Idea: Mail Server Alternative? RRS feed

  • Question

  • It seems to me, that having a built in mail server would be a big hassle for home users, because they would have to deal with their ISP maybe getting upset they're hosting, and then there's bandwidth issues, port blocks on smtp outbound with some providers, etc... MS would be given major grief when someone's email server wouldn't send mail, only to find out that their ports are blocked by the ISP...


    Actually, what might be a better alternative for home users is a WHS addin that serves as a mail "retrieval/relaying" service, without even having a third party mail server installed. 


    How many home users have multiple email accounts, like one ISP based account and then free Hotmail, Yahoo, and Gmail accounts? Instead of bringing that mail traffic to the home server where it may be blocked on outbound smtp especially, leave it with the email provider you already have, and just centralize access to it.

    • Allows you to define each user's email account settings for remote retrieval of multiple accounts at specific intervals (every 5 or 10 mins) which then stores it at the server.  When you set up a user, you could have a link for email on their personal page at the WHS server that walks them through asking for username, password, server and ports for retrieving email (including SSL based pop/smtp).  It could be intelligent enough to know for certain services (yahoo mail, Hotmail, or Gmail) pre-formatted answers would already be inserted for server settings.
    • Web browser based access of their stored email and the ability to properly respond to it right there. The software would then relay that to the appropriate server using the built in SMTP server in WHS (which would have to be installed when you do this idea...).
    • Once it's set up in that, have it create a downloadable executable that when run on a client machine automatically fills in the appropriate settings for mail clients like Outlook, Outlook Express, Windows Mail (in Vista), Thunderbird, etc, and then they have 2 different ways of getting all that email. A dedicated client, and a web browser based version, with all accounts right there for reading?

    How would this be served? An executable service? A Web site? I bet there are ASP/PHP based packages already made, and you could simply use something like the Whiist plugin and create a website (say, call it the /mail site) upload the package to it, make any operating system/permission changes needed for the app to work, and you're done.  (in fact, I know this could be done with code already out there, now I'm going to have to look for something and end up replying with a howto: lol)


    I think this would be an awesome Code challenge.  It's a pity I can't code that kind of thing myself, or I'd do it.  Looks like it's time to learn!

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 7:38 PM

All replies

  • Well, here's one alternative:


    http://www.iisworks.com/webmail/  it's free...


    Quick and Dirty instructions: (assumes you have went in and installed the SMTP server in IIS beforehand, if not, edit the global.asa file in notepad and you'll see where to change the smtp server settings....)


    I just finished setting it up, didn't take me long either (maybe 10 mins max), works fine in WHS, I used the Whiist addin also to help speed this along:


    Install Whiist
    Create website, named (ex: Webmail), pointing to the folders where you unzipped it:



    Important: Uncheck create a default webpage

    check all other options, make this site public, (put on main webpage to your liking or not)


    follow instructions at: http://www.iisworks.com/webmail/ to get that package working.


    Using Whiist to create the site, it is already an application folder so that step is taken care of by the site creation process (In the install instructions, you can skip the first two bullets...)

    1) Log into server using RDP and in a command prompt window, register the controls:
       regsvr32 D:\Shares\Public\webmail\Controls\FathCrypt.ocx <enter> click OK
       regsvr32 D:\Shares\Public\webmail\Controls\FathMail.dll <enter> click OK

       Next, create folder for Mailboxes manually:
       mkdir d:\shares\public\webmail\Mailboxes

       type in "exit" to close the command window.


    2) Open \\Server\Public Right click, properties, click Security tab on \\server\Public\webmail
    Add IUSR_SERVER and click Modify checkbox in permissions then Hit OK.


    3) Run the Diags.asp page like the instructions say. If everything's ok, then you're good to go. Delete/rename the diags page, then attempt to log into it. If you get any errors it's almost always permission related.



    anyone else have a good idea for a FREE addin or software to do this?

    Tuesday, July 3, 2007 8:37 PM
  • WeezulDK


    interesting !!


    Did you try the ListPics also available from the same site???




    Are you able to send mail from the Webmail log on?


    If so provide the additional steps you took to get this to work- i am at my wits end.

    Wednesday, July 4, 2007 9:20 PM

    Got it to work.


    I was not payiing attention.

    Thursday, July 5, 2007 6:11 AM
  • I have been giving Smartermail a try. Relatively simple to setup; simple to use. The biggest advantage (and reason, for me) to have an email 'server' is to allow me access to my home life, be it my Home interaction system; my email accounts; and my music, movies, and memories, all from one location.

    I dont want to become an email admin, but I doubt the amount I accumulate will amount to much, i leave the messages on the server from the major email account providers, and with WHS, its stored safely.


    My two cents. SmarterMail works so far; we'll see over the next few days/weeks.

    Monday, July 9, 2007 11:41 AM
  • do you have to be logged in to the server for this to load?  ie. do i have to be logged in as the admin then lock it?  or does it run without being logged in?
    Wednesday, July 11, 2007 4:46 AM
  • i use hmailserver from http://www.hmailserver.com


    it supports pop, smtp and imap.


    it also supports downloading mail from external servers directly to the mailbox of a user.

    it runs as a system service, so no need to logon to the console on whs to start it


    it's very easy to install and setup

    and it is FREE!!!

    Thursday, July 12, 2007 1:14 AM
  • Hello,


    Maybe off topic, but I'm gonna give it a try.

    I'm trying install Squirremail (with hmailserver) on WHS, BUT I've have a problem (i think) with IMAP. PHP is running correct, but when I try to login via webmail ( the login page is visible) I get the error:

    ERROR: Connection dropped by IMAP server

    It's difficult to find any usefull documentation to setup squirrelmail under windows, the most documentation is based on setup under linux. Even the squirrelmail homepage serves no (windows) information about this setup...

    Anybody, Hielke??




    Monday, September 3, 2007 4:18 PM
  • to bad m8, dont have the experience in sq-mail. didn't like it


    but in hmailserver you can almost log everything. my suggestion is you enable the logging and read trough the log-file.

    here you can see if there was a connection (does sq-mail even connect to hmailserver or not?), and if there was a connection, why it was dropped

    or maybe you need the php-imap extension in php enabled (think you can do that in php.ini)


    Tuesday, September 4, 2007 8:32 PM
  • Anyone have a simple walk through for how to install this? My eyes only got wide when I look at the instructions Smile
    Sunday, February 17, 2008 12:55 AM
  • Actually what I think would be cool would be a light weight version of exchange.  Giving home users all the features you get with Exchange/Outlook but your only option is to use the POP Client that is provided with Windows SB Server.



    Sunday, February 17, 2008 4:29 AM