Mail server VM on my VMWare Workstation

I am in the process of creating and configuring my own mail in a box server, the instructions recommends that I Find a cloud service provider to rent a VM for my box. But I have a license for VMWare Workstation on my laptop can I create my box in there instead of renting a VM?

Short answer: No

Longer answer: Mail-in-a-Box Setup Guide

Pre-flight Checklist

Can I run my Mail-in-a-Box at home?

No. Computers on most residential networks are blocked from sending mail both on the sending end (e.g. your ISP blocking port 25) and on the receiving end (by blacklists) because residential computers are all too often hijacked to send spam. Your home IP address is also probably dynamic and lacks configurable “reverse DNS.” If any of these apply to you, you’ll need to use a virtual machine in the cloud.

You can, but you need an internet connection that will support it. Usually, a business class connection with Static IP addresses. Also, since a mail server should be up all the time and connected to the internet, your laptop is not a good choice to install it on.

Yeah, you’re not wrong, the keywords “VMware Workstation” and “Laptop” actually rule out a mail server or basically any kind of production server.

I run mine at home in a VM on one of my servers. It’s only for me & the family so doesn’t get heavy traffic. I do however have a static IP, a registered domain and my ISP does not block mail server ports and does allow for reverse DNS configuration. YMMV.

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While this is all true … the main issue as I see it is that networking is a mess, in comparison. So we really do not support it. If you can figure out the networking headaches on your own or without support from this community, go for it! After all, it is your MiaB to do with as you please. :slight_smile:

I’m not sure what’s messy about it really but I get why you’d expect most people to use a hosting provider.

For me it was really simple as I have a well-configured home network setup, I specifically picked my ISP as one that offers the features that would allow me to accomplish what I wanted to, and I already had a domain name set up with a registrar so forwarding the DNS wasn’t at all challenging.

The most complicated part of it that I found was getting MiaB set up as a reverse proxy so that I could have some of my dockers web-facing as well (which is an added bonus and not something needed to make MiaB work). There is little help on the subject and a variety of different forum & GitHub comments on the subject (most of which I found did not work) , but once I actually figured it out even that works seamlessly. :slight_smile:

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Well because that’s the recommend way to go for most users, that don’t have a…

…which OP most likely doesn’t have either.

And sorry, no offense, and I could be wrong of course, but the original post sounds to me like it was written by a person who wants to install a mail server on their main work computer, which in this case is in fact a mobile device that is probably connected to a WiFi network on a standard residential connection that, if not behind CGNAT, will still occasionally change IPs, and even if a static IP and reverse DNS were in place, it would still be a problem to take the laptop to college or to a Starbucks :wink:

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I can’t disagree with you there :slight_smile: . I was just pointing out that it is actually possible to run MiaB from home if you take the time to do your research and have the knowledge to put it all together in a way that isn’t likely to fail every five minutes.

The only issue I’ve had in the last 5 or 6 years was the single time my internet connection went down for a day due to an external fault elsewhere which, as mail servers should hold emails for 4 days from memory when they can’t be delivered before bouncing back to sender, wasn’t an issue and everything started working again as soon as it came back up.

I do have a couple of the usual big brand email accounts for emergencies if I ever need them, which fortunately I haven’t for a long time :wink: .

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Yes, if you meet all the requirements on your home internet connection (static public IP that isn’t blacklisted, an ISP that is willing to set a PTR record, and doesn’t block the ports needed for email) you absolutely can run a mail server from home. :slight_smile: I wouldn’t recommend to use a laptop and VMware Workstation, though :wink:

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