Ars Technica’s Lee Hutchinson has only posted the first installment, but this looks to be a seriously good piece on self-hosting email:

How to run your own e-mail server with your own domain, part 1

He starts off with a good dose of reality: it’s a lot of work, and when you screw it up you can make your online life really miserable really quick.

If you want to run a Linux mail server, either on your own physical server or a virtual hosted one, start reading. I’m collecting parts for my new server and I expect this to be useful even if I’m running OS X.

If you have never considered running a mail server, I’m not going to try to talk you into it. Maintaining your own for a few users is smaller in resources than a corporate server, but only somewhat smaller in complexity. You might, however, want to read how it works just to understand how email can be so broken.


  1. Steven says:

    Been there, done that.

    For me, the reward is not worth the effort. I muck about with this all day at work- the last thing I want to do when I go home is do more server administration.

    As with so many things, your mileage may vary.

  2. feorlen says:

    I’ve been through that as well, and switched to hosted email a few years ago. Maybe I’ve just forgotten the experience sufficiently (as if) but I’m going to try it again.

    There is the “keeping my hands in it” aspect, as a developer in IT but not having been a full-on datacenter sysadmin. There are plenty of things I don’t know, and others I know enough to choose to let someone else do (DNS is a prime example.)

    And, in all if this, it is helpful I have someone who is a datacenter sysadmin available. (It does make for interesting household conversations, however.)

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