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Which mail server is best...

By it ·
Our company is about to set up 40 branches around the uk and all these staff will require email facilities, as well as 50 LAN users. These 40 branches will all have individual domain names making a total of 41, most will have dynamic IPs and all will need to send/receive mail. I also would like the ability to monitor the mail, apply rulesets to mail, and virus check mail for compliance purposes. Is MS Exchange the kiddie for this or is there another product out there which will do the job.
Any help appreciated & thanx for your time..

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by BudTheGrey In reply to Which mail server is best ...

Unless you need the collaboration features of Exchange, it is probably NOT the solution for this situation. Novell Netmail is an easy way to set up a distributed e-mail system; with 50 users per branch you could have e-mail and file/print services on the same box. NetMail is also available for *nix, so you aren't locked into one particular platform. IIRC, you only purchase mailbox licenses, so there's no (or only one) per-server fee. I know this is true for the NetWare OS; I think it applies to netmail as well.

NetMail provides SMTP, POP3, IMAP4, Webmail, AV integration, DNSBL, etc. An add-on product called gee-whiz has recently introduced for more sophisticated anti-spam chores, as well.

Unless the branch offices are otherwise interconnected, each will have to have at least one static IP address. It would be your choice whether to use a central SMTP server to send/receive mail for all the domains, or let the individual servers handle their own mail.

Of course, there are Linux and Windows solutions as well. For small offices, I think well of ipSwitch's iMail server on Windows. (

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by dcarpenter In reply to Which mail server is best ...

Check out Their LAN Suite application got high ratings from PC Magazine and I have had good success with installs at several client sites. They have an Anti_virus Edition which should be ample to your needs.

Best regards,

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by a.grogan In reply to Which mail server is best ...

Have you looked at IMAIL? ( - its cheap, easy, does pop3, imap, has a web font end and is highly rated.
Otherwise if you need a bigger beast with calendaring and scalability Exchange is your best bet.

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by AmISharing In reply to Which mail server is best ...

I'm a user of Ipswitch products including WS_FTP Server, WhatsUp Gold network monitor, and IMail Server. From the looks of earlier posts, IMail is a popular option.

Though you don't indicate the number of total users, 41 domains is no problem (you probably will have to consider the more expensive "PRO" version because less expensive versions limit to five domains).

I post to add to and expand upon earlier comments about IMail Server:
1) Webmail templates are spartan but customizable (many use KillerWebMail templates for IMail from Humankind Software),
2) ICAL standard based web calendaring included,
3) arguably one of the best AntiVirus scan engines (Symantec's CarrierScan)
4) queue monitoring built in and good queue manager for eliminating keeping runaway mail processes in check,

If you decide to evaluate IMail (free and fully functional), join the IMail discussion list. It's monitored by many long time users and is a great place to pose specific, technical questions or simply lurk (the archive is located at //">

Your stated requirements appear lightweight compared to many and do not, in my opinion, necessitate MS Exchange. In fact, you may be introducing more headache than solution. Understand, I'm not another MS basher - far from it. I recommend and implement MS products where it makes good business sense - though only you and the rest of your team should make that determination.


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by it In reply to Which mail server is best ...

Thanx WhatsUpIcon & indeed to all who took the time to answer. In answer to your qustion below(WhatsUpIcon) I may have 40 Domains with approx 10 users per domain & 1 domain with 100 users. Can you breifly explain if Imail will allow remote users to send recive mail from Dynamic IPs, as all except LAN users will be accessing this way. I made the mistake of allowing Open Relay (for this purpose)on a mail server once & had a mail queue of 17,ooo the following morning.
Cheers again

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by AmISharing In reply to Which mail server is best ...

Yes, IMail provides for your situation. The most secure SMTP relay options are 'Relay for Addresses' or 'No Mail Relay.'

1) 'Relay for Addresses' allows you to enter specific IP addresses or ranges of IP addresses. All users outside of the specified LAN IP addresses would be forced to use SMTP authentication.

2) 'No Mail Relay' forces all mail clients to use SMTP authentication to send mail out from your server.

In an ideal world, you could list the IP addresses (and/or subnets) that you want to relay mail for - not just the LAN users. In your case, 'No Mail Relay' is the most secure solution because users connect using dynamic IP addresses. Your users would set their mail clients to do SMTP login (i.e. "My outgoing mail server requires authentication"). 'No Mail Relay' forces all mail clients to use SMTP authentication to send mail out from your server.

Web interface users (if you were to choose that route) would not be effected by relay options because they authenticate at login. More and more large organizations here in the States are going this route (e.g. ISPs, Dept of Defense, etc.)

*** BTW, IMail installs as an open relay right out of the box. So, if you evaluate and don't want another 17000 messages queued, see to you mail relay options prior to exposing the mail server to the Internet. ;-)

Best regards,

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by it In reply to

Brilliant advice WhatsUpIcon,
Thankyou very much for your time..

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by it In reply to Which mail server is best ...

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