Alias must be defined twice to send from it?

I’m trying to create aliases that I can send FROM in addition to receiving email to them. I got it working but with a weird issue.

Please note: below I use -at- instead of @ and -dot-com in emails, otherwise I can’t submit this post because the system says “new users can only post two links.”

I have to set up the alias twice, once in the admin site and once by the user (using “Webmail > Settings > Identities”) for it to send properly from webmail. If I add an alias b-at-domain-dot-com to email a-at-domain-dot-com and log in as a-at-domain-dot-com, I do not see b-at-domain-dot-com in the “from” drop down. If I don’t add the alias from the admin site but do add it from “Webmail > Settings > Identities” (or by clicking the button next to the from box to get to the identities page), I do see it in the “from” drop down, but when I try to send I get an error:

SMTP Error (553): Failed to add recipient “recipient-at-domain-dot-com” (5.7.1 : Sender address rejected: not owned by user a-at-domain-dot-com).

If I then do both (add it from the main admin alias page and the user’s identities page), then re-send, it works fine. That’s great that it works, but I’d prefer not to have to manage it in two places. Is this working as expected? Anyway to just manage it in one place?

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Aliases are not really for sending, except just on occasion. So, yes, that is how aliases work when you want to send mail with them.

An alias is just that, another identity that you can use to send (and receive) with.

Every email provider requires you to set up an identity within your email client to send using an alias … this is just the way that email works. It is nothing special with Mail-in-a-Box. So yes, you have to set it up twice (or more) since the mail server needs to know about the alias to receive emails addressed to it and the email client has to know about the identity to be able to send with the alias.

What is special (somewhat) about Mail-in-a-Box is that you can only send email using the email user that the alias is assigned to. This is not true of many email providers.

Thanks for the replies. I guess it makes sense given they are two separate pieces of software. It just surprised me a bit as MiaB makes it feel like a single system. My vision was to be able to create my own little app that could allow me to quickly create new aliases, track some additional info associated with each one, like who it was created for, and even track old ones that I’ve deleted e.g. to not accidentally re-create the same ones and/or to be able to disable them temporarily. It seems I could do this on the server side with the API described on the user/alias admin pages but I don’t see a way to do that for the client. Can anyone confirm/deny if there is any kind of API or other way to (automatically/via code) create the email client identities?

I am of the opinion that every email client is different so you’ll have to choose one client for this. Thinking outside of the box though – there must be some place in which a web mail client saves these settings, so it would seemingly be possible to automate this … however this is way above my pay grade. But it does seem viable, however I would think that you would need to host an external web mail client (Roundcube or Rainloop for example) and then you can achieve this without concerning yourself with the rigidity of MiaB concerning making unsupported modifications.

@alento I think you may have misunderstood @Brent
You are talking of an email client installed on the user’s device, aren’t you? Here, sure, the system can’t go add the alias for sending purposes. And even that, i’m not entirely sure. With POP, I guess you can’t. But with IMAP, there are chances you actually can. Anyway, that’s not the point.

Brent is talking of the webmail, which IS roundcube!
I was also expecting the aliases being able to send to appear for the users in the webmail. Unfortunately, this isn’t done automatically. I totally agree with Brent, it would be great if this could be improved.

To be clear, what is “lacking” is MIAB adding the aliases you can send from, in roundcube.

@Brent , Roundcunbe seems to have quite a lot of plugins available for it: https://packagist.org/?type=roundcube-plugin
I found this one: https://github.com/alphanoob1337/postfixadmin_user_identities
May it be what we would need? At least, it may give you ideas/informations on how to do to add identities into roundcube.

Aliases is as it’s named, an alias. A false or assumed identity.

More often than not it’s for the convenience of allowing multiple addresses to reach your main mailbox. E.g. I send all my administrator@, postmaster@, admin@, bounce@ emails to a single mailbox.

If you want to send/receive from multiple email addresses, wouldn’t it be better and cleaner to manage multiple email accounts instead of aliases? All modern email clients support multiple users accounts.

The suggested use-case doesn’t feel like something that any typical user uses.

Yes, by using an external client, you can create multiple users and manage them from one place there. What seemed convenient with the aliases was to be able to manage multiple addresses in one place in the webmail (multiple different addresses means separated logins there).

Everything seems to be working fine with aliases, though. They don’t seem any “limited” like you imply. I understand what you mean, but it doesn’t really seem to be the case with MIAB. Sending from them is even intended from the start.

You, like Alento above, are reasoning in term of external mail client use. A lot of people use webmails and are happy with it. I disagree with you on the “not something that any typical user uses” there.

Note: With the webmail, it’s more of a use of a “main” address being the one to connect to the webmail, and “additional” addresses linked to the latter. It seems quite that way with MIAB. More than really only “aliases” (the word used may be a little misleading here).

No, I am absolutely talking about Roundcube (and other) webmail clients just the same as desktop clients. Keep in mind that the implementation of Roundcube used with MiaB IS an external mail client.

I use and have been using multiple aliases for years - I am not understanding what the issue is here? If you want the email CLIENT to use an alias you have to configure it in the email CLIENT. Not the SERVER. However, the server also has to be configured to use the alias.

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What me and Brent are arguing for is to have the client side configured automatically in MIAB’s webmail (roundcude) when creating a new alias (Server-side). Is that so difficult to understand?

Sure. We would like “YOU” to be automatic with alias creation. Everything is already integrated. No need to let “YOU” be the end-user. They may not know, may not understand, it creates questions to answer, help to be given, and is not as good in term of UX as what could be done pretty easily.

You are just arguiung to NOT improve things here.

OK, that certainly makes more sense. However, the developers are not likely to add this functionality until someone from the community codes it and requests it be integrated. The best place for this discussion would be on the projects GitHub page. So please open an ‘issue’ thread there where this can be potentially implemented.

No, not really. I am the type of user who simply knows how things work and takes care of configuring them rather than expecting everything to be done for me. Your suggestion is a rather interesting idea, but I do not think that it could be properly uniformly implemented. If it can, write the code and submit it to the project. Where the project maintainer and developers (of which I am neither) can review and implement it :slight_smile:

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More than what? :wink: This IS exactly what was talked about since the very beginning of this topic.
Even YOU yourself, if you’re using your MIAB 100% just for yourself, you are basically putting in the same information 2 TIMES (when using roundcube). The argument is: Enter it only 1 time, and the part in roundcube is done like if we were using a computer. Oh right, we are! :wink:

(PS: I will summarize this in Github. Thanks for the suggestion)

obvious don’t love miab enough

Thanks for the info on this. Looks promising. I’m a developer but I’m a Microsoft developer just starting to get into the world of linux/unix and open source so that looks a bit daunting to me. I will research more when I have some time.

Just a clarification on this, and the motivation behind this feature. I absolutely agree this is not a requirement for a “typical user” but it is critical for my use case that they are all aliases attached to one “real” account.

I get a ton of spam and one solution I’ve used is to just give random email addresses at my domain for each new company that requires an email for me to sign up for their site. These weren’t real aliases but just something like "company-xyz@mydomain.com. I then had a “catch-all” email for mydomain.com so no matter what address I gave to a company, I’d get any emails they sent. This worked but had two downsides, (1) if I ever replied to one of their emails I’d be sending from, and therefore exposing, my “real” email address; and (2) a catch-ALL, well, catches all… which meant spammers who just guess and send to info@mydomain.com or whatever@mydomain.com would successfully spam me (and they know they got me cause they don’t get a rejection response).

The solution to the above issues was to remove the catch all and create true aliases. This is why I’m using MiaB. Creating actual aliases solves both problems above but means I need to configure the ability to send from an alias for each one that I need to send from. I literally have hundreds of sites I’ve signed up for and would like each to have an unique alias. If I ever get spam on a particular alias I can delete/replace just that one. Of the hundreds of aliases, I might only need to send from 10% of that… and that may change over time, e.g. if I need support from one of them. Honestly the system works for me now, and I am very grateful for MiaB, it just means each time I need to send, I have to go configure the mail client and in an ideal world that step would not be needed.

what I do is to subscribe to those mailing list with myname+alias@mydomain.com instead of creating new aliases.

adding a + behind your username can create special aliases that still make it to your mailbox, without having to manually create a new aliases everytime I need to sign up to a new site.

Same scenario, I am able to detect who is spamming me, and if they are spammers, I just filter that email address to my junk box.

Of the 10% which I really need to send to them, it means they are legitimate, I suppose I can expose my email address to them, even if they eventually become a spammer (unlikely), I can filter their domain to my Junk.

This way, you can save many steps of creating the aliases, and just do one step of creating an identity on Roundcube, should I need to reply.

I’ve used this solution for past decade and it works well.

You already are. There are scripts available to filter all these “tricks” and get the "canonical"email address (and it isn’t very hard to code yourself: For the “+” trick, you just remove the + and everything behind it. Done). You have been pretty lucky to only have your address fall in the hands of some low-level spammers.

I used the “catch all” method in the past, exactly like Brent. and yes, spammers try a lot of things on the domain (common first names too), and you get everything.

There are several other use cases: If you have a bunch of domains, and want to setup one or a few email addresses for each domain, it’s easier the “alias” route (especially if you want to use the webmail) than to create “real” accounts each time. // If you give aliases to end users, it’s far easier to have them directly see them in roundcube to be able to send with them, than to explain they have to add an identity for each one. Etc.

May or may not help here - my approach is to create a full-fledged user (say, accounts@example.com) for stuff you suspect that might be spam, and any aliases of stuff you sign up for (say, Steam, Netflix, Spotify, etc.) go there (you might not even need to alias most of this stuff).

You can even create a single “fake real email” - let’s say John Smith has the emails john@example.com and accounts@example.com. You can assign the alias john.smith@example.com to accounts@example.com and hand that one out to companies that you might think you’ll end up replying to.

If it ends up being garbage, it won’t affect your main inbox - send to spam and block; otherwise you can reply as john.smith@example.com. No need to target thousands of aliases to your account.