Code Quality Rank: L3
Programming language: Python
Tags: Email     Communication systems     Complete solutions    
Latest version: v0.47

Mail-in-a-Box alternatives and similar software solutions

Based on the "Complete solutions" category

Do you think we are missing an alternative of Mail-in-a-Box or a related project?

Add another 'Complete solutions' Software solution



By @JoshData and contributors.

Mail-in-a-Box helps individuals take back control of their email by defining a one-click, easy-to-deploy SMTP+everything else server: a mail server in a box.

Please see https://mailinabox.email for the project's website and setup guide!

Our goals are to:

  • Make deploying a good mail server easy.
  • Promote decentralization, innovation, and privacy on the web.
  • Have automated, auditable, and idempotent configuration.
  • Not make a totally unhackable, NSA-proof server.
  • Not make something customizable by power users.

Additionally, this project has a [Code of Conduct](CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md), which supersedes the goals above. Please review it when joining our community.

The Box

Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh Ubuntu 18.04 LTS 64-bit machine into a working mail server by installing and configuring various components.

It is a one-click email appliance. There are no user-configurable setup options. It "just works".

The components installed are:

It also includes system management tools:

  • Comprehensive health monitoring that checks each day that services are running, ports are open, TLS certificates are valid, and DNS records are correct
  • A control panel for adding/removing mail users, aliases, custom DNS records, configuring backups, etc.
  • An API for all of the actions on the control panel

It also supports static website hosting since the box is serving HTTPS anyway.

For more information on how Mail-in-a-Box handles your privacy, see the [security details page](security.md).


See the setup guide for detailed, user-friendly instructions.

For experts, start with a completely fresh (really, I mean it) Ubuntu 18.04 LTS 64-bit machine. On the machine...

Clone this repository:

$ git clone https://github.com/mail-in-a-box/mailinabox
$ cd mailinabox

Optional: Download Josh's PGP key and then verify that the sources were signed by him:

$ curl -s https://keybase.io/joshdata/key.asc | gpg --import
gpg: key C10BDD81: public key "Joshua Tauberer <jt@occams.info>" imported

$ git verify-tag v0.47
gpg: Signature made ..... using RSA key ID C10BDD81
gpg: Good signature from "Joshua Tauberer <jt@occams.info>"
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg:          There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
Primary key fingerprint: 5F4C 0E73 13CC D744 693B  2AEA B920 41F4 C10B DD81

You'll get a lot of warnings, but that's OK. Check that the primary key fingerprint matches the fingerprint in the key details at https://keybase.io/joshdata and on his personal homepage. (Of course, if this repository has been compromised you can't trust these instructions.)

Checkout the tag corresponding to the most recent release:

$ git checkout v0.47

Begin the installation.

$ sudo setup/start.sh

For help, DO NOT contact Josh directly --- I don't do tech support by email or tweet (no exceptions).

Post your question on the discussion forum instead, where maintainers and Mail-in-a-Box users may be able to help you.

Contributing and Development

Mail-in-a-Box is an open source project. Your contributions and pull requests are welcome. See [CONTRIBUTING](CONTRIBUTING.md) to get started.

The Acknowledgements

This project was inspired in part by the "NSA-proof your email in 2 hours" blog post by Drew Crawford, Sovereign by Alex Payne, and conversations with @shevski, @konklone, and @GregElin.

Mail-in-a-Box is similar to iRedMail and Modoboa.

The History

  • In 2007 I wrote a relatively popular Mozilla Thunderbird extension that added client-side SPF and DKIM checks to mail to warn users about possible phishing: add-on page, source.
  • In August 2013 I began Mail-in-a-Box by combining my own mail server configuration with the setup in "NSA-proof your email in 2 hours" and making the setup steps reproducible with bash scripts.
  • Mail-in-a-Box was a semifinalist in the 2014 Knight News Challenge, but it was not selected as a winner.
  • Mail-in-a-Box hit the front page of Hacker News in April 2014, September 2014, May 2015, and November 2016.
  • FastCompany mentioned Mail-in-a-Box a roundup of privacy projects on June 26, 2015.