Regarding UW-IMAP mailserver

Using “Mac OSX Hacks”, a handy little book by O’Reilly, I started up my own UW-IMAP mailserver on a Free BSD box. I want to provide POP/IMAP service for several domains that I own.

However–as anyone who has tried to set up their own mailserver probably knows–setting up an MTA if you are not an ISP is a pain in the proverbial arse. After talking to some fellow server nerds and reading up on it, I decided that the best route for me to take would be to provide POP/IMAP service for my domains, while I would leave the SMTP stuff to the users ISP. Basically, each user would have to configure their own mail client to send mail from their given address through their ISP SMTP account.

Unfortunately, all of the documentation I had was on how to set your mailserver up as a “full” mailserver–i.e., providing your own SMTP stuff.

How do I go about configuring my UW-IMAP mailserver so I can do this? Where, in other words, do I store the necessary user information and such?



Hey Petey,

Unfortunatly, you’ll have to have an MTA running to receive the mail, even if you don’t want it to send. I’d suggest using sendmail as your mta, but that’s just because its what I usually use. You will also have to configure you mta for virtual hosting capabilities. As far as your users, they just have to have a sytem login.

That’s virtual mail hosting in a very very small nutshell, it should give you a few places to start on google.

If you still are in need of help feel free to PM me, or catch me on AIM at Sevaa Assistance, I’m always glad to help someone when I can.

If you’re looking for fewer headaches, be sure to check out the free hosting offer at, you could always use that for the mail hosting by just point your mx records to that server.


USE QMAIL! I run Qmail and Courier-IMAP off of a BSD box (MacOSX is based off of BSD) in my home and it works great. I host mail for 8 domains off a DSL line.

Very true, since you’re new to it, you’ll find qmail or exim much easier to setup/manage.


I have QMail running on the machine. So, I can just follow the LifeWithQmail directions and ignore the consequences of having a closed-relay server, as long as I tell people to use their own ISP’s SMTP?

Randy, thanks for the offer, but since this box will be hosting sites other than our FIRST thing, I think it’s better off if we just do it this way. You guys beat us to it–we were going to start offering free webhosting to people. We’ve got everything finalized except for email and Darwin Streaming Server.


You can use POP-before-SMTP or SMTP AUTH to offer SMTP services to your users but not the general public.

I don’t want to offer SMTP service to my users. After doing a lot of research and talking to some of my old pals at JLC who ran email there when I worked there, it just ain’t worth it. I want to offer POP/IMAP service to my users, while making them go through their own ISP for SMTP purposes.