Got (Surge)Mail?

Got (Surge)Mail? by David Whelan I have been a long and avid user of 602 LAN Suite, from 602software.com. The product works pretty well and has a huge set of options – Web, FTP, proxy, SSL, spam controls, etc. – and more importantly for me, it was (a) free and (b) supported through a community forum. The company decided to end support for its free version, which is completely understandable. So I decided I’d at least take a look at what else was available in a similar space, and found Surgemail. If you are looking for a cost-effective small or medium business e-mail server, it can do that and much more.

Surgemail is developed and distributed by Net Win Server Software.  It runs on either Windows or UNIX/Linux systems.  I’ve been running the 602 LAN Suite on my Windows box but decided that I’d like to free it up (more memory for this Plone site!).  I installed the product on my Debian machine and it went in flawlessly.

Well, except for the fact that something had already grabbed the SMTP (25) and POP3 (110) ports!  Since I was routing those ports to a different machine, I hadn’t really noticed it before.  I ended up commenting out a number of entries in the inetd server since (a) I needed them for something else or (b) I didn’t need them full stop.  I restarted the server and I was off and running.

I had a slight bit of confusion since the Web mail and the Web administration interfaces are on different ports and, at least the way I read the very thorough Surgemail manual, the number wasn’t the one I thought it would be.

The cut over was clean although I have yet to try to convert my old e-mail files to the Surgemail installation.  I can access them as text files but would love to have them appear in the mail client.  While Surgemail supports mail migration in real-time or conversion (particularly from the Net Win’s DMail server), I’m not to that point yet.

For a 5 user shop, Surgemail is free and a great server to get.  While 602 Software’s LAN Suite is only $299, the Surgemail matches the most important features (e-mail, spam control, Webmail) and adds some blogging and IM benefits.  Another product I’ve tried – and liked very much – is Mailtraq.  But it used to offer a free version withOUT Webmail, which is something I really like.  There no longer appears to be a free version.

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David Whelan

I improve information access and lead information teams. My books on finding information and managing it and practicing law using cloud computing reflect my interest in information management, technology, law practice, and legal research. I've been a library director in Canada and the US, as well as directing the American Bar Association's Legal Technology Resource Center. I speak and write frequently on information, technology, law library, and law practice issues.