If you value privacy and prioritize accessibility, a self-hosted email server is the best option for you.
email is the most popular mode of communication in the professional world. Although there are several providers of email hosting services, many companies are looking for an alternative, such as self-hosted servers for email.
Reading: Hosting your own mail server
Let’s learn more about self-hosted email servers and the best platforms that offer this service.
what is self hosting?
Self-hosted emails are the servers that can be hosted on your local network or on your server. if you want, you can always use it by integrating with third party email accounts. however, its main function is to allow you to create your own email server.
benefits of using self-hosted email server platforms
When you have a self-hosted mail server, all email communications will get perfect privacy. You will no longer be a victim of third party meddling and sharing of your personal information with advertisers.
These email clients are accessible via the internet or local network once they are integrated with third-party email services.
If you choose to use an open source email server, you can create as many aliases as you like, also without paying any money. plus, you can send unlimited emails from these servers.
plus, you can enjoy 100% control over your mailboxes and their settings. gives you the option to set policies and customize settings to suit your organization’s requirements.
using a self-hosted email server: considerations
Your decision to install and configure a self-hosted mail server for your organization should be made carefully.
Before moving to it from a traditional email client, you should check:
- if the server has a mail transfer agent (mta) to send emails from different users.
- if it supports imap and pop3, the two most popular email protocols .
- In order to block incoming email spam, there must be an effective spam filter.
- If you contain an antivirus to protect your mailboxes against viruses and malware.
- There should also be a mail delivery agent there to send emails to the inbox.
Now let’s look at the best self-hosted email servers.
modoboa is an open source email server that emphasizes your privacy. It works as a perfect alternative to other email service options as it only takes around 10 minutes to create a mail server for you.
here you will get some of the best open source email server installation, configuration and security tools. This platform offers all the basic email gestures, including webmail, contact list management, calendar management, email organization via filters, auto-reply for emails, and an unlimited number of mailboxes. aliases and domains.
In addition, it offers several administrator tools such as the statistics and data migration tool. you don’t need to go through the tedious process of individually installing each component as its installer does 95% of the work.
the biggest advantage of using modoboa is data security and privacy. The email service provider uses the TLS protocol to encrypt all data transmissions between the email server and the outside world. spf, dkim, and dmarc protocols are other approaches you use to protect your online reputation.
If you’re looking for a feature-rich yet easy-to-use self-hosted email server, choose mailu. This free software aims to provide users with a server that can be easily configured and maintained. does not contain unnecessary functions found in many groupware.
The platform allows you to use standard email servers and protocols such as imap, imap+, smtp and forwarding. In addition to web access, it comes with features such as multiple webmail, domain aliases, custom routing, and administrative interfaces.
Users can easily use aliases, auto forward, auto reply, and recovered accounts to save time and effort. global administrators, delegation by domain, announcements and quotas are some of its administrative attributes that will allow you to manage this email server without problems.
also, the platform uses tls, letsencrypt! certificate, outgoing dkim, gray list, antivirus scanner, antispam, machine learning, dmarc and spf to ensure maximum security.
docker mail server
docker mailserver is an open source, full stack mail server that supports serving email via smtp, ldap, and imap. this production-ready solution comes with only configuration files that keep it simple and versioned. the server does not have a sql database and can be easily deployed and updated.
also supports creating custom rules for spamassassin and clamav, including automatic updates. the server uses letsencrypt and self-signed certificates to ensure data security. users also get features such as installation script for server setup and maintenance, basic sieve support via dovecot, persistent data and state, and extension delimiters.
Your device must have 1 vcore and 512mb ram to run this server. however, you must disable services like clamav from running on a host that contains 512mb of ram. For optimal performance, the recommended configuration includes 1 core processor, 2GB of ram, and enabling swap for the container.
Using poste.io, you can get webmail and features like antispam, antivirus, and web management on your server in less than 5 minutes. This full-featured mail server keeps user data and settings separate from binary files. Since you store user data in sqlite database files, you can use this platform with external storage.
If you choose to use this self-hosted email server, processes like upgrade, backup and migration become easy. focuses on data security and therefore you will find poste.io packed with powerful modern security measures rather than outdated authentication methods.
The administrator can assign different rights to system administrators, domain administrators and email owners. it is also possible to assign a quota for email counting and mailbox storage. Its built-in spam filter and antivirus engine detect viruses, malware, and Trojans to keep your mailbox safe.
Its other notable features are email redirection, autoresponder, email filtering and data encryption. Plus, it comes with built-in auto-discovery compatible with Microsoft365 and Thunderbird.
Those interested in creating an email server with open source solutions should go with iredmail. this is an open source mail server that you can use with red hat, ubuntu, centos, debian, openbsd and freebsd.
All elements of iredmail are open source and users will receive updates and bug fixes from trusted linux/bsd providers. you can filter emails and organize them into folders in roundcube’s intuitive webmail-based web UI.
iredmail ensures that emails are exchanged over secure connections (pop3, imap and smtp) and are encrypted in transit so that no third party has access to your email content.
You can create an unlimited number of users, administrators, domains and mailing lists on this platform without worrying about expenses. Since personal data remains on your own hard drive, you have full control over email security which you can verify through the transaction log.
mail in a box
mail-in-a-box is an easy to implement self-hosted email server where you can be in full control of your emails. Using this platform, you can become your own mail service provider. If you consider the technical side, this platform turns a cloud computer into a functional mail server.
however, you don’t have to be a tech expert to set it up. This platform offers webmail and an imap/smtp server that users can access using the desktop tool and mobile devices.
Here, you get all the standard email features, including mail filter rules, spam filtering, greylisting, automatic configuration, and automatic backups. In addition to these, you can also sync contacts and calendars on it.
This platform supports hosting of multiple domain names and users, which is a useful feature for large businesses and enterprises. Its web-based control panel allows you to add custom email accounts, aliases, and DNS records.
microsoft windows users should choose hmailserver for a free self-hosted email server. you can use it in most business scenarios as its extensible source code is available on github. Any webmail system that supports imap and smtp can be used with hmailserver.
installation and configuration of hmailserver are simple and fast. its easy to use administration tool allows users to add accounts & domains, customize settings, and enable virus scanning.
This platform’s COM library supports integration with other software, such as your existing IT systems. its preconfigured security tools ensure that your server is never used to send spam messages.
apache james is an open source smtp and pop3 compatible mail transfer agent. james is the acronym for java apache mail enterprise server. It consists of a modular architecture packed with robust and modern components.
The server supports email protocols such as smtp, lmtp, pop3, imap, managesieve and imap. uses mysql, hsqldb, cassandra and postgresql for storage implementation. some of its other features are mailbox api, extensible email processing agents, command line administration, etc.
dovecot is a secure imap server that you can use for small and large installations. it is considered to be one of the highest performing imap servers that supports standard mbox and maildir file formats.
The server indexes mailboxes with complete transparency and is compatible with current mailbox management tools. self-optimizing indexes contain exactly what clients need.
dovecot comes with flexible user authentication modes that accept various databases and authentication mechanisms. Furthermore, it allows you to migrate email data from different imap and pop3 servers. the security-focused design and implementation of this platform means you don’t have to worry about the privacy of your data.
Being an easy to administer server, it generates easily understandable error messages. its current features can be further extended by plugins. for example, you can assign a quota, including acl support, add other new commands, and edit existing ones with plugins.
if the server fails for some reason, it fixes the problem. While using this email server, users can modify mailboxes and indexes simultaneously from different devices. it is possible because dovecot works well with clustered file systems.
When it comes to choosing modern mail server software for pop3 and imap, people often rely on wildduck mail server. This server is fully scalable, prioritizes Unicode, and is API controlled. by combining it with haraka and zonemta, users can create a complete mail server.
offers top-notch support for imap and so you shouldn’t have any problems using it with any email client. a mongodb cluster is used instead of a file system to store any email data. plus, you have the freedom to set up as large a cluster as you like.
A memory-safe language is used to write this email server. furthermore, you do not need to provide any root privileges or file system access.
mailslurper is a useful smtp mail server that you can use for local and team application development. This lightweight server is suitable for individual developers or small teams who want to test email functionality, without the hassle of a full email server installation.
Its simple user interface allows you to quickly search and check emails sent through your applications. Whether you’re using a laptop, basic hardware, or a small virtual machine, this server will run smoothly on any of these devices.
in addition, it is capable of handling thousands of simultaneous connections and works with databases, including sqlite, mysql and mssql. Setting up this email server is easy and it has a responsive web interface.
You can run mailslurper on windows, osx and linux. In addition to letting you search emails by subject, sender, recipient, and email content, it saves frequently searched terms.
magma server daemon
magma server daemon is an open source email system that uses encryption to keep your data safe and secure. The server supports pop, http, smtp, imap and molten protocols. also, it will soon expand its support for dmtp and dmap.
The developers of this commercial-grade email server originally built it in 2004. Today, the server caters to all users, including SMBs or enterprises.
Companies that need to create numerous email addresses and have complete control over the email server and data will find self-hosted email servers very beneficial. Plus, by choosing any email platform from the list above, you can ensure privacy and add personalization.
As you are interested in self-hosting, you may want to learn about self-hosted email marketing platforms to promote your business and get better leads.