Single SMTP Server For Your PDA / Desktop / Home Network

By tonyhughes Hughes, in , posted: 4-Sep-2006 08:30

In a previous blog post, I talked about Gmail being great as a free smtp server, that you can use from anywhere. The concept works well, but a potential deal-breaker for some, is that when you do this, your mail arrives at the recipient addressed from:

From: On Behalf Of: your-email-address@where-ever

And you cannot change that. I guess its free advertising for the Gmail service.

I have always had spare hardware floating around, and often play around with various Linux distributions, seeing what each has to offer, and learning as I go along.

Last night, I installed Clarkconnect 3.2 on my 533mhz (which, after some malfunction now reports to bios, windows, and linux as a PIII 400mhz), 192mb RAM 10GB HDD.

A few tweaks in the WebConfig system, and I have a fully functioning web server, mail server (pop3 and smtp), ftp server, and other services if i need them (dhcp etc), plus its a regular linux box that can do regular linux things.

Xtra (my ISP) blocks port 25. Apparently you can call them, and they will unblock it for you (I assume so those in the know can use port 25, and people who dont know, become less likely to contribute to zombie-pc generated spam).

Instead of that though, ClarkConnect has an SMTP relay feature, which sends all my mail to Xtras SMTP server, via my own.

Email client > my smtp server > xtras smtp server > delivery

Now, my smtp server, through my domain name, can be accessed securely with a username and password, from any connection on the planet. I send mail through it, which Xtra then sends on behalf of my server (because my server resides on an Xtra connection).

Therefore, I can use my SMTP server on my pocket PC, and laptop, and never have to worry about switching accounts to match the ISP im on, and if I am sending mail in a professional manner, not have to worry that the recipient will see:

From: On Behalf Of:

Which might lead people to question your credibility for doing business with. (especially if your gmail username was james-the-1337-h4x0rWILLpWnJ00@gmail or something... )

Another upside of a local mailserver, is that all my mail now arrives behind the scenes at normal ADSL speeds (3.5Mbit connection), but when I actually check mail on the local network from my desktop, because the mail is now coming from a local machine, I get the mail at 100Mbps speeds (well, whatever rate my cheap cables and DLINK router will allow me to transfer at). This means that although the mail didnt hit my system any faster from start to finish, when I check the mail, its super-fast.

More information

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Comment by freitasm, on 4-Sep-2006 09:19

Hmmm. I guess your mail server is not the MX for your domain, right? Because xtra blocks port 25, external servers can not send e-mails to your domain directly because of that.

It's ok for you to send e-mails though from your internal network, but what from other networks? Unless you have changed the ports, Xtra will still block it.


Comment by freitasm, on 4-Sep-2006 09:19

I also got a comment from someone (can't remember now, sorry), that Xtra is not opening any port 25, for anyone, even to the best network admin on Earth, if he used Xtra services.


Author's note by tonyhughes, on 4-Sep-2006 09:23

operating through dyndns at present (as I am very indecisive and cant decide on a domain name), so my address is still @gmail (but thats irrelevant).

Did some off-network testing last night, works fine (sending and recieving mail).

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