Yes, having your own mail server is a good idea. Although many could disagree, there are clear benefits that include better control, privacy, and a lot more customization. And forget about the myth that all your emails will go directly into the SPAM folders and you will receive millions of SPAM messages if you use one of the big mail companies.
Let’s go deeper and see if owning a mail server is good for you?
What is a mail server?
The mail server is a type of server that is responsible for emails. But you can view it as a complex system. There are different components that must be set up correctly.
- Mail Transfer Agent. The Mail Transfer Agent (MTA) manages the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) traffic. It sends emails from your users (your employees, for example) to an external MTA. It also receives mails from an external MTA.
- Mail Delivery Agent. It will get the mails from an MTA and put them into the users’ inboxes.
- IMAP and/or POP3 Server. These two are used by the mail clients’ software. IMAP is more complex and has more functionalities while POP3 commonly serves for local storage of emails on a computer.
Additional components, which are not a must, but you will probably need them:
- Spam Filter. It will stop dramatically the incoming SPAM and junk mail. It will include rules and policies to decide if the incoming mails are SPAM or not. It can delete them, put them in SPAM or allow them.
- Antivirus. Software that will analyze and protect from viruses, Trojans, malware, and other threats.
- Webmail. A client, each of the users can access through the web.
Own hardware or rental. Some clearance
We are talking about using our own mail server, instead of choosing Gmail, Outlook or another. But we, Takeaserver.com, recommend a dedicated server or a cloud server instead of hosting it at your home or office.
If you want to have your physical server right where you are, you will need to think about a few things:
- Hardware: Although it is not very demanding, you need to purchase and later update the components. Think about the space and the number of users that will use it.
- Software: You will need an OS and server software and additional applications. Some of them could cost a lot, like Windows Server, for example.
- Uptime: You will need an uninterrupted power supply. That means you will need UPS for filtering the incoming electricity and some back-up generator when the electricity stops.
- SPAM problems. If you are using the Internet, coming from a consumer ISP provider, your IP address could already be in a blacklist. Almost all of the consumers’ IPs are present in SPAM blacklists to reduce the number of SPAM messages.
- Port blockage. Your ISP might limit the port that you can use. It could be harder, even impossible to set the mail server.
Benefits of having your own mail server (cloud or dedicated)
Here are the main points of why it is a good idea to have our own server:
- No limits on the number of sent emails. You won’t be limited to a certain amount of emails per hour, day, or month.
- No charges per user. You have 200 employees, no problem. You can set the number of email accounts without any charge per user. If you have many employees, you will save a lot of money.
- Bigger inboxes. You can set the size of each inbox and attributes to the emails such as the size of the attachments or type of attachments.
- Better feedback. You will learn, exactly what happens to your mail. Did it bounce back? Was it received or delayed? There is a report, right in your SMTP server. You can also get a log for the incoming emails.
- Privacy. You will have all of the information for yourself. There are no bots crawling around. Nobody will be able to view your email lists.
- Better control. You can control any aspect of your server. This means that you can improve security if you have the knowledge. You can also set policies, limits, and triggers.
Drawbacks of having your own mail server
We want to be fully objective about the topic and not skip any inconveniences.
- Cost: Renting a server, cloud, or dedicated will cost you additional money. The software you choose will also add to the account. To reduce the cost, you can use open-source software, and if you already have a cloud or dedicated server, you don’t need an additional one to host the mail server.
- Hard to set up. Yes, it will be a bit of a hustle for a novice, without any knowledge, but there are plenty of free resources on how to do it.
- Maintenance. Your email server is not a single entity. You will have various software for SPAM, security, authentication. Each of the components must be updated frequently.
What do you need to run it?
Let’s see what is needed to get up and running your own mail server.
- Domain. If you already have one, that’s great, if not, you can purchase one from a domain registration site.
- Rent a cloud server or a dedicated one. Think about your needs when selecting.
- Static IP. This IP address needs to be trusted and not blacklisted by receivers.
- Basic knowledge in DNS (Domain Name System). You need a few DNS records – rDNS, SPF, and DKIM. They will serve to authenticate that you have the right to send mails from the domain, connect its IP to the domain name, and set sending policies.
- A computer/server with the minimum requirements of the software you choose. Think about how many users you will have, how many emails your company will need to send per day now and in the future.
- The environment for the server applications. You will need to install and run some services, depending on your OS.
- The server software. There are plenty of choices. Some are free, others are not.
We hope we managed to answer the question “Is having your own mail server a good idea”. After that article we recommend that you read about how to set up your own mail server based on your OS:
- Windows Server
Get a cloud server for less than 7 USD per month or a dedicated server for less than 45 USD per month, to start your mail server. If you don’t know how many resources you need, our sales team will be glad to give you a free consultation. Just write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.