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Should you own a dedicated email server?

dedicated serverI’m seeing some of my customers are hosting a hundred or more email accounts using cPanel or Plesk onyx. There is nothing wrong using these control panels, email service is free using either Exim or Postfix. There are free and open source email server. Anti-Spam features are limited to free and open source solutions.

They are still ok for daily usages. However, if you are relying on the webmail, the choice is limited to the free and open source solutions. They are not amazing until you have seen better webmail like SmarterMail.

Administrative functions are also limited on these email server. Creating, deleting mailboxes and updating password are likely what you need. A lot of the other features are not available or modify them using SSH shell command.

In my opinion, administrating email server, receiving and sending emails are important for an organization. I’m seeing a lot have neglected this area.

A good email server can save you a lot of troubles and enhance your email deliveries. They are equal to money. Basically, the return is higher than investing in terms of financial values.

Today, we introduce SmartMail DE250Lite at #188 per month. Lower by more than $100 with smaller disk space. The Lite version will ft those with a lower budget if they do not need the large disk space.

Enable DKIM in SmarterMail

DKIM has been popular to ensure email delivery, especially for bulk senders. You can enable DKIM signing on all your outgoing emails. The feature is handy for all SmarterMail administrators. The feature is located in Domain settings.

enable DKIM

DKIM key in SmarterMail

Create and copy the DKIM keys into your domain DNS txt record.

That’s all. Now, you have enabled DKIM.

Is SmarterMail a good email server software?

smartermailMany asked me this question, Is SmarterMail good? How good is good? I have used many email server software for the last 25 years. SmarterMail gives me the reason to acquire partnership. NOT that I said good because I’m selling them but the other way round.

I can still remember it was version 2 when I know the existence of SmaterMail through Plesk. It works on Windows Server and it has given me the perception it was a heavy software and it does simple email function and full stop.

Since then I didn’t pay much attention until version 13 or 14. I have SmarterMail has very intuitive GUI especially the Webmail. Coincidentally, I was turned down by the free webmail offer in many control panels. I was looking for something better but unfortunately. it runs only on a Windows server.

So, this is when I have asked my client to split their website and emails, rather you are putting them int the same server. Yes, you can do that and in a way, you are reducing your risk by having these functions on 2 separated servers. Of course, now can easily use SmarterMail as your email server while you can run your website and Linux Apache web server.

I have noticed those on SmarterMail has high retention rate than others. That’s mean to say, customers are satisfied. And I have noticed many have used webmail and the population on mail client applications like outlook has dropped. I personally use them, the webmail has many good features and it is easy to use.

For those managing a SmarterMail email server will agree with me. If you have administrated other email servers, you will find SmarterMaill is a breeze, it is so much easy to understand and operate. Even you do have a technical background, probably some guidance may do the job.

SmarterMail is built with IDS. We have yet to find any email server software come with an IDS. Brute-force is one common problem for all and SmarterMail has this protection and automatically block unwanted access. Not forgetting the anti-spam, anti-virus, exchange sync add-ons available to enhance users’ experience.

I’m very happy with SmarterMail and proud to be their partner. I have servers are serving a few thousand mailboxes, they are hardly giving me problems. It saves me a tremendous amount of time and efforts in administrating these servers. I love SmarterMail.

 

Email Server administrators vs Users

virtual serversAn email server is a machine, the instructions, the rules, and the policies are implemented by a person. He or she is probably known as the server admin. The server admin manages the operation of a server includes the email service. To end users are about email, but it is not the case for a server admin. When an email is sent or receive it goes through a mechanism. This is a series of rules and policies implemented by the server admin to its email server.

There are a few types of server admin. I mean how they worked and behave, no offence to anyone. These are the peoples I have met, and spoken. I’d like you to understand everyone has their standpoints. Communication is still the key to resolve an issue.

This is what I have heard from both parties. I cannot send email, I cannot receive email, emails are missing. These are the common issues faced by end users. Thus, the server admin steps in. Server admin is not an easy role especially comes to emails. As emails involve the senders and receivers, and most times they are external bodies. So the problem can be anyone. At this point, you need an experienced server admin to narrow down or troubleshoot the issue. Firstly, he or she has to determine it is the sender or receiver’s issue. Then, he or she can drill down and pinpoint where is the issue. Because the email servers are more sophisticated than the last 5 years. Thanks to the spam emails. Most email servers have treated anti-sm as the top priority and feature in an email server. The feature like enable SPF, DKIM, RBL and the various anti-spam mechanisms. Receiving or sending an email is never like before. Before an email is delivered to the mailbox, it goes through a series of anti-spam policies, and some even you are sending an email.

Here come the problems. One day, an end user is walking to the server admin claimed that he has not been able to receive someone’s emails. Sound familiar? A good server admin would start checking on the logs if such emails were delivered. Yes, they were, but it was identified as Spam email, landed in the junk folder, unfortunately, the user has set up a POP3 email account, do not subscribe to this folder. He has missed these emails delivered to the junk folder. Another scenario, the email was bounced by the recipient’s email server. You asked why it was bounced? Then the server admin is trying to explain to you what is SPF. Of course, there are scenarios are not mentioned here. Nevertheless, you now see the differences, the server admin set up the anti-spam policies to combat spam emails but emails are not classified as spam emails by the users but they were spam email on the server.

So who is right? Apparently, no one s wrong. If the users can understand how an email is classified as spam and the remedy. Obviously, he or she does not administrate the server, but the end users should at least know how they work. If the server admin can share the details with the end users like setting up an IMAP email account, how to read email source or header. This knowledge reduces the misunderstandings, and reduce the workload on the server admin. The server admin must understand what he or she is doing, not simply left it as default or the more rule are better. Without a good understanding of how things work, might ruin other’s works.

For SmarterMail user, seriously consider upgrade to Version 13.3.5535

If you have a backdated copy of the SmarterMail, in particular to two of the vulnerabilities found in the earlier version I would suggest to get the latest copy and move up to 13.3.5535. You can download the latest from here: http://smartertools.com/smartermail/mail-server-download.aspx.

Just in case you have forgotten the steps on how to “properly” upgrade your SmarterMail. Please make sure you have a backup before proceed.

  1. Stop IIs www publishing service or SmarterMail web service.
  2. Uninstall SmarterMail without removing the existing folders or files.
  3. Install the latest copy of SmarterMail.
  4. Once it’s completed, start SmarterMail web service or IIs www publishing service.

 

Wait for a minute or so, sign in to admin portal to make sure everything is working. Sometime it might take a little longer to start up if you have a slower server and many mailboxes. Just be patient, do not attempt to restart your Smartermail Service unless it has stopped for some reasons.

 

  • ADDED: Updated administrative logging to include the friendly name of the event that was fired in addition to it’s id number.
  • FIXED: A temporary disk error when reading an account’s userConfig.xml file will no longer result in the user’s settings being reset to the defaults, including a blank password.
  • FIXED: A user with read-only control of a shared calendar can no longer delete instances of a recurring event.
  • FIXED: A zero byte fileStore.xml file will no longer prevent SmarterMail from starting properly.
  • FIXED: Adding a calendar event using Android’s default calendar app with Exchange ActiveSync now syncs correctly.
  • FIXED: Adding a recurring event that occurs on a specific week of each month now syncs correctly using Exchange ActiveSync.
  • FIXED: Adding a task using Outlook 2013 with Exchange ActiveSync now syncs correctly.
  • FIXED: Adding duplicate entries to trusted senders is no longer allowed.
  • FIXED: Availability conflicts are now calculated correctly when adding or editing a new calendar event in webmail.
  • FIXED: Birth dates set on iOS devices using Exchange ActiveSync now sync correctly.
  • FIXED: Changing an event’s start time that includes a domain resource now properly updates the availability of that domain resource.
  • FIXED: Contacts imported from a CSV file that include only white space in certain imported fields are now saved properly, such that they can be successfully synced with Exchange ActiveSync.
  • FIXED: Creating a calendar and immediately deleting an event using the Mac OSX calendar app with Exchange Web Services now syncs correctly.
  • FIXED: Declude spam weights now save correctly.
  • FIXED: Domain resource availability is now calculated properly when determining scheduling conflicts.
  • FIXED: Editing a password brute force or denial of service abuse detection rule for XMPP now correctly sets the service field to XMPP.
  • FIXED: Email folders that contain special characters are now sorted correctly in webmail.
  • FIXED: Exchange ActiveSync responses will no longer send an empty Exceptions tag, which would cause Outlook 2013 to crash.
  • FIXED: Folders with special characters in their name now sync correctly using Exchange ActiveSync.
  • FIXED: Made changes to how folder renaming is handled to prevent a scenario that could cause mailbox corruption.
  • FIXED: Renaming a folder that contains special characters using Exchange ActiveSync no longer causes an error in webmail when trying to view that folder.
  • FIXED: Setting a contact’s birth date on a client synced using CardDAV will no longer save as one day off for users in time zones with positive offsets from GMT.
  • FIXED: Temporary files created during Exchange ActiveSync SmartForward, SmartReply and other email attachment operations are now immediately cleaned up when no longer needed.
  • FIXED: The number of items sent back per Exchange ActiveSync response is now correctly determined using the WindowSize specified by the client.
  • SECURITY: Resolved an XSS vulnerability related to replying to an email.
  • SECURITY: Resolved an XSS vulnerability related to viewing email.