The ISPmail guide
A complete and educational guide to running your own mail server on Debian
The famous ISP-style mail server tutorial lives here. Learn how to set up your own fully-functional mail server using Postfix, Dovecot IMAP/POP3 and MySQL backend on a Debian server just like your favorite mail or website hosting provider. This guide is a voluntary project with no profit in mind. Go ahead and learn to run your own mail server.
This is a complete and free guide that teaches you how to set up and run your own mail server. At the end of the guide you will have your own fully featured mail server based on open-source software using a cheap (virtual) server. And you will have learned all about the various components, protocols and technologies.
This guide is free. There is no catch. I am publishing this guide without any commercial interest. My motivation is to get more people away from centralized email services. The internet wasn’t meant to run on services offered by only few monopolistic companies. People have become lazy and stopped caring. But running your own server must not become a forgotten art. As IT managers blindly follow the hype to put everything into the “cloud” we sysadmins get stupider by the day. If the trend continues only few people will know how to run a mail server while everyone else is degrading into stupid consumers. Don’t let that happen to you.
So what will the mail server cost you? The only recurring costs you may face are for running your mail server and for renting a domain. Cheap virtual servers are usually available at around $5 / 5€ per month and have enough space to run a mail server for your friends and family. The software being used is completely free and open-source. You can even sell your service if you like. After all it is called “ISPmail” (ISP = internet service provider). Are you a sysadmin and your organization needs a mail server for a few hundred users? Go with this guide. It has been battle-tested by thousands of other sysadmins and constantly evolved over the last 20 years.