Have you ever worked with Thunderbird as a mail client? When you add a mail account you get a wizard like this:
You click on Continue and Thunderbird tries to find out which parameters are needed to connect to your mail server properly. But usually you just end up with this:
What is necessary to help Thunderbird (and other mail clients like Evolution, Kmail, Kontact or even Outl**k) with that? Unfortunately there is no standard for it yet. Thunderbird has a couple of methods implemented.
For large ISPs they maintain their ISPDB database. But your market share may not be enough to be listed there. The next best option is to provide an XML file in a certain format through your web server. Thunderbird will look for this URL:
I suggest putting this file into
/var/www/html/autoconfig-mail/config-v1.1.xml and editing your Apache virtual host configuration (
Alias /.well-known/autoconfig/mail /var/www/html/autoconfig-mail
Try to load that URL /.well-known/autoconfig/mail/config-v1.1.xml from your domain in your web browser. At least Firefox and Chrome-based browsers validate the XML content automatically and tell you if you made a syntax mistake. No errors? Very good.
Now next time you set up an account using Thunderbird (or other mail clients that support auto-configuration this way) your users will have a very pleasant quick way to add their email account. Try it out.
Keep in mind that every domain you are hosting requires such an auto-configuration file. I’m confident that you find a way to generate those files automatically. 🙂