Friday, May 23, 2003

Mail Enable

After getting pretty well fed up with the extreme email latency I’ve
been dealing with on and off this week (imagine trying to sync source code with someone
by email when it takes twenty hours to arrive), I decided to set up my own email server.
I didn’t have too much in mind other than that it should be free. Fortunately,
I’m already using to get a free
DNS name, and they have the ability to add MX records, so it was really just a matter
of installing an SMTP/POP3 server.

My first stop was to try the stuff that’s built into the OS,
of course. Windows 2003 now comes with both SMTP and POP3
servers. But for whatever reason, I couldn’t get them working. I’m (fairly)
sure they do work, but I couldn’t
figure out how to do it. Oh well – I knew there are free programs out there,
so I went off in search of something decent.

My next stop was Mercury. It looked
like a nice product, and it installed easily. But it appears to run as a standalone
app, not as a service. If there’s a toggle somewhere that gets it to run as
a service, I couldn’t find it. Then again, I didn’t look that long.

My final selection was Mail Enable.
Bingo! Runs as a service, has a really easy to understand user interface, supports
an unlimited number of domains and emails, and basically has just enough features
to fit what I want to use it for. Plus, the latest update was like three weeks ago,
which is always good to see, as it indicates someone is still working on the thing.
It even has mailing list capabilities. Very nice.

One of the ways I plan to use it is to make up addresses to hand out
to websites. Because you can define a catch-all account that all mail goes to, what
I can do is make up an account like “” and hand
that out to only to Amazon. I’ll still get the mail, but if I start getting
unsolicited email from other people on that address, I’ll know where it came

Anyway, so far I like it. We’ll see what happens after I’ve
had it running for a few weeks. If anyone has any experience with the product that
they’d like to share, comments are, of course, welcome.


  1. I've always been happy with Mailtraq ( It's not obvious, but if you visit their downloads page they have a free version available.

  2. You might be interested in Schneier's latest encounter with unique email addresses:

  3. Craig,

    I to use No-Ip and have mailenable running on my server. I have a static IP, and Mail Enable is working fine for my web app. My issue is that when I try to send an email to my Road Runner account from the Mail Enable account it gets blocked with the following error. - 20031205

    This error indicates one of the following:

    The sending machine or network has a security problem associated with it, which resulted in the sending of unsolicited bulk mail to our subscribers or role accounts.

    The sending machine or network is actively attacking our mail servers (mailbomb, DoS attack, etc).

    The sending machine or network is located within a dynamically assigned IP address pool, and the ISP owning that pool has a stated "no server" policy.

    The sending machine or network is not in compliance with Road Runner's posted Inbound Sending Policies

    Can you help?

    Thanks.... Ken

  4. Craig,

    Stumbled upon your blog and see that you are trying out mailenable. I host 2 websites and I use the free version of mailenable for the email for these websites. These sites are ecom sites and we get and send a lot of email. I have been using mailenable for about 15 months with out fail! That's right, a free email server that has run with out errors (knock on wood) for well over a year. In short, it great, easy to use and has basic spam filtering; I just love it.

  5. I would like to know how to use mail enable. I set it up and everything, Just want to know how to get people to sign up with my server and use it?

  6. Have you read the manual?