Mail Server Alternative?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by l008com, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. l008com macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I'm setting up a new server. And with the death of "OS X Server" aka "", I've been doing everything by hand. Which isn't that bad at all really. apache config is super intuitive. Setting up a VPN server is very easy too. Configuring `pf` firewall is oddly quirky but has an easy config once you shake out all the bugs.

    It's all easy (if a little time consuming).
    But that brings it to Mail. I've run Mail servers under OS X Server since 10.3. It's been very easy. Now that that's gone, I'm a little lost. I don't really know where to begin. I've never set up my own mail servers by hand. Do I just need to install dovecot and postfix via Homebrew? Are there other pieces you need? Is there a better way to do this entirely?

    The other problem here is that it's virtually impossible to search for help on this topic. There are about 90 million help articles on the web about setting up mail accounts in mail clients. That is always what you get when trying to search for setting up a mail server on a Mac.
  2. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    I must confess that I have no experience with Postfix + Dovecot on the Mac, specifically, but installing the software via Homebrew, if that's an option sounds like a good start. Then you only have to worry about "the rest", which as it turns out is quite a lot.

    For setting up Postfix + Dovecot manually, I usually refer people to the excellent ISPMail Tutorials. They're aimed at a Debian host, but most of the stuff should be easily translatable. Of course if you no longer have a need to run macOS specifically, you might well find it easier to simply set up a VM running an appropriate Debian release and not have to think about platform inconsistencies when follow the guide.
  3. l008com thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Much to my surprise, Postfix isn't in Homebrew. And the version that comes with El Capitan is pretty old. Now I remember why I've always told customers of mine not to run their own mailserver. But still, I must run my own.
  4. hobowankenobi, Oct 29, 2018
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2015
    on the land line mr. smith.
  5. thisismyusername macrumors 6502

    Nov 1, 2015
    Good luck :) The only people I know who (successfully) run their own *nix mail servers are pretty much grey beards by this point and have been doing it for over 20 years on FreeBSD/Linux/etc. Security, spam filters, etc, it's a major pain in the ass. I'd just let Google or someone else do the job for me.
  6. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    Hey, I’ve only got a few grey strands! ;)

    It’s not hard, but you need to think before you leap with these things; that’s all, really.
  7. l008com thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2004
    I've been doing it very successfully myself since probably 2004 or so. I'm not going to be starting from scratch. All the various DNS pieces are already properly in place. I just need to get the server software running reliably. I'm going to play around with a few different options today on a VM.
  8. Geeky Chimp macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2015
    So, Mail in OS X Server was Postfix, Dovecot, Amavis, Spamassassin, ClamAV and Mailman. All of these packages are available from MacPorts ( most aren’t included in Homebrew, even though I prefer Homebrew ) .
    We are switching, where possible, to Kerio Connect for Mail, even though it has licensing costs it’s a great product.
    We do have a need for ‘free’ mail server software for many of our users though so for those we are going to go down the MacPorts route to install the packages and link Postfix and Dovecot to MySQL / MariaDB for easier configuration.
    Hope that helps!
  9. l008com thread starter macrumors member

    Jan 20, 2004
    Yeah I had lots of people tell me to go with Homebrew over MacPorts. I saved the mail server for last, and now I'm finding that Homebrew doesn't have anything and MacPorts has everything. I figured every package manager would have all the major pieces of software, but apparently not. I don't really want to uninstall everything form homebrew then reinstall it all from macports. Will there be any collisions or issues if I use macports and homebrew at the same time?
    I really don't want to use the built in Postfix. I'm sure my whole mail sever will get knocked off line every time theres a security update from Apple :/
  10. Geeky Chimp macrumors regular

    Jun 3, 2015
    I have run several Mac Servers that have had both Homebrew and MacPorts installed. I don’t think it’s recommended but I don’t remember any issues when I did it for a couple of packages.
  11. Mikael H macrumors 6502a

    Sep 3, 2014
    They pretty much stay out of each other's way (they stick to different philosophies on how/where to install software). The main drawback with running them both would be purely administrative: you'll be better off if you remember what package you've installed using which system to avoid later confusion.

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10 October 28, 2018