Server Fault is a question and answer site for system and network administrators. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have scowered Google for the past few months, but have not found any clear answers, that describe the PRE-setup to email servers. I understand that I need my own domain name first, which is not a problem. I understand that I need an MX record to be forwarded to my server, which I assume is in DNS when I sign up for the domain. Let's say for example that I have Shaw for my Internet, and a computer that meets the minimum requirements to run a Linux based mail server. Now, my question is:

1) What do I need to ask for from my ISP to make sure email will come to my server?

2) What DNS setup needs to be done?

3) If I am going to host multiple email domains, do I need separate lines or separate software? Or just change a port number?

share|improve this question

migrated from Oct 14 '11 at 20:04

This question came from our site for computer enthusiasts and power users.

closed as not a real question by Ward, voretaq7, Sven, Iain, Ben Pilbrow Oct 14 '11 at 22:04

It's difficult to tell what is being asked here. This question is ambiguous, vague, incomplete, overly broad, or rhetorical and cannot be reasonably answered in its current form. For help clarifying this question so that it can be reopened, visit the help center.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This probably ought to be asked on ServerFault where more expertise may be available for this specific question. – music2myear Oct 14 '11 at 19:44
Gah, wrong link... You're right. Can you move it? – Canadian Luke Oct 14 '11 at 19:44
Once enough people flag it for movement, it'll be moved automatically. While they show up as close votes, they're actually move votes. You'll need a total of 5 or just one from an admin. – music2myear Oct 14 '11 at 19:46
Alright, thanks. I guess I'll wait for it to move, better than creating a duplicate there – Canadian Luke Oct 14 '11 at 19:46
Yea, dups are evil. ;) – music2myear Oct 14 '11 at 19:55

1) You need to ensure that your ISP will allow you to have an email server. It's not uncommon for ISP's to restrict port 25 to prevent people from running e-mail servers at home and to prevent spam from being sent from compromised boxes.

2) As far as DNS is concerned you'll need to point MX records to the IP address of your mail server. You'll also need to create a local DNS server to route the emails to the intended recipients, and create an A record for your nameserver. You may also choose to set up an SPF record as well. More information on DNS setup can be found HERE

3) You won't need to change a port number for multiple domains. The method in which you handle multiple domains will vary based on what e-mail server software you wish to employ, but it mostly comes down to configuration of files. Here's an example of virtual domain hosting with Postfix

4) You'll also need to make the correct firewall rules for your server. This means allowing port 25 incoming, POP3 or IMAP ports, NAT rules, etc.

share|improve this answer
Knew about firewall rules. And adding an MX record should be easy enough once I get the domain, I assume. How do I keep it to always point to my IP address if I'm on dynamic? Should I use a Static IP for this? – Canadian Luke Oct 14 '11 at 20:18
If I were you I would get a static IP address – DKNUCKLES Oct 14 '11 at 20:20
In addition, after you have decided on the static IP address for your mail server, call your ISP and ask for a reverse DNS entry. Level 1 support will say "hurp?" and forward you to level 2, which will probably "derp" then forward you to a specialist. He will want your IP address and domain name and it'll take him 30 seconds to complete it. Without reverse DNS, your mail will be rejected by AOL and some other major mail domains. – Robert Kerr Oct 14 '11 at 20:57

(adding to DKNUCKLES' list)

5) you'll need (or want, at least) a static IP. Besides the hassle of having to change your DNS if/when your ISP changes things on you, email deliverability is very much reputation based and you'll want to hold on to any good 'karma' you get by being a good mailer.

5A) Be aware that many consumer-level ISP services use blocks of addresses that are on spam blacklists. Sometimes this is voluntary in the ISP's part, and you'll want to either have them give you a non-blacklisted IP or remove your IP from their feed. The ability to do this will vary greatly by ISP and service plan.

share|improve this answer
5(1)When asking your ISP for an IP, see if they have one that's not in their residential IP block. Because.. 5A(1) - In addition, many corporate mail servers reject mail from residential IP blocks. If you're planning on doing business mail, consider renting a host. – Robert Kerr Oct 14 '11 at 21:03

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.