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I have a dedicated server hosting 2/3 web apps (web-server + SQL server among other things) on Debian.

Now from time to time theses web apps send mails to their respective users using SMTP services like SendGrid.

I'm planning on rebuilding a new server config.

The only thing about email I want this server to do is: letting web apps send email through external SMTPs.

I don't want the server from acting as SMTP server, nor POP or IMAP. To be clear, if I could completely drop email support from the software stack of this server, that would be awesome.

  • Is this possible?
  • What is mandatory?
  • What is irrelevant for my use case?
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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Yes, this is possible. What you need is an Mail Transfer Agent, that provides a sendmail interface and is able to relay your mails to an external SMTP server. There exist tools, that exactly fit that need. One of them is nullmailer, another one esmtp. Its configurations are of course very simple; the only thing needed is the information about the SMTP server to use, and is asked for on package installation.

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If the software used for the web app can send direct (e.g. PHP) even the MTA can be eliminated. – John Gardeniers Feb 17 '12 at 9:36
These tools sound like good options. Thanks. – jchatard Feb 18 '12 at 15:24

If you maintain a local MTA, that can act as a fail-safe mechanism while your external SMTP provider is down/suffering from poor deliverability.

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