Settings up Email server

Kernels & Hardware, configuring network, installing services

Settings up Email server

Postby jalisco » 2018-10-21 18:01

Hello ladies and gentlemen,

I want to setup my own email server, on my home debian server. I am already running a website (have a FQDN), and static IP.

There are numerous "simple" tutorials for setting up Dovecot, Postfix, and Squirrelmail.

I will proceed cautiously.

Was thinking of the following steps (more or less):
1. install Postfix and Dovecot
2. turn them both off -- until they are configured to my liking.
3. test them locally, before setting up MX and A records for the mail.

My primary concern/question is:

I don't want email spammers/frauder/etc, to send email from my domain before I can properly set it up. Should I be concerned about this? How can I subvert this? I am not a sys administrator, so I am doing this for the first time, and trying to be careful.
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Re: Settings up Email server

Postby kedaha » 2018-10-21 21:41

Hi,
There are numerous tutorials out there for a postfix & dovecot email server. For "jessie" I used the tutorial at workaround.org but for current stable I followed this step-by-step-setting-up-mail-server guide, with a few modifications as detailed in my forum topic. The reason I changed from the excellent workaround tutorial was because I wanted to use postfixadmin to manage users, aliases and domains and, as a matter of principle, chose to install the stable version from debian's main repository rather than the downloaded version.
yes, I think you should thoroughly test the configuration before exposing your email sever to the 'net.
With regard to your questions I would recommend you read through the workaround tutorial and maybe even try it because it answers your questions about keeping the server safe.
Don't use squirrelmail because it's no longer maintained. I'd recommend using roundcube from Debian.
Mate DE & OSSv4.
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Words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality. Joseph Conrad.
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Re: Settings up Email server

Postby jalisco » 2018-10-22 07:11

Thanks for the info. I did not know that squirrelmail was no longer maintained, but I guess I will not use it then.

Again, thanks for the links, I will check them out.
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Re: Settings up Email server

Postby reinob » 2018-10-22 09:30

jalisco wrote:I want to setup my own email server, on my home debian server. I am already running a website (have a FQDN), and static IP.

but then
I am not a sys administrator, so I am doing this for the first time, and trying to be careful.


Do you have a compelling reason why you want to do this?
Mail server admin is, however private and/or low traffic it may be, something that requires your constant attention.
You have to learn and keep up with any security issues and you will run into problems when delivering e-mail (you have a static IP, but maybe the world -- the blacklists -- thinks your IP is private and hence "spammy"), plus you will have to sign up for "feedback loops" with the dev^H^H^H Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others.

If you really really want to go ahead with this, first configure your firewall to block any access to any port opened by postfix and dovecot. This way you can play with them ON YOUR LOCAL SUBNET while the Internet is unaware of what you're doing.

Luckily both dovecot and postfix have good (sane) defaults. But make sure your e-mail accounts have a good password (millions of bots will try to send e-mails (postfix sasl) and get your e-mails (dovecot)) plus something like fail2ban.

Make a plan of what you want to have (spam and/or virus filtering, DKIM signing, DKIM validation, SPF, SPF policy, DMARC, DMARC policy, greylisting, etc. etc.) and prepare that (mind, paper) before you even apt install postfix.

That should keep you busy for a while. Come back when you're ready :)
Good luck.
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Re: Settings up Email server

Postby jalisco » 2018-10-22 10:51

thanks for the information Reinob.

You threw a lot of keywords at me, that I didn't know, that I should know as I move forward, thanks for the advice. I will take it to heart.

I have gone through, and written down a few pages of things to be aware of, as I proceed (and, before I start), so you gave me valuable information to add to that list. I will just keep on figuring stuff out on paper.

I identified, straight away, that setting up email (properly) wasn't going to be a "slam-bam" job.

But, as a computer science student, it also shouldn't be outside the realm of my abilities, so it's doing as a learning experience.

It should never hurt to learn. =)
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