Ubuntu: How to set up a mail server which I can then use with email clients?



Question:

I'm trying to set up a mail server on my Ubuntu 12.04 box from Linode. The box currently runs Apache, MySQL and PHP and runs a few of my websites, and I want to set up an email account like myname@mydomain.com. In the interest of learning, I'd like to go through the painful task of setting up my own mail server.

I've seen lots of suggestions on how to do so, most involve using Postfix and Dovecot, but I'm really struggling to understand:

  • What is the difference is between both?
  • How to set them up properly to work together?

I just want a mail server running IMAP which I can use a mail client like Thunderbird with.


Solution:1

Postfix will handle smtp. That is: postfix is a server that handles receiving and sending emails. When I (frobenius@otherserver.com) what to send email to you (you@yourserver.com) that will cause otherserver.com to talk to postfix on yourserver.com . Same thing the other way. If you want to send email to me, that will cause postfix on yourserver.com to talk to otherserver.com

Now IMAP is just a convenience. It will allow you to access your emails on other computers (than yourserver.com). You can think of emails as files in yourserver.com, and thunderbird just reading a remote directory (that is in yourserver.com)

My advice: Install postfix first, without dovecot. Test it (read and send email via the command line of yourserver.com). Then worry about IMAP.


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