OSX server email push

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by Arkangil, Oct 1, 2013.

  1. Arkangil macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    Hi all,

    I run a small business. We used to use Google Apps free business for contacts, calendar, and email. However Google has shut down ActiveSync for free clients on all new devices. As we upgrade our iphones and ipads, we will have to switch over to the paid version. With the number of email accounts we have, it will be expensive.

    I am considering a mac mini with OSX server to run push email (and to a lesser extent calendar and contacts).

    If I proceed with this, as I understand it, the server will push our domain emails out to our devices as google used to.

    If that is the case, where are emails stored? With google, we could always log into the google apps website to see our emails and go back in history longer than our devices hold. Is there something similar for the server?

    Also, do we need to have a static IP to run this, or will dynamic be fine?

    Anything else specific I need to know to do this? Pitfalls or things to watch for?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    With OS X server the emails, contacts and calendars are stored on the server itself. It will push all of those, but only to iOS devices (no android or windows phones). Those phones call still use OS X server, but they will not receive it via push (they will have to poll).

    For email you must have a static IP as well as a purchased domain name for you company. You will want to ensure you have all DNS records setup correctly as well.

    As far as i know, apple removed webamil from OS X server. But you can start the web server and install something like roundcube or squirrel mail.
  3. Arkangil, Oct 2, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013

    Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    Thanks for the reply, sounds like this option might work well.

    If it's used as a file server as well, what "apps" on iOS could be used to access. I use Dropbox right now, and it's tidy app. Does OSX server have something similar, or no?

    Installing one of those webmail apps might work well, even if it's rarely used. The other thing I use with google is the chat. Is there a free web based chat server for osx server? I will research myself, but I figured it can't hurt if you know one off the top of your head.

    I guess hypothetically, I could run my website off of this server as well, if I have a static IP?

    Possibly my last question. Anyone have instructions on transferring email accounts from Google Apps over to an OSX email server?
  4. alain651, Oct 2, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2013

    alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    I have been running a MacMini server since SL 10.6, Lion 10.7, ML 10.8 for my Home Media Server, share music/video, hosting my personal websites, file sharing, VPN, and email for family with a Dynamic IP address.

    A Mac Mini server will met all your requirement, but it need to be properly setup with DNS, IP address, and Domain Name...

    File Sharing & VPN, you can have access to all your files on your server, control access for each users, anywhere with a internet connection for your Computers & iOS devices.

    I recommend iOS: Filebrower is excellent, and GoodReader for iPad has been very good to have access to your file on the server from an iOS devices.

    You will need to create a User name for each employees and email address...
    like: johndoe@yourcompany.com

    Some ISP, you will need to Relay your outgoing mail throughout their ISP, so have email access to outside mail...

    I do not know if you can transfer your google email.. the other option is each user will need to forward all their mail to their new email accounts.

    An other very important, is to backup your server and make a clone, CCC is a good program.

    If you have many employees, for speed & effectiveness you may want to setup one MacMini server as your main server for all your services and one Mac Mini as your mail-server controlling only your mail. "same domain name"

    Just buy one, or setup a test drive to learn and play first...
    www.lynda.com have good video on Mac Server to learn...

    other options Mac Mini hosting company for security:

    All the Best!
  5. stukdog macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2004
    I agree. The Mac mini should do you well.

    This has actually been a very popular topic since Google cut off the push emails. Hard to give that up.
  6. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    There is a app call FileBrowser to view file shares on iOS devices.

    You don't need a static IP for websites if you use dyndns, but you will need one for email. (Most ISP's block mail on dynamic addresses)

    OS X server has a messages (chat) server built in with support or iOS devices and macs. There probably is an open source web interface for it somewhere considering it uses jabber.

    To move email the best way would be to export a PST (if possible) and import in via the mail app.
  7. alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Transfers Gmail

    There is a very simple solution, to transfer your Gmail....

    When you competed your server setup and ADD your user with their new email address..

    Open Apple Mail and add an "Gmail Account"... this will import all your gmail.
    After you can created a new Mailbox folder on Mail Server like :Gmail IN, Gmail Send
    Than move all your Gmail content to the new MailBox.

    Than you can remove your gmail, from Apple mail
  8. Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    This is awesome. Thanks for all this help guys! I think I am going to order me up a refurb Mac Mini (the cheap one is all I need I think) in the next couple of days, and then buy server.app from the Mac App Store right after it arrives.

    The gmail ideas are great. I never thought of downloading it to mail (or even outlook) and then just uploading it into a new "archive" folder in the new accounts.

    Having the chat server is handy, though without a web style approach, since I just use iMessage, it might not be TOO useful. In a perfect world I'll find something like squirrelmail or roundcube with access built in. I'll have to research that but the chat is not vital.

    This has been great advice and I think will be perfect for my needs.
  9. alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Yes, the cheapest one will work here i am using the Mac Mini Server 2010 Intel 2.66 Duo... but upgrade to 8 GB Memory.

    For business and more people having access for file sharing and email, i would recommend at least the Mid One, 2.3 Quad-core (vs dual-core), and 8 Mb would be better for $200 dollars more... plus 1TB HD.

    Also Apple should be releasing a new one soon...
  10. alexrmc92 macrumors regular

    Feb 7, 2013
    If all he is doing to handling mail for a few people then it really shouldn't matter as long as it can run lion. Any older server OS didn't have a push notifications option.

    We serve mail for our company (26 employees) out of a mac virtual machine that uses 6GB of ram and has two cores. Our average CPU usage is 12% and ram usage is 23%. So a fast newer mac mini is really overkill for just email.

    But hard drive space matters, quite a bit actually.
  11. Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    Well, I bought the Mac Mini, and was ready to switch to a static IP with my provider (Bell Fibe internet in Canada). Then they hit me with an added $20/month fee for static IP. Instead of 70/month it will be 90, which is pretty damn expensive, especially on a 3 year contract. It will cost more for less time.

    Can someone tell me if any of the dns services lke no-ip or dyndns will allow me to run this email server on a dynamic IP? I have a .ca domain.

    Thanks again!
  12. alain651, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013

    alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Dynamic IP

    I am using FireOp with Bell in Canada, and with a Dynamic IP address for my server, website and Email, it work fine.

    I use ZoneEdit, and DNSUpdate for mac to update my IP address with ZoneEdit

    Also you need to edit your domain name server to point to zoneEdit
    like mind is

    Zone Edit, will cost you 1 credit a month, $12 a year

    You also need to edit your Bell Modern "Port Forward" for mail... to point to your home server IP
  13. Arkangil, Oct 14, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2013

    Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    My Bell modem runs directly to my Time Capsule, which then powers everything in the house. Do I need to allow server to manage my TC? Is there anything else besides the mail port forwarding I need?

    I've never set up anything like this before, and it's probably pretty dangerous me trying to do this, but here we go!

    Also, my domain is registered with Namespro. It's a .ca domain. Should I transfer it over to Zoneedit, If I am setting up the way you are?

    Also, I see that my Bell modem has support for Dyndns and no-ip built right in. Should I use one of those services and activate it on my modem?
  14. jtara macrumors 65832

    Mar 23, 2009
    As an alternative, RackSpace offers both full Exchange accounts, as well as an option (at lower cost) that uses some third-party Exchange-compatible server that allows you to access your mail with the Exchange protocol. (You can still use IMAP or POP, of course.)

    You may object to the cost. Fortunately, I'm grandfathered, and pay $2/month.

    I use Exchange setup on all of my iDevices, and IMap on my Mac Mini. RackSpace has some good spam filtering, so most of the spam I never see. (But I have it saved in a folder.) I also run SpamSieve on my Mac Mini, and that gets almost all of the rest. I will briefly see spam messages on my iDevices for a few seconds and then they disappear.
  15. alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    I am using also namespro.ca as my domain

    Step One:
    LogIn to namespro and EDIT your domain setting

    domain name: myexample.ca
    type 4: Specify Own Name Server - Free
    name servers: will be something like ns10.zoneedit.com, ns12.zoneedit.com
    you will find this information when you register and Add a zone record for your domain, so names pro.ca will forward your domain name to zoneedit.

    Step 2:
    Then your need to setup your zone Record in zone edit:

    Subdomain, type, TTL, Host-Name/Address/Pref, mine are

    server,CNAME, 7200, yourdomain.ca
    www, A, 300, your home dynamic IP address
    @,A, 300, your home dynamic IP address
    mail, MX, 7200, 10, server.yourdomain.ca

    Step 3:
    Your mac Mini server, system preference, computer name change it to server small cap,
    your network pref change it "Using DHCP with manual address", change your IP address.
    Example my home Bell router is, so i name my server so your server now have a Static IP address to be reach in your home

    your server now can be reach at server.mydomain.ca for your mail, website, all services

    Install DNSUpdate add your service log in, password, domain, plus with www, use preference bypass proxy, so it will reach zone edit

    Step 4:
    On your bell modern, to log in you need to use the ROUTER IP address, check your system Pref network address, Ex, type this in the safary address bar, it will ask for your admin name & password

    Go to FireWall - Port Forward - to your server IP address
    port 25 TCP , sending mail
    port 143, TCP, IMAP receiving mail
    port 587, TCP, SMTP sending mail

    VPN service - file sharing away from office
    port 500, 1701, 4500

    port 22, SSH

    port 80, 442 for Https

    This is a start, hope it help
  16. Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    That's pretty awesome is what that is. Hopefully I'll get to it this weekend.

    Next question, what happens if you have an internet outage or your server goes down unexpectedly?

    Specifically, what happens to emails you've sent, or others try to send to you. Do they sit in a queue waiting to get to their destination? Are they lost forever?
  17. alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    You should buy yourself a UPS, i own 4 APC Backup UPS 550 and 900.. best price is at Costco. They work great, protecting your computer, server, media centre, TV from power outage and surge protections.

    I have one setup for the MacMini Server & Time Capsule, so i always have internet during a short power shortage.

    For email, use Backup MX, cost $1 per month if you using Zoneedit

    Best of luck
  18. Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    A couple of questions!

    1. When I changed the DHCP on the server to DHCP with manual address and entered an address, I lost internet connectivity. Is that to be expected until I am done with the router part?

    2. For the router port forwarding, are the source and destination ports the same? Also, when I did the above, and then tried to make the rules, I noticed the IP the router was showing for my server name was not the IP exactly as I had given it. I gave it however in the port forwarding section of my router it was showing

    I'll have more later. It's hard for me to get a solid chunk of hours to do this whole thing so I was hoping to do the in home stuff, and then when I have more time set up the rest. I can't have my email down for very long, as I'm sure you understand.

    I really appreciate your help here!
  19. DoFoT9 macrumors P6


    Jun 11, 2007
    Just chiming in here with a quick reply, as I'm about to get on a flight..

    For business, I don't suggest using a dynamic IP for mail, as any discrepancies will lead to annoying bounce back messages (more so for your incoming mail then outgoing mail), I suggest always a static IP. I don't think using a mail server in a home environment is a good idea also, unless specifically you have a business "grade" connection that offers greater customer service/uptime guarantees, etc...

    Also - to answer an earlier question, if the Dyn DNS settings are wrong, or change when an email is sent, the sender will get a bounce back saying the email is DELAYED for a period up to 24-48 hours. After this, the email is dropped.

    OSX 10.8, I thought, had built in email server, but no built in web mail interface.. Best you research that. You may need to implement something like PostFix or similar. I have also not researched how well Push email works with OSX (you WILL need a certifificate from an active Apple Developer account to achieve this, with a ugly subscription fee of $100US)... Take with salt, haven't looked at the specs.
  20. Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    I see what you are saying, but at this point I'm too invested not to give it a working shot. It will save me a large monthly cost if I can get it running successfully. The fact that alain651 has it working in a near identical setup gives me hope.

    If it winds up not working, too many bounced emails, etc. I'll have to incur the costs one way or the other. But I've got to try!
  21. alain651, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

    alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    you should not lose your internet connection on your server in changing your DHCP manual IP address... but you need to ensure that your new IP address HIGHER than your Bell Router..than not been using by other computer.

    Bell Router
    mac Mini Server can be set to
    your other mac, and up

    network sever IP.jpeg

    let your Bell Router to manage all IP address

    Port forward is send to your SERVER IP Address, like

    You need to ensure that your DNS is setup properly
    Use Network Utility
    - lookup zone
    - type your www.domainname.ca
    - type your server IP address, ex 192 . 168 . 2 . 2

    Use Terminal
    - sudo changeip -checkhostname
    - enter password

    * System Pref - Energy Saver: change to never sleep

    Setup MAIL
    - check Relay outgoing mail through ISP
    - EDIT > Outgoing Mail Relay: smtp.bellaliant.net
    - leave user name and password BLANK

    This will allow you too receive and send mail outside your name@domain name.ca

    Hope this help!
  22. alain651, Oct 21, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

    alain651 macrumors newbie

    Nov 11, 2011
    Halifax, Canada
    Setup New Server

    How to Setup a new Server:

    Step One
    - Format HD
    - Install Mountain Lion OS 10.8, plus updates
    - User Name: Admin

    Step Two
    - change computer name to: server
    - find your ISP IP Router address ex.
    - change your server IP to manual address: Higher number than your router ex.
    - Change Energy Saver: change to never sleep
    - add APPS: Server
    - Install server Apps

    Step Three
    - Setup DNS
    - Add a primary zone
    your domain name - mydomainname.ca
    - Add Machine name
    - Add MX Record, priority 10 , server.mydomain_name.ca
    - Add Alias
    - Add Service http_

    Use Network Utility
    - lookup zone
    - mydomain_name.ca
    - your IP

    Use Terminal
    - sudo changeip -checkhostname
    - enter password
    - check PASS

    Step Four
    - Install services

    Step Five
    - setup your ZONE RECORD at your domain provider

    Step Six
    - For Dynamic IP address, need to Install a DNSupdate software or other programs.
    - https://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/6999/dnsupdate

    Good luck!
  23. dhirenmehta macrumors newbie

    Oct 22, 2013
    There is another option if you're looking for a free replacement to Google Apps

    Windows Live Domains!

    And they keep it very hush hush too, have a Google hunt around and you'll find it, and how to migrate to it.

    I stumbled upon this forum post whilst looking for almost the same answers as you ... I wanted to know about what kind of push support was available in OSX Server Mail Server, but I use multiple mobile devices (Android, iPhone & BlackBerry 10).

    I have a few Free Google Apps domains, I have recently tested moving a basic one to Windows Live Domains and it's behaving very well.

    Exchange Active Sync support for smart phones and Outlook clients, and webmail via outlook.com, mailboxes have a lovely 50GB limit ... Also, if you only switch off the mail component of Google Apps, you can still use your email addresses for all other Google products; YouTube, Maps, Google+, Hangouts etc..

    Hope this all helps :):):)

    P.s. I'm not a secret Microsoft employee, I'm a huge Google Advocate, I just do not agree with them and their reasons for retiring EAS for GMail
  24. Arkangil thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 5, 2009
    What's the fee for live domains? Do you find it properly pushes? I have multiple email addresses for my one domain, does it work for all? Since iPhone only supports 1x Exchange email address, do you set the rest up on outlook in the iPhone mail settings

    I will research it, though I have now purchased a mac mini and server.app! I may still try to set up my own!
  25. profets macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    Excellent thread, glad to have stumbled upon it.

    I'm also looking to bring mail in-house. We have an office with maybe 10 people getting mail through Google Apps & a custom domain. How I wish we could just register custom domains with iCloud.

    If going the route of a local OS X server, I guess with all the correct port forwarding we should have push mail internally and externally to iOS devices? And mail.app on OS X for clients should be able to connect while out of the office?

    I've got a few Mac minis around, going to give this a try.

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