E-Mail server discussion, to serve or not to serve?
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E-Mail server discussion, to serve or not to serve?
I've come across a point in administering my system that I thought could use a little advice from the community. My company is looking at redoing our web hosting to improve our web presence and part of that will include a new slew of e-mail addresses in the package. While this is all well and good, I have a few things that I'm mulling over at the moment and would like some input on.
The email storage space on the server that will be doing our webhosting is limited (100MB total for up to 100 emails... yeeesh). It is accesible by POP3, so the way to get around it is obviously to store emails locally, where storage is cheap! The only thing left to decide is how to go about it. I'm debating between two options:
1) Create a sendmail server responsible for getting the emails from the web hosting service, keeping them locally on the server, and allowing the users to access them through outlook or thunderbird, or any other email client they so choose.
2) Simply use an email client on each client station and have each user responsible for storing their own emails on their own machines.
The second option seems much easier at first glance, at least to implement, but it leaves room for administrative nightmares. The first seems like a better option but could prove difficult to pull off. Has anyone reached this fork in the road before and could shed some light on the subject? My network is very small (<10 clients). I'd appreciate any help you can lend.
I have worked with a similar situation in the past. The difference for me was 50 people hitting map all the time over our wan link was slow and the constant io caused by imap was slowing down the server. This was slightly different because it was a couple general purpose email accounts that were shared by an entire department.
At any rate I setup a caching server locally. Fetchmail was used to pull the remote mail locally. And imap was run to provide access to the mail.
As a solution for you I would reccommend setting up a caching server that also acts as a smarthost. A smarthost will relay the mail to your providers mail servers and they do the final delivery. You don't want to sent the email directly from your office in most cases because spam filters will likely trap the majority of your mail. Setup fetchmail to retrieve all of your users mail and serv it out locally with imap. I suggest imap because if you youse pop and people want that email backed up your doing it at the client side which is silly. I would also think it silly to configure pop to leave all mail on the server since that will make the remote user experience (webmail) suck as the client and server would not be in sync.
Now to provide remote webmail access just make sure you have either dynamic DNS or a static ip. And forward the web traffic to that caching server. Go ahead and install apache and setup squirrelmail it's super easy.
Now you have fast access to your mail. A central spot to back up from. Remot access for when people are outside the office. And your only storage limit is the disk space you can afford to buy. Terrabyte drives are cheap buy a couple and set them up in raid1.
Pretty much exactly what I was looking for. I'm still in the planning stages of everything, but I should be moving towards implementation sometime next week. I'll keep you posted on how things go. Thanks!!
how would I go about routing fetchmail into postfix? I imagine I would use fetchmail and just store messages locally like you said, then postfix would simply serve from the local email storage? how would I get postfix to do that? (I'm brand new to postfix, sorry).
fetchmail wont run the mail "into" postfix it just fetches mail. You need something to serve the mail locally, thats where imap comes in. Imap can just server up the directories where you have downloaded the mail. Check out dovecot or courier. And rather than doing virtual users it might be easier for you to just use a unix account for each mail user. Kind of a pain but it migh tbe easier for you to sort in your head the first time around.
Right, I was thinking along the same lines. I have a small enough infrastructure to get away with that the first time. So then if I'm using fetchmail to get the mail, and dovecot/courier to serve it to people on the network, where does postfix come in?
got it. so far I've managed to get some semblance of a server up and running with the help of postfix and courier-maildrop. i've only created one account so far and when i telnet myself and send a message, it delivers just fine. i tried sending a message from outside the net however, and it wouldn't deliver it. it made it past my router/firewalls just fine, but the server itself wouldn't deliver it to the user. /var/log/maillog said