View Poll Results: Do you host your own mail server?

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  • yes

    4 22.22%
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    14 77.78%
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Thread: Do you host your own mail server at home?

  1. #1
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    Do you host your own mail server at home?

    As the title says, I am contemplating setting up my own mail server at home. For fun and to learn how it works.

    But, how safe is it? How credible is it that this could get hacked or compromised?

    For those who host their own mail server, what have your experiences been with security?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    I have a mail server running on my VPS, but it's mostly to provide mail about updates and from my contact form on my website.

    As long as you are keeping your software up-to-date and don't have it set up as an open relay, you should be "OK"
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  3. #3
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    I always install a local mail server on my ubuntu installation just so local backup/etc scripts can email me etc. Just "sudo apt-get install exim4-daemon-light" and answer the few configuration questions, mainly just to set your ISP mail server as the smart host. I do the same on all the raspberry pi's, sheevaplug, etc around my house. Although all these can send email to the internet, of course they can not be accessed externally.

  4. #4
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    I've had a mailserver at home for nearly a year. I use it for testing website features before they go live on the hosting site, and for getting system notifications.

    It's set up to work only on the LAN, which is behind a NAT router. In addition, I've set up iptables on the relevant box, though I'm not sure it's actually doing anything that the router isn't. I've never seen any indication of unauthorised access.
    Please, people, remember to BACKUP before you install that new system. Same if you're upgrading.

  5. #5
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    I have CentOS boxes running as mail servers at home, on my virtual server at Linode, and at clients' sites. They all run MailScanner with sendmail as the SMTP daemon. I've been running Internet mail servers since the mid-1990s. On a couple of occasions I accidentally configured things wrongly so my box became an open relay, but that was quite a few years ago now.

    From a security perspective, your number one task is to make sure the server only accepts mail for your domain(s) and rejects messages addressed elsewhere. The site http://mxtoolbox.com/ provides some useful tools to check whether your server has been blacklisted as a spam source, test for an open relay, and the like.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; June 8th, 2013 at 02:23 PM.
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  6. #6
    prodigy_ is offline May the Ubuntu Be With You!
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    Voted "no" though I did have postfix installed in the past. I used it for testing and sending notifications from unattended scripts but ultimately migrated to Gmail.

  7. #7
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    Quote Originally Posted by SeijiSensei View Post
    I have CentOS boxes running as mail servers at home, on my virtual server at Linode, and at clients' sites. They all run MailScanner with sendmail as the SMTP daemon. I've been running Internet mail servers since the mid-1990s. On a couple of occasions I accidentally configured things wrongly so my box became an open relay, but that was quite a few years ago now.

    From a security perspective, your number one task is to make sure the server only accepts mail for your domain(s) and rejects messages addressed elsewhere. The site http://mxtoolbox.com/ provides some useful tools to check whether your server has been blacklisted as a spam source, test for an open relay, and the like.
    Thanks for the tip, completely forgot about Linode. Are you happy with them?

  8. #8
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    I dont think the problem is receiving mail, however sending the mail. Usually you will have to forward the mail through a known provider since all the mail I've ever sent originating from my machine is blocked by Comcast

  9. #9
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    Quote Originally Posted by kevdog View Post
    I dont think the problem is receiving mail, however sending the mail. Usually you will have to forward the mail through a known provider since all the mail I've ever sent originating from my machine is blocked by Comcast
    Yep. I had to configure postfix at home to send via Gmail because port 25 is blocked and port 587 didn't work for whatever reason. I might have to try it again sometime.
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  10. #10
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    Re: Do you host your own mail server at home?

    Quote Originally Posted by PartisanEntity View Post
    Thanks for the tip, completely forgot about Linode. Are you happy with them?
    Very much so! I've got two virtuals in Linode data centers, one on each coast, in Newark, NJ, and Fremont, CA. That gives me two geographically and topologically separate DNS servers. One of them has very limited visibility on the Internet, while the other one hosts web services and accepts inbound mail.

    I also pay for their snapshot backup service. I've only used it once and found the easiest solution was to create a new virtual, then restore the backup to that machine. I retrieved what I needed and deleted the VM. Linode didn't charge me a penny since I had the VM only a couple of hours!

    They also have good tools for managing the server in cases where it won't boot cleanly, or you cannot connect to it with SSH. Along with a web-based terminal, you can even open a session at the host level, so you can muck around in the machine's image if you need to. I did that once when I accidentally deleted an OpenSSL library or two and all the client software stopped working because the dependency was gone. I could actually replace the missing files directly into the image from another location and fix the problem that way.

    Linode is pricier than some VM providers, with a 1 GB machine starting at $20/month. But they are very professional and well-informed, and their offerings are rock solid. I recommend them whole-heartedly.
    Last edited by SeijiSensei; June 8th, 2013 at 05:51 PM.
    If you ask for help, please have the courtesy to check for responses and thank the people who helped you.

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