Mail server clarifications

bvidinli bvidinli at
Sat Nov 1 20:39:07 UTC 2008

There are generally three types of mail software, as i know:
1- Mail clients : used to connect to mail servers, read meails, and
send mails, with or without gui's.. example: evolution, thunderbird,
outlook, sendmail client
2- Mail Servers: the biggest part of picture, which actually sends and
receives mails... handles/holds mails on servers...  also named as
MTA, example: postfix, qmail, sendmail server
3- Mail connection agents: used to connect mail clients to mail
servers, over network over pop3 and imap... these are for
reading/getting/posting mails...not sending them actually to
targets...... mail servers send email actually... example: dovecot,
courier, cyrus

there may be count a fourth type, which are mail delivery agents -
MDA, in fact, i think these are part of mail servers...
but if you use local mail, these handle mail locally...

sendmail is a general term that is used for both a mail server and a
separate mail client

i dont know much about exim4 , but that may be a mixture of both mail
server and type 2 mail connectors..

what i suggest: postfix...
it is easy to install and maintain, i think..

as a hosting system, i suggest: ehcp, you may get that from
it install everything needed for a hosting server: webserver, dns,
mail, ftp, mysql and so on...

i hope that would be usefull. if you have more question, you may ask me...

On Sat, Nov 1, 2008 at 10:15 PM, Tony Yarusso <tonyyarusso at> wrote:
> Hi, I've been reading various wiki pages and whatnot, but I'm still
> having a little bit of trouble wrapping my head around the differences
> between various mail server software.  I've been trying to figure out
> things like MTA, MDA, etc., and it also seems like some packages are a
> mix of both, so I'd just really appreciate it if someone could take
> the time to explain in super-simple terms how everything relates
> (either by mail or IRC - I'm in #ubuntu-server as tonyyarusso with an
> always-connected screen session).  Generals would be a good start, and
> in terms of any specifics things I'd be interested in knowing more
> about include:
> postfix
> exim4
> dovecot
> courier
> procmail
> cyrus
> qmail
> --
> Tony Yarusso
> --
> ubuntu-server mailing list
> ubuntu-server at
> More info:

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