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  1.    #1  
    I need a little input.

    I have the luxury of servers and unlimited bandwidth in a datacenter. I have the luxury of being savvy enough to run my own servers and any software application. What I don't have is a good email server solution for my personal domain.

    I currently forward my gmail, yahoo and hotmail to a fastmail account and that meets my needs fine for public email addresses. But I like to host my own email server for my personal domain for friends, family, and secure correspondence.

    I've used a dozen different packages, and nothing quite meets my needs. I don't really want to run Exchange, because it has sooo much overhead for one person with one domain, or even a few people with a few domains.

    I want POP and IMAP.

    I want SSL support.

    I want IMAP to support the IDLE command.

    I want web access to my inbox.

    I want to store an email archive of 2-5 GB and be able to access it remotely when and if I need to.

    I'd prefer a Windows solution since I have expert knowledge on Windows platforms but only intermediate knowledge on *nix/bsd platforms.

    I don't want to pay much for it, if at all.

    I realize that some of these requirements are mutually exclusive.

    I'm asking in this forum, because the only thing driving this change is I'd like push email to ChatterMail, and I'm curious if anyone else is doing the same thing. It sounds like the only discussed solution has been using an isp or host that supports the IMAP IDLE command. As I said, that's fine for public mail but I prefer to host my own personal/professional mail.
  2. ssrjazz's Avatar
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    If you want good and free, I'd run a linux or bsd server with cyrus imapd, squirrelmail, apache, and php installed. .. and I do..and it works well. I don't have need for the imap idle command because I don't use chattermail, but cyrus imapd does support it. Squirrelmail is a php based web email solution. Works very well.

    However, the fine folks at Eudora (Qualcomm) seem to have a relatively inexpensive product that would do it all in one package: Worldmail

    You can find more info on it here:

    Entry cost for server only (no anti-virus or anti-spam addons) that supports up to 25 users is $350.

    Quite reasonable for Windows software.
  3. #3  
    Try Mailenable
    Adam West
  4. #4  
    I've used MDaemon for years, I highly, highly recommend it. Check out a trial version from
  5. ptyork's Avatar
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    Try out Mercury/32 from It is free and seems to be pretty robust. I think it supports the IDLE command, but I'm not 100% sure. If you ever worked in a Netware 3/4 environment, you probably know the developer, David Harris, as he had by far the most popular e-mail system for that environment (Pegasus Mail). The only bad thing I can see about this product is that it requires that you use something like SRVANY to make it run as a service. Also, it is free, not open-source, so the source isn't available and updates are rare.

    I've actually done quite a bit of looking for a free, Win32-based IMAP server and this is the only one I've found. I've even looked hard in the Java community to find something. Personally, I do run Exchange for my personal mail. I agree 100% that it is WAY overkill and quite the pig. I'd love to find something else, as well (though I do really love the 2003 version of Outlook Web Access--way better than any IMAP-based web product out there currently). Anyway, good luck.

  6. ptyork's Avatar
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    Hmm, I did a bit more research. There's a new (I say new because I didn't find it 8 months ago despite many hours of searching) open source Win32 alternative available now that looks pretty good called hMailServer. See Also looks like there's a "new" Java product out now, as well. Check out I also see that there are other free Win32 product that might work at and, though I'm not a fan of free but not open source (which includes David Harris' stuff above) since you can't really see what you are getting and you are open to the whims of the developer(s).

    Post back here if you try one or more of these out. I may be trying out hMailServer myself...

  7. ptyork's Avatar
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    Well, if anyone cares, I tried out all of these. David Harris' Mercury32 doesn't support the IDLE command and likely won't. Both hMailServer and Dwarf look like nice products, but neither supports the IDLE command at the moment (hMailServer has it on its proposed features list so maybe soon). I couldn't get the tglsoft (Hamster) product to work worth beans. The Macallan product DOES support the IDLE command, but seems pretty flaky. I could get it to work with Chatter, but it caused Outlook to crash consistently. Certainly not a product that I would use in production.


    I guess there are no reliable, full-featured, and *free* IMAP servers for the Windows platform. For me, I'll continue to stick with Exchange and its piggie ways for the time being. Oh well...

  8.    #8  
    Thanks all for the suggestions. Yes, pytork, I've reviewed each of those too. Think I'm going to throw together an OpenBSD or FreeBSD server and strip it down for security purposes and try some of the open source IMAP servers while I go about trying to obtain a copy of Exchange.

    I still want a solid, free, Windows based solution just on principle. I'm going to keep looking and will post back here.
  9. ssrjazz's Avatar
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    Not to sound like a jerk but 'Free' and 'Windows' are two mutually exclusive terms.

    If you get a *BSD up and going with the free stuff it will work...and work well. I think you'll be happy with it.

    If you're using sendmail you may want to look into setting up spamassassin with MIME-DEFANG as a milter...and also milter-greylist Should keep your spam down to a minimum
  10.    #10  
    No doubt, ssrjazz. And "free" isn't really my objective so much as "cost efficient". Much as people like to MS bash, some MS products have the best Total Cost of Ownership. I'm of the opinion that Exchange is one of the strongest email products out there these days for most scenarios, but it definitely aint cost efficient.

    I'm actually not familiar with the latest *nix/bsd based spam filters. Thanks, I'll check out spamassassin and those filters.
  11. ssrjazz's Avatar
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    It always makes me laugh when someone starts talking about TCO on Windows vs *nix


    I suppose it all depends on your expertise and experience.

    See... I have to deal with both Windows and Unix servers. And I 'm very experienced in both. By far tho, the TCO on my *nix servers is FAR less than that of the Windows machines. They require less maintenance and less attention. My *nix boxes are set up and 'just work' and they keep working unless I have a hardware failure or upgrade. The windows boxes need patching and rebooting far more often, aren't as stable (tho, I -do- have some extremely stable (for) windows servers). I think microsoft would call that "Job Security" I suppose. *laugh* j/k

    I'll bite my tongue about Exchange, tho.

    Most anything "Micro$oft" is a dirty word around here where I work. We're trying to get away from the M$ Tax as much as possible =) But then, we're Local Government, so we -do- try to save taxpayers money whenever we can.

    What windows has going for it is that, in the low level server market, it's a commodity item now. "How can we have prices this low?!.. VOLUME VOLUME VOLUME!" That and (no offense if you are one) MSCE's are a dime a dozen. Most of them aren't worth the paper it's printed on, however. Most *nix guys know their *nix (and networking and many other things) backwards and forwards. Not that there aren't -some- Windows guys who are knowledgeable and know their stuff...but...I have yet to meet one. =) Linux has been slowly eroding M$'s market share to the point where they now acknowledge it as a threat. The next few more years will be interesting to see.

    There IS one piece of M$ software I have always liked tho. NetMeeting. That was always a solid, relatively bloat-free piece of software that worked very well.

    Spamassassin is highly regarded as one of the best anti-spam packages out there. Most other *nix anti-spam products use it internally and are just mainly a friendlier front end for it. Unfortunately for me, the spammers were always one step ahead. By the time I got spamassassin trained on one type of spam, an entirely NEW type would pop up. I finally implemented grey-listing last night... that seems to have put the kibosh 99.999999999% of what spamassassin and the RBL's I'm using miss.

    edit: Spamassassin is one of the best out there? best what?...needed to fix that
  12.    #12  
    Wow. Been awhile since I've been in the *nix vs windows argument. You're quite right on several points; yes, it's all about experience and expertise - not many people can think in both platforms. Yes, many MS solutions can be expensive. Some are cheaper. Once upon a time I was responsible for migrating many thousands of web servers for a certain free email website from FreeBSD to Windows 2000. Which implementation was *better* in retrospect? Both. And neither. We could talk all day about that. Yes, I've met quite a few incompetent MCSEs. I've met quite a few ***** *nix admins too. Not to mention a staggering number of worthless comp sci grads. Again though, each of those folk had a particular skillsets applicable to an appropriate situation. Software is the same.

    I've known spamassassin was one of the leaders, but just haven't played with any of them in awhile. I think you hit the nail on the head in that no matter how good a spam filter you get, there will always be new spam techniques. Rather than rely on any one piece of technology, I've always opted for other techniques like rules, forwarders, obscurity accounts, aliases, and yes, greylisting. I'm sure most people reading this do pretty much the same thing.

    Back on topic, have any of you had any experience with Argosoft mail server?
  13.    #13  
    Answering my own thread. I really did do a search, but somehow missed this suggestion:

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