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Local E-mail Server


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#1 Squintz

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 11:26 AM

Im just curious how local e-mail servers work. Say a home pc users like myself wants to run an e-mail server to handle ONLY his or her e-mails. Can it be done using an ISP such as Comcast Cable. Im not sure what the requirements are. For example what ports need to be open? How do i find out if comcast allows trafic over those ports? What software can i run and is it free? How do i tie in the e-mail account to Outlook so that i can get the e-mail instantly and how can i setup pop3 stuff so i can access the same acount from the web if need be.

If anyone knows how to do this it would make a great how-to.

#2 Dan (electron)

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 11:34 AM

in order to be able to receive mail for your own domain on your own mail server, you need to be able accept SMTP traffic (inbound 25/tcp). Most broadband providers do not allow this as this is usually exploited by spammers and worms, so I doubt you will be able to do it that way (and is usually a violation of your TOS anyways)

Now there is software out there (and free too) that can download the mail from your pop accounts , and put it in mailboxes so you can download it from your local mail server, but not sure if the benefits are worth the hassle. Last but not least, you could also use a service such as zoneedit.com which can send all mail sent to a certain domain to an individual mailbox, and some other cool things, for free.

#3 Guy Lavoie

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 01:00 PM

In the same general subject matter, I'm looking for a free VB control or source code that would allow my VB application to send email with an attachment. I have found several on the net but they only work with SMTP servers that do not require authentication. If anyone knows of one that supports authentication as well, I'd like to take a look at it. This is for my ongoing pbx project.

#4 theAberdeenKid

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Posted 07 September 2004 - 01:21 PM

If I read your post correctly you want to host your own email server. This isn't hard to do and can be done for little or no money.
I myself run my own email server at home, though I use MS Exchange 2000. This is an expensive program but I am a consultant and Microsoft partner so I have a NFR version I use for testing and performance issues...anyway I digress.

Basic Run Down:
You will need your own unique domain or sub domain name: i.e. Domain= www.yourdomain.com sub-Domain= yourdomain.hostcompany.com

You will need to choose your platform flavor, Windows or Linux. Both platforms have good software developed for running an email server. Windows is generally easier to setup up but the hardware requirements are high and the software is expensive. Linux needs a bit of expertise to set up and maintain but the hardware requirements are minimal and the cost is low or free. A third choice is an appliance such as a Toshiba Magnia SG20.
http://www.pricegrab.....h=magnia sg20
I have one of these for use as my firewall and I think it’s pretty darn good. It runs Linux but has a web interface and is generally easy to configure. (Though I don’t run the Toshiba firewall software I choose another more robust Linux product) It also has a built in email server which I don't use. But if you don’t want to spend a few hundred bucks then I would stay away from the appliance option.
Once you have your platform choice you will need a PC with the basic hardware requirements that is needed to run whatever email server software you are going to use.
Then you are going to need to have the outside world 'see' your host server. Then you need to be able to send and receive traffic to that host server. Outgoing email usually is not a problem, with reference to DNS, because by design a DNS server has to answer all queries that it receives. So you can use just about any DNS servers (unless they are blocking traffic on that respective port) I use Cablevisions and AT&T’s for my outbound traffic. Incoming is a bit tricky because you need to have the host network (such as Comcast) forward traffic to your specific static IP pipe. And since Comcast isn't going to do that for free you will need to use a service called dynamic DNS. Once you have accomplished this you can now send and receive email on your own server.

Here is a link to a Google search for dynamic DNS services.

http://www.google.co.....2dynamic dns"


What they do is basically set up a dynamic IP address to a static hostname. In English that means they make your server's IP appear to the DNS Host servers to be static and hence will be able to forward traffic to your server. Since you are using Comcast as your ISP chances are they are blocking port 25. This basically stunts spammers and such but also keep people from running their own email servers. Fret not; you can use a MailHop Relay which allows you to relay incoming mail to a mail server on a non-standard port. This is also usually offered by the dynamic DNS providers.

These are the basics in a watered down form. This reply was meant to give you a quick overview of what you will need to do to accomplish your goal. It is by no means meant to be comprehensive or a step by step tutorial.


So here are your steps.

Registrar a unique domain name (or use a sub-domain from a dynamic DNS provider)
Find your email server software. ( or appliance: skip step 2 )
Install it on a PC that has at least the minimal hardware requirements.
Setup a dynamic DNS account.
Email your heart out.

#5 huggy59

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Posted 08 September 2004 - 03:08 PM

Guy, you can use something like BLAT ( a command-line SMTP mail utility) to do your emailing for you, though it is not VB code.


Squintz, No matter what you do for a local email server, you may still run into problems if you wish to send through that server and not through your ISP's email server and you use cable or residential DSL or dialup services. That's because there are listings of the IP address pools associated with DSL, dialup, and cable ISPs that are registered in what's known as the RBLs - Realtime Black Lists. These RBLs were devised as a way to curb spam by having email servers onthe receiving end check at connection time to see if incoming email was being delivered by authorized and known mail servers. one of the RBLs is the DSL/dialup/cable IP pool. If you send from a local email server to a system that checks these sources, you'll get something like this:

Your message did not reach some or all of the intended recipients.

Subject: XYZ
Sent: 9/8/2004 12:12 PM

The following recipient(s) could not be reached:

Your Recipient (E-mail) on 9/8/2004 12:12 PM
There was a SMTP communication problem with the recipient's email server. Please contact your system administrator.
<mailserver.yourdomain.com #5.5.0 smtp;550 rejected because 123.45.67.89 is in a black list at rbl-plus.mail-abuse.org>


That makes it less practical to have your own email server if you want the reply addresses to look like they are coming from your domain. More and more ISPs are using the RBLs, and there are even non-commerical ones to use for hobbyists. The one good reason I see for using your own email server is to allow fine control over filtering of your domain email as the email connection is made from other mail servers. And believe me, administrating an email server in this day and age of spam is a pain in the butt if you have active accounts, but you do learn how poorly designed and implemented email can be.

#6 Guy Lavoie

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 01:24 PM

huggy59, BLAT appears to be exactly what I was looking for. A quick test from the command line shows that it works with my email provider's authentication method. A simple "Shell" command invokes it from within VB. Thanks!

#7 Dan (electron)

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 02:45 PM

is Blat free? It has been a while since I have used it, I might add that to the useful tools library.

#8 Guy Lavoie

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 03:47 PM

Yes, its free. Just go to: http://www.blat.net




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