DavidF's picture

Hi, I'm new to Turnkey, but I really like the concept.  I think it is an awesome way to get Linux set-up and running.  Again, I'm new to Linux world, but I love this concept and understand the "Beauty" coming from a Windows background.  Anyway ...

Can any of you tell me if there is a Turnkey Email Server?  I'd like something quick and easy to setup, but I guess that is an oxymoron with email servers.  I want something to leave Gmail.  And, I get so much mail that it just overloads my life right now.

What I'd like is to have possibility of email aliases to a single domain.  Then, I forward those email aliases to separate email accounts.  One of my hobbies is cooking, so it'd be nice if I could forward all of my registered emails at cooking sites (that have different email addresses) to that single "Cooking" email account.  That would make my life easier.

I do this (somewhat) on Gmail, but it is so costly and time-consuming to set it up like I like.  So, I have a hybrid approach now -- some setup with Gmail and then some setup with Outlook -- with lots of rules, separate folders, etc.  And, now, Spam is getting smarter and smarter.  So, I've got to move to a more sophisticated solution.

Does anyone have an idea of what I could use?  It used to seem that Email Servers were what everyone was doing, but now, I don't see many people trying to implement it as much.

Thanks.

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Jeremy Davis's picture

Hi David. Thanks for your kind words.

Unfortunately we don't have a "mail server" appliance. We did in the past and it was quite popular, but it's actually a fair bit of work maintaining an email server...

TBH, I'm not sure that I'd bother running my own mailserver myself, but it's certainly possible. So whilst this may seem like a big job, with a bit of time and patience, I'm sure you can get it up and running...!

The worst of it is sending mail reliably. It's not something I know tons about myself, but AFAIK you need a static IP address and make sure that you have reverse IP lookup (SRV records) configured correctly. IIRC there are some other DNS records required too? You also need to watch the various spam blacklists to ensure that your server IP/domain isn't blacklisted.

The trouble of sending email reliably can be worked around quite easily using an SMTP rely though, which is what I would recommend.

Receiving on the other hand is generally a bit easier AFAIK. Really all you need is MX records pointing towards your server (so again, ideally a static IP).

All TurnKey servers ship with Postfix, which is a fairly common Linux MTA (mail transfer agent). With some research, you should be able to find tutorials/documentation to assist your to (re)configure Postfix to receive emails reliably (and send - it's actually already configured to send email directly, but reconfigering to use an SMTP relay is available within Confconsole).

You'll then also need to install a POP/IMAP server. Dovecot is a common one (can be installed via 'apt'). Again some online searching should turn up tutorials and/or documentation on how to set that up for your purposes. Then so long as you are happy to use an email client (e.g. Thunderbird) you should be good to go.

If you want a web mail UI, then there are a few available for install via 'apt'. Roundcube is a fairly popular one that should install fairly easily on our LAMP appliance.

Although as you note, spam can be an issue. Spamassassin should help there and it may also be worth using ClamAV to scan attachments for viruses?! These too should be installable via 'apt'.


Depending on your Linux and/or general IT knowledge, I'm aware that some of what I wrote above may not make complete sense to you. I often find it a bit hard to know where to start with new users. I don't want to waste either of our time trying to teach you to suck eggs, but I also don't want to completely overwhelm you speaking a different language completely! :)

Bottom line, if you need me to explain anything further, please ask. Also, as for internet searching, please keep in mind that TurnKey Linux is based on Debian (v16.x = Debian 10/Buster). So as a general rule, instructions for Debian (specifically 10/Buster; but generally too) should work fine on TurnKey. Ubuntu is another popular Linux distro which is also based on Debian, so often Ubuntu tutorials/instructions are also useful (although do not blindly add thrid party respositories - aka "PPAs" intended for Ubuntu!). If in doubt, please ask.

If you can get this running and document as you go, perhaps together we can use it as a base for a new TurnKey Linux Mailserver appliance?! :)

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