I am trying to find a simple mail server with the following requirements:

  • imap/pop/smtp
  • Preferably open source
  • Spam blocking & anti-virus support
  • Scalable to 1000's of mailboxes & domains
  • An API that will allow administration(add/remove mailboxes) from .net platform
  • Preferably windows or Linux

I have researched the following servers:

  • Mail Enable - has the API I need and seems to scale okay, contains alot of overhead features I don't need (calendaring, tasks, contact manager, etc..) and its not open source.
  • hMailserver - looks okay except they've recently changed the licensing to closed source, by browsing their user forums it seems to still have some bugs.
  • Smartermail - seems like a nice product but expensive, and has lots of exchange server type features I don't need.
  • Dovecot - after seeing dovecot recommended on this site numerous times I am thinking about running it on a Linux VM, however I couldn't see any information on an API for it.

Could you offer me some insight to the above 3 or recommend other alternatives ?

  • 1
    Good luck if you are looking for software without bugs :p – Svish Feb 27 '10 at 20:24
  • Obviously all non-trivial software has bugs, I was referring to bugs in the basic functionality of the program. – Element Feb 27 '10 at 20:48
  • Just keep in mind that many forum posts, for anything at all, will be out of date, no longer applicable, talking about a different version or the result of user error. The hMailserver forum seems to attract more than its share of the latter. – John Gardeniers Feb 27 '10 at 22:22

With dovecot you would setup the user database to use MySQL then manage users via whatever your favorite way to interact with a MySQL database - they even have a .net connector for MySQL that you could use to create your .net interface.


I use hMailserver as well as Exchange and only ever have trouble with the latter. A few small bugs that annoyed some users have been ironed out in the latest version and for my use the product has been absolutely rock solid.

Rather than play the guessing game, why not set up some VMs with each of those products, and any others you find, and try them out? A bit of time spent evaluating each would be far preferable to selecting the wrong.

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