Which email server should be used?

Hi all,

I plan to install an email server on Red Hat 9.0 box. There are many email servers such as sendmail, postfix, qmail, etc...

From what I read, it seems that sendmail is not secured and not very good. How about Postfix and Qmail, and others (if you know)? Which email server you consider as good/verygood, in terms of security, performance, easy to install and manage, simple about licensing, etc.

If you've installed email servers and used them, please help and give your opinions. Any help would be appreciated.



Who is Participating?
Karl Heinz KremerConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Sendmail is pretty good, and because it's used a lot, there is quite a bit of experience available (and since they introduced the m4 macro configuration, it can be configured by mere humans :-) I am using Postfix, which was developed as a secure alternative to Sendmail. I've written sendmail.cf files, which means that I was fairly familiar with sendmail, but I find Postfix a lot easier to configure. How many accounts and what email volume are we talking about? But, Postfix, Qmail and Sendmail should all be able to handle a pretty good load. Licensing is no problem with either Sendmail or Postfix. You may notice that I'm not talking about Qmail: I don't have no first hand experience with Qmail.
troopernConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Postfix is realyl easy to configure, and it's easily managed to.
I currently have a mailserver running with postfix and "virtual users" (Users are added to a MySQL database and don't have physical accounts on the machine.)
Postfix is as secure as you make it. So is also Sendmail and QMail I guess. I have no experience with these, only with postfix and alittle with exim. But my recommendation goes for postfix since I've got quite much experience with it.
ma14dminConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I use qmail successfully, it supports everything i need such as pop, authenticated pop, imap, rbl's, spamassassin etc.
Follow the instructions at www.lifewithqmail.org to get started and to obtain a really good understanding of whats going on under the hood.
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tolgadalkilicConnect With a Mentor Commented:
With taking care of the licence, development status and developer community, support, modularity and future, I suggest POSTFIX. But no matter which one you use, like the question "which linux distribution is best", the answer is simple, try them and use the one with which you feel comfortable, especially in the administration side.
digusConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Postfix and sendmail are the most popular GPL (Free Beer) smtp servers and my personal favorites as well. I can go ahead and tell you from the questions you’re asking that Postfix is your man. I've been running it for a couple years now, and it is definitely my favorite. It is much easier to implement than sendmail, and has half the vulnerabilities because it's not as widely used. With webmin installed (webmin.com), anyone can configure Postfix and have it up and running in a few minutes. I would imagine you’re still going to need pop and imap access as well. For that I recommend imap2000a. If u want web mail, Squirrel Mail is great. All GPL. Good luck!
Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
Gus, get your different types of "free" straight :-)
GPL -> free as in "free speech"
MS Internet Explorer -: free as in "free beer"
you have writtten "has half the vulnerabilities because it's not as widely used"
but the vulnerability is not less because of being not widely used! It is about the beginning of hte project and the development method, and also being GPL, not free beer but "opensurce and free milk shake" :) you know the ingredients and know that it won't make you cancer in the future ;)
khkremer, you are absolutely correct about "free speech". I guess my confusion is that: I was always told that when something is GPL, and happens to be free of charge, the only way someone could charge money for it legally is if they modified it OR were charging for distribution costs only. Therefore I assumed* that since these applications were available free of charge from their original authors that they would remain that way under the GPL as long as they were not modified. I guess I was incorrect in believing this/? Is there any truth to that under any License? *You know what they say about assume…

tolgadalkilic, I must agree with you also. Being widely used has nothing to do with the vulnerabilities any given software may contain. It does however, have a great deal to do with vulnerabilities being exposed to the public (the point I was trying to make). As for my statement: "has half the vulnerabilities because it's not as widely used" yes, that is a false statement. Yes, I made 2 B.S statements in 1 post. That’s not exactly how I meant it though, and I believe you knew that. Perhaps I should’ve said: "less vulnerability has been DISCOVERED with this software PARTLY because it's not as widely used". That would be a true statement, and yes, I do realize most of its strengths come from it’s method of development. At any rate, I am Sorry. It is my fault for not saying exactly what I meant. Guess I should start proofreading this stuff before I hit the button.

Regardless of my personal confusion, all of the aforementioned software can be obtained free of charge, legally. The main focus of this post as far as I can tell is to recommend good, secure, easy to use email server software, and I believe I ultimately did just that. I have tested it, and it is great software as far as I can tell. I didn’t mean to upset or mislead anyone. Thank you all for putting me “back in line”. Guess I’ll go and read the GPL for myself now…

Karl Heinz KremerCommented:
The problem with free beer is that you cannot use it and give it away as well. You only can do this with free speech.
djluffConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I use Exim (www.exim.org) for all my servers. It is easy to configure and easy to integrate with things like the clamav virus scanner and spam filters, which are both pretty important these days - especially if you are serving windows clients. Exim comes with redhat. If you use "yum", and the fedora.us archive, you can install exim and the clamav virus scanner with:

yum install exim clamav-server clamav-data clamav-update clamav-lib clamav
rfr1tzAuthor Commented:
Hi all,

Thanks a lot for all your comments. These are very helpful.


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