedar on Friday, December 14 @ 06:07:41 GMT
    (User Info)

    Qmail easy to use? I spend the better part of a week trying to get Qmail working and gave up in the end and installed exim. Admittedly my needs were very different to those listed (mysql based authentication and virtual domains for 30k or so users) but it seemed to me to be far from intuitive.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 1)
    by AfroDawg on Friday, December 14 @ 06:58:10 GMT
    (User Info)

    Well I've never tried authentication against a MySQL database, but it should be reasonable to set up. I do use virtual domains, which really is a piece of cake to set up. Just involves writing a few lines to a few files, and that's it. This document and this one really helped me out in configuring the whole thing. This page may also help.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 11:04:08 GMT

    I looked at a few mail servers:

    Exim - indeed, no security.

    Postfix - not really easy since it doesn't provide POP3 without an external tool.

    Sendmail - the latest bugfix requires the latest kernel, i don't want to update every week. I plan to leave it alone for 6 months.

    So this leaves qmail .. ?

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 11:15:50 GMT

    None of the daemons you've mentioned provide POP3 "natively", except for qmail, which has a qmail-pop3 IIRC; but that's actually more work than just grabbing Courier pop3d or such.

    [ Reply ]

    Re: Which secure email server to use? (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Friday, December 14 @ 12:26:34 GMT

    I personally think:

    * sendmail: Not designed with security in mind. Bloated. Hard to configure. Only around because it's the standard (not unlike wu-ftpd).

    * exim: Not a bad mailer, I don't have anything against it, really.

    * qmail: Makefiles are abused in ways they were never meant to be, it just has a bizzare architecture, and you need to install everything of djb's just to get it running. Ugh. Also non-free.

    * postfix: A great, full-featured mailer written from the ground up to be secure.

    So, my recommendations are, in order:

    postfix, exim, qmail, sendmail.

    🙂 d

    [ Reply ]

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