Simple mail server setup


New Member
I'm migrating a bunch of sites from a terrible oversold vps service with cpanel and all that jazz to an unmanaged vps that will be run almost completely through the command line. I have pretty much everything under control but email, and am hoping I can get a little insight into how I can get something reliable working for a lot of different domains. I don't need a fancy webmail client or anything like that, just something that can forward email to my regular account and send emails that won't end up in a spam folder. Spam detection is important too, I guess, since gmail likes to block IPs that forward too many emails that end up in your spam folder. The script I'm using to bootstrap most of the setup stuff is exim, so if possible I'd rather stick with it.

Any inight, suggestions, warnings, etc?


New Member
Spam filtering is pretty tough.  Things like spamassassin and realtime black lists and all of that works OK, but I was spending a lot of time tweaking things and it became frustrating.

For $3 per year per user, I ended up using Postlayer and it has been working well.  I have Postlayer send good email to 1 or 2 of my VPS boxes, and use Sendmail rules on the VPS to forward that to Gmail or Hotmail.

The problem I run into is many of the VPS providers have newer IP blocks that have not built up a good reputation yet, so the "big" email providers put them into spam.  I haven't found a good way around this yet.

Skylar at Crissic turned me on to Mandrillapp for outbound, and that might be used as a method for outgoing email.

Another service I used was which works great for taking email for a domain, scrubbing it for spam/virus/etc, and forwarding it to any other email address.  They also provide outbound email.  Probably outside of what should be posted here but it is a great service, although rather expensive.  Depends on how much you have to spend and what your time is worth.


Slow but sure
For $3 per year per user, I ended up using Postlayer and it has been working well.  I have Postlayer send good email to 1 or 2 of my VPS boxes, and use Sendmail rules on the VPS to forward that to Gmail or Hotmail.
thank you for your suggestion, but sadly : $3.00 / User / Year (Minimum 5 users). I only need for 1 user :)


New Member
One mail account? Use RBLs, and spamprobe for bayesian filtering. Spamprobe is effective once trained and uses a fraction of the resources of spamassassin. There's setup instructions out there for postfix, dunno about exim. But if you know exim you'll figure it out. Postfix has some nice builtin spam control features....


VPS Junkie
If you only need one mail account you can still look at Google Apps, unless you're against them for moral/privacy reasons.  I love the Gmail interface and Google's infrastructure is second to none, so I use it for my main domains email.  Managing a mail sever can be a pain in the ass,  I'm using VestaCP for mail on a few newer domains just as a trial but since you're looking for CLI only:

Seems to be reasonably straightforward but if you're only using one mail account I don't know if it's worth the trouble. The other problem with self-hosting email is that many services, such as Outlook, will send you straight to SPAM even if you have RDNS configured properly.


New Member
If anyone searching for the mail server that not only solve all your problem, but also helps in managing and securing all your work easily than ConsolePark will definitely help you in achieving this quality service.


New Member
Like others have said, hosting your own mail server is a pain. If you want to just forward, pobox would work well. For 1 user it is I think 35 dollars a year with outbound services included, for multiple domains and has spam filtering.

A decent hosted service for $12 a year is polarismail, which does everything as well. I think you can do 1 user at a time with them, with multiple user and domain aliases. Webmail, IMAP, pop3, etc. it's worth it to not have to mess with doing yourself in my opinion!


Inertia Networks, LLC
Verified Provider
If you really want to host your own mail server, check out Zimbra. It is a bit of a memory hog, though.

Otherwise check out Google Apps (paid) or Windows Live Domains (free)
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Massive Nerd
Verified Provider
Zimbra is the end-all be-all when it comes to an "enterprise" mailserver. It's very heavyweight, easily eating 1-2GB RAM minimum but it supports just about everything you could possibly ever need out of a mailserver.

Usage on our internal mailserver at work which only handles ~15 accounts and maybe 500 emails a day:

[email protected]:~$ free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 7986 4353 3633 0 267 1071
-/+ buffers/cache: 3014 4972

Java is the price you pay for convenience :p