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Re: Setting up hosting server

Tommy Moore wrote:

but what will I use for hosting the e-mail accounts?
Also what are my options for a web based interface to these e-mail
accounts as well as a control pannel for my users to create e-mail
addresses for their domains?
Well, Courier lets you have "true" virtual accounts. By that, I mean that the *users* log in with their full e-mail address to retrieve their mail. This allows you to let people log in as "helpdesk@somecompany.com". Some people regard this as the optimum solution, but I don't.

The problem, coming from someone who's a bit of an "accountability nazi", is that the username and password for a "helpdesk@somecompany.com" account is much more likely to be shared amongst a few people at the company. So if, in the future, there arises a case of abuse of the account, it's tough to figure out who the culprit is. You also run into similar problems if one of the people with the password is terminated; the password needs to be changed and you have to notify everyone who's supposed to have access to the account.

So, I regard that as kind of a bad way of doing things.

Personally, the way I do it at my isp is that *every* account that can *retrieve* mail maps back to a *single* user (ie, "bsmith", "dwatson", etc.). Because we set this up years ago, before domain-specific logins were in vogue, these were system-wide accounts (ie, they're in /etc/passwd). The problem this presents is that, if one hosted company had a "Brad Smith" and another company has a "Brian Smith", then the first comer is going to get "bsmith" and the next is probably going to get "brsmith" or something. Yes, this is "old school".... but that's how I am.

So then, the *incoming* domain-specific stuff is handled in alias files. It's actually kinda clever, I think. I use Exim.... and Exim looks to a file to determine which domains are local. I call this file "/etc/exim.domains". The format of the file looks like:
   *.somecompany.com   somecompany.com.aliases
   *.company2.com       company2.com.aliases
   *.company3.com       company3.com.aliases

then, each aliases file has the aliases for that domain, like a normal aliases file, so "company2.com.aliases" might have:
   help:   bsmith
   custsvc:   rjones
    *:   rjones

The nice thing is the catch-all wildcard at the bottom for all other mail to that domain.

Another nice thing is that, if you do it right, you can have the global /etc/aliases pre-empt the domain-specific ones, so that mail to "postmaster" at any of the domains would come to the sysadmin.

Again, this is prety old-school. It's all text files (no database structure to have wrong) and it's easy to edit and you don't have to HUP any daemons of regenerate any db files (like sendmail's or Courier's "newaliases").

That's just how I do it right now....

- Joe

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