Email has replaced almost all other methods of business contact. While there is no shortage of email hosting companies, many corporations would rather prefer managing their emails through self-hosted email servers. Let’s take a deeper look at the best platforms for self-hosted email server.
When Do You Need a Self-Hosted Email Server?
In this context, “self-hosted” refers to an email server that resides within an organization’s own private network or server. Whenever you like, you can connect it to your other email services. The main reason you would want to use it, though, is so that you may set up your own email server.
Benefits of Self-Hosted Email Servers
- All of your email correspondence can be safeguarded from prying eyes by using a privately hosted server. You will no longer have to worry about your personal information being stolen and sold to marketers.
- Those email clients become accessible over the web or a private network when they have been linked to an outside email provider.
- Using an open-source email server, you are free to make as many aliases as you like. Furthermore, there is no limit to the quantity of messages you can send from these systems.
- Not only that, but you can customize every aspect of your email account to your heart’s content. You can tailor its policy settings and configurations to your business’s specific requirements.
Using Your Own Email Server: Some Things to Consider
It’s important to give careful consideration before deciding to use a self-hosted mail server for your company. The following should be checked before abandoning your current email client:
- In the event that the server has a Mail Transfer Agent (MTA), then numerous users of the server will be able to send email.
- If the two most popular email protocols, IMAP and POP3, are supported.
- Effective spam filters are necessary to stop the flood of unwanted email.
- If it can keep your inboxes safe from malicious software and viruses.
- The presence of a Mail Delivery Agent, who is responsible for delivering messages to the inbox, is also required.
12 Best Self-Hosted Email Server Platforms to Use
Section below will focus on the best options for hosting your own email server.
You may rest assured that your personal information is safe when using the free and open-source email server Modoboa. With a mail server up and running in just ten minutes, it’s a convenient alternative to using a third-party email provider.
Find the best open-source email server software installation, configuration, and security tools here. This system supports an infinite number of mailboxes, aliases, and domains, in addition to webmail, contact list management, calendar management, email organization using filters, auto-responder for emails, and more.
It also includes a data migration tool and statistics, among other administrative utilities. The installer takes care of 95% of the work, so you don’t have to worry about installing each part individually.
Modoboa’s primary value is the privacy and protection it provides for your data. All communications between the email server and the outside world are encrypted by the email service provider using the TLS protocol. The SPF, DKIM, and DMARC protocols are also utilised to ensure the safety of your online identity.
Mailu is a powerful and intuitive email server that you may host on your own server. This open-source software is designed to provide users with a server that is simple to set up and maintain. It doesn’t include any of the unnecessary bells and whistles that come with most collaboration software.
The system works with all of the most popular email server types and protocols, including IMAP, IMAP+, SMTP, and Submission. In addition to online access, features such as multiple webmail, domain aliases, route customisation, and administrative user interfaces are included.
Aliases, auto-forwarding, auto-response, and fetched accounts are all simple ways for users to save time. Efficient operation of this email server is made possible by features such as global administrators, per-domain delegation, announcements, and quotas.
To further guarantee the highest level of security, the platform makes use of TLS, a Letsencrypt certificate, outbound DKIM, greylisting, antivirus scanning, anti-spam, auto-learn, DMARC, and SPF.
Docker MailServer is an SMTP, LDAP, and IMAP-compatible open-source mail server. This solution is straightforward, versionable, and ready for production use because it consists entirely of configuration files. The server doesn’t require a SQL database, thus it may be upgraded and deployed quickly.
Additionally, it allows for automatic updates and the generation of individualized rules for SpamAssassin and ClamAV. The server uses LetsEncrypt and self-signed certificates to protect user data. Users also gain access to a script that automates server configuration and maintenance, Dovecot’s rudimentary support for Sieve, persistent data and state, and extension delimiters.
A minimum of 1 vCore and 512 MB of RAM is needed for this server to function on your machine. A server with only 512MB of RAM requires some services to be disabled. A machine with a 1 Core processor, 2GB of RAM, and container switching enabled is recommended for maximum performance.
Installing Poste.io on your server will get you up and running with web-based administration, spam filtering, and virus protection in about 5 minutes. This advanced email server keeps user information and settings separate from binary code. This system is compatible with external storage because it stores user information in SQLite database files.
Using this self-hosted email server makes routine tasks like upgrading, backing up, and migrating a breeze. Since data security is a top concern, Poste.io uses cutting-edge safeguards instead of more conventional authentication procedures.
System administrators, domain administrators, and email owners can each have unique permissions set by the administrator. Mailbox size and number of messages can be restricted as well. With its built-in anti-spam and antivirus features, your inbox is safe from harmful software.
Redirecting and auto-replying to emails, email screening, and data encryption are further useful functions. As an added bonus, it is compatible with Microsoft 365 and Thunderbird and features an autodiscovery function.
If you want to build an email server with free and open-source software, iRedMail is the way to go. This free and open-source email server is compatible with a wide variety of operating systems.
Since iRedMail is built entirely from open source code, users will have access to regular updates and bug patches from established Linux/BSD distributors. Filter messages and set up folders easily using its web-based, Roundcube-inspired user interface.
When using iRedMail, you can rest assured that your email is safe from prying eyes because it is encrypted and sent over a secure connection (POP3, IMAP, or SMTP). You can create as many users, administrators, domains, and mailing lists as you like on this platform, and there won’t be any extra charges for doing so. Since all of your data stays on your computer, you can keep a close eye on your inbox’s safety by checking the log of all outgoing and incoming messages.
Easy to set up and administer, Mail-in-a-Box is a standalone email server that puts you in charge of your own inboxes. With this system, you can host your own email server. In technical terms, this service turns an online computer into a fully functional e-mail server.
To put things up, though, you don’t need any technical knowledge at all. Webmail and an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)/Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) server are available on this platform.
You get access to standard email features like mail filter rules, spam filtering, greylisting, auto-configuration, and backup automation. You may also use it to synchronize your calendar and contact information.
Hosting a huge number of domains and users is made possible by this platform, making it ideal for enterprises of all sizes. It has a web-based control panel where you may create new email addresses, aliases, and DNS records.
If you’re a Windows user in need of a self-hosted email server, hMailServer is a free option. Since its source code is open and accessible on GitHub, it can be used in almost any commercial setting. Any web-based email service that supports both IMAP and SMTP will work with hMailServer.
The process of setting up hMailServer is quick and easy. It has a straightforward control panel that lets administrators set up user accounts and domains, tweak preferences, and turn on anti-malware protection.
The COM library in this platform makes it easy to connect to other programs, such as your current IT infrastructure. Incorporated anti-spam protections eliminate the possibility of your server being exploited for that purpose.
8. Apache James
SMTP and POP3 are both supported by Apache James, an open-source MTA. Java EE e-mail application server is also known as James. The architecture is modular, and its parts are both sturdy and up-to-date.
SMTP, LMTP, POP3, IMAP, ManageSieve, and IMAP are all supported by the server. They use MySQL, HSQLDB, Cassandra, and PostgreSQL as their storage implementations. Mailbox API, extensible email processing agents, command-line management, and so on are some other features.
Dovecot, an encrypted IMAP server, can be utilised in large or small installations alike. It’s one of the best IMAP servers out there, and it works with MBOX and Maildir. The server transparently indexes email and works with popular inbox management programs. Client-specific needs are automatically factored into self-optimising indexes.
Dovecot’s user authentication modes are highly flexible, allowing for the use of a wide range of authentication databases and methods. Not only that, but it also lets you transfer messages between various IMAP and POP3 servers. You can be certain that your information will remain private on this platform because of the rigorous measures used to ensure its safety at every stage of development.
This server is quite user-friendly for administrators, as it provides clear and concise error messages. Its current functionality can be extended with the help of plugins. Assigning quota, integrating ACL support, extending command capabilities, and modifying preexisting capabilities are all possible via plugins.
Should the server go down for any reason, the situation is solved. This email server allows users to access their mailboxes and folder indexes from several devices at once. As Dovecot works well with clustered filesystems, this is an option.
WildDuck Mail Server is widely used as a trusted and up-to-date POP3 and IMAP email server solution. This server supports unlimited scaling, is Unicode-aware, and is administered via application programming interface. By combining it with Haraka and ZoneMTA, users can create a powerful email server.
It has first-rate support for IMAP, so you may use it with whatever email client you like. In place of a conventional file system, they use a MongoDB cluster to archive all incoming and outgoing email messages. Also, you can make a cluster of any size you like.
This email server is developed with memory safety in mind. You also don’t have to give them access to the file system or root privileges.
If you’re working on a local or collaborative app and need an SMTP mail server, go no further than MailSlurper. This server is perfect for developers working alone or in small groups who wish to experiment with email without setting up a full-fledged server.
Its clean interface makes it easy to look through all the emails your programs have received and find the one you need quickly. Any laptop, piece of commodity hardware, or modest VM will be able to run this server without issue.
Additionally, it supports SQLite, MySQL, and MSSQL databases and can handle thousands of connections at once. This email server has an intuitive web interface and is easy to set up. MailSlurp works on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. It not only remembers your most frequently used search terms but also lets you search for emails by subject, sender, recipient, and content.
Magma Server Daemon is a free, open-source email server that provides encrypted storage to ensure your messages arrive safely. A wide variety of protocols, including POP, HTTP, SMTP, IMAP, and MOLTEN, can communicate with this server. Furthermore, DMTP and DMAP support will be added to it soon.
This enterprise-grade mail server was initially developed in 2004. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMBs) are included in the current clientele of the server.
Companies that need to generate a big number of email accounts and maintain full administrative authority over the server and its contents can benefit greatly from using a self-hosted email server. Additionally, you can guarantee privacy and include customisation by selecting any of the aforementioned email systems.