Let’s do Dovecot slowly and properly – Part 1: PLAIN as day

This post follows up on the fifth installment in my Let’s do Postfix series. We’re not really done setting up Postfix but a) it’s about time we had a better way of accessing incoming mail than ssh’ing into our server and using cat to read and b) we are at a juncture where the two will soon start depending on (SASL) and interacting with (LMTP) each other

This tutorial presumes knowledge of Postfix and the setup we’re aiming for is one that complements the Postfix one that we’ve set up in previous installments. As with the Postfix series I want to arrive at a working setup from the very first post but knowing full well that it’s not an ideal or final setup. The advantage (over importing somebody else’s full featured setup) is that we’ll actually understand what we have on our hands (and it’s shortcomings). This makes it a lot easier to build and improve upon it and fix it should the need arises.

A note on safety: The setup we’ll end up with today is not going to be confidential in any way, shape, or form. It will expose both the contents of the account’s emails and whatever password you choose to the entire internet. Therefore you should obviously use either a test account or a brand new one that has nothing important on it yet. As for passwords you should pick one for testing that you have not used nor intend to use for any non-testing purposes. That said, un-confidential is not the same as unsafe. Any public facing service is a potential attack vector but this setup is – to the best of my knowledge – no more of one than a more properly confidential setup.

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MUAMSAMTAMDAMAAAAAA! Understanding how email works so you can get on with setting up your own mail server

‘Email infrastructure’ is a word most people never want to hear. And with good reason. The elements and procedures involved in getting email from user A to user B are legion and complex. And that’s just the theory before you even start to get into the practical implementation side of things. However, understanding the theory will make a more practical how-to (like this one for Arch Linux) easier to follow.

This article will offer an introduction to that theory. There are plenty of ressources to draw on, so mostly this is simply a meta article with links to the best of the internet on the various sub-topics with a bit of filler where needed. The aim is not give an in-depth understanding of how, say, SMTP works. The aim is to provide the wanna-be master of his own email domain the minimum of theoretical grounding to accomplish that goal.

Note: This introduction assumes you know what terms like server, client, protocol, and ports mean. At least roughly. Ideally you have some experience setting up other services for network use, such as a web server.

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