I’m contemplating purchasing a VPS solution from my current hosting provider. They offer a cPanel installation (which I’ve used on shared and reseller hosting accounts for years now), however, I’m responsible for the licence fee in a VPS package and it’s quite a chunk to pay per year.

So my question is: if I were to opt for a VPS package and forego the cPanel installation, how would I then manage mailboxes? I know how to create virtual hosts under Apache, so serving websites doesn’t faze me (and I’m planning on managing website source code via version control), but it’s the additional tasks to managing a web presence such as setting up email accounts that I’m not familiar with. Can setting up a mailbox be done via SSH?

  • how much do they want to charge you for cpanel? If you want to install /maintain it yourself vps cpanel license are like $15/month from a cpanel reseller. – Doon Jan 14 '13 at 16:20
  • £10 GBP a month, so approximately $15 USD a month. But would rather lose that charge if I can. All I currently use cPanel for at the moment is setting up email accounts, FTP accounts and MySQL databases and users. – Martin Bean Jan 14 '13 at 16:42

It's trivially easy to do that with a UNIX MTA, eg sendmail, if you don't mind each email address being associated with an actual user on your system (make the user with useradd; put the aliases in /etc/aliases and run newaliases).

I applaud your decision to get out from under the thumb of cpanel, and I reckon you should be fine doing this if you're OK with hacking virtual hosts into your apache config, which (imho) is a lot fiddlier.

Edit: I wouldn't look for "resources for managing hosting via ssh", because a lot of UNIX guides either take it for granted that you're doing everything from the shell (ie, command line, via SSH), or provide shell alternatives to everything graphical, anyway. If I were you I'd start with the official documentation for whatever distro you're running on your VPS. If you say what that distro is, people may have other good pointers for you.

  • Thanks. I’ve managed virtual hosts for a couple of years now via localhost, but getting more comfortably with the command line. Do you know of any good resources for managing hosting via SSH? – Martin Bean Jan 14 '13 at 16:17

Take a look at Webmin. I find it a very useful tool for server administration. Its got modules for most commonly used applications.

I do most of my work via shell, but there are some tasks that Webmin makes much easier.


An "email account" is a web-based or online ESP thing - it's not an SMTP concept.

Email concepts include recipient addresses and mailboxes; commonly, you define the former by creating the latter, but this is by no means universal.

As stated elsewho, adding a system user will invariably also create an email-enabled account on a *nix system.

  • That was… That’s well above my comprehension! – Martin Bean Jan 14 '13 at 16:40

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