I was wondering what kind of server(s) do I need if I want to run a mail server that handles approx 200+ email accounts with each averaging 50 emails per day?

Mail server setup would be:

  • Postfix: to send and receive mail via SMTP.
  • Dovecot: POP and IMAP server to manage local mail directories and allows users to log in and download their mail and handle user authentication.
  • Postgrey: to greylist incoming mail, requiring unfamiliar deliverers to wait for a while and then resend.
  • amavisd-new: manager for organizing antivirus and spam checking content filters.
  • Clam AntiVirus: virus detection suite.
  • SpamAssassin: for sniffing out spam in emails.
  • Postfix Admin: web front end for administering mail users and domains.
  • Afterlogic WebMail Lite: beautiful webmail interface for users.
  • SSL Certificate

Yes, I could use Amazon EC2 instance(s) but from what I understand, they have limitations in sending email from EC2 instances and also emails from Amazon IPs end up in Spam. Besides these, my requirement is kind of special, its not just a regular mail server that I'm looking to setup (would've use Gmail for business) so a dedicated server would probably be best solution.

So my questions:

  1. Will I still have email sending limitations using a dedicated server?
  2. What kind of server(s) do I need for this requirement (200 * 50)?
  3. Are there any cost-effective hosting providers that would set up the mail server for me at a nominal cost?
  4. Any other things to consider when running a mail server yourself?

closed as off-topic by Katherine Villyard, Ward, Falcon Momot, HBruijn, MadHatter Nov 23 '14 at 22:31

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To answer your questions:

  1. Normally you should not encounter limitations on a dedicated server, but this is dependent to the provider from which you buy the server. You should see their terms of service and contact support prior to purchase.

  2. For safety you should consider having at least Raid1 as storage configuration (size of HDD depends on your knowledge of the actual disk spaced used by your users, but any decent dedicated server should cover storage needs)

CPU: 1 Core should do the job, dual core better, anything larger than this would give you extra processing reserves

RAM: 4 GB would be a safe point of start with plenty of reserves.

  1. Usually dedicated providers do not offer this kind of assistance, at least not for free, being calculated as an additional service, but if you do some research on the internet and have a base of technical knowledge you might get along with doing it yourself.

    • SPAM. Be sure your user's computers are secure, protected by an updated firewall, and that their passwords are as complex as possible. Also, always use encrypted connections, there are network sniffing malware that might capture your users email authentication details and use your server to send SPAM, this will result in listing of your server's IP address in multiple RBL's, a bad sender reputation, and your client's valid emails will no longer reach most of their recipients.

    • Also you might consider using a firewall on that server (ex. CSF http://configserver.com/cp/csf.html).

    • Monitor your server using specific software/solutions (zabbix/nagios and pingdom for real-time alerts)

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