Help with setting up a mail server

Greg Larkin glarkin at
Tue Jul 20 14:16:45 UTC 2010

Hash: SHA1

Aryeh M. Friedman wrote:
> I am a consultant and was retained by my client to setup qmail or exim
> on a VPS running 8.0-STABLE (i386). After setting up the DNS (A record
> and MX record) we have been unable to send or receive mail. The client
> has/had a working script for installing qmail on 7.1-STABLE but it
> seems to not work on 8.0-STABLE. They are using the same VPS provider
> who this 7.1-STABLE install script worked under. I have tried
> everything I can think of to make it work including asking obvious
> questions on -questions at .
> I informed the client that the task is likely beyond me capabilities
> but I would help recruit someone who would be able to do it at a
> reasonable fee paid to them (I am acting as a no cost middle man on
> this [I am helping the client for free since I was unable to get it
> done]).
> Please send any ideas and/or offers to do the job

Hi Aryeh,

Here are some things that I do to troubleshoot problems like this:

- - Check if there are any firewalls (client-side or server-side) that
block the ports, tcp 25/587 and tcp 110/143 in this case.  If you're
using POP3 or IMAP over SSL, check tcp 993 and tcp 995, too.

- - Check if the listening ports are ready to accept connections with the
command "netstat -an | grep LISTEN".  Do you see the ports you expect?

- - Dumb question - are the mail server processes running?

- - Assuming the processes are running and the ports are listening, what
happens when you telnet to them from within the machine, e.g.:

    telnet localhost 25
    telnet localhost 110
    telnet localhost 143

- - Can you ping the mail server hostname?

- - Use "dig" to do lookups on your A and MX records.  Did you bump the
DNS serial number and reload the DNS server after you added the records?

- - If that works, now try telnetting to the same ports from an outside
network using the DNS hostnames, e.g.:

    telnet 25

- - Please send me your hostname privately, if you like, and I can check
DNS and ports from here.

Hope that helps,
- --
Greg Larkin           - The Power To Serve     - Ready. Set. Code. - Follow me, follow you
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