Note: this is an old post. I have since stopped running my own e-mail server and I understand that Axigen’s licensing scheme has changed.
Axigen is my current e-mail server, and has been for a few years now. I’ve posted about it before. It’s licensing is a bit hinky but there is a free license that works for a year, that you can then renew for another year ad infinitum. I recently upgraded my server hardware and I revisited whether there was a better server out there for Ubuntu that:
- was free
- could handle multiple domains
- supported Web mail and IMAP
There are alternatives but none that I liked as much as Axigen.
Postfix and Dovecot
These are the standard mail transport agent (MTA) and IMAP/POP3 server combination for Ubuntu. I’ve tried (numerous times) to use them and then just install a Web mail system on top of it. For whatever reason, the configuration and management escapes me. It reflects the limits of both my understandings of how they work as well as the investment of time I’m willing to make in learning.
There are excellent tutorials if you are interested in using them. I attempted both the ones on Ubuntu.com (Postfix, Dovecot) as well as looking at some others (like the Perfect Server). The Ubuntu maintainers have also created a unified package that installs both systems together. Even that level of help didn’t get me to where I want to be.
What I really needed was an all-in-one environment. Axigen has a Web-enabled administrative interface as well as Web mail, and I find that gets me around some of the “where is this” that I often run into using Ubuntu. I want to block SMTP relay, for example. It is relatively simple to do in a Web display, where I don’t have any idea whether, having done some command line interface work, whether I’ve really done what I wanted.
I looked at Citadel, Surgemail (which I used to run), and Zimbra. The first two just have clunky interfaces, and I like Axigen’s standard and AJAX-driven Web mail pages. Surgemail has a domain limit, and I needed more than 1 mail domain. Zimbra is very nice but I am not running a 64 bit server and their latest version is only available 64 bit. I looked at applications like ATMail – which is the best looking Web mail I have seen – but it’s not free.
In the end, I downloaded Axigen for my clean install and will continue to use it. It was easy to set up and configure. I used the auto-migration feature, so that as my handful of users logged in to the new server, it drew down their old accounts from the old server so that, from their perspective, their messages and folders and contacts were just the same as before.