What's your email setup like?

Discussion in 'Operating a Hosting Business' started by River, Apr 24, 2016.

  1. River

    River Member Verified Provider

    May 3, 2015
    I know that there is a really good guide on here to running your own email server, and I've used it in the past.

    Recently, I've been working on trying to get an Exchange 2016 server setup. I had used Office365 some with my School District, and really liked it (surprisingly). I found Office 365 to be too expensive for my cheap tastes, so I decided to try and run an Exchange 2016 server myself using an MSDN license key that I have through bizspark.

    Saying a lot of words I don't like to use during the setup, and still not having a functioning Exchange server, I've been prompted to ask - what does everyone use for their email setup?

    Since email is arguably one of the most important parts of businesses in the 21st century, I'm wondering what people have had success with. I've personally migrated between probably 4-5 different setups over the past 2 years, including Gapps, Rackspace hosted, cPanel, an external SMTP and IMAP server, and now finally (maybe) Exchange. I'm wondering what everyone has had success with!

    Thanks <3
  2. HalfEatenPie

    HalfEatenPie The Irrational One Retired Staff

    Mar 25, 2013
    Honestly, Jarland's MXRoute is probably one of the easiest solutions out there regarding mail servers.  Fairly regularly emails are a headache.  

    For those non-critical domains though, I have a single VestaCP server forwarding the emails.  It's not "High Availability" and it's not clean, but it works good enough.  
    jarland and Nikki like this.
  3. wlanboy

    wlanboy Content Contributer

    May 16, 2013
    Exchange is quite a fun to setup. You need a domain controller, a sql server cluster and the exchange server itself. Prequisits are worse compared to a Sharepoint setup. Want additional problems and ad shema edits: Install Lync server.

    That's one of the reasons why hosted exchange and office 365 accounts are not that cheap. But you get contact, calendar, active sync on top. If you just need an imap account good web hosting providers might have a more-than-one server setup.

    Outlook.com is free, others choose fastmail.
    SafehouseCloud and HalfEatenPie like this.
  4. drmike

    drmike 100% Tier-1 Gogent

    May 13, 2013
    I avoid email like the dickens.  Because it's such a nightmare and the hoops to jump due to spam and abuse have ruined it for everyone.

    I have email accounts, but they are throwaway accounts and I normally abandon them.

    Most of my communication goes for IM, Skype, and similar.  File transfers go via private file share or file transfer functions in the forementioned.

    When I must email and stick something, I still pick better providers for cPanel shared hosting.  Ones with a static IP like Buyshared (buyshared.net).

    MXRoute continues to get love. Worthy choice and honest owner there who tries hard and seems to pull it off @jarland.  Haven't used it, but probably will soon when I get back to more project development.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 30, 2017
    HalfEatenPie and jarland like this.
  5. rmlhhd

    rmlhhd New Member Verified Provider

    May 22, 2015
    I just use Mailcow, it's simple and surprisingly for a mailserver it doesn't break (often).
    switsys likes this.
  6. DomainBop

    DomainBop Dormant VPSB Pathogen

    Oct 11, 2013
    ...unless you use OVH:  €2.99 and €7.99 respectively but deliverability might be a problem

    company setup:

    Hardware:  main server: i5-3570/8GB RAM/2 x 240GB SSD; backup server: i5-2500/8GB RAM/2 x 240GB SSD

    Software Backend: Postfix, Dovecot, Amavis-New, SpamAssasin, ClamAV, Postgrey, Razor, Pyzor, Fail2Ban, MariaDB, Sieve, getmail,...and I probably left out a few pieces <--looking at that list I can't imagine why anyone would think maintaining a mail server is difficult

    Admin: ISPConfig3 + ISPConfig3 Roundcube Interface (the mail module is the only part of ISPConfig3 that is used for anything)

    Client side  webmail: Roundcube (using a modified classic template and a bunch of addons), desktop: Thunderbird for Linux or Roundcube, mobile: TypeApp

    No Skype  for business or personal here.  Signal (both mobile and desktop beta) for IM and private calling.  A real telephone is the most used calling medium however (and then there is that long forgotten thing called face to face communication).  Alfresco, OpenProject, Odoo figure into the intracompany communication puzzle too, and then there's Seafile Pro for syncing...
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2016
  7. River

    River Member Verified Provider

    May 3, 2015
    I've always thought that doing things through skype is unprofessional. Skype is a platform really geared towards personal use, not business use. I'd rather use something more professional such as email.
    DomainBop likes this.
  8. bizzard

    bizzard Active Member

    May 16, 2013
    I used to run my own mail server without much issues for more than an year and came to know that there are many people who wanted to do the same, but don't have enough time/knowledge to troubleshoot all the things. So, we moved to a community setup where we runs basic online services, so that we can be self sufficient and don't need to rely on any corporate for the basic internet services. Most of the services are hosted on VPS's or low cost hardware, with community funding/crowd sourcing. So, my personal mail has been there since the starting of the year and everything runs smoothly. IMAP/SMTP is the most preferred method to access mails, but we also have multiple webmail interfaces like RainLoop, RoundCube and SquirrelMail, so that the user can choose to his/her likes. Personally, I use Rainloop when I want to access mails from a different system.

    The advantage of such a system is that there are few people who could help in sorting out issues wen it happens and also reduces the financial burden to run the servers, as the costs are shared. The system is built on trust and all of us involved knows each other personally, though all of us are in different geographical locations.

    We also run/maintain two diaspora pods (for social communication) with XMPP enabled for chat, ownCloud with contact/calender sync and few other plugins, a wiki, public discussions and decision making on loomio, etc

    This is somewhat of an experiment, but has been great so far. People volunteer to keep things upto date and helps out in backups/migrations when in need, teach others and document in wiki how things are setup and run. Once we could run this for a longer period, we plan to provide a detailed documentation online, so that other people/communities can replicate this and run self-sustained online services.
  9. CenTex Hosting

    CenTex Hosting Member Verified Provider

    Dec 22, 2015
    we moved ours to office 365 exchange servers. we were having issues with just using cpanel email and our emails going to junk and spam folders even with never sending mass emails and always sending good email could never get that to work. 

    Made the switch after we became a Microsoft Partner. Once we did that we had no more issues with emails.
  10. raj

    raj Active Member

    Oct 25, 2013
    Been running my own mail server for 15+ years.  postfix the entire time, local retrieval only for first few years. Introduced dovecot maybe 10 years ago, spamassassin maybe 8 years ago? Bounced around VPS providers for a few years, spry.com for a few years, and for the last 5-7 years or so on a Debian BuyVM 128MB box for the same few personal domains.  

    Simple set up resulted in very little issues with deliverability over time.  A fair amount of spam comes my way, like any other email provider, and spamassassin has done an acceptable (read that as not great, but not horrible) job at false-positive and false-negative flagging.  I'm happy with the setup.  Debian provides for easy apt-get upgrades that to my recollection has never broken the stack.    Both spry.com and BuyVM had very positive uptime, so availability of SMTP and IMAP has not been an issue over time.  

    I'd say this is as "set it and forget it" as I've had in a long time.  I like being able to troubleshoot and tinker with the settings any time I want and not have to rely on settings set up by the provider. 
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2016
  11. DamienSB

    DamienSB Active Member Verified Provider

    Mar 24, 2013
    I have to disagree. Installing Exchange is very easy and does not require a 'sql server cluster'. The only requirements is that you have a domain controller and a server for the exchange services. The domain controller and exchange can live on the same windows server as well (although, not recommended).

    If you don't want to deal with Microsoft licenses, you can look at packaged solutions like openexchange or zimbra.
  12. SafehouseCloud

    SafehouseCloud New Member Verified Provider

    Dec 4, 2015
    Yes installing Exchange isn't this hard, when you know how, and - when you do it right it works very stable. But I think for some newbies it could be really hard to get used to it. I think I wouldn't recommend any self-hosted Exchange as long as the people don't have very high knowledge about it. Same with other mail servers at least in the business usage. 
  13. SafehouseCloud

    SafehouseCloud New Member Verified Provider

    Dec 4, 2015
    We use since years Google Apps and thanks to the Google Apps
    with unlimited storage and Vault, you don't have to worry about any outage, running out of space, etc. For us, it just works. Before we tried a lot from Exchange 365, self-hosted Kerio Connect and MacOSX Server. All works not bad but doesn't provide all the power and performance we need. Also, most team members already know the Google interface, so they don't need to use something new. 
  14. farhanideas

    farhanideas Member

    Dec 10, 2014
    MailEnable provides Mail Server software with options akin to Microsoft Exchange. It provides powerful messaging services like Exchange ActiveSync, IMAP, SMTP, POP3 and collaboration tools like calendaring (CalDAV), contacts (CardDAV), tasks and notes.

    Mailenable is also good one for mailing
  15. fm7

    fm7 Active Member

    Jul 26, 2014
    Dovecot (master-master)

  16. Lee

    Lee Retired Staff Retired Staff Verified Provider

    Mar 25, 2013
    Google. Never let me down, pay greatly for it but with it.
  17. River

    River Member Verified Provider

    May 3, 2015
    I've heard if you have a decent amount of emails on gapps you can negotiate down the rates.
  18. River

    River Member Verified Provider

    May 3, 2015
    Thanks, this is the info I was looking for way back when I started this thread! Even though now I have a nice setup myself ;)
  19. Lee

    Lee Retired Staff Retired Staff Verified Provider

    Mar 25, 2013
    I used to have my own mail server, if you want to do it and have the time to tweak and keep it running optimally then fair enough, however, it's something you need to work at to control spam and make sure mail gets through. My personal domain is now approaching 20 years in service, the daily spam... sheesh, can't be bothered trying to manage it now :)
    River likes this.