AFP548 Site News September 3, 2004 at 11:59 pm

Mail Server Shootout – Call for Entries Now Closed

I’ve got a solid list of 10 mail servers, so give me a bit to put together the review…

I’m hoping to put together a fairly lengthy review of mail servers available for OS X Server and I want to make sure I don’t miss any. Read on for what I’m going to compare.Purpose

There’s a few commercial mail servers out there and I hope to explore how they hold up to what’s included with OS X Server 10.3.

I don’t want to spend too much time on the Open Source mail solutions out there. Not that there’s not a lot of them, and not that they aren’t very good solutions, but with Postfix/Cyrus already installed if you plan on putting in another CLI app, you already know what you’re doing and what package you want to replace it with.

Instead I’m concentrating on mail packages for the average admin that can be installed with a double-click and configured through a GUI.

Testing Criteria

I’ll cover ease of use, spam and virus control options, multiple domain support and user administration to start with at least. I plan to delve into the groupware aspect of these packages to some degree, although I hope to have a groupware review out before too long that will do a much better job of that.

I plan on doing some stress testing to see which application moves the most mail the fastest, but I have a feeling that with modern hardware it’s going to be very hard to even move the meter without getting into astronomical amounts of mail traffic.


1. OS X Server 10.3

This is the included mail system and the path of least resistence for most people. Because of that, this will be the benchmark that the others will be held up to.

2. Communigate Pro

This incredibly robust mail system has been running on OS X since the OS X Server 1.0 days. It particularly shines when you need to support multiple domains and delegate administration of those domains.

3. Kerio

A relative newcomer to the OS X scene, but has a very complete feature list and some very devoted followers already.

4. FirstClass

A complete messaging solution that has been very popular in education and other environments using the Mac for quite some time. Since FirstClass doesn’t offer a trial download, I might not be able to be as complete with this. So, If you are using FirstClass and you want to lend a hand let me know.


A mail server that has been on the Mac since Macs were sending e-mail. The original developer took back the code base and has updated it for OS X. However, since the current version requires you to be logged in to run, I might have some problems with it.

6. 4D Mail

From the people who brought you the 4D database and the WebSTAR web server. Another mail system that has been on the Mac for a while.

7. Tenon’s Post.Office

This is Tenon’s port of Post.Office to OS X. If you like Tenon’s web server suite you might like this one.

8. SurgeMail

A Windows mail server that has now been brought over to the Mac side.

9. Exim/Courier with MySQL

A nice collection of package installers to put together an entirely open source virtual user and virtual domain e-mail solution. Personally, I love Exim, but absolutely hate Courier. However this solution does provide a very easy to set up alternative to Communigate Pro for virtual domains.

10. QuickMail Pro

A package I haven’t touched in years. The QuickMail Pro client, which always worked best with a QMP server, has many groupware-like features that may appeal to some.

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