Hosting a email server using exchange or linux at home?

taktsoitaktsoi Posts: 224Member
HI:
Does anyone have a live working email server hosting at home? What connection do you have? DSL or cable? Dynamic ip or static? Exchange server or linux?

I am planning to have a email server installed on my cable internet connection 8mb down/ 384kb up dynamic ip using exchange server 2003. Does anybody have a good experience to avoid any conflict with your ISP's TOS?
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Comments

  • oldbarneyoldbarney Posts: 89Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    Here's my experience. Your mileage may vary.

    When I was a sys admin for a small project management firm, as in 100 employees, we hosted two web/mail servers on a business-class DSL line. The line included 5 static IP addys, and a very liberal TOS. We received zero complaints from the ISP over a 3-year period. In fact, advertising for the DSL service included wording to the effect of "host your own websites and mail servers". For what it's worth, our primary mail server was on a shared T-1. The web/mail servers on the DSL line experienced a low volume of traffic, and were used mainly for other parts of the firm that required a separate, virtual identity. All ran linux/sendmail, by the way, and the hardware used for these servers was comprised of hand-me-down workstations with slow processors. But the concept worked very well, and I maintained about 99.8% uptime. Most of my downtime came as a result of the ISP rather than the old equipment.

    An acquaintance in the NOC at the local cable ISP told me that he knows some users, who are not "business customers", run servers on the network. If traffic reaches a certain limit, then they step in with usually a warning. I've briefly ran an Exchange server on my home connection without any issues.

    To be safe, your best bet is to inquire about a "business line". Costs depend on the ISP, but it offers you much more flexibility.
  • sprkymrksprkymrk Posts: 4,884Member ■■■□□□□□□□
    Hey Tak:

    Sending email from your own server is easy, nothing special is required. However there are a couple of things to consider if you want to be able to recieve email that way.

    First, do you have a domain name registered? You'll need an MX record registered so others can find your server.
    Second, do you have a way to handle the fact that you have a dynamic IP, such as an account with dyndns.org?
    Third, does your ISP allow connections to port 25 on a residential account?

    You can test the third item once you set up your mail server by trying to telnet to port 25 on it from an outside source, like your work computer. You should get a response of some sort. When I telnet to my isp mailserver it looks like this:

    telnet mail.bellsouth.net 25
    220 ibm60aec.bellsouth.net ESMTP server ready Sat, 23 Jun 2007 11:53:11 -0400
    helo
    250 ibm60aec.bellsouth.net
    quit
    221 Closing connection. Good bye.
    Connection to host lost.


    You wouldn't even have to type the helo command since you aren't planning to do any more testing beyond looking for the response. If you get no response, or a network error message then your ISP is probably blocking port 25 bound for residential users and you won't be able to receive email on your server, but you could still send email and just use a different "reply-to" address.
    All things are possible, only believe.
  • Mr.BobsterMr.Bobster Posts: 77Member ■■□□□□□□□□
    taktsoi wrote:
    HI:
    Does anyone have a live working email server hosting at home? What connection do you have? DSL or cable? Dynamic ip or static? Exchange server or linux?

    I am planning to have a email server installed on my cable internet connection 8mb down/ 384kb up dynamic ip using exchange server 2003. Does anybody have a good experience to avoid any conflict with your ISP's TOS?

    Hi
    I have exactly that, I am using MS Exchange 2k3 at home over DSL (8mbit/700~kbit). I tried linux earlier on but I just cant be bothered with all the text config files so I switched to exchange. I also do have exim configured on a virtual server to scan incoming mail for viruses

    I would just like to advise you that you might want to try contact your ISP and ask them if their mail servers can relay for your server as your ip being dynamic might get flagged as spam by some, check the sorbs blacklist at www.sorbs.net thingy and you might want to consider a spf record in DNS too (although Im not sure how useful it is)

    You might also want to on your dns servers add a "backup" mx entry to fall back to your current mail server if your connection dies.

    As for avoiding conflicts I havent seen any in the problems with my ISP as everything has been running smoothly. Also, it is important to see if your ISP blocks any thing as said above, mine doesnt so im all good with it :)

    Thats just some advice from my experience in implementing ex2k3 at home.
  • RussSRussS Posts: 2,068Member
    I had both a *nix email server and an Exchange one running from home on a household ADSL connection. Only had under a hundred users so it was not a big deal. The power users were using MS licences and the plebs were just popping from the *nix box. Nice easy setup and simple to administer.
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  • blargoeblargoe Self-Described Huguenot NC, USAPosts: 4,171Member ■■■■■■■■■□
    I have done this at home with RoadRunner cable before, in my case I just had to set the smart host setting to the smtp server assigned by the ISP and point my internet MX records to my home IP. My IP almost never changes and I don't use this in production so "almost always" on is good enough in my case.
    IT guy since 12/00

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