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Is it possible to set up a mail server at home, if all I know is basic cable and Internet?

Let's say I have domain XYZ.com, which points to a hosting service. Can I configure that to redirect all incoming emails to my username@IPaddress? I have no problem setting up port forwarding of course.

How about outgoing emails? Can I send them directly from my home IP address, contacting a remote mail server for delivery?

Thanks.

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For many people it is impossible to run a mail server at home because most ISPs block port 25. The block is for spam. –  user167675 Oct 25 '12 at 14:06
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Let's say I have domain XYZ.com, which points to a hosting service. Can I configure that to redirect all incoming emails to my username@IPaddress? I have no problem setting up port forwarding of course.

Basic steps:

  • Accept/forward incoming connections on port 25 to your mail server.
  • Make your domain's MX record point to your home IP address.
  • Install and configure a MTA (message transfer agent) like Postfix.

How about outgoing emails? Can I send them directly from my home IP address, contacting a remote mail server for delivery?

I'm not sure if I understood this part well. You can either send them directly from your IP address or through a remote mail server.

In theory, sending directly will work with the MTA. In practice, it's quite possible that your ISP is blocking outgoing connections on port 25 (to prevent spam) or that your IP os on some blacklist (check here).

Sending emails using a remote server can be done by the MTA or any email client.

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Also, you might find it difficult to set up a reverse DNS record for your home IP. Many mail servers will reject mail where the domain of the sender doesn't match the reverse DNS record for the IP that is sending the email. –  Darth Android Aug 16 '12 at 14:13
    
That's a good point, @DarthAndroid. In case it's not clear from my post, sending emails directly from your home IP generally isn't a good idea. If you can send them, there's quite a chance they will be treated as spam. –  Dennis Aug 16 '12 at 14:15
    
Exactly. I personally use Google Apps to manage email for my personal domains. It's free, pretty easy to set up, and has great standards support (POP3, IMAP, web interface, etc.) that's available. –  Darth Android Aug 16 '12 at 14:19
    
Cool. Thanks for the info guys. –  Warren Aug 16 '12 at 15:15
    
Alos be aware that some ISPs block traffic to mail or web ports(and others) so home servers will not work. –  Dave M Aug 16 '12 at 16:28
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