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Looking for a Good Mailing Server and Client Interface



9:38 am on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member


I plan to start a small web technology company and I want to set up a mailing server and client for my inhouse staff such that there are several restrictions in the manner in which they use their mail accounts. Additionally, they should be able to access the email accounts from anywhere. I have thought of Squirremail for anywhere access and Thunderbird as Frontend. I am basically looking at Open Source solutions. Which mail server should I use for backend - Qmail, Sendmail, etc?

The following are the email policies that I wish to adopt:

1. All employees will be given company email account. like user@companyname.com. I know that is possible if I install squirrelmail server.

2. All mails sent and received by employees can be tracked and stored. i.e All emails sent and received from any accounts can be tracked by administrator.

3. Total size of mail box should be restricted to a few MBs to avoid misuse or probably a size specified by us. This can be specified in Admin Settings and can be changed for individual users. i.e. setting quota for each mail account.

4. Attachment size should be limited to max 1 MB only. Again, this should be customized and can be set for individual users. Again, setting quota size for each attachment.

5. Employees can use this email id to communicate with outside users. There should be special filtering/keyword search to check on the content of mail as well as on attachment before the mail can be send. This should be configurable to add new tags/keywords (e.g jobs, code, etc). Any email which matches the keywords specified in the blacklist should not be allowed to send. Is this the correct approach?

6. All emails sent with attachment should go to HOLD location and on approval from governance team (me or admin) before they are allowed to be released.

7. Set restrictions on the attachment's extension. i.e. no *.exe, etc should be allowed to be added as an attachment. I know this can be overriden by zipping the exe and attaching a zip. But atleast it will place certain restrictions. Any thoughts on a better solution.

8. Content of all incoming/outgoing email is scanned for viruses and any infected email should be quarantined immediately.

9. Mass mailing shouldn't be allowed. A user can't send mails to a group of more then 5-10 people. i.e max email recipients should be a fixed number.

10. Mail should be configurable as desktop client as well as should be accessible remotely through browser. I think using squirrelmail online interface and using Thunderbird as local desktop client should solve this issue.

11. All above features are configurable or controllable for super users like us.

I look forward to hearing feedback from you.


11:09 am on Aug 10, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I have once installed such a system in a corporate environment but it was based on the closed source programs MS Exchange and Mailmarshal. It did pretty much everything you mentioned here. But such a solution has a price tag.

Most open source email systems focus on functionality, rather than restriction, data security and administration. Of the existing open source projects, I think that the Courier Mail server comes closest to your needs. It has a versatile IMAP connector which allows connections with Squirrelmail, SOGo and other user interfaces, user quota can be configured and it has some sort of message filtering.


3:18 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

You can do all this on hurricane electric (http://he.net). The problem is you'll have to do extensive scripting using PROCMAIL, an archaic language (see: [en.wikipedia.org...] as well as monitor storage yourself. I quit using HE about 8 years ago because of the extensive excess storage costs they always wanted to charge without offering any easy way to monitor it.

Maybe the situation has changed by now, but on HE shared or dedicated servers you can do almost anything you want, but you'll have little support.


4:00 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member lammert is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

Hurricane Electric is not the only hosting company which provides procmail. Procmail is a standard *nix package and is therefore available at all hosting companies which offer Linux or BSD type hosting in combination with SSH shell access.

But you are correct about the functionality and problems of procmail. Although it is very versatile, it needs caveman type of programming and configuration skills to get it working.


7:25 pm on Oct 23, 2010 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Yep, I didn't mean only he.net, but if you ask for these features they will point you in the right direction and provide rudimentary support. I don't suppose the majority of hosts have even heard of it these days. But for me, Procmail is the only solution that comes to mind the allows you to do pretty much anything you imagine with emails arriving on your domain.

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