postfix vs. qmail?

Ted Mittelstaedt tedm at
Thu Jun 30 09:33:36 GMT 2005

>-----Original Message-----
>From: owner-freebsd-questions at
>[mailto:owner-freebsd-questions at]On Behalf Of MikeM
>Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2005 6:13 AM
>To: freebsd-questions at
>Subject: Re: postfix vs. qmail?
>On 6/29/2005 at 8:48 AM brian.barto at wrote:
>|For one who wants to host email accounts for multiple domains, which
>|better? I've started installing and configuring qmail according to the
>|tutorial on but i'm wondering if i should stop and
>|postfix before pressing on.
> =============
>I started using qmail but eventually switched to Postfix.  I found that
>qmail required several [conflicting] patches to get the feature level I
>wanted.  I also did not like the need to move my box towards what djb
>thought a *nix box should be set up.  Postfix seems to want to just
>drop in to a standard environment.   But the items that really made the
>choice easy for me are that the Postfix mailing list is excellent, and
>that Postfix development is still alive.
>I host multiple virtual domains with Postfix (and Courier-IMAP for the
>pop3 amd imap support).  

We use uw-imap and sendmail and host many thousands of mailboxes.  One
of the issues with the maildir format that postfix and courier-imap
use is that it requires more disk writes for each piece of mail your
running through a mailbox.  Obviously, like many technical issues, you
can throw money at the problem (in hardware investment) and it will
go away. :-)

One other thing you should consider if your really intending on
setting up multiple domains and charging money for them (as opposed
to just doinking with a mailserver in your home) is going to a
three-mailserver setup.  Use one mailserver specifically for receiving
and sending mail from the Internet proper, use one for the user
mailboxes and user SMTP, and use one for the webinterface.

The reason for this is that you really need to run spam and virus
scanning on the mailserver that is published as the SMTP server
for your domains, and you will find that for every 1 piece of
legitimate mail that you receive from the Internet
and deliver to your users mailbox, you will get 9 others that are
spam or viruses or junk.  Because of the AV and spam scanning, this
server is also the most prone to taking a dump.  When it goes
offline, you don't want all your users calling you and screaming
when their mail clients all start spitting errors back to them.

You also want the webinterface separate because of the simple reason
that the best webinterfaces are the most complex, because they
do the most for the user.  Sure, you can field a simple webinterface
like Open Webmail, but this is pretty bare-bones compared to
somethng like Horde/IMP  And while Horde/IMP is a long, bitchy, 
involved and complex setup, if you do it right your users will
love it, and will most likely come to utterly depend on it for
handling mail and scheduling.  This is what you really want, the name
of the game here is customer retention, and you want to make it
easy for customers to get entangled with your systems and difficult
for them to get out.  And the best way to do this is to offer them
a schmorgasboard of things to choose from.  A stripped down webinterface
is simple to setup and administer, but it is also very easy for a
customer to walk away from.  By contrast an interface that will
do everything for them, is difficult to walk away from once they
start depending on it doing everything for them! :-)  Why do you
think AOL still has millions of customers while charging double the
going rate for dialup?


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