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]

RadifServer OS supportFeaturesStorageUsers
Mail serverLinux/UnixWindowsMac OSSMTPPOP3IMAPIMAP IDLESMTP over TLSPOP over TLSIPv6NNTPSSLWebmailActiveSyncDatabaseFilesystemOtherLicense
agorum coreYesYesNoYesNoYes?NoNo?NoYesYesNoYesNoNoGPLv2
Apache JamesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesYesNoNoYesYesNoASLv2
AtmailYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYes?NoYesYesYesYesYesNoProprietary (100 user/30 day demo)
AxigenYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesAjax & BasicYesNoNoYesProprietary (free version: email 100 users / calendar 5 users)
Blue MindYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYes?NoYesYesYesYesYesNoAGPLv3
CitadelYesNoYesYesYesYes?YesYesYes?YesYesNoYesNoNoGPLv3
CommuniGate ProYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesProprietary (Free for up to 5 users)
Courier Mail ServerYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesYesNoNomaildirNoGPLv3[1]
Cyrus IMAPYesNoYesNoYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesNoNoYes (indexes)YesYes4-clause BSD[2]
DBMailYesvia CygwinYesPostfix, Exim, Sendmail, qmailYesYesYesPostfix, Exim, Sendmail, qmailYesYes?YesNoNoPostgreSQL, MySQL, SQLiteNoNoGPLv2[3]
Digital Integration iMail5YesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYes?NoYesYesNoYesYesYesProprietary
DovecotYes[4]No[4]Yes[4]NoYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesNoNoYesmaildir, mbox, dboxNoMixed: MIT and LGPL 2.1[5]
Eudora Internet Mail ServerNoNoYesYesYesYes?NoNo?NoNoNoNoNoNoYesProprietary
EximYesYes (via Cygwin)YesYesDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPYesNoYesNoYesNoNoYesYesNoGPLv2+[6]
FirstClassYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesYes?YesYesYesYesYesYesYesProprietary
Gordano Messaging SuiteYesYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesNoYesYesYesProprietary
GroupWiseYesYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes??YesYesYesYesNoNoProprietary
HarakaYesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesNoYesNoYesNoNoYesYesYesMIT
Hexamail ServerYesYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesNoNoYesNoProprietary
Mail serverLinux/UnixWindowsMac OSSMTPPOP3IMAPIMAP IDLESMTP over TLSPOP over TLSIPv6NNTPSSLWebmailActiveSyncDatabaseFilesystemOtherLicense
hMailServerNoYesNoYesYesYesYesV 5.0V 5.0YesNoV 5.0YesNoYesNoNoGNU AGPL (previously proprietary)
IBM Lotus DominoYesYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes?YesYesYesYesYesNoNoProprietary
IceWarp Mail ServerYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesNoProprietary
IndiMailYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesNoNoYesYesYesGPLv3
Ipswitch IMail ServerNoYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesYesNoYesNoProprietary
iRedMailYesNoNoYesYesYes???????????Under GPLv2
JMailYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesProprietary
Kerio ConnectYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesNoProprietary
KolabYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesGPLv3
MagicMailYesNoNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesNoYesYesYesProprietary
MailismusYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYes?NoYesNoNoYesYesNoProprietary (28-day free demo)
MailsiteNoYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesYesYesYesYesProprietary
MailtraqNoYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesYesYesNoYesYesYesProprietary
masqmailYesNoYesYesNoNoNoYesNoYesNoYesNoNoNoYesYesGPL
MDaemon Mail ServerNoYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesNoProprietary
Mercury Mail Transport SystemNoYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesNoNoYesNoProprietary donationware
Microsoft Exchange ServerNoYesNoYesYesYesYes[7][8]YesYesYes (2007 sp1 onwards)[9]YesYesYesYesESE onlyYes (up to 2003 only)[10]YesProprietary
MirapointYesNoNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesNoYesYesYesProprietary
MomentumYesNoNoYesNoNoNoYesNoYesNoYesNoNoYesYesNoProprietary
NetMailYesYesNoYesYesYes?YesYes??YesYesNoYesNoNoProprietary
OpenSMTPDYesNoYesYesNoNoNoYesNoYesNoYesNoNopossible through custom backendsYesNoISC
Open-XchangeYesNoNoYesYesYes?YesYes??YesYesYesYesNoNoProprietary/SaaS, with open-source parts[11]
Mail serverLinux/UnixWindowsMac OSSMTPPOP3IMAPIMAP IDLESMTP over TLSPOP over TLSIPv6NNTPSSLWebmailActiveSyncDatabaseFilesystemOtherLicense
Oracle Communications Messaging ServerYesNoNoYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesYesNoYesYesNoProprietary
PostfixYesNoYesYesDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPYesNoYesNoYesNoNoYesYesYesIBM Public License
qmailYesNoYesYesYesDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPNoDovecot, UW IMAPvia Qsmtp?NoNoNo(cdb)YesNoPublic domain
QpopperYesvia CygwinYesNoYesNoNoNoYes?NoYesNoNoNoYesYesBSD-style, GPL-incompatible[12]
SendmailYesNoYesYesDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPDovecot, UW IMAPYesNoYesNoYesNoNo?Yes?Sendmail License
SparkEngineYesYesYesYesNoNoNoYesNo?NoYesNoNoYesYesYesProprietary
SurgeMailYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoYesYesNoYesYesYesProprietary (free for up to 5 users)
Synovel CollabsuiteYesNoNoYesYesYes?YesYes??YesYesNoYesYes?Proprietary with OSS parts, Freeware and paid editions[13]
UW IMAPYesYesYesNoYesYesYesNoYes?NoYesWebPineNoYes (Indexes)YesNoApache License 2.0[14]
WinGateNoYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesNoNoYesNoProprietary
XeamsYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesYes?NoYesNoNoNoYesNoFreeware with support option
ZarafaYesNoNoExternal[15]YesYesYesExternal[15]YesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesNoAGPLv3, free and paid editions[16]
ZimbraYesNoYesYesYesYesYesYesYesNoNoYesYesYesYesYesNoZPL and proprietary editions[17]
Mail serverLinux/UnixWindowsMac OS XSMTPPOP3IMAPIMAP IDLESMTP over TLSPOP over TLSIPv6NNTPSSLWebmailActiveSyncDatabaseFilesystemOtherLicense
RadifServer OS supportFeaturesStorageUsers

Authentication[edit]

Mail serverSMTP AUTHPOP before SMTPAPOPFilesystemDatabaseLDAPOther
agorum coreYesNoNoNoYesYesPLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, NTLM
Apache JamesYes???YesYesPLAIN, LOGIN
AtmailYesYesYesYesYesYesPLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, Active Directory, any LDAP-compatible source
AxigenYesNoYesNoNoYesGSSAPI, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, CLRTXT, LOGIN, PLAIN, LDAP, Internal
CommuniGate ProYesYesYesYesYesYesActive 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 ServerYesYesYesYesYesYesManaged by Courier authentication library which can use PAM, Userdb, PostgreSQL(beta), MySQL, LDAP, and EXTERNAL.
Cyrus IMAPNoYesYesYesYesYesSupports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods. Also supports X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL.
Cyrus SASL LibraryNoYesYesYesYesYesBerkeley 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
Digital Integration iMail5YesNoYesNoNoNo
DovecotNoYesYesYesYesYesNot 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 ServerYesNoYesYesNoNoCRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, PLAIN, LOGIN
EximYesYesYesYesYesYesCyrus SASL, Dovecot SASL, GNU SASL, CRAM-MD5, Heimdal GSSAPI, PLAIN, LOGIN, SPA
FirstClassYes??YesYesYes
Gordano Messaging SuiteYesYesYesNoYesYesPLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, ODBC, Active Directory, NT Domain
GroupWiseYesYesYesYesYesYeseDirectory, Any LDAPv3-compliant source
HarakaYesNoNoYesYesYesProxy to other server, any other mechanism via AUTH plugins.
Hexamail ServerYesYesYesYesNoYesCLRTXT, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, GSSAPI, NTLM, MSN, SESSIONID
IceWarp Mail ServerYesYesYesYesYesYesPLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, NTLM
IndiMailYesYesNoYesYesYesCLRTXT, PLAIN, LOGIN, CRAM-MD5, CRAM-SHA1, CRAM-RIPEMD, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, Checkpassword, authindi, authldap, Pluggable Authentication Modules, Name Service Switch
Ipswitch IMail ServerYesNoYesYesYesYesActive Directory, Windows authentication, CRAM-MD5, PLAIN, LOGIN
JMailYesNoYesNoNoNoCRAM-MD5, PLAIN, LOGIN, APOP, HTTP DIGEST. Authentication through a JID system
KolabYesYesYesYesYesYesKolab employs Cyrus and Postfix and thus supports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods and X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL.
Kerio ConnectYesYesYesYesNoYesActive Directory, Apple Open Directory, ActiveSync, Pluggable Authentication Modules
MagicMailYesNoNoYesYesNo?
MailismusYesNoYesYesNoNoLOGIN, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, EXTERNAL
MailsiteYesNoYesYesYesYesNT Domain, Active Directory, PLAIN, LOGIN, NTLM, SCRAM-MD5, CRAM-MD5
MailtraqYesYesYesYesYesYesNT Domain, Active Directory, Local Directory
MDaemon Mail ServerYesYesYesNoYesYesActive Directory, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, LOGIN
Mercury Mail Transport SystemYesYesYesYesNo?Internal, LOGIN, PLAIN, CRAM-MD5, Netware, LDAP?, partial NT Domain
Microsoft Exchange ServerYes?YesNoNoYesActive Directory, LOGIN,[18] NTLM
MirapointYesYesYesYesYesYesPlaintext, LDAP, NTLM, APOP, Kerberos_v4, Kerberos_v5, Radius, Sessionid
MomentumYesNoNoYesYesYesPlain, Login, CRAM-MD5, LDAP
NetMailYesYesYesYesYesYeseDirectory, LDAP
Oracle Communications Messaging ServerYesYesYesYesYesYesPlain, Login, CRAM-MD5, Digest-MD5, Certificate
OpenSMTPDYesNoNoYesYesYesBy default PLAIN and LOGIN over SSL only, Certificates, bsd_auth and PAM. Supports adding new authentication mechanisms through custom backends.
PostfixYesNoNoYesYesYesSupports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods except for APOP.
QpopperNoYesYesYesYesYesPluggable Authentication Modules,GSSAPI, CRAM-MD5, DIGEST-MD5, APOP, PLAIN, LDAP, CMU SASL library, Kerberos
qmailwith patchwith vpopmailYesYesYesYesWorks with any checkpassword utility. The original supports only LOGIN and PLAIN. Alternate checkpassword utilities support authentication against PAM, LDAP, and databases.
SendmailYesYesNoYesYesYesSupports all Cyrus SASL authentication methods except for APOP. Also supports X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL.
SurgeMailYesYesYesYesYesYesInternal, LDAP, PAM, MYSQL, ODBC, Unix Password, Windows Domain or external protocol
WinGateYesYesYesYesYesNoNT Domain, Active Directory, CRAM-MD5, SASL PLAIN, SASL LOGIN
ZarafaYesYesNoYesYesYesInternal, Active Directory, any LDAP-compatible source, Unix
ZimbraYesNoYesYesYesYesInternal, LDAP, Open LDAP, Active Directory
Mail serverSMTP AUTHPOP before SMTPAPOPFilesystemDatabaseLDAPOther

Antispam Features[edit]

Mail ServerDNSBLSURBLSpamtrapsGreylistingSPFDKIMDMARCTarpitBayesian filtersRegular expressionsEmbedded AntivirusEmbedded Antispam
agorum coreNoNoNoNoNo??NoNoYesNoNo
Apache James????????Yes??Optional (Apache SpamAssassin)
AtmailYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesYes ClamAVYes SpamAssassin and Exim ACLs
AxigenYesYes[19]NoYesYes??NoYes, in SpamAssassinYesYes CommtouchYes SpamAssassin
CitadelYesYesNoNoOptional (via SpamAssassin)??NoOptional (via SpamAssassin)NoOptional (ClamAV)Optional (SpamAssassin)
CommuniGate ProYesYesYesNoYes??YesOptionalYesOptional (ClamAV)Optional (via SpamAssassin)
Courier Mail ServerYes?YesYes[20]Yes??YesYes[20]Yes[20]Yes ClamavYes[20]
Digital Integration iMail5YesNoNoYesNo??NoNoOptional (GWAVA)Optional (GWAVA)Proprietary, Optional (GWAVA)
Dovecot????????????
Eudora Internet Mail ServerYes?YesYes????????
EximYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesOptional with spamassassin etc.YesOptional anyOptional any
FirstClassYesYesNo?Yes??YesYesYesYes Symantec?
Gordano Messaging SuiteYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesYes Commtouch, AuthentiumYes Commtouch
GroupWiseYes???????????
HarakaYesYesYesYesYesYes?YesOptional with spamassassin etc.YesOptional ClamAV, AVG, any via pluginsOptional SpamAssassin, MessageSniffer
Hexamail ServerYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesYes BitDefenderYes
hMailServerYesYesNoYesYes??NoNoYesYes ClamAVYes SpamAssassin
IBM Lotus DominoYes[21]???No[22]???????
IceWarp Mail ServerYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesYesYes
IndiMailYesYesNoYesYes??YesYesYesYes ClamAVYes Bogofilter
Ipswitch IMail ServerYesYesNoNoYes??NoYesYesYes Symantec, BitDefenderYes Commtouch
JMailYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesYes ClamAV and/or optional anyYes and/or built-in
KolabYes??YesYes???Optional with spamassassin etc.YesOptional (via content filter interface)Optional (via content filter interface)
Kerio ConnectYesYes?NoYes??YesYes?Optional Sophos + optional secondary (dual)Yes
MagicMailYesNoYesNo????NoYesYesYes
MailismusNoNoNoYesNo??YesNoNoNoNo
MailsiteYesYesYesYesYes??NoYesYesYesYes
Mailtraq????????????
MDaemon Mail ServerYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesOptional Kaspersky LabYes
Mercury Mail Transport SystemYes??Yes (GreyWall extension)????Yes (SpamHalter extension)?Yes (ClamWall extension)?
Microsoft Exchange ServerYes (2003 & later)??YesYes??Yes (2003 & later)????
MirapointYesNoYesYesYes??YesYesYesYes Commtouch, Sophos, F-SecureYes Commtouch, Sophos, SPamAssassin
MomentumYesYesYesYesYesYesOptional [23]YesYesYesYesYes
NetMail????????????
Oracle Communications Messaging ServerYesYesYesYesYes??YesOptional with spamassassin etc.YesOptional anyOptional any
PostfixYes??YesYesOptional [24]Optional [25]?Optional with spamassassin etc.YesOptional (via content filter interface)Optional (via content filter interface)
qmail???Yes????No?NoNo
SendmailYesYes (via milter/SA)?YesOptionalOptional [24]Optional [25]?Optional with spamassassin etc.?Yes ClamAVYes SpamAssassin
SparkEngine????????????
SurgeMailYesYesYesYesYes??YesYesYesYesYes
Synovel CollabsuiteYesYesYesYesYes???YesYesYesClamAVYes SpamAssassin
UW IMAP????????????
WinGate????????????
ZarafaExternal[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]External[15]
ZimbraYes???YesYes?YesYes?Yes ClamAVYes SpamAssassin
Mail ServerDNSBLSURBLSpamtrapsGreylistingSPFDKIMDMARCTarpitBayesian filtersRegular expressionsEmbedded AntivirusEmbedded 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. ^ http://git.dbmail.eu/paul/dbmail/tree/README
  4. ^ a b c Dovecot Operating System Compatibility. Retrieved on 2008-09-03.
  5. ^ "Dovecot licensing information: COPYING". Retrieved 2008-09-03. 
  6. ^ See NOTICE file in the distribution
  7. ^ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc540463(EXCHG.80).aspx
  8. ^ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff848256.aspx
  9. ^ http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb629624(EXCHG.80).aspx
  10. ^ Exchange Installable File System (ExIFS)
  11. ^ http://www.open-xchange.com/misc/licenses/
  12. ^ Contains jurisdiction selection and IBM Public License-style indemnification clause.
  13. ^ http://www.synovel.com/collab/editions
  14. ^ UW IMAP Server Documentation
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Zarafa Collaboration Platform architecture diagram. Retrieved on 2011-12-10.
  16. ^ http://www.zarafa.com/content/scope-and-benefits
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^ http://support2.gwava.com/kb/?View=entry&EntryID=1605
  19. ^ via Kaspersky anti-spam add-on
  20. ^ a b c d with Courier-pythonfilter filtering framework
  21. ^ http://www-01.ibm.com/support/docview.wss?uid=swg21102611
  22. ^ 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
  23. ^ Lua script
  24. ^ a b via opendkim milter
  25. ^ a b via opendmarc milter