How to Create Your Own Email Server

By Jason Spidle

Creating your own email server for personal or business use can give you a great deal of flexibility and freedom in configuring your email service to suit your specific needs. When you have your own email server, you are no longer subject to an ISP's limits on email use. You can maximize the number of features available, ensure maximum privacy of your email, and free yourself from restrictions on attachment sizes, message volume and more.

Things You'll Need

  • Domain name
  • High-speed Internet connection with static IP address
  • Host server running email server software

Configure the MX Record

Step 1

Change the current Mail Exchange (MX) record to point to your domain. You can access the MX record through the administrative area of your domain registrar.

Step 2

Set the priority of the MX record to zero.

Step 3

Create an "A" record that points your domain to the static IP address of your host server computer.

Install Email Server Software

Step 1

Select and install email server software onto your host computer. There are numerous options , ranging from enterprise-level paid options such as Microsoft Exchange, to free, open-source options that run on Linux. Whatever option you select, installing the software requires a relatively high level of technical acumen.

Step 2

Set your email server software to communicate through your domain name using SMTP for sending email and either IMAP or POP3 for receiving email. This will involve configuring the settings to access specific domains through the ports designated for email communications. By having a static IP address, you can greatly reduce the complexity of this step.

Step 3

Install any desired plug-ins for you email server software. For instance, most email server software will include optional software to catch spam, create multiple inboxes, manage calendar and to-do-list applications and much more.

Tips & Warnings

  • The software you select to operate your email server will largely determine the ease of use, number of features and extensibility of your email server. Be sure to carefully research the available options before jumping into this project. Enterprise-level solutions like Microsoft Exchange are costly but offer a high level of support. Linux solutions are very robust due to the open-source nature of the software but have a higher learning curve. Whatever you choose, you will need to rely heavily on the documentation at the setup stage.