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Setting up a mail server

Suppose that we have access to the DNS for domain.com domain. In order to setup a mail server which can send and recieve emails in addresses ending in @part.domain.com, is it enough to add an A and an MX record for part.domain.com in the DNS entries, and to install Exchange server on the machine which is refered by those DNS records? The machine has a valid IP address.
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huji
Asked:
huji
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1 Solution
 
SembeeCommented:
Maybe.
You have to make the settings on the public DNS servers, not in the internal DNS servers.
Whether it works or not is up to how your DNS provider works. You need to speak to them.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
There is a DNS server which contains the information about alll .thatdomain.com subdomains. I thought adding a record on it could be the solution.
About the second part, is Exchange all what I need?
And a third section: After doing all above, can I ensure that emails sent from that address are not going directly to spam folder?
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SembeeCommented:
You will need to create a new zone for the sub domain first, then once the zone ha been added, create the hosts in that zone.
For a blah.domain.com you can create a host in the main domain.com zone. However to receive email @blah.domain.com will need a zone, particularly if the email is going to a different location.

Unclear what you are asking about Exchange. Exchange will cope with what every address you ask it so. As long as you put the sub domain in to recipient polices then it will accept email for that address.

As for you third question, which spam folder do you mean? Yours or those on remote sites?
If you mean remote folders, there is no guaranteed method of ensuring that your message doesn't get flagged as spam.
You can limit it by not sending HTML messages, ensuring that forward and reverse lookup is correct, by ensuring that the server announces itself correctly and not sending spam.
If you are on a DSL or dynamic IP address then you may well have to use your ISPs server to relay email through, rather than trying to send it directly.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
As for the first part, I'm not sure if I've understood that correctly. Is creating a new blah.domain.com zone (which type?), and adding the MX record in the DNS all what I need to enable blha.domain.com machine to recieve emails?
As for the second part, is it that I don't need Exchange to receive emails?
As for the third part,l I meant the spam folder on the remote side. The problem I faced was that when I used my ISP's email relay, the emails were sent to spam (because the IP of the computer originating the email was different from the IP of the SMTP relay server.) So I decided to setup a second Mail server machine, and send the emails from that to ensure they are not going to be sent to spam. Except for the item about having correct forward and reverse DNS entries, what else can help me in this?
Thanks a lot
Huji
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SembeeCommented:
Do yo run your own internet facing DNS servers?
I very much doubt it, as you should have two servers, that aren't active directory integrated, that are on two separate IP addresses, on two different subnets.
Therefore you need to speak to whoever manages the DNS servers for your domain about creating a new zone.

You do need Exchange to receive emails. I didn't say that you didn't.
However Exchange does need to be told via recipient policy that it is responsible for that domain. As far as Exchange is concerned email for @domain.com and @blah.domain.com are two different domains, so both need to be listed in the recipient policy.

Using your ISPs SMTP server as the relay server would not have been responsible for the messages being flagged as spam. If you are on a dynamic IP address then many ISPs will not accept your email message being delivered directly and will want the message to come through your ISPs SMTP server - as that is what it is there for!
If your ISP hasn't setup the server correct with reverse DNS etc then that is something that they need to worry about. You don't have to use your ISPs server, you could relay through another - there are plenty of relay services on the Internet.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Well I don't have direct access to the DNS, but I reckon I can manage it to make the administrator do the changes we require.
With their current settings, they have an SMTP relay server with an IP, say aaa.aaa.aaa.100, and a web server (through which people can login and send emails from their @domain.com addresses) whose IP is different, say aaa.aaa.aaa.105
We have a windows 2003 server machine, whose IP is, say aaa.aaa.aaa.200; what I want to do is to make it the mail server for a new subdomain, blah.domain.com, so I can send and receive emails from/to @blah.domain.com addresses.
Now about the spam part (about which I have another question open in EE now): When I use their web server and login and send an email, it is sent to SPAM folder in GMail or Yahoo recipient accounts. Looking at the information GMail gives out, the letter is sent to spam because the valid sender address for the SMTP server is aaa.aaa.aaa.105, while all emails are originated from the web server machine with a different IP. Experts on EE have told me that they need to set up an SPF entry on their DNS to fix it. But I'm not sure if they will do this, because this is something relating to their domain address. However, I think I may have the power to make them setup a zone for us (blah.domain.com) and set all the DNS enteries to refer to the windows 2003 machine which is fully under my control. Then I want to send the emails from this machine.
These are all just theory. Actually, my intent for asking this question was 'also' to learn some basics of mail server installation.
Hope you have understood the issue completely.
Please advise
Huji
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SembeeCommented:
While setting an SPF record is a good idea, it isn't the fix for all problems that some experts on this site seem to think. Anyone who bases their spam filtering on the presence of SPF records is foolish, as the adoption rate isn't high enough.

Sending and receiving emails on different IP addresses is perfectly possible - and the fact that you send emails from different IP addresses shouldn't cause a problem.
However you do need to ensure that the DNS is set correctly, that the forward and reverse DNS is set and that the server announces itself correctly. Ideally all three should match - if they do, then you shouldn't have any problems with email delivery.

I have what should be set outlined on my web site: http://www.amset.info/exchange/dnsconfig.asp

If the DNS servers are administered by someone else, then just ask them to make the changes that are required and leave it them to sort out how it is done.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Worthful link, Simon. I'll have a meeting with the administrator today, both to fix their problem, and to create a zone for us.
Thanks
Huji
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Simon,
would you please help me with the problem I have asked here ( http://www.experts-exchange.com/Applications/Email/Q_21831208.html ) as well? All emails sent from @razi.tums.ac.ir and @student.tums.ac.ir addresses are directly sent to spam, while these addresses are not in black lists. Seems it needs a DNS fix. The mail server is a Fedora based. Please post in the linked question.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Dear every one,
After negotiating with the administrator of that domain, we ended up with setting up a fresh domain name for our own. I have registered the domain name and I'm now going to prepare a server for it.
I want to: setup a mail server system (like Exchange or whatever better option you have, which can work on a Windows 2003 server,) and setup a web interface so people can check mails on that server, and create a few accounts on that mail server.
please advise (as I'm totally a newbie)
Huji
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SembeeCommented:
Depends what you want from an email server.
If you need the collaboration features then you have to look at Exchange.
If you just need something that you can collect email from using POP3/IMAP and a web interface, then there are loads of products on the market that are much cheaper than Exchange and will sit on Windows 2003. Merak Icewarp, SmarterMail etc all spring to mind.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
OK. I'm doing some tests in a test environment. I simply installed POP3 and SMTP on a fresh Windows 2003 server, and added two accounts. They can send mail from Outlook express, but they can not recieve any. They fail to login. Here is the error message:

I'm sure I use the same username and password for the account in POP3 manager and in Outlook Experss. I looked into windows help but didn't find the problem.
Please advise
Huji
PS: For the moment, we only need a way to send recieve emails through POP3/IMAP/Web interface.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Shoot! I missed the error message:
There was a problen logging onto your mail server. your Password was rejected. Account: 'test.domain.com', server: 'test.domain.com', Protocol: POP3, Server Response: '-ERR Logon Failure', Port: 110, Secure(SSL): No, Server Error: 0x800CCC90, Error Number:0x0800CC92
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SembeeCommented:
You don't get any web interface with the built in POP3/SMTP services, so you will be stuck with Outlook Express etc.

What format are you trying to authenticate in?

username
domain\username?

something else?

Is the machine a member of the domain?

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Simon,
There is only one machine thre, which is not a domain controller in my example. (The example is run using Virtual PC, on my laptop.) That machine has a zone defined on its DNS, and the required MX record is added. The authentication mode used in POP3 settings is encrypted password file.
Please advise
Huji
PS: Please also advise about installing a basic web interface.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
Any idea?
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SembeeCommented:
There is no basic web interface to install. If you want a web interface you will have to look to a third party product that replaces the POP3/SMTP service, such as SmarterMail or Merek Icewarp.

No idea what you mean about an encrypted password file. When I have this up in the past I have just created user accounts on the machine and then mail enabled them.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
>> reated user accounts on the machine and then mail enabled them.
Please notice that the machine I'm speaking about is "not" a domain controller for the domain of mail addresses. I think it was a DC in your case, right?
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SembeeCommented:
Nope. It was a Windows 2003 Web Edition server that hosts a client's web site. Workgroup only.

Simon.
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hujiAuthor Commented:
All right simon. I'll need to give it a second try, in a more realistic environment. I'll let you as soon as I get the time to test it.
Thanks a lot for being with me all the way.
Huji
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hujiAuthor Commented:
For some technical reasons, this project is postponed to a later time. I award you with a grade of B, standing for solutions which lead the asker to the answer.
Thanks for your participation.
Huji
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