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.