Comparison of mail servers

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This is a comparison of mail servers: mail transfer agents, mail delivery agents, and other computer software which provide e-mail services.

Linux-based mail servers are built using a number of components because a Linux environment is, by default, a multi-user operating system. A stock Linux server already has internal mail. To allow the server to send external emails, a Mail Transfer Agent such as sendmail, postfix or exim is required. Mail is read either through direct access (shell login) or mailbox protocols like POP and IMAP.

Feature comparison[edit]

R Server OS support Features Storage Users
Mail server Linux/Unix Windows Mac OS SMTP POP3 IMAP IMAP IDLE SMTP over TLS POP over TLS IPv6 NNTP SSL Webmail ActiveSync Database Filesystem Other License
agorum core Yes Yes No Yes No Yes ? No No ? No Yes Yes No Yes No No GPLv2
Apache James Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No ASLv2
Atmail Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Proprietary (100 user/30 day demo)
Axigen Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Ajax & Basic Yes No No Yes Proprietary (free version: email 100 users / calendar 5 users)
Citadel Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No Yes No No GPLv3
CommuniGate Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Proprietary (Free for up to 5 users)
Courier Mail Server Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No No maildir No GPLv3[1]
Cyrus IMAP Yes No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes (indexes) Yes Yes 4-clause BSD[2]
Dovecot Yes[3] No[3] Yes[3] No Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No No Yes maildir, mbox, dbox No Mixed: MIT and LGPL 2.1[4]
Eudora Internet Mail Server No No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No No ? No No No No No No Yes Proprietary
Exim Yes Yes (via Cygwin) Yes Yes Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP Yes No Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes No GPLv2+[5]
FirstClass Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
Gordano Messaging Suite Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
GroupWise Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Proprietary
Haraka Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes MIT
Mail server Linux/Unix Windows Mac OS SMTP POP3 IMAP IMAP IDLE SMTP over TLS POP over TLS IPv6 NNTP SSL Webmail ActiveSync Database Filesystem Other License
hMailServer No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No GNU AGPL
IBM Lotus Domino Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Proprietary
IceWarp Mail Server Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Proprietary
Ipswitch IMail Server No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Proprietary
Kerio Connect Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Proprietary
Kolab Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes GPLv3
MagicMail Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
Mailsite No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
Mailtraq No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
MDaemon Mail Server No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Proprietary
Mercury Mail Transport System No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes No No Yes No Proprietary donationware
Microsoft Exchange Server No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes[6][7] Yes Yes Yes (2007 sp1 onwards)[8] Yes Yes Yes Yes ESE only Yes (up to 2003 only)[9] Yes Proprietary
NetMail Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes No No Proprietary
OpenSMTPD Yes No Yes Yes No No No Yes No Yes No Yes No No possible through custom backends Yes No ISC
Open-Xchange Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Proprietary/SaaS, with open-source parts[10]
Mail server Linux/Unix Windows Mac OS SMTP POP3 IMAP IMAP IDLE SMTP over TLS POP over TLS IPv6 NNTP SSL Webmail ActiveSync Database Filesystem Other License
Oracle Communications Messaging Server Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Proprietary
Postfix Yes No Yes Yes Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP Yes No Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes IBM Public License
qmail Yes No Yes Yes Yes Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP No Dovecot, UW IMAP via Qsmtp ? No No No (cdb) Yes No Public domain
Qpopper Yes via Cygwin Yes No Yes No No No Yes ? No Yes No No No Yes Yes BSD-style, GPL-incompatible[11]
Sendmail Yes No Yes Yes Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP Yes No Yes No Yes No No ? Yes ? Sendmail License
SparkEngine Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes No ? No Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
Synovel Collabsuite Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes ? Proprietary with OSS parts, Freeware and paid editions[12]
UW IMAP Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? No Yes WebPine No Yes (Indexes) Yes No Apache License 2.0[13]
WinGate No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No Yes No Proprietary
Zarafa Yes No No External[14] Yes Yes Yes External[14] Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No AGPLv3, free and paid editions[15]
Zimbra Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No ZPL and proprietary editions[16]
Mailenable No Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Proprietary
Mail server Linux/Unix Windows Mac OS X SMTP POP3 IMAP IMAP IDLE SMTP over TLS POP over TLS IPv6 NNTP SSL Webmail ActiveSync Database Filesystem Other License
Radif Server OS support Features Storage Users

Authentication[edit]

Mail server SMTP AUTH POP before SMTP APOP Filesystem Database LDAP Other
agorum core Yes No No No Yes Yes PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, NTLM
Apache James Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes PLAIN, LOGIN
Atmail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, Active Directory, any LDAP-compatible source
Axigen Yes No Yes No No Yes GSSAPI, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, CLRTXT, LOGIN, PLAIN, LDAP, Internal
CommuniGate Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Active Directory (LDAP), CLRTXT, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, GSSAPI, NTLM, MSN, SESSIONID, External Authentication Plug-in. Also supports X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS/SSL
Courier Mail Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Managed by Courier authentication library which can use PAM, Userdb, PostgreSQL(beta), MySQL, LDAP, and EXTERNAL.
Cyrus IMAP No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Supports X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL. Uses Cyrus SASL authentication library for support for other mechanisms: Berkeley DB, GDBM, or NDBM (sasldb), PAM, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, LDAP, Active Directory(LDAP), DCE, Kerberos 4 and 5, proxied IMAP auth, getpwent, shadow, SIA, Courier Authdaemon, httpform, APOP and SASL mechanisms: ANONYMOUS, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, EXTERNAL, GSSAPI, LOGIN, NTLM, OTP, PASSDSS, PLAIN, SRP
Dovecot No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Not an SMTP server, but offers SASL to MTAs. http://wiki.dovecot.org/DovecotFeatures http://wiki.dovecot.org/Authentication. POP-before-SMTP via DRAC plugin. PAM, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, LDAP, Active Directory(LDAP), Kerberos 5, proxied IMAP auth, getpwent, shadow, SIA, BSDauth, Vpopmail. APOP and SASL mechanisms: ANONYMOUS, PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, SCRAM-SHA1, EXTERNAL, GSSAPI, NTLM, OTP, SKEY, RPA.
Eudora Internet Mail Server Yes No Yes Yes No No CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, PLAIN, LOGIN
Exim Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Cyrus SASL, Dovecot SASL, GNU SASL, CRAM-MD5, Heimdal GSSAPI, PLAIN, LOGIN, SPA
FirstClass Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes
Gordano Messaging Suite Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, ODBC, Active Directory, NT Domain
GroupWise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes eDirectory, Any LDAPv3-compliant source
Haraka Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Proxy to other server, any other mechanism via AUTH plugins.
IceWarp Mail Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, NTLM
Ipswitch IMail Server Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Active Directory, Windows authentication, CRAM-MD5, PLAIN, LOGIN
Kolab Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Kolab employs Cyrus and Postfix and thus supports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods and X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL.
Kerio Connect Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Active Directory, Apple Open Directory, ActiveSync, Pluggable Authentication Modules
MagicMail Yes No No Yes Yes No ?
Mailsite Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes NT Domain, Active Directory, PLAIN, LOGIN, NTLM, SCRAM-MD5, CRAM-MD5
Mailtraq Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes NT Domain, Active Directory, Local Directory
MDaemon Mail Server Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Active Directory, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, LOGIN
Mercury Mail Transport System Yes Yes Yes Yes No ? Internal, LOGIN, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, Netware, LDAP?, partial NT Domain
Microsoft Exchange Server Yes ? Yes No No Yes Active Directory, LOGIN,[17] NTLM
NetMail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes eDirectory, LDAP
Oracle Communications Messaging Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Plain, Login, CRAM-MD5, Digest-MD5, Certificate
OpenSMTPD Yes No No Yes Yes Yes By default PLAIN and LOGIN over SSL only, Certificates, bsd_auth and PAM. Supports adding new authentication mechanisms through custom backends.
Postfix Yes No No Yes Yes Yes Supports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods except for APOP.
Qpopper No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Pluggable Authentication Modules,GSSAPI, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, PLAIN, LDAP, CMU SASL library, Kerberos
qmail with patch with vpopmail Yes Yes Yes Yes Works with any checkpassword utility. The original supports only LOGIN and PLAIN. Alternate checkpassword utilities support authentication against PAM, LDAP, and databases.
Sendmail Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Supports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods except for APOP. Also supports X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL.
WinGate Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No NT Domain, Active Directory, CRAM-MD5, SASL PLAIN, SASL LOGIN
Zarafa Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes Internal, Active Directory, any LDAP-compatible source, Unix
Zimbra Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Internal, LDAP, Open LDAP, Active Directory
Mail server SMTP AUTH POP before SMTP APOP Filesystem Database LDAP Other

Antispam Features[edit]

Mail Server DNSBL SURBL Spamtraps Greylisting SPF DKIM DMARC Tarpit Bayesian filters Regular expressions Embedded Antivirus Embedded Antispam
agorum core No No No No No ? ? No No Yes No No
Apache James ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? Yes ClamAV[18] Optional (Apache SpamAssassin)
Atmail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes ClamAV Yes SpamAssassin and Exim ACLs
Axigen Yes Yes[19] No Yes Yes ? ? No Yes, in SpamAssassin Yes Yes Commtouch Yes SpamAssassin
Citadel Yes Yes No No Optional (via SpamAssassin) ? ? No Optional (via SpamAssassin) No Optional (ClamAV) Optional (SpamAssassin)
CommuniGate Pro Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? ? Yes Optional Yes Optional (ClamAV) Optional (via SpamAssassin)
Courier Mail Server Yes ? Yes Yes[20] Yes Yes[21] ? Yes Yes[20] Yes[20] Yes Clamav Yes[20]
Dovecot ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Eudora Internet Mail Server Yes ? Yes Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Exim Yes Yes Yes Yes Optional at build time Yes Optional at build time Yes Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional any Optional any
FirstClass Yes Yes No ? Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Symantec ?
Gordano Messaging Suite Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Commtouch, Authentium Yes Commtouch
GroupWise Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Haraka Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional ClamAV, AVG, any via plugins Optional SpamAssassin, MessageSniffer
hMailServer Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? No No Yes Yes ClamAV Yes SpamAssassin
IBM Lotus Domino Yes[22] ? ? ? No[23] ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
IceWarp Mail Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ipswitch IMail Server Yes Yes No No Yes ? ? No Yes Yes Yes Symantec, BitDefender Yes Commtouch
Kolab Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional (via content filter interface) Optional (via content filter interface)
Kerio Connect Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Optional Sophos + optional secondary (dual) Yes
MagicMail Yes No Yes No ? ? ? ? No Yes Yes Yes
Mailsite Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mailtraq ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
MDaemon Mail Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Optional Kaspersky Lab Yes
Mercury Mail Transport System Yes ? ? Yes (GreyWall extension) ? ? ? ? Yes (SpamHalter extension) ? Yes (ClamWall extension) ?
Microsoft Exchange Server Yes (2003 & later) ? ? Yes Yes ? ? Yes (2003 & later) ? ? ? ?
NetMail ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
OpenSMTPD ? ? ? ? Yes Yes [2] ? ? ? ? ? ?
Oracle Communications Messaging Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional any Optional any
Postfix Yes ? ? Yes Yes Optional [24] Optional [25] ? Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional (via content filter interface) Optional (via content filter interface)
qmail ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? No ? No No
Sendmail Yes Yes (via milter/SA) ? Yes Optional Optional [24] Optional [25] ? Optional with spamassassin etc. ? Yes ClamAV Yes SpamAssassin
SparkEngine ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Synovel Collabsuite Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes YesClamAV Yes SpamAssassin
UW IMAP ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
WinGate ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Zarafa External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14] External[14]
Zimbra Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes ClamAV Yes SpamAssassin
Mail Server DNSBL SURBL Spamtraps Greylisting SPF DKIM DMARC Tarpit Bayesian filters Regular expressions Embedded Antivirus Embedded Antispam

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ See COPYING file in the distribution
  2. ^ https://cyrusimap.org/mediawiki/index.php/Downloads#Licensing
  3. ^ a b c Dovecot Operating System Compatibility. Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  4. ^ "Dovecot licensing information: COPYING". Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  5. ^ See NOTICE file in the distribution
  6. ^ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc540463(EXCHG.80).aspx
  7. ^ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff848256.aspx
  8. ^ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb629624(EXCHG.80).aspx
  9. ^ Exchange Installable File System (ExIFS)
  10. ^ http://www.open-xchange.com/misc/licenses/
  11. ^ Contains jurisdiction selection and IBM Public License-style indemnification clause.
  12. ^ http://www.synovel.com/collab/editions
  13. ^ UW IMAP Server Documentation
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zarafa Collaboration Platform architecture diagram. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  15. ^ http://www.zarafa.com/content/scope-and-benefits
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ http://support2.gwava.com/kb/?View=entry&EntryID=1605
  18. ^ http://james.apache.org/server/3/dev-provided-mailets.html#ClamAVScan, Documentation for build-in ClamAV-Mailet, visited on 2013-03-19.
  19. ^ via Kaspersky anti-spam add-on
  20. ^ a b c d with Courier-pythonfilter filtering framework
  21. ^ Two DKIM filters can be found in Courier-MTA's links page
  22. ^ http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21102611
  23. ^ http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?rs=463&context=SSKTMJ&dc=DB520&uid=swg21227751&loc=en_US&cs=UTF-8&lang=en&rss=ct463lotus
  24. ^ a b via opendkim milter
  25. ^ a b via opendmarc milter