FAQ (frequently asked questions)

Can I use this guide for my own work?

Previously I claimed a copyright on the documentation. However let’s make things simpler. This Bullseye guide is using the Creative Commons BY-NC-SA license. Which means:

  • BY = Attribution — You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
  • NC = NonCommercial — You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Do what you want with your mail server. But let’s keep the knowledge free.
  • SA = ShareAlike — If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you must distribute your contributions under the same license as the original.

Besides that this guide has been a team effort. Many readers have contributed to it. I may spend the time to turn it into a guide but a lot of good ideas were not mine alone.

Can I advertise in your guide?


Why don’t you use Nginx/PostgreSQL?

I personally prefer that software, too. Just go for it. But for the sake of consistency let’s keep Apache and MySQL as default choices in this guide so that readers upgrading from previous versions don’t have to switch.

Do you offer paid support?

Generally, yes, I am a sysadmin freelancer. If you are just stuck at some point you may want to ask in the chat first though.

How do I filter out malware?

I understand the need for it. If your users are using low-security operating systems (e.g. those that run EXE files) they are threatened by a lot of security problems. From the perspective of an email provider I would not want to take responsibility for filtering emails. That is only working on symptoms and not addressing the actual issues. Security is a fundamental concept and not something you slap on top of something inherently broken. I would not want to be blamed for a crypto trojan infection because the user relied on me saving them from bad things to happen. Client security in non-free systems is a topic on its own.

Debian packages are too old and insecure

If you use a Debian stable release you have chosen to stay on a specific software version. “Stable” means “a version that will not change”. That’s the best choice for a server. Those software packages are by no means less secure though because they also get security updates. Debian also has up-to-date packages but you surely don’t want to use them for a mail server unless you feel adventurous or have an intense hatred for your users. For a detailed discussion see this separate article.

Can I download the guide as one file?

I haven’t yet found a way to accomplish that. WordPress is not especially good when it comes to structured multi-page documentation. If anyone has a hint I’d be grateful.

Why don’t you put the guide on Github as Markdown?

This website runs on WordPress because I wanted something easy to edit and also have discussions on each page. I might be a hardcore terminal user but just sometimes I prefer to have a WYSIWYG editor. I tried several ways to work with multi-file Markdown builders but the workflow was uncomfortable and lead to ugly documentation. Besides we wouldn’t have discussions on the pages and I’m surely not including Quora for discussions.

1 thought on “FAQ (frequently asked questions)”

  1. I just finished (up to this FAQ, anyway) pulling this guide into my local Obsidian Vault. Obsidian uses Markdown natively–albeit one with Obsidian extensions–so while it took some cleanup to make it conform to Obsidian’s formatting conventions, it was mostly just copy and paste. I’d be happy to package up the generated files and push them somewhere for anyone who wants to get a Markdown-formatted copy.

    Just be aware it is Obsidian-flavored Markdown, because I like the nice formatting that provides.

    Anyway, I also wanted to say thanks. I used your guide years ago to set up my own mail server, and it has been absolutely rock-solid ever since. I pulled this into my Vault because I’m seriously considering rebuilding it on a Raspberry Pi.

    The only real change I made was I used a BTRFS-backed filesystem for the mailstore, so I could take advantage of on-the-fly compression of stored emails.

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