I am a linux server noob and I have a hard task of setting up an email server on Ubuntu karmic. Actually I tried to follow many tutorials and books on how to do this but I failed as they leave the configuration to me and I know nothing about these things.
All what I need now is to start with minimal configuration so that I can send and receive email through evolution .
My email server is mail.domain.com and I have postfix, dovecot-pop3 and sendmail installed but I will remove them and start over. Can any one help ?


If you've been mucking with the system with multiple mail servers, you might want to wipe and reinstall, as no one here could probably count on what you may or may not have altered and thus leave behind when you try to fix it.

There's a basic howto on setting up postfix here.

It has diagrams and information to help you understand what's going on.


You really really really need to stop and figure out what you're doing FIRST. Read about SMTP and how it works...

Email is NOT a simple thing. You can get it working, sure...but correctly?

Spam is a huge problem. You need to learn what an "open relay" is and how not to be one.

You need to find out if you're going through a provider that allows mail servers. You may be breaking your terms of service, or may even be blocked from sending email. Or you may find yourself blacklisted.

Do you have a domain for registering your MX records?

Do you have your router set up to forward port 25 to the machine's IP?

Do you have antispam/antivirus set up? With postfix, it's relatively easy. Google Clamav and Spamassassin.

I'm betting 90% of what you'd need is already in the repos with Ubuntu. You didn't say if you've been downloading and compiling from sources, but with the repos you're already going to have many of the defaults properly set for paths, binaries, etc.

Google "ubuntu postfix" or "ubuntu XYZ" to find tutorials and information specific to your server.

Don't just set it up...you're adding a server to the network. Be a good server admin neighbour, since other admins may have to deal with your mistakes. Read documentation on mail servers and understand what's going on before implementing it.

Make sure you have a good answer if someone asks why you need to set up your own email server instead of using your ISP's mail server. It's not something for people to just dabble with for fun, especially since like I said it affects other people on the networks (and your provider's terms of service, if you're violating them).

  • I'll apologize if this answer sounds rather harsh, but there seem to be a lot of home users who dabble with Linux and want to create a server on their own, not realising the difficulty and complexity involved. I know the OP said he or she was tasked with the configuration, but there's no background if it was for work, school, home, or just the way he or she worded the question, so I am answering this as if it is a home user asking about a home server on a home network. I mean no offense in my wording as I think I'm making valid points to consider... – Bart Silverstrim Feb 14 '10 at 19:46
  • Doesn't your email just need to work 24/7, even when the power is off, business is closed, server needs repair? I know mine does. As a result, I'm tending to agree with Bart's assessment. Email is more difficult to manage than web. Creating and updating a web server as a part time adjunct task to a 'real job' is sometimes possible and appropriate. Email? No. It has become too darn complicated to keep both spam-free and working correctly 24/7. Outsourcing your email woes to google gmail or some other ISP is a wonderful idea because then it will work 24/7. – Paul Feb 15 '10 at 7:42

Yes, you should remove junk that you don't need and they might fight over port 25 at boot. You should use dpkg -l to list your package names, do a dpgk -l | grep sendmail to get the exact package name of sendmail and then do a sudo dpgk -r sendmail to remove it.

Or what would probably be better is just start with a fresh install. It doesn't matter that this is from the pervious version, not much has changed, all of the daemon processes and configurations will be identical. This is a very good step by step guide, its for 8.04 Long Term Support, but that's the best version for a production systems anyway because you'll have updates for 10 years. http://www.howtoforge.com/the-perfect-spamsnake-ubuntu-8.04

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