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Here's my situation. I currently operate a small consulting business out of my home. I have Outlook configured as a POP3 client, downloading all the recent emails from my ISP the moment it's opened. Occasionally, I choose to leave Outlook closed because I often times need access to those emails remotely (via my ISP's optional web-access utils - SquirrelMail or RoundCube). For this reason, I am planning on configuring Outlook as an IMAP client.

However, that's not my issue - my issue is these email clients offered by my ISP; they feel so decrepit compared to, say, Gmail. Is there an HTML capable, IMAP configurable, web-based email client I could drop on a home server to not only serve myself, but others who work for me, from that location? I understand I'd have to set something up like dyndns, enabling access to that web interface from outside my firewall - I'm already doing it with an instance of Confluence.

Another thought (and NO clue if this can be done). Is there a service I could drop on my home server that would act as both a server and client? What I envision is it would automatically download all emails from my ISP location at configurable intervals (similar as if Outlook were open on my machine at all times) - yet be capable of managing those emails such that other IMAP configured clients would communicate with it, rather than directly with my ISP server?

This would:

  • eliminate my need to worry about how much space is being taken up on my ISP server
  • allow me to connect Outlook (or Thunderbird if I go that route) to it (rather than directly to my ISP) as an IMAP client
  • keep all my emails local (and backed up) yet accessible from anywhere there's an internet connection

Of course, I'm still in the same boat if this hypothetical service doesn't provide a web-based front end I can expose outside the firewall....

I hope that's not too confusing.

Thanks!

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migrated from superuser.com Sep 27 '12 at 18:12

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I would look into a hosted exchange service...microsoft.com/exchange/en-us/exchange-online-hosted-email.aspx –  Moab Sep 27 '12 at 16:40
    
you could look here for some options: sourceforge.net/directory/os:linux/freshness:recently-updated/… - maybe roundcube or t-dah. –  MaQleod Sep 27 '12 at 16:56
    
Looks like this Q will be closed, I suggest editing it to make the second part the whole question (how to set up a home server for remote webmail and IMAP access) –  RedGrittyBrick Sep 27 '12 at 17:41
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3 Answers 3

It is probably easier, more secure and more reliable to let the Google mail servers handle your business emails—Gmail can handle you@yourcompany.com emails, either through MX configuration or retrieving mails using POP.

The Gmail business app setup offers all the advantages and is fully in the cloud. Thus no need to invest your time and money to reinvent the Gmail infrastructure.

For up to 10 users it is free: http://www.google.com/intl/en/enterprise/apps/business/pricing.html

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Is there a service I could drop on my home server that would … automatically download all emails from my ISP location at configurable intervals … such that other IMAP configured clients would communicate with it

A solution I have used involves configuring a Linux box (this can be an appliance of some sort, such as a NAS device, or something like a BubbaServer) to collect POP3 mail and store it and provide an IMAP service. This is pretty standard for most Linux systems -

  • fetchmail to fetch mail from POP3 and other mail servers.
  • standard local mail store (does't need configuring usually)
  • dovecot IMAP server
  • squirrelmail Webmail server.

The above are just examples. Appliances make it easier to configure and administer this mail service.

There are also Windows solutions (apart from Exchange)

See Wikipedia comparison of mail servers

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This would:
- eliminate my need to worry about how much space is being taken up on my ISP server
- allow me to connect Outlook (or Thunderbird if I go that route) to it (rather than directly to my ISP) as an IMAP client
- keep all my emails local (and backed up) yet accessible from anywhere there's an internet connection

You could use iRedmail on your local server for all that you asking but it still may be too much work IMO. In iRedmail for each user you could configure the Pop Fetching and then your users can connect to iRedMail servers instead of the ISP server for Desktop clients like Outlook / Thunderbird and for webmail iRedmail uses RoundCube. All this still depends on how much uptime you can ensure for your home server that your and your users do not face problems while trying to access their emails through this home server and not through the ISP server.

Better option would like Kris said host the email with Google if your requirements is upto 10 emails or you can use Microsoft Live Domains which allows you upto 500 email accounts. The webmail client is same as the one you get at outlook.com and you can also configure the same not only on your outlook but mobile devices as well using Exchange Sync services. You get all the services you would with a standard outlook.com account like skydrive, calendar and contacts.

If you just want to provide your users an easy way to access the email using a webmail client which uses IMAP to communicate to your existing mail servers, RoundCube is your best bet. In this configuration, you and users use the ISP servers for desktop clients but for webmail, they use your home server.

P.S. - being new user here, I can not post more than two links in the answer so for roundcube, you can go to roundcubedotnet

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