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Adjusting to QMail

Blane Warrene

While anyone involved in web administration, design and development spends most of their time focused on web apps, sites and the management of them, this by no means is the limit of responsibility.

If you host or are involved in hosting client sites, fate will have it to also wrestle with mail servers. Until this past year, for me that wrestling was almost exclusively with Postfix and Sendmail or corporate mail servers such as Domino or Exchange.

Recently I was faced with administering QMail — and had zero experience with it. I have since found it to be a very reliable and somewhat easy to use alternative and wanted to share some sites I have found useful in the process.

A notable feature of QMail is its speedy handling of mailing lists – of course important to web developers and hosts as many clients require or want this capability.

First in my bookmarks is the QMail home page (http://cr.yp.to/qmail.html).

More important perhaps is a resource site filled with help and contributed software to make managing the mail server a bit easier — Russell Nelson’s qmail home page (http://qmail.agarik.com/top.html). Included are the author’s documentation and software, as well as links to commercial support, contributed scripts and more.

Please review the scripts carefully as some are extremely powerful and as the author notes – are sharp and may bite.

Finally, I wanted to suggest the use of Webmin (http://www.webmin.com) for administering QMail. Webmin includes a robust module for the mail server as well as support for Postfix and Sendmail. This can be an introductory method to get under the hood with a mail server (or entire Unix server for that matter) via a GUI interface.