2019-03-31 Email Server, Again

Do I want to do it again? I ran email on my server for a while, the. I ran email on a Raspberry Pi for a while. But at the same time I am annoyed by my reliance on Gmail, and on the unwillingness of Protonmail and others to provide IMAP access to my mail.

Recently, @algernon posted How To Run Your Own Mail Server and said it was “a detailed HOWTO that isn’t completely obsolete, and is easy enough to adapt to my needs. It goes step by step, instead of setting up everything in one sitting.” Perhaps my kind of thing?

I mean, I’ve said in the past that email is the new snail mail, i.e. only used for spam and bills; and that I had more to fear from criminals that from state actors and big corporations as far as email went, but I still don’t feel at ease.

So perhaps one day I will try again!

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Day 1: Change the DNS records. This is what I added:

@ 10800 IN MX 10 mail.alexschroeder.ch
@ 10800 IN TXT "v=spf1 mx -all"
mail 10800 IN A 178.209.50.237
mail 10800 IN AAAA 2a02:418:6a04:178:209:50:237:1

Next step: reverse DNS. I wasted precious time trying to figure out how to do that until I discovered that I had to send a mail to the hosting provider of my server, apparently. Oh well.

Slowly things are coming back to me. Kallobombus Mail, for example. Or 2015-08-03 Switching to Postfix. And Raspberry Pi als privater Email Server. Uuuugh!

– Alex Schroeder 2019-03-31 11:49 UTC


Day 2: OK, so the hosting company says that the domain name service company should do it (Gandi). I don’t see anything in the menus but it seems to me that it should involve the PTR record type from what I can read. But apparently I cannot type it into the same file I mentioned above. This appears to be an error:

237.50.209.178.in-addr.arpa. 10800 IN PTR mail.alexschroeder.ch.
1.0.0.0.7.3.2.0.0.5.0.0.9.0.2.0.8.7.1.0.4.0.a.6.8.1.4.0.2.0.a.2.ip6.arpa. IN PTR mail.alexschroeder.ch.

Where does this stuff go? Somewhere on Gandi?

Apparently something is already configured somehwere, somehow: host 178.209.50.237 gives me 237.50.209.178.in-addr.arpa domain name pointer mx8.virtnode.com. but host 2a02:418:6a04:178:209:50:237:1 gives me Host 1.0.0.0.7.3.2.0.0.5.0.0.9.0.2.0.8.7.1.0.4.0.a.6.8.1.4.0.2.0.a.2.ip6.arpa not found: 3(NXDOMAIN) – whatever that means.

And where do I do this? Some sort of new “zone” file – on the Gandi site I see no way to do it, and on my own server I don’t think I have a name server installed. Should I?

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-04 21:28 UTC


It sounds like your hosting provider is confused - maybe they think you’re just talking about regular DNS vs reverse DNS?

– Anonymous 2019-04-05 01:07 UTC


Yeah, I got the same advice on Mastodon (@fitheach, @freakazoid, @Frotz, all of them very helpful) suggesting the same thing. I sent them another message.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-04-05 08:20 UTC


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