Setting up an email server and making it work with anti-spam protocols is one of those things that's 100x easier to do the 2nd time around. I follow these steps whenever I need to do it.
- Ubuntu 9.04 (these instructions should work for other versions, but that's what my target currently is)
- dkim-filter - DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail - new standard)
- dk-filter - DomainKeys (legacy protocol - needed for Yahoo, etc)
- SPF records
Postfix SetupFirst, we need to install an email server, postfix. I'm going to skimp a little on configuration here because with most EC2 AMIs I use, postfix is already installed. For more information see: Postfix setup and configuration for Ubuntu. The most important parts are installation:
sudo aptitude install postfix
and configuration of myhostname, mydomain, and mynetworks (which determines which hosts may send mail through the server). Here's the section from a sample configuration:
myhostname = yourdomain.comalias_maps = hash:/etc/aliasesalias_database = hash:/etc/aliasesmyorigin = /etc/mailnamemydestination = yourdomain.com, localhostrelayhost =mynetworks = 127.0.0.0/8 [::ffff:127.0.0.0]/104 [::1]/128mailbox_size_limit = 0recipient_delimiter = + inet_interfaces = allmydomain = yourdomain.com
DKIM setup and configuration for Postfix and your DNS
Next we need to install and configure DKIM. This will make the server sign email headers so that users can assert, through DNS, that an email's origin has not been forged. It's safe to directly follow the instructions here: DKIM setup and configuration for Postfix and your DNS. The only catch may be with your DNS; as some DNS's (particularly GoDaddy) will not display the fully qualified TXT record name. If you enter "mail._domainkey.mydomain.com" your DNS may show the record name as "mail._domainkey". If it does, don't worry about it. It's just following an internal convention. When the DNS server receives queries for "mail._domainkey.mydomain.com", it will respond correctly. DomainKeys setup and configuration for Postfix and your DNS
DKIM (described above) is the newer, standard protocol for signing emails; however, some mail providers are still using the older DomainKeys protocol (namely Yahoo). It's safe to directly follow the instructions here: DomainKeys setup and configuration for Postfix and your DNS, but watch out for a few repeats. You will have already completed the second part of the "Configurating DNS" section, and should use the second form of the Apache configuration in the "Startup and testing" section because you will have already placed a DKIM configuration in Apache:
milter_default_action = acceptmilter_protocol = 2smtpd_milters = inet:localhost:8891,inet:localhost:8892non_smtpd_milters = inet:localhost:8891,inet:localhost:8892
SPF setup and configuration for Postfix and your DNS
SPF (Sender Policy Framework) allows mail recipients to reject mail received by senders who DNS does not recognize as authorized senders for a domain. It's safe to directly follow the instructions here: SPF record setup and configuration for Postfix and your DNS, though you may need to create the "smtpd_recipient_restrictions" section in your postfix configuration.
Throughout this process, you can emailing email@example.com to Validating your email server configuration. You will receive an email reply to the address you sent the check request from. Also, make sure that the email address is from the domain you are targeting (it could be different based on the hostname or other postfix configuration, particularly on EC2). Here's an example command to send the email from your server: echo "test message" | mail -a "From: firstname.lastname@example.org" -s test email@example.com Other limitationsFrom time to time, you may run across an email sending limit imposed by EC2 and you may need to request that the limit be removed. Additionally, it's good to check that you are not listed on Spamhaus.