Email Server DIY


Been looking at the alternatives to gmail/apps and other emails services… even so much thinking about going back to managed email server in house. The issue has come up again because I’ve just heard of someone being blocked access to their gmail account for suspicious activity. Highly weird.

I personally don’t like online email I always prefer the client

I’ve seen via promotion by Opera browser.

The main issue I can see in terms of integrity of service are Spam, hacks and blacklisting and falling foul of filters of recipients. I had an exchange mail server before but we won’t talk about that.

Primairly interested to see where the latest thinking and services are on the subject. We take email for granted and gmail has taken a lot of our email.


I used fastmail before, it was the best at the time - I paid for the member level, 20$ once off.
lots of features, though many aren’t terribly useful, IMAP was handy though (moved from POP, don’t need it now)
Gmail is just so much bigger, integration with PDF viewer , docs.

I can see why you’d be suspicious of GMail but I can’t fault it for now.


I’d stick with gmail, it still allows you to use an IMAP client to it I think.

I run my own mail server but that’s because I run my own server for various random stuff. If I didn’t then I’d just use gmail.


All of the old school open source *nix based email servers are horrendous to work with and administer (Postfix, Sendmail etc.).

Personally I’d stick with gmail apps, I think it’s a great service. You can get a sync tool for Outlook (and other clients too I’m sure) if that floats your boat.


I put gmail for now in the “managed services free/paid” box. I think you should always review what you use no matter how “free” it seems.


I agree and I don’t consider gmail free at all. Personally I despise google :slight_smile:

However, it’s a good service and it doesn’t cost you time or money currently and I’d recommend it to anybody (who isn’t a Chinese dissident) and who doesn’t want to run their own server.

My own server is Postfix running on Debian Linux. Postfix was a pain to setup but once done it’s very reliable and I like having control over it.


If you are using gmail for business then you should be using the pay version for the added privacy apart form anything else.

The fact that you can integrate with outlook client and can export individual emails using apps means the web interface can be overcome.

I am pretty sure you can also get them to use your domain name so people don’t see "".

You could also look at online document management systems to see if they also have email, e.g. autonomy. I haven’t looked at that myself.

Other options might include using topsec or somebody else to host your email, or to look at what Microsoft 365 can offer you by way of hosted server with integration with a local client.

Personally, we use MS Exchange Server and it breaks my heart. I understand that the latest versions of Exchange server are much better with less risk of entire email store bieng corrupted but it is still very pricey.


Gmail is pretty nice, but I recently got an Android phone and on seeing just how integrated google can become into my data flow I decided to start using third party / own services a bit again. (Still use Gmail, but want a parallel solution and to split some info.)

If you’re thinking of running an email server, the costs of doing that have dropped substantially. You could get a virtual server from Hetzner with 30Gb of HDD for less than 8 euros a month:

I use one of the slightly larger units at 12.90 per month. Have been happy with service. Many other companies offering similar deals, but Hetzner was best I found and I’ve used them for other stuff for a few years (to check prices/offers now one should look at Strato, Server4you, 1&1 too (and others) to see if that’s still true)

Always nice to have some redundancy, so went for another server here: (first brand they use for hobby/home customers, latter for business…) with a total charge of less than 60 per year. Have found that company pretty good so far too, and they did well on the Low End Box poll

I find it interesting to poke around in the “low end box” zone from time to time. Iper/Prometeus are at the upper end of that (and a real company). Then you get these (relatively) random offers where someone is just carving up a real server but offering something a bit oddball for a couple of euro a month… and the discussions in the fora regarding “are you such and such that shut down without warning last month.?..”

Anyway, for email you’ll then need to setup email server (like Postfix) and probably want to run spamassassin etc., My own experience is that all works pretty well even if you just follow standard HOWTOs, but you want to be comfortable doing a small bit of linux admin work, and you should be keeping your own backups… which thanks to open source software like duplicity, services like S3, and GPG encryption is not so hard as it used to be. Also, you then have a platform for other devel etc.,

It’s funny. At the same time it becomes most common for people to have tonnes of their “private” data distributed around various commercial servers (Google including stuff like mail,apps,maps,android :nin etc.; Facebook; FourSquare; Tripit; LinkedIn; etc., etc.,) it is also easier and cheaper than ever to do a fully roll-your-own manage your interfaces solution. At the least, to maintain access to data, one can pretty easily use IMAP to sync out a copy of their gmail account in case Google changes its policies in the future or gets into any hot water.


If you have Microsoft Office consider Office 365. It starts from approx €4 / seat / month for exchange but you get all the exchange trimmings with out any of the hassle of maintaining it.


M$ is simply not an option, burnt that bridge a long time ago for my own sanity.



how about something like this …

If your mail traffic is light then it may suit.

Blue Horseshoe


I have hosting elsewhere but that looks like a decent offer for a change and you can actually someone in Ireland. Thanks.


Blacknight has a good reputation too.
(Mr) Michele Neylon, the owner (or co-owner?), is long time active on ILUG.