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 that provide e-mail services.

Unix-based mail servers are built using a number of components because a Unix-style environment is, by default, a toolbox[1] operating system. A stock Unix-like server already has internal mail, more traditional ones also come with a full MTA already part of the standard installation. To allow the server to send external emails, an MTA such as Sendmail, Postfix, or Exim is required. Mail is read either through direct access (shell login) or mailbox protocols like POP and IMAP. Unix based MTA software largely acts as enhancement or replacement of the respective system's "native" MTA.

Windows servers do not natively implement email. Windows-based MTAs therefore have to cover the whole set of email-related functionality.

Feature comparison[edit]

Server OS support Features Storage Users
Mail server Linux/ Unix Windows Mac OS SMTP POP3 IMAP JMAP IMAP IDLE SMTP over TLS POP over TLS IPv6 SSL DANE Webmail ActiveSync Sieve Database Filesystem Other IDN/UTF8 License
agorum core Yes Yes No Yes No Yes ? No No No No Yes No Yes No No Yes No No ? GPLv2
Apache James Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ? No No Yes Yes Yes No ? ASLv2
Axigen Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Ajax, Basic & Mobile Yes Yes Proprietary, Embedded, Optimized for Email & Groupware No Yes ? Proprietary (free version: 5 domains, 5 users, 5 groups)
Citadel Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes No Yes Yes No No ? GPLv3
CommuniGate Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? 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 No Yes No maildrop No maildir No Yes GPLv3[2]
Cyrus IMAP Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes[3] Yes Yes Yes ? No No Yes Yes (indexes) Yes Yes ? 4-clause BSD[4]
Dovecot Yes[5] No Yes Yes[6] Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? No No Yes Yes maildir, mbox, dbox No No Mixed: MIT and LGPL 2.1[7]
Eudora Internet Mail Server No No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? 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 Yes Yes[8] No No Yes Yes Yes No Yes GPLv2+[9]
FirstClass 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 Yes ? Yes ? Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Proprietary
GroupWise Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes No No ? Proprietary
Halon Yes No No Yes No No ? No Yes No Yes Yes Yes[10] No No ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Proprietary
Haraka Yes Yes Yes Yes No No ? No Yes No Yes Yes ? No No ? Yes Yes Yes Yes MIT
hMailServer No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes No ? Yes Yes No No GNU AGPL
IBM Lotus Domino Yes Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes No ? Yes No No No Proprietary
IceWarp Mail Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No ? Proprietary
Ipswitch IMail Server No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes (since v12.2)[11] Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes Yes ? No Yes No ? Proprietary
Kerio Connect Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes No ? Proprietary
Kolab Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? GPLv3
Kopano Yes Yes Yes External[12] Yes Yes ? Yes External[12] Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes Amazon S3 ? AGPLv3, paid[13]
Mailsite No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Proprietary
Mailtraq No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes No ? Yes Yes Yes ? Proprietary
MDaemon No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes Yes Not IMAP Proprietary
Mercury Mail Transport System No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes No Yes No No No Yes No No Proprietary donationware
Microsoft Exchange Server No Yes No Yes Yes Yes No Yes[14][15] Yes Yes Yes [16] Yes No Yes Yes 3rd Party support Yes Yes Yes Not IMAP 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 Yes No[17] No No ? possible through custom backends Yes No No ISC
Open-Xchange Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes No No ? Proprietary/SaaS, with open-source parts[18]
Oracle Communications Messaging Server Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? Yes ? Yes No ? Yes Yes No Yes Proprietary
Postfix Yes No Yes Yes Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP ? Dovecot, UW IMAP Yes No Yes Yes Yes No No No Yes 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 No ? (cdb) Yes No ? Public domain
Qpopper Yes Yes (via Cygwin) Yes No Yes No ? No No Yes ? Yes ? No No ? No Yes Yes ? BSD-style, GPL-incompatible[19]
Scalix Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes (via Stunnel) Yes (via Stunnel) ? Yes (via Stunnel) ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No ? Proprietary with OSS parts, a community (Freeware) and 3 paid editions (SMB, Enterprise, Hosting)
Sendmail Yes No Yes Yes Dovecot, UW IMAP Dovecot, UW IMAP ? Dovecot, UW IMAP Yes No Yes Yes ? No No No ? Yes ? Yes Sendmail License
SparkEngine Yes Yes Yes Yes No No ? No Yes No ? Yes ? No No ? Yes Yes Yes ? Proprietary
UW IMAP Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes ? Yes No Yes Yes Yes No WebPine No No Yes (Indexes) Yes No ? Apache License 2.0[20]
WinGate No Yes No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? Yes No ? No Yes No ? Proprietary
Zarafa Yes No No External[12] Yes Yes ? Yes External[12] Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes Yes No ? AGPLv3, paid[13]
Zentyal Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? Yes Yes ? Yes Yes No ? GPLv2[21]
Zimbra Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No ZPL and proprietary editions[22]
Mail server Linux/ Unix Windows Mac OS SMTP POP3 IMAP JMAP IMAP IDLE SMTP over TLS POP over TLS IPv6 SSL DANE Webmail ActiveSync Sieve Database Filesystem Other IDN/UTF8 License

Authentication[edit]

Mail server SMTP AUTH POP before SMTP APOP File System Database LDAP Native Anti Hammer - Brute-force attack protection Other
agorum core Yes No No No Yes Yes ? PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5[23], NTLM
Apache James Yes ? ? ? Yes Yes ? PLAIN, LOGIN
Axigen Yes No Yes No No Yes No GSSAPI, CRAM-MD5[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], APOP, CLRTXT, LOGIN, PLAIN, LDAP, Internal
CommuniGate Pro Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Active Directory (LDAP), CLRTXT, CRAM-MD5[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], 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 Yes 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[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], SCRAM-SHA-1(-PLUS), SCRAM-SHA-224(-PLUS), SCRAM-SHA-256(-PLUS), SCRAM-SHA-384(-PLUS), SCRAM-SHA-512(-PLUS), EXTERNAL, GSSAPI, LOGIN, NTLM, OTP, PASSDSS, PLAIN, SRP
Dovecot Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Submission service supports SMTP AUTH[6]. Offers SASL to MTAs.[25][26] 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[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], SCRAM-SHA-1, EXTERNAL, GSSAPI, NTLM, OTP, SKEY, RPA.
Eudora Internet Mail Server Yes No Yes Yes No No Yes CRAM-MD5[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], PLAIN, LOGIN
Exim Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Cyrus SASL, Dovecot SASL, GNU SASL, CRAM-MD5[23], Heimdal GSSAPI, PLAIN, LOGIN, SPA
FirstClass Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes ?
Gordano Messaging Suite Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes ? PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], APOP, ODBC, Active Directory, NT Domain
GroupWise Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? eDirectory, Any LDAPv3-compliant source
Halon Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? Many mechanism (SMTP callout, Dovecot SASL, REST, etc.) via script.[27]
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[23], NTLM
Ipswitch IMail Server Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Active Directory, Windows authentication, CRAM-MD5[23], 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.
Mailsite Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? NT Domain, Active Directory, PLAIN, LOGIN, NTLM, SCRAM-MD5, CRAM-MD5[23]
Mailtraq Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? NT Domain, Active Directory, Local Directory
MDaemon Yes No Yes No No Yes Yes
Mercury Mail Transport System Yes Yes Yes Yes No ? ? Internal, LOGIN, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5[23], Netware, LDAP?, partial NT Domain
Microsoft Exchange Server Yes ? Yes No No Yes Yes Active Directory, LOGIN,[28] NTLM
NetMail Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? eDirectory, LDAP
Oracle Communications Messaging Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Plain, Login, CRAM-MD5[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], 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 Yes Supports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods except for APOP.
Qpopper No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Pluggable Authentication Modules, GSSAPI, CRAM-MD5[23], DIGEST-MD5[24], 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.
Scalix Yes ? Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Internal, LOGIN, PLAIN, X.500 (DAP), LDAP, OpenLDAP, Active Directory, eDirectory, Kerberos, etc.
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[23], SASL PLAIN, SASL LOGIN
Zarafa Yes No No Yes Yes Yes ? PLAIN, LOGIN using internal backends: Internal, Active Directory, any LDAP-compatible source, Unix
Zentyal Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Active Directory using Dovecot SASL mechanisms
Zimbra Yes No Yes Yes Yes Yes ? Internal, LDAP, Open LDAP, Active Directory
Mail server SMTP AUTH POP before SMTP APOP File System Database LDAP Native Anti Hammer - Brute-force attack protection 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 No No Yes No No
Apache James ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Yes ? Yes ClamAV[29] Optional (Apache SpamAssassin)
Axigen Yes Yes[30] No Yes Yes Yes ? No Yes, in SpamAssassin Yes Yes CYREN Yes CYREN
Citadel Yes Yes No No Optional (via SpamAssassin) ? ? No Optional (via SpamAssassin) No Optional (ClamAV) Optional (SpamAssassin)
Courier Mail Server Yes ? Yes Yes[31] Yes Yes[32] Yes[33] Yes Yes[31] Yes[31] Yes Clamav Yes[31]
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 CYREN, Authentium Yes CYREN
GroupWise Yes ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Halon Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Optional (via SpamAssassin) Yes Optional (Sophos, ClamAV) Optional (CYREN, SpamAssassin)
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 Notes Yes[34] ? ? ? No[35] ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
IceWarp Mail Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Ipswitch IMail Server Yes Yes No No Yes Yes[36] Yes[37] No Yes Yes Yes Symantec, BitDefender Yes CYREN
Kolab Yes ? ? Yes Yes ? ? ? Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional (via content filter interface) Optional (via content filter interface)
Mailsite Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mailtraq ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
MDaemon Yes Yes (via SpamAssassin) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (via SpamAssassin) Yes (via Content Filter) Optional Cyren, ClamAV Yes SpamAssassin
Mercury Mail Transport System Yes ? ? Yes (GreyWall extension) ? ? ? ? Yes (SpamHalter extension) ? Yes (ClamWall extension) ?
Microsoft Exchange Server Yes (2003 & later) ? ? Yes Yes Optional (Signing only via 3rd Party Extensions) ? Yes (2003 & later) ? ? ? ?
NetMail ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
OpenSMTPD ? ? ? ? Yes Yes[38] ? ? ? ? ? ?
Oracle Communications Messaging Server Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ? Yes Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional any Optional any
Postfix Yes ? ? Yes Yes Optional[39] Optional[40] ? Optional with spamassassin etc. Yes Optional (via content filter interface) Optional (via content filter interface)
qmail ? ? ? Yes ? ? ? ? No ? No No
Scalix Yes Yes (via Scalix AntiSpam powered by Cyren or SpamAssassin) Yes (via Scalix AntiSpam powered by Cyren or SpamAssassin) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes (via Scalix ZeroHour AntiVirus powered by Cyren or ClamAV) Yes
Sendmail Yes Yes (via milter/SA) ? Yes Optional Optional[39] Optional[40] ? Optional with spamassassin etc. ? Yes ClamAV Yes SpamAssassin
SparkEngine ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
UW IMAP ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
WinGate ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
Zarafa External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12] External[12]
Zimbra Yes Yes (via SpamAssassin) ? Yes (via Cluebringer Policy Daemon) Yes Yes ? Yes Yes Yes (partially) Yes (via ClamAV, optionally any via Amavisd) Yes (via SpamAssassin)
Mail Server DNSBL SURBL Spamtraps Greylisting SPF DKIM DMARC Tarpit Bayesian filters Regular expressions Embedded Antivirus Embedded Antispam

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mahoney, Michael S. "The Unix Oral History Project: Release.0, The Beginning". Mahoney: To me one of the lovely features of pipes is the way it reinforces the notion of toolbox ...
  2. ^ See COPYING file in the distribution
  3. ^ "Cyrus IMAP - imapd.conf manpage". cyrusimap.org. Retrieved 2020-06-29.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-03-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ Dovecot Operating System Compatibility. Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  6. ^ a b Dovecot Submisison Service. Retrieved on 2010-07-15.
  7. ^ "Dovecot licensing information: COPYING". Retrieved 2008-09-03.
  8. ^ "Exim 4.91 spec: Encrypted SMTP connections using TLS/SSL / 15. DANE". exim.org. Retrieved 2018-07-05.
  9. ^ See NOTICE file in the distribution
  10. ^ "Halon DANE support". Halon Security AB. Retrieved 2015-12-17.[self-published source]
  11. ^ "IMail v12.2 Release Notes". docs.ipswitch.com.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p Zarafa Collaboration Platform architecture diagram. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  13. ^ a b "Kopano Pricing - Subscription Plans - Kopano Partners".
  14. ^ Archiveddocs. "Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 RFC and Support for Standards: Exchange 2007 Help". technet.microsoft.com.
  15. ^ Archiveddocs. "Exchange 2010 Support for RFC Standards: Exchange 2010 Help". technet.microsoft.com.
  16. ^ Archiveddocs. "IPv6 Support in Exchange 2007 SP1 and SP2: Exchange 2007 Help". technet.microsoft.com.
  17. ^ "OpenSMTPD, current state of affairs: Lookup layer change" (PDF). OpenBSD.org. Retrieved 2018-07-24.[self-published source]
  18. ^ "Licenses-OX-APP-Suite - Open-Xchange". www.open-xchange.com.
  19. ^ Contains jurisdiction selection and IBM Public License-style indemnification clause.
  20. ^ "UW IMAP software--UW IMAP Server Documentation". www.washington.edu.
  21. ^ "Zentyal Linux Small Business Server". www.zentyal.org. Archived from the original on 2012-09-18. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
  22. ^ "Licenses and Terms of Use". www.zimbra.com.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o CRAM-MD5 to Historic, 20 November 2008.
  24. ^ a b c d e f g h Moving DIGEST-MD5 to Historic, July 2011.
  25. ^ "DovecotFeatures - Dovecot Wiki". wiki.dovecot.org.
  26. ^ "Authentication - Dovecot Wiki". wiki.dovecot.org.
  27. ^ "HSL - Halon SMTP server". Halon Security AB. Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  28. ^ "How to Configure Exchange to Allow AUTH LOGIN to work". support2.gwava.com.
  29. ^ "Documentation for build-in ClamAV-Mailet". Retrieved 2013-03-19.
  30. ^ via Kaspersky anti-spam add-on
  31. ^ a b c d "Index of /~gordon/courier-pythonfilter". phantom.dragonsdawn.net.
  32. ^ Two DKIM filters can be found in Courier-MTA's links page
  33. ^ With zdkimfilter
  34. ^ "IBM Gathering DNS Blacklist Filter statistics - United States". www-01.ibm.com. 30 June 2014.
  35. ^ "IBM Does Lotus Domino support Sender Policy Framework (SPF)? - United States". www-01.ibm.com. 5 June 2014.
  36. ^ Inc., Ipswitch. "IMail Secure Mail Server - Ipswitch". www.imailserver.com.
  37. ^ Inc., Ipswitch. "Your IMail Software Upgrades and Patches - Ipswitch IMail Server". www.imailserver.com.
  38. ^ Faurot, Eric. "OpenSMTPD: We deliver!". www.opensmtpd.org.
  39. ^ a b "OpenDKIM". www.opendkim.org.
  40. ^ a b "Trusted Domain Project - About Us". www.trusteddomain.org.