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Mail in a Box

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posted on Feb, 10 2016 @ 09:51 PM
It's just too freaking easy. Okay, you got a website and want to plug in some mail service to it, but can't figure out how to install it all. Mail in a box!

You can figure out the install but aren't entirely sure your setup is as secure as you'd like. Mail in a box!

Let's say you're not paranoid, but just don't like the big corporations having all of your information and giving it out to who knows who (govt), or a hacker sucking out your private creds. Mail in a box!

I'd consider myself a junior developer and sys admin at this point, but honestly don't like to mess with mail or DNS servers. Mail in a box does both with ease. The creator is an Princeton grad and political activist. He created this to help "re-decentralize" the internet, as he puts it. I'm digging it.

If you get bored and want to try out a tech project for funzies, go get a $1-2 domain and point an A-host to a droplet. Total cost of project will be less than the price of a latte from Starbucks, DO charges by the hour you can destroy the instance after playing around with it all.

Now, setting up mail or DNS isn't too difficult, but to do it right takes a lot of due diligence. Take a look at this diagram to see what I'm talking about:

That's what's up. You get mail right out of the box, secure, fully functional, and heck it'll rock it for multiple domain hosting as well. You also get owncloud personal cloud services with file, contact, and calendar syncing. Personally have other means of doing the same thing, but it's nice to have it nonetheless. Oh hey I forgot to mention it integrates right into your smartphone without the need to download a 3rd party app.

Sorry I'm just fascinated by all the evolving tech and projects people are pushing out there for free. Places like github and docker are blowing my mind and really increasing the rate of advancement in research, development, and open source deployment.

edit on 10-2-2016 by pl3bscheese because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 10 2016 @ 11:00 PM
a reply to: pl3bscheese

It is classical Linux MTA setup. As you can see it consists of many independent parts. To understand how the Postfix is working need a lot of time. Two Postfix configuration files are pure babel for untrained eye. So yes, it is good idea to put everything together as a ... distro?
If you are new in Linux MTA field you will spend month+ setting up this scheme. But there is sweet bonus at end of hard path: You will understand much better what is going on inside The box.

BTW in some situations (you are serving mainly Windows clients) it may be good idea to "replace" SpamAssassin with Amavis package. Amavis is something like framework for mail filtering. In basic setup it usually bundle SpamAssassin and ClamAV antivirus.
Also you will gain few points in RBL/SPAM filtering and some domain security by implementing SPF policy along with proposed DKIM.


Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit machine into a working mail server by installing and configuring various components.

I am trying to:
Make deploying a good mail server easy.
Promote decentralization, innovation, and privacy on the web.
Have automated, auditable, and idempotent configuration.
Not make a totally unhackable, NSA-proof server.
Not make something customizable by power users.

SPF policy is implemented + some other goodies. This is good, state of art setup.

edit on 10-2-2016 by JanAmosComenius because: to add

edit on 10-2-2016 by JanAmosComenius because: add

posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 02:15 AM
Is this simply setting up your own mail server?

But in a linux box?

I used to run my own windows based mail server. but I found that some recipient mail servers would refuse a dynamic IP address and bounce the mail stating so.

I can only imagine that it's worse now, as this was 10 years ago...

??? or am I missing something?

posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 09:02 AM
a reply to: laminatedsoul

Yes, static IP and correct DNS A/AAAA and PTR records are necessary for every internet-wide MTA. Almost all mail "authentication" policies are somehow based on DNS so static IP(s) under your control is/are needed.

As for:

"Is this simply setting up your own mail server?"

Setting up your own mail server was never simple and today its rather complex and way atypical field of IT (its unbelievably fuzzy because standards are not replaced but stacked up).
Also proposed scheme is much better then Exchange or any other Windows "Black Box TM" solution. It is really state of the art MTA which will work better, faster and safer than any Win driven box.


Here you have full control of every aspect of MTA down to source code of glibc (if you are able to recompile the chain back, but even if you are not you can peer in to source code and realize what is going on).

Almost every aspect of this MTA is well documented. Can we say something similar about Win stuff?

This is not plain MTA but something more similar to MS SBS. There is authentication backend, automated DNS management, full MTA with all possible policies implemented and bounded to DNS, webmail service, *DAV services (calendar and contacts), firewall and intrusion detection. All somehow bounded to OwnCloud.

If you are starting some small business, this is good idea.

You need:

1. public IP (IPv4/IPv6)
2. registered domain
3. a. some scrap metal (for personal domain this can run on Raspberry without problem)
3. b. cheap virtual machine hosting supporting Ubuntu 14 LTS

No need to pay for any software.

You will get unlimited number of users - compare it with M$. Also from my personal 20+ year IT experience: administering Linux machines is much less painful then the same on Win boxes. BTW this can be said about workstations and servers in one breath.

posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 10:56 AM
a reply to: JanAmosComenius

Yea it's truly an amazing setup here, my father's company has been expanding so I created an online presence. A small clean website, and spun up a tiny droplet for running MIAB on it. It's worked flawlessly so far. All corporate members have their own mailbox integrated into their smartphones and home clients. I rigged the setup config to bypass the high memory requirements and since we're not yet using the DAV/owncloud parts yet it's enough setting up a gig of swap.

I don't have the time, or interest to learn a complex MTA setup in and out. I'm sure for some people there is benefit in putting in the 500 or so hours it takes to become proficient.

Not that I haven't setup mail & dns servers countless times, it's just that I'm certain the services were not production ready and had security vulnerabilities, and glitches with full compatibility across interacting platforms.

posted on Feb, 11 2016 @ 11:00 AM
a reply to: laminatedsoul

I would never attempt to run a mail system on a dynamic IP. You'll get blacklisted and have countless errors in receiving and sending over time. Production services require static addresses. If you're just playing around spin up a droplet or keep it localhost.

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