April 11, 2004

Setting up my mail server

Mac OS X 10.3 includes the Postfix , a low level email server utilty for sending and receiving mail. Prior version of OS X relied on Sendmail for this task, but Postfix is superior in a number of ways, mainly performance and security.

Since I was setting up a site under my own domain name, I though that it'd be nice to set up my own mail server, fully under my own control. To help in this, I'm using a great utility called Postfix Enabler .

Postfix Enabler lets you activate Postfix under OS X, and configure it for both sending and receiving mail. Many folks have set their systems up to simply allow them to sent mail and bypass the outgoing mail servers on networks they're connected to. This is primarily useful for mobile users who connect to the internet at a variety of locations, and may not always be able to determine the proper mail settings needed. Some ISPs or corporate networks may only allow outgoing mail traffic to pass through their own servers, so your mileage may vary.

I've elected to set this up for incoming mail only, and use my ISP's own outgoing mail server, there is no real advantage in setting up my own for that. But, since I'm running my own mail server, my primary concern will be spam. No, not that tasty meat from Hormel , I'm talking about junk mail. Over on the right hand side I've got a few links to some sites that were very helpful in getting Postfix set up to filter junk mail, and the excellent spam blocker Spamhaus, all of which help to keep unwanted mail from even appearing in my In Box to begin with.

Since I'm not receiving any mail right now, it's a bit hard to check how well this is working, but I'll report back over the next few weeks as mail starts to roll in and detail my findings.

One word of caution, the settings I've selected to perform some fairly strict checking of the mail protocols used between servers to communicate. Spammers and virus writers are notorious for not following standards, topping even writers of Windoze applications, so the checks I have in place should filter out a good bit of unwanted mail before the actual checks for spam even kick in. There's a good chance that some 'legitimate' mail might get bounced from misconfigured mail servers or Windoze users, but I think I can live with that.

Posted by Jim at April 11, 2004 7:44 PM | TrackBack