Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

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kedaha
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Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#1 Post by kedaha »

The title is taken from the introduction to the ISPmail guide for Debian Bullseye, which goes on to say:
My motivation is to get more people away from centralized email services. The internet wasn’t meant to run on services offered by only few monopolistic companies. People have become lazy and stopped caring. But running your own server must not become a forgotten art. As IT managers blindly follow the hype to put everything into the “cloud” we sysadmins get stupider by the day. If the trend continues only few people will know how to run a mail server while everyone else is degrading into stupid consumers. Don’t let that happen to you.
I kind of think he's right but it would be nice to see a little bit more interest in the subject on these boards...

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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#2 Post by NFT5 »

kedaha wrote: 2022-01-10 22:24 I kind of think he's right but it would be nice to see a little bit more interest in the subject on these boards...
I agree completely. This forum should not just be about solving newbies' problems but include much more of how we actually use Debian. The good thing is that the change of management makes this not only possible, but more likely. A little encouragement for those who want to detail what they're doing will go a long way.

The ever more frequent number of attacks on commercial and government web sites, who should have state of the art protection, but don't, means that I have ever decreasing faith in anyone else to keep my data secure. I do have a gmail account, but generally don't use it. I do use a service called Blur from www.abine.com . Being able to give out unique email addresses (that can be turned off) very quickly identifies those I've dealt with who consider my worth in how much they can sell my information for.

So, the concept of running my own mail server appeals. In fact I'm part way through the process, having set up the hardware (which I'd originally intended to be SBCs, but the availability of a suitable desktop made that economic decision for me) and will run the various services in virtual machines. Back in the days before virus infections were reported daily I used to travel domestically and overseas and I'd like to do that again. Having email and other access to my server will be most useful when I'm away.

That does look like a nice simple tutorial. I've bookmarked it.

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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#3 Post by kedaha »

Thanks, NFT5 for your reply.

It would be impossible to set up an email server without a good, up-to-date step-by-step guide and there's very good official documentation for all the software components for postfix, dovecot and roundcube etc to fine-tune the basic set-up.

There's discussion of the subject at discuss.freedombox.org/t/email-server-progress but a self-hosted mail server, even if set up automatically to work out-of-the-box by freedombox, could not be used "for production"; without a static IP and DNS ptr record, most sent email gets rejected; however. I think that working through such a guide–a fun thing to do on a rainy day, if you like that kind of thing–is one of the best ways to learn (my reason for doing it), systems administration. Although far from ideal, it can be done using a dynamic IP and a free subdomain; see, for example wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Manual/DynamicDNS, before deciding whether or not to rent a cheap virtual server or use a paid email service, while using your own hobbyist email server for family and friends.

I used the ISPMail setup in Jessie, Stretch & Buster but for my current setup in Bullseye, I adapted the following linuxbabe guides for Ubuntu to Debian: Part_1,Part_2,Part_3,Part_4. I installed all packages from the Debian repository, including roundcube and postfixadmin, having backported the latter myself from testing to stable. The reason I changed was because I wanted to use postfixadmin, but I hadn't seen, yajrendrag's postfixadmin guide for ISPMail, posted at github, for use with Buster, which very likely can be adapted to bullseye.

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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#4 Post by LE_746F6D617A7A69 »

NFT5 wrote: 2022-01-11 05:29 (..) This forum should not just be about solving newbies' problems but include much more of how we actually use Debian.
+1
Maybe a new section called "Debian tweaks" or "Debian users projects" ?

Motivation:
Debian is an "Universal Operating System" - Universal OS is not personalized, nor tuned for some sophisticated use cases - advanced users are usually modifying the OS for their specific needs (similarly to Debian-blends). Many of such modifications are involving clever/interesting tweaks, which could be shared on this forums.

Regards

EDIT: The "HowTo" section is not covering the above idea, because it is dedicated to things like "How to to install an upstream version of _blah_", etc.
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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#5 Post by NFT5 »

kedaha wrote: 2022-01-11 10:52 It would be impossible to set up an email server without a good, up-to-date step-by-step guide and there's very good official documentation for all the software components for postfix, dovecot and roundcube etc to fine-tune the basic set-up.
Not impossible, but certainly difficult, unless you were a mail server sysadmin.

I've been looking at Freedombox and it certainly has many features, possibly too many? I have a static IP and emails will go from senders to my web site hosting server or my ISP email server and I'll just download from those, meaning that the only access from outside will be me coming in on a VPN to pick up emails or files on the server that I may need. So, that set of problems is taken care of. Right now I'm researching the pros and cons of a DMZ - my router supports it but I may need some extra network card(s) in the server - still going on that.

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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#6 Post by reinob »

Please note that although setting up your own e-mail server to *receive* (incoming) e-mails at your domain is a trivial matter, the difficulty is in setting up (and maintaining) your own e-mail server to *deliver* (outgoing) messages to the outside.

The decision whether or not to accept an incoming message is (obviously) on the receiving side, but when you are sending, you cannot (obviously) control that :)

Given that many large providers (google, microsoft, yahoo, ...) block whatever *they* want to block, the initial project of setting up a simple server "for friends and family" quickly turns into a frustrating expierence, both for the admin (you) as well as for your "friends and family", who cannot understand why their e-mails are not being received, or are landing at the spam folder of the receiver.

That said, I do have my own server, and while you have to keep an -- daily -- eye on it, it does work quite nicely :) so if you have the resources *and time* to dedicate to it, then I can recommend it..

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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#7 Post by kedaha »

Thanks for your replies.
I set up my own self-hosted mail server as an exercise which certainly involved much looking at logs and editing configuration files, particularly for roundcube and postfixadmix before everything worked without glitches.
Of course it cannot be used as a substitute for a recognised email account but it can be used without problems for family & friends providing senders and recipients also have accounts and they've been told not to rely on it to send mail elsewhere. A solution on the lines of a postfix SMTP Relay, as written about here looks interesting but at the present time one cannot guarantee that mail from a hobbyist, self-hosted mail server will reach its destination as reinob has explained.

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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#8 Post by argentwolf »

kedaha wrote: 2022-01-10 22:24 The title is taken from the introduction to the ISPmail guide for Debian Bullseye, which goes on to say:
"Filter out spam. (We will not deal with detection of Wind*ws malware though.)"

A morsel of food for thought and a potential rub; being intentionally complicit in the spread of malicious code, knowing 10,000+ new such 'payloads' are discovered daily...
It would've reasoned better if the site and this 'introduction' would've simply suggested looking into a perimeter defense (e.g., https://www.untangle.com/) (Debian based) to address the main issue which plagues emails (i.e., Windows malware). Email is the primary perpetrator [medium] of disruption across our binary realm. While having ones own email server is empowering, there's a unspoken responsibility in the exchange of .html and .css messages most are unawares...and affects the majority of interweb users across the plane[t].
As far as Untangle (UT), repurposing an older PC and adding additional NIC(s) is an amazing low-cost solution (I've used UT for 12+ yrs. and recommend deploying such to all my clients). Personally in my Home Office I've 2 separate WAN's and 3 isolated LAN's...running on a Pentium(R) Dual-Core w/3GB RAM with all the bells and whistles offered. https://wiki.untangle.com/index.php/Har ... quirements

Edit:
Yes, that's 5 NIC's...
Last edited by argentwolf on 2022-01-14 15:20, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stop using public freemail/cloud services like G**gle Mail!

#9 Post by kedaha »

What your mail server can do
[ ...]

Filter out spam. (We will not deal with detection of Wind*ws malware though.)[... ]
The other guide referenced does deal with it though: linuxbabe.com
There's a big difference between running a miniscule hobbyist mail serve set up as an exercise, for limited use and and a mail server for production. To quote the author of the ISPMail guide:
A server that runs with Debian Bullseye. 1 GB of RAM and a 20 GB disk/SSD is fine for your friends and family.
I think there simply wouldn't be enough memory for everything, including Amavis and ClamAV; it would grind to a halt. For a production server, of course, one would have to cater for Wind*ws users.

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