Originally Published: Monday, 20 August 2001 Author: Henry Chen
Published to: enhance_articles_sysadmin/Sysadmin Page: 1/4 - [Printable]

Install and Test Qmail with POP, IMAP and WebMail

Kill Sendmail? Are you kidding me? Well, no. In this first run original article Henry Chen provides us with free detailed step-by-step instructions for installing Qmail with Redhat 7.1, an alternative open source solution to your mail management needs.

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By Henry Chen
SurfXpress LLC
Version 0.99


We have been using Qmail since 1995.  The primary reasons for our move from sendmail to Qmail were: (1) SPAM relay control and (2) virtual domain e-mail aliases support.  Qmail worked so well for us that we never "upgraded" until earlier this month.  We upgraded not because Qmail broke.  We upgraded because more and more people (including ourselves) are demanding more from our e-mail server.  Stuff like IMAP, web interface, and remote relay control are common place among most ISP's and web hosts.  Someone suggested Exchange 2000.  We tried it and loved it.  But for what we want to do, we cannot justify the cost of the licensing fee.  So we did a little research and found that we can do what we want for free, well, except for the server hardware.


The following document will take you, step by step, through the installation of Qmail (SMTP), qmail-popup, qmail-pop3d (POP), Courier IMAP and IMP (web interface to IMAP).  The majority of the Qmail related setup information comes from Life with Qmail.  I also sourced bits and pieces of several others' write-ups.  You can find a list of these sources in Credits.

Following the steps herein, you will create the following: a server that is (1) a SMTP server that can receive e-mail for localhost and virtual domain hosts that you have setup and send (relay) e-mail from any remote host from which users have authenticated through POP or IMAP, (2) a POP server, (3) an IMAP server, and (4) a web interface to browse e-mails in the IMAP folders and send e-mails.  There are also other some small stuff that I will discuss later. 

I am known for making quite a bit of silly typos.  If you find any parts of this document that do not make sense (or more importantly, are just plain wrong!), please e-mail me at: henry@sxpress.com.  


I am not going to discuss performance, reliability, security, etc.  You can find much better discussions about these on the Qmail web site.  Let's jump right into what's relevant:

Our Server

We have decided to refurbish an older machine with some spare parts.  So far, this has worked well for us.  We have over 1,500 users and we process between 5,000 to 10,000 pieces (occasionally a little more) of e-mail per day.  You can probably get away with an even older machine with about 1GB of disk space and 64MB of RAM if you are not going to be doing a lot of e-mails.

  • Hardware - Dell Optiplex with 180MHz Pentium Pro processor, 96MB RAM, 4GB IDE drive (for the OS) and 4GB Ultra3 SCSI (for /home as this is the business end of the server)
  • OS - Red Hat Linux 7.1, server installation with just the Web Server module
  • We have a separate DNS server
  • We also have multiple T-1 connection to the Internet.

Software Downloaded

Except for IMP, I downloaded tarball versions of the above instead of RPMs.  I just could not find anyone who has made RPMs for Red Hat 7.1.  I figure that if we build everything from the source code, it will probably work better.

Along with these, don't forget to install Red Hat 7.1's RPMs for mysql and php-mysql from the CD-ROM (or download these from Red Hat's FTP server).  I also updated to procmail 3.21 to get Maildir support since we will be using Maildir for Qmail.

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