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I'm in the process of deploying (on Ubuntu) an application that needs to send email. I was planning to install and configure Postfix, but having looked at the instructions, there seems to be a dizzying array of configuration options, most of which I don't understand.

So I'm now considering outsourcing the sending/receiving of email. All I really need is:

a very small number of accounts (5 or less) @mydomain.com
ability to send/receive email using these accounts

A web interface that you can use to send/receive email would be very useful, but not absolutely essential. I've looked at Google apps, but it's quite expensive if all you're using it for is email.

So I'm looking for either

a suggestion for who I should outsource the sending/receiving of email to
an idiot's guide to how to configure Postfix (or another server) to send/receive email
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3 Answers

If you want to send and receive email you will need a fixed IP address and appropriate DNS entries. Automated systems such as you appear to be developing tend to be poorly configured resulting is much of their output being classified as SPAM.

For outgoing mail you can install a simple relay like esmtp, mstmp, or ssmtp. These are all available as packages and provide a local SMTP server for your application. The email will then be relayed via your ISPs relay or another relay you specify.

Many applications can be configured to use the SMTP services on another machine. This may be your simplest option.

If you do configure a mail transfer agent, spend the time to become familiar with the standards. Your time will be well invested. I find EXIM to be simpler to implement in any of a number of standard configurations. The exim4 and exim4-config packages will get you started. My article on Running and EMail Server might give you a starting point on getting setup correctly.

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I know of a very easy way to setup Postfix with a GUI, but it's not quite what you asked for....

If you install a copy of pfSense, you can then install Postfix as a package with a few mouse clicks. This then gives you a GUI to manage Postfix.

The catch is that pfSense isn't a normal *nix distro (well BSD to be precise), it's a specialised router distro - intended to be installed to a machine with 2 NIC's to be used as a router.

However, it should be possible to set a pfSense box up so for example it's WAN port is actually on your LAN, and we can ignore the LAN port of the pfSense (except while configuring it).

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I only have command-line access to the machine, so I can't use any GUIs –  Dónal Mar 5 '12 at 10:53
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I don't know Postfix, but Exim is very simple to install and configure.

Just apt-get install exim4 and follow what's on screen.
If you want to reconfigure, just invoke-rc.d exim4 restart.
You can't be wrong, it's really simple.

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