Using the SMTP Service

This page explains how to use the SMTP service and how it can be configured securely. For more detailed information on what each option of the SMTP settings is for, please view the SMTP page.

The SMTP Service

SMTP stands for Simple Mail Transfer Protocol and is the protocol which transfers the majority of all mails around the Internet. For Ability Mail Server to be able to receive mails it uses a built in SMTP server which handles and processes all incoming mail. SMTP is an essential part of Ability Mail Server and in most circumstances should always be enabled. The SMTP service can generally be used in 2 different ways. The first is to accept mail from the Internet, usually from other mail servers, and then deliver it to local accounts (incoming mail traffic). The second is to allow local users to use the SMTP for their outbound mail, which the mail server should deliver to the correct local or external account.

Enabling the SMTP Service

Enabling SMTP is easy and can be done by enabling a single tick box. However, care should be taken to ensure the service is secure (please read the following sections). For more information on managing the listening port, please view the Using the Listening Services page.

SMTP Security - Preventing Open Relays

It is important that you secure your SMTP so that only you and selected users can use it to relay mails onto external accounts. Failing to do so can often lead to your SMTP being abused by SPAM systems, which will eventually result in your IP being 'black listed'. Securing your SMTP against this is simple and can be done in a variety of ways, but the most secure way is by enabling SMTP Authentication. This forces any user who wishes to have relaying access to provide valid login details (often their normal username and password).

SMTP Security - Preventing General Abuse

Ability Mail Server has a variety of security options which reduce the chances of your SMTP being used by abusive users and SPAM systems. These options include facilities which detect common forms of abuse and allow you to block the abusive IPs found. This includes transfer limits per IP and various SPAM detection options. It is recommended that you try enabling some of these features and find a solution that works best for your server.

Configuring Your Mail Client

When configuring your mail client you should ensure that the outgoing server settings are consistent with your mail server settings. If you have enabled SMTP Authentication, your mail client must be configured to 'log in' to the outgoing server. For more information on configuring your mail client you should read the Setting Up Your Mail Client page.