Any suggestions for a MTA for a new admin?

Bob Johnson fbsdlists at
Thu Aug 11 23:03:06 GMT 2005

On 8/11/05, Tom Norris <tom at> wrote:
> I have finally made the jump from paying people to host my websites to 
> doing it myself (setting up apache, perl, php, postgresql, and all that 
> fun stuff.)  Now I want to migrate my e-mail addresses over to a FreeBSD 
> 4.11 machine that lives in a data center.  Can any of you recommend a 
> good MTA (and maybe a book) for someone that knows relatively few things 
> about the big scary world of e-mail transport?

My list of candidates would be Courier, Postfix, or sendmail.  I've
never used Postfix, but I'm going to be giving it a test drive soon. 
Exim should probably be a candidate, but I haven't ever looked at it. 
Cyrus has some merit as an enterprise mail server, but is probably
overkill for most users.

Stay away from Gmail.  It is nasty in more ways than one.

Courier includes an IMAP and POP server as well as an MTA, works well,
is very featurefull and  reasonably customizable.  Documentation is
pretty good.  Its structure and philosophy are similar to Gmail, but
implemented much better (If you are thinking about Gmail, use Courier
instead).  I like it as an all-in-one mail server solution.

Postfix is very featurefull, very customizable, and very popular, so
it ought to be easy to get help.

Sendmail is built in to FreeBSD, is much more secure and much more
flexible than the older versions that drove people to write the others
in the first place, so it is a valid candidate. also see
for an example of what can be done with it.

> Just to throw it out there, one of the things I need to do is to have 
> the MTA route mail for a few different domains that are pointed towards 
> the machine on different ip addresses.  Is that possible?

That should be possible with any of them.

- Bob

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