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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

In the spirit of the forum 'community support' I was wondering if now was the time to switch to my own mail server for receiving mail. Currently I have several postfix servers for sending, but didn't see the point in using them for receiving since the ADSL connection is more flakey than plusnet's email...

But using my own mailserver has several benefits so I might try it - the problem is what happens to mail if the ADSL is down - can we configure the mx dns (my knowledge is struggling here so feel free to fill in the gaps) so that mail is sent to my postfix but if that's unavailable it gets delievered to plusnet?
20 REPLIES
churtonst31
Grafter
Posts: 100
Registered: 30-08-2007

Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Yes, you can have multiple MX records for a domain (or subdomain) with different weightings. The records will be attempted in order of ascending weight. However, you wont be able to configure the plusnet mail server to act as a relay, in the true sense of the word. (i.e. it accepts mail and periodically tries to relay it on to the master mail server for that domain).

Find a friend on the internet who runs their own mail server and relay for each other, reciprocally.
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Thanks - i take it that if I use plusnet interface to configure the dns it'll allow me to configure multiple mx (I dont want to try just at the moment).

I've got access to other postfix servers on different ISPs so that may be the best option but I'd really like to have something that can seamlessly accept mail whilst I test out different procmails etcs or even decide to abort the idea... I think there are services like messagelabs which might fit what I'm looking for if plusnet can't do it...
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Just been setting up mail server at home so know a little, hopefully others can fill the gaps in.

One of the domains that PN host for me under the email options I selected the SMTP option over the normal POP3 delivery. This automatical updates the MX records so that my static IP is at the top of the list, the next record is pointing at the autoturn and the next entry pointing at the PN MX records.

Host Preference IP(s) [Country]
mail.domain.co.uk. 5 xxx.xxx.xx.xxx [GB]
autoturn.plus.net.uk. 10 212.159.3.9 [GB]
mx.last.plus.net. 20 212.159.7.114 [GB]212.159.7.113 [GB]212.159.7.98 [GB]212.159.7.97 [GB]

If you server or connection go down then eamil are saved in the autoturn server. This server has be triggered by using the finger commend when your server is up. Unfortunately I have to do this manually, not sure with better mail servers this can be done automatically. I don't know what happen if both my server and autoturn are of line, suppose that these will point to my plusnet mailboxes.
churtonst31
Grafter
Posts: 100
Registered: 30-08-2007

Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Play around with it on a different domain name before you roll it out to your production domains.

I honestly can't remember what PN do and do not let you do with your MX records. If they wont let you configure the MX as you want then there are plenty of free DNS providers who do. Or better still, take your DNS in house, not forgetting to set up slaving on another machine so that your DNS isn't down when your PN DSL is!
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Ta... but going back to the original idea - if mx records pointed to my server over adsl and then to plusnet - Should the ADSL go down - would plusnet server accept the mail, so that my server could get it via pop when the ADSL was restored? ie when you say it wouldn't relay it, would it store it for fetching?
Community Veteran
Posts: 2,814
Thanks: 152
Fixes: 2
Registered: 05-04-2007

Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

From having a play with the control panel, it seems PlusNet do let you modify the MX records. So you should be able to set your mailserver with the lowest preference value (highest priority), and then PlusNet's. So your server will be attempted first - but if that happens to be down then it would reach PlusNet.

Not that I have ever tried it, but from what I understand it will work. You might though want to consider the possibly of PlusNet's mail server being down and your connection being fine (which would still work) .. ah but if they are both down Cheesy
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

That sounds good, and once I got the hang of it I could add another postfix server I have on easynet as the third choice...

However I could get any domain mx to point to plusnet and it'd be rejected - so the crucial point here is whether plusnet consider the domain one that their mail server should accept, in which case would it allow my server to access it later over pop?

I suppose I could try it with a domain i dont use for email - I'd be a bit surprised if people who've configured their own mail server haven't already considered setting plusnet up as an mx backup...
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Seem that you skipped over me reply above but if you go this help page SMTP it explain the mx records but more importantly the autoturn server that will save you emails if your server is down and how to trigger it for delivery.
lingbob
Grafter
Posts: 734
Registered: 05-04-2007

Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

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Just been setting up mail server at home so know a little, hopefully others can fill the gaps in.

Not wishing to rain on your parade but before either of you get too deeply involved with this, I would strongly advise you to read this thread thoroughly and heed the warnings about the back door.
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Sorry - you're right I didn't see it so thanks for pointing it out -the information looks perfect... I'm off home now and will try and read it over the over the w/e. why did you do it btw?
one other thing, off the top of my head, still without having read anything Smiley - what did you use to find the dns records - dig? or rather, did dig/whatever tell you what the mx records were immediately or did you experiment and see what they turned up the next day... could you tweak the mx with the control panel and then 'dig' the records?

thanks,
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

Quote
Quote
Just been setting up mail server at home so know a little, hopefully others can fill the gaps in.

Not wishing to rain on your parade but before either of you get too deeply involved with this, I would strongly advise you to read this thread thoroughly and heed the warnings about the back door.


Martin,

I run a mailserver from home and have been for a while now. I dont have a problem with blacklists or the mx record issues. Ok I dont have any strict rules to say I need to use the blacklist servers but I simply use the laearning spam filter.

Setting up and running a mailserver from home is easy enough to do, the hardest part is deciding which one to use and if to go free or to go and buy one.

If you wish to go free then look up mailenable, alternatively if you wish to buy then go and look at kerio

Regards,
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

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I would strongly advise you to read this threadthoroughly and heed the warnings about the back door.

Thanks for the warning - I have another plusnet account with spam filtering - I guess if I used a domain in that account then it'd go through their spamassassin.. (I really don't know why they dont offer spamassassin on every account because it'd greatly reduce the amount of crap their network has to deal with...
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

I've been doing this for a long while, in fact before I moved to plusnet.

For what it's worth, this is roughly how I do it.

First I have a linux box acting as a mailserver running sendmail.

I have MX records for my domain name setup to point to that server as a primary mailserver, and then to another email account on another remote server as a secondary mailserver

So, as you guys discuss, my email should go to my server, unless I have a problem (server or connection related), in which case it goes to the backup.

I then run fetchmail on my mailserver, pointing at that backup account... so that should it all come back up again, it picks up that backup mail and sends it through to the primary account. I could have used a .forward, but this fetchmail allows pickup for accounts that don't allow that.

In effect this means I have auto-failover, and auto-recovery, with me not even noticing email has gone via the backup server.

I've got spamassassin plugged into this, to try and reduce spam volumes. But as others will be keen to point out, getting bullet proof email is a long long journey, with many problems (not least, relaying, security and so on). But as I'm not a commerical ISP, I'm not too bothered if I do loose the odd email (not that I think I have).
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Using your own mailserver and falling back to plusnet

At the moment I'm only testing out how feastible a mail server at home is. Luckily I have a dormant domain name which I could switch on the smtp option and forward mail to this from my normal email account to test it out.

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If you wish to go free then look up mailenable, alternatively if you wish to buy then go and look at kerio

Currently I'm testing out Ability Mail server as this support both IMAP and Webmail, both features I would like to have. Anyone else use this and can give feedback on it?

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Not wishing to rain on your parade but before either of you get too deeply involved with this, I would strongly advise you to read this thread thoroughly and heed the warnings about the back door.

Why are the last mx records a problem? When this issue was first raise I believe it was before PN was offering AV and spam checking. But now is it still a problem? I know for the emails that are pushed directly to me and for the autoturn servers I will have to do the AV and spam checking but ain't the mx.last records pointing to my PN default email accounts and these will go through the av and spam check as I have these enabled. Or I'm I wrong in my assumptions for the mx.last?