Setting up own domain and mailserver

Paul A. Hoadley paulh at
Tue Feb 15 10:51:14 GMT 2005

On Mon, Feb 14, 2005 at 08:56:01PM -0800, Luke wrote:

> On Sat, 12 Feb 2005, RL wrote:
> >1. I have adelphia cable internet.  I would like to get a dyndns or
> > account to have a static IP for my new godaddy domain.
> >Simple enough.  However, I would like to also do my own DNS to
> >learn more about it.  Will I be able to do this if I set my
> >nameserver on godaddy to my box's dyndns address?  And from there
> >can I set up A records, MX Records, etc and all that good stuff?
> For a domain name to be effective, you need a public and highly
> referenced source to map your name to your IP address.

You certainly need a DNS server.

> That's what these public registrars do.

The registrar certainly puts an NS record in the top-level zone file.
Beyond that, some of them no doubt provide nameservice for an extra
fee, or are associated with some DNS provider.  But registration of
the name and provision of DNS are separate issues.

> You want them to map your name to your address.  You can't move that
> service to your own box because... well.. how would anybody find you
> in the first place?

While your conclusion might be true for the OP (we have established
elsewhere that he almost certainly can't do what he was hoping he
could), it's not about being able to find his machine.  If he
fulfilled the technical requirements (static IP addresses, more than
one host providing DNS), he certainly could point the world at his own
box by nominating it, and another, as the namerservers with his

> Technically you can do SOME of the domain service yourself if you're
> running a network.  Public DNS servers might get them to
>, and then you could direct them to
>,, etc.  but you
> probably don't have any need for something like that at home.

Unless you're describing port redirection of some kind, you're
describing the OP doing his own DNS.  I think we've ruled that out.

> You can run your own DNS service to do lookups for yourself though,
> and it's a fun way to learn about how the global system works.
> Check out the sections of the FreeBSD Handbook on BIND.  Running DNS
> for a small network in my home was pretty educational for me.

I agree.  Running BIND on your own network is a good exercise.

> >3. I would also like to run my own mailserver for that domain
> >(again to learn).  Would I be able to do this and send receive
> >email from/to name at  I know most ISPs block port 25
> >and has a pay service called mail reflector that can get
> >around this.  Is this necessary?  Why couldn't I just set up
> >sendmail to use a port other than 25 like 8080?
> Sending isn't the problem.  You can send from just about any port
> you want.  It's receiving that's the problem.  When a mail server
> tries to deliver mail to, it's going to be looking
> for your mail server on port 25, because that's the standard.  It's
> just like how your web browser always goes looking for a web server
> on port 80 when you contact another machine.  Unless there's some
> trick you can do with the MX records for your domain to advertise to
> the world that your mail server is running on a nonstandard port,

There is no such trick.

> I don't know how you could get around the receiving problem if your
> ISP blocks incoming connections to port 25, short of having some
> external service like those you've mentioned cache the mail for you.

As an aside, are there still ISPs that do this?  How draconian.


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