Private mailservers and email backup


7

7

Private mailservers and email backup
------------------------------------

Overhearing a complex windoopy cruddy conversation
about emails and license fees,
I suggested why not set up a private
email server with Linux, and then bcc the spam filtered
emails from the ISP all incoming and outgoing emails
to this private server. Then nothing would ever get lost.
Nearly everything stored in the private email
server would be a valuable conversation for future use.

Even if the ISP changed, then bcc could keep
the mails coming to the same machine from the new ISP and we would
have back up all the time, and tools like grep
to find emails long after the accounts have ceased.

This box would just sit in a corner and no one
would need to notice its there unless something
had gone wrong.

So the project got started. But emails are a complex
beast to set up. At first I don't have clue which
software(s) I needed - so many choices for each
portion are available for mail handling.

Anyway, after long hours of research,
the conclusion was Courier + Roundcube with maildir
as the preferred storage format.
The second choice was postfix, dovecot, squirrelmail.
The second choice was going to be investigated later, so
did the first choice. All choices were open source
free software that is commonly used by ISPs
all around the globe with a big network of developers
supporting this infrastructure.

Long hours of learning and setting up later, including
setting up MX records with the ISP domain hosting
company, Courier was finally working along with, apache,
PHP and mysql database back end for email database. All incoming
emails are now saved to separate directories using a filter that
supports regex filtering. All done in glorious Ubuntu 14.04 which
is free to download http://www.ubuntu.com

Wonderful!

For the first time the full benefits of owning your own
mail server and catching the hundreds of emails per day
from all staff becomes crystal clear.

People can come and go, the ISPs that host web sites can come
and go, but the emails should not come and go.

Without access to the millions of emails from past
it is not possible for a company to grow because
critical information that is tied up in emails
can go missing and there is no
way to search for it. There is no central place
that keeps it all for the future.

As a small company, you can afford to loose past emails
but as you grow bigger, that is not an option even if
the encumbant staff are not up to the task of setting
up an internal private catch all mail server.

It may be complex proposition to own your own
private email server, but you should push for it hard
as soon as staff numbers exceed somewhere between 5 and 10.

If you trust your emails to cloud servers and local
machines, you are doomed.

Some day all of that will be lost, or become tied up
in a format that is not searchable with simple
commands like grep.

And that can loose orders - if you can't for example
service a technical problem, or can't remember some vital
details of a past conversation. Far more money can
be lost than you can calculate compared to
owning your own private email server and remembering
everything that is critical to business function
for a small company that can't take such a hit without
falling down.
 
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D

Desk Rabbit

Private mailservers and email backup
------------------------------------

Overhearing a complex windoopy cruddy conversation
about emails and license fees,
I suggested why not set up a private
email server with Linux, and then bcc the spam filtered
emails from the ISP all incoming and outgoing emails
to this private server. Then nothing would ever get lost.
Nearly everything stored in the private email
server would be a valuable conversation for future use.

Even if the ISP changed, then bcc could keep
the mails coming to the same machine from the new ISP and we would
have back up all the time, and tools like grep
to find emails long after the accounts have ceased.

This box would just sit in a corner and no one
would need to notice its there unless something
had gone wrong.

So the project got started. But emails are a complex
beast to set up. At first I don't have clue which
software(s) I needed - so many choices for each
portion are available for mail handling.

Anyway, after long hours of research,
the conclusion was Courier + Roundcube with maildir
as the preferred storage format.
The second choice was postfix, dovecot, squirrelmail.
The second choice was going to be investigated later, so
did the first choice. All choices were open source
free software that is commonly used by ISPs
all around the globe with a big network of developers
supporting this infrastructure.

Long hours of learning and setting up later, including
setting up MX records with the ISP domain hosting
company, Courier was finally working along with, apache,
PHP and mysql database back end for email database. All incoming
emails are now saved to separate directories using a filter that
supports regex filtering. All done in glorious Ubuntu 14.04 which
is free to download http://www.ubuntu.com

Wonderful!

For the first time the full benefits of owning your own
mail server and catching the hundreds of emails per day
from all staff becomes crystal clear.

People can come and go, the ISPs that host web sites can come
and go, but the emails should not come and go.

Without access to the millions of emails from past
it is not possible for a company to grow because
critical information that is tied up in emails
can go missing and there is no
way to search for it. There is no central place
that keeps it all for the future.

As a small company, you can afford to loose past emails
but as you grow bigger, that is not an option even if
the encumbant staff are not up to the task of setting
up an internal private catch all mail server.

It may be complex proposition to own your own
private email server, but you should push for it hard
as soon as staff numbers exceed somewhere between 5 and 10.

If you trust your emails to cloud servers and local
machines, you are doomed.
Hang on, didn't you just say it was a local machine? So this new
platform is running on a cluster then?

Some day all of that will be lost, or become tied up
in a format that is not searchable with simple
commands like grep.
I wouldn't call grep a simple command. I've used several compliance
systems (You've basically re-invented the wheel here) and they all have
very simple user web interfaces with very easy search facilities. Also
remember, you have to restrict what people can search for. You wouldn't
want anyone searching the HR emails for example. Existing systems have
this safeguard, does yours?

I'm surprised you went down the route of BCCs. How do you ensure that
all incoming emails are BCC'd????

Surely the better way would be to make the box and SMTP proxy?

I remain unconvinced that having spent many hours re-inventing this
particular wheel, that you've actually saved any money compared to the
small licensing cost (Which will of course pay for ongoing development,
updates, security patches and support) of a commercial system.

If you wanted a free system then perhaps this might have been cheaper
(Time wise) to install http://www.mailpiler.org/en/index.html
 
7

7

Desk Rabbit wrote:

I'm surprised you went down the route of BCCs. How do you ensure that
all incoming emails are BCC'd????

Sounds like you are just another internet troll
who know nothing about bcc.

Here troll, read the Original Post, understand it
first by doing some research, and then weep like
a good troll as all trolls must:


Private mailservers and email backup
------------------------------------

Overhearing a complex windoopy cruddy conversation
about emails and license fees,
I suggested why not set up a private
email server with Linux, and then bcc the spam filtered
emails from the ISP all incoming and outgoing emails
to this private server. Then nothing would ever get lost.
Nearly everything stored in the private email
server would be a valuable conversation for future use.

Even if the ISP changed, then bcc could keep
the mails coming to the same machine from the new ISP and we would
have back up all the time, and tools like grep
to find emails long after the accounts have ceased.

This box would just sit in a corner and no one
would need to notice its there unless something
had gone wrong.

So the project got started. But emails are a complex
beast to set up. At first I don't have clue which
software(s) I needed - so many choices for each
portion are available for mail handling.

Anyway, after long hours of research,
the conclusion was Courier + Roundcube with maildir
as the preferred storage format.
The second choice was postfix, dovecot, squirrelmail.
The second choice was going to be investigated later, so
did the first choice. All choices were open source
free software that is commonly used by ISPs
all around the globe with a big network of developers
supporting this infrastructure.

Long hours of learning and setting up later, including
setting up MX records with the ISP domain hosting
company, Courier was finally working along with, apache,
PHP and mysql database back end for email database. All incoming
emails are now saved to separate directories using a filter that
supports regex filtering. All done in glorious Ubuntu 14.04 which
is free to download http://www.ubuntu.com

Wonderful!

For the first time the full benefits of owning your own
mail server and catching the hundreds of emails per day
from all staff becomes crystal clear.

People can come and go, the ISPs that host web sites can come
and go, but the emails should not come and go.

Without access to the millions of emails from past
it is not possible for a company to grow because
critical information that is tied up in emails
can go missing and there is no
way to search for it. There is no central place
that keeps it all for the future.

As a small company, you can afford to loose past emails
but as you grow bigger, that is not an option even if
the encumbant staff are not up to the task of setting
up an internal private catch all mail server.

It may be complex proposition to own your own
private email server, but you should push for it hard
as soon as staff numbers exceed somewhere between 5 and 10.

If you trust your emails to cloud servers and local
machines, you are doomed.

Some day all of that will be lost, or become tied up
in a format that is not searchable with simple
commands like grep.

And that can loose orders - if you can't for example
service a technical problem, or can't remember some vital
details of a past conversation. Far more money can
be lost than you can calculate compared to
owning your own private email server and remembering
everything that is critical to business function
for a small company that can't take such a hit without
falling down.
 
D

Desk Rabbit

Desk Rabbit wrote:




Sounds like you are just another internet troll
who know nothing about bcc.
I know exactly how BCC works and what BCC is, what I don't understand
and you haven't explained in your message is how BCC is used to archive
incoming messages.

Thanks for re-quoting the message but it's already there in the thread.

So how do you ensure that for incoming mails that the senders BCC the
email address required for the archive mailbox?

In other words, if I send you an email, what mechanism ensures that the
email is stored in the archive because I don't know what the BCC address is.

Now I've asked my question twice in a polite and civil manner, please
buck the trend of a typical Linux advocate and reciprocate.


You also said "If you trust your emails to cloud servers and local
machines, you are doomed."

I said "Hang on, didn't you just say it was a local machine? So this new
platform is running on a cluster then?"

So what makes this local solution better than any other local server or
archive? Personally I'd be happier with my own server or cluster in a
data centre where there is a good redundant power supply and air con,
than another PC crammed into a overheated dusty cupboard in an office.
 
M

Mark Goodge

I know exactly how BCC works and what BCC is, what I don't understand
and you haven't explained in your message is how BCC is used to archive
incoming messages.

Thanks for re-quoting the message but it's already there in the thread.

So how do you ensure that for incoming mails that the senders BCC the
email address required for the archive mailbox?

In other words, if I send you an email, what mechanism ensures that the
email is stored in the archive because I don't know what the BCC address is.
The inbound mail server does that. The server receives the email, then bccs
it to the archive address at the same time that it delivers it to the
actual recipient's mailbox. It's a trivial configuration setting in all the
main MTA software packages.

Mark
 
D

Desk Rabbit

The inbound mail server does that. The server receives the email, then bccs
it to the archive address at the same time that it delivers it to the
actual recipient's mailbox. It's a trivial configuration setting in all the
main MTA software packages.
Interesting. Would you care to link to the documentation of one of these
trivial configurations?
 
M

Mark Goodge

Interesting. Would you care to link to the documentation of one of these
trivial configurations?
Here's the one I use:

http://www.postfix.org/postconf.5.html

The config setting you're looking for is 'always_bcc'. Just set a value for
a recipient address, and all incoming mail to the server will be copied to
that address as well as delivered to the intended recipient.

Mark
 
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D

Desk Rabbit

Here's the one I use:

http://www.postfix.org/postconf.5.html

The config setting you're looking for is 'always_bcc'. Just set a value for
a recipient address, and all incoming mail to the server will be copied to
that address as well as delivered to the intended recipient.

Mark
Thanks. Yes Postfix is indeed trivial. Sendmail which is my preferred
MTA is another case entirely, it needs a milter.
 

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