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Setting up your own mail service - introduction

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Why do you need your own mail service?

if you ever thought about owning your own mail service, then, perhaps, you need one. It's not that hard to set up and maintain, as it could seem. In fact, I will lead you through the process of setting it up, in case you need it.

So, why not to use popular, well-known mail services such as Google Mail?

To me, primary purpose of having one's own mail service is privacy. Nowadays, private life of users isn't guaranteed, isn't protected. On the contrary, a principle «you have nothing to hide in case you do nothing wrong» is introduced into people's minds. However, privacy us your right, still fomally guaranteed by many constitutions in many countries, so why not to take what you have right to have?

Goals of this tutorial

After having complete this tutorial, you will learn how to

  • set up secure mail server (both incoming and outgoing mail services)
  • how to keep your email secure, back it up and import from another provider
  • how to set up all suggested email authentication techniques, such as DKIM
  • how to maintain your private email service and protect your privacy

Apart from buying VPS ro cloud server to set up all the mentioned services on, all the rest is free of charge.

Interested? Just leave me a note (comment) to this post if yes. That would help me much when building this and other tutorials.

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Uptime checker

Uptime pills

Uptime contest

Boasting high uptime values is a popular ego contest on the Net. However, at times uptime can be not only a tool to inflate self-respect, but a tool to detect unusual or unexpected reboots.

When it comes to VPS, I happened to use services where host machines (nodes) were rebooted often, at times without serious reason. Naturally, a task to register uptime intervals has appeared. It is solved easily with a script you can download via the following link:

check-uptime.sh.txt (1033 bytes, SHA1 checksum a43ce663e12bf5764d5d7a33c2de52b78aedca43).

You will need a calculator utility, 'bc', that is usually present in most Linux/other distributions. Just issue 'sudo yum install bc -y' or similar command.

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Do you need a VPS?

Sisyphus

VPS as a magic wand

Do you really need a VPS for your hosting needs?

The more posts I see on hosting forums — posts that can all be titled «I have a VPS — now what?!» — the more I think people consider a VPS (cloud server, dedicated server — all of them) kind of a magic wand. Just move your sites over a VPS, and all sorts of wonders happen. Sites will become quicker, more popular and so on and so forth.

However, I know several rules I follow sternly, rules that have never failed. One of them: «The better is a foe of the good». If you are satisfied with your current shared hosting (the one most of us start with), if site's stable, data are not lost, uptime is acceptable — do not move. If it works, don't fix it.

OK, something isn't satisfying you on the shared hosting. Try investigating what it is. Perhaps your site requires some clean-up? Perhaps you need a system administrator, a Web designer — an expert that can handle your problems without changing the hosting provider?

If you are still sure the VPS can be the optimal choice, read below things that you might not know about VPS (and its mentioned kins) first.

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Installing Web environment (Nginx + PHP-FPM + memcached)

Installing proper Web (or other) environment is a common task. Below I provide a link to an archive containing source files and a script to install the following software:
PHP 5.3.10 (FPM enabled) + PHP-FPM FastCGI service
Nginx 1.0.14, high-efficiency Web server (it can also work as Web/mail proxy)
memcached high speed memory caching server (initially created to speed up LiveJournal)

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