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14 Best Linux Mail Servers in 2024 (Free + Open Source)

14 Best Linux Mail Servers in 2024 (Free + Open Source)

14 Best Linux Mail Servers in 2024 (Free + Open Source)
Updated on March 02, 2024
3 Comments14 mins read

Ever had a promotion email from a company? Who hasn’t, right? Even if you have been using Gmail or another free mail service until now, you’ve had quite a few run-ins with mail servers. With the clear importance of mail servers, it is difficult to imagine launching a successful business without taking advantage of the best mail servers. To manage your daily backlog of emails, you need the best Linux email server around. This blog post will help you select the best mail servers for Linux. Let us now dive in to learn more about the top 14 of the best Linux mail servers.

What is a Mail Server?

A Linux mail server software is used for transferring emails from one point of the Internet to another. Also known as Mail Transfer Agents (MTAs), they receive incoming emails from other servers before forwarding them to the user’s client software and vice versa. Although almost all mail servers handle both incoming and outgoing emails, the two functions are separate and follow different protocols. An incoming mail server usually operates using the Post Office Protocol 3 (POP3) or the Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP), while Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) is used to send the emails they have previously received from the user’s client software.

What Are the Requirements for Hosting a Linux Mail Server?

The advantages of hosting your own mail server are improving the security and privacy of your emails and performing email marketing campaigns more effectively. A Linux distro is the perfect choice for hosting mail servers as Linux is lightweight, highly customizable, and doesn’t take much of your hardware resources. Even with a Linux OS, you still need a whole other computer with enough storage and memory resources to act as your mail server. Now, buying a computer with the right specs can get expensive. That’s why hosting your mail server on a VPS is a great option.

A virtual private server is a hosting service that acts like a virtual computer. You can get a VPS with a Linux distro entirely dedicated to your Linux mail server software. Cloudzy is just the right solution for hosting the best Linux mail servers. Cloudzy’s Linux VPS is available in more than 15 locations across 3 continents, allowing you to host your mail server close to your customer base or anywhere you desire. These virtual private servers are extremely powerful since Cloudzy uses the latest hardware resources for backing the servers. You can choose the resources you need to host your Linux mail server, and as your business grows, you can easily scale your plans up.

Overall, VPS is an affordable solution, but Cloudzy is known for offering the most budget-friendly prices, which is beyond remarkable considering the high-quality services. Bonus fact: If you get your VPS for mail server from Cloudzy, you’ll get your Linux OS free and pre-installed. We offer a complete selection of Linux distros.

Linux Hosting Simplified

Linux Hosting Simplified

Want a better way to host your websites and web apps? Developing something new? Simply don’t like Windows? That’s why we have Linux VPS.

How to Choose the Best Mail Servers for Linux?

When looking for a mail server, there are many things you need to consider.

The most important factors are the features the server offers and how well it meets your needs. Some features to look for include support for different mail clients and integration with your existing software and hardware. Make sure the mail server has the features you need to run your business efficiently.

Another critical factor is the size of your organization. If you have a small business with only a few users, then a small mail server may be all you need. However, if you have a large number of users, then you’ll need a more powerful server.

You should also consider the cost of the server and whether or not it will fit into your budget. They can range in price from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.

Before you make a final decision, be sure to test out several different servers to find the one that is right for you. This will help ensure that you get the best possible service and are happy with your choice.

14 Best Mail Servers for Linux

One of the best Linux mail servers for Linux that can also be used in Windows NT is Sendmail. According to Mailserver.com, it is the No.1 MTA (Mail Transfer Agent) in use today.
Developed by ProofPoint, Sendmail is a general-purpose email routing facility with its first version released in 1983. An MTA well known for being free (there is also a proprietary version), and open-source, Sendmail provides a versatile set of delivery methods for sending emails.

When a Sendmail server receives an e-mail, it attempts to immediately deliver that to the intended recipient. If the recipient is not present, it queues messages to deliver them later. In fact, it doesn’t provide any mailbox facility. So, other software such as Internet Message Access Protocol and POP3 are needed. Some of the best features of this Linux mail server software are:

  • Reliability in message delivery
  • Needs very little network bandwidth
  • Customized email forwarding capabilities
  • Using configuration files to control mail configuration
Citadel is undoubtedly one of the best mail servers for Linux. Despite the initial release 33 years ago, it passes the test of time because of its superior performance and flexible features.
This mail server is a general-purpose groupware and collaboration suite that is designed to run on open-source operating systems such as Linux, and BSD UNIX distributions (but supports most systems). It uses the Berkeley Database for all of its data storage.

It is an open-source and free software that works under GNU General Public License (GPLv2 and GPLv3). This Linux mail server is mostly known for its simple control panel and efficient runtime. Moreover, it has a lot of good features, some of which are listed below:

  • Shared calendar
  • Instant messaging
  • A convenient address book
  • Scheduler
  • File storage
  • Jabber alongside SSL/TLS encryption
  • OpenSSL encryption
  • Built-in implementations of Internet Protocols such as POP3, IMAP, SMTP, and XMPP
  • Web-based user interface based on Ajax-style functionality for application-like interactions
  • OPeNDAP and Microsoft Active Directory support
Modoboa is one of the best open-source SQL-based Linux mail servers, which offers a set of useful features from one user interface that does not require you to install each capability individually.
It offers a secure and private mailing method using the TLS protocol, Let’s Encrypt, which is a nonprofit Certificate Authority. It also sets you free from email providers’ dependency.

Modoboa is widely deployed with SPF and DKIM protocols using DMARC. These protocols are free email authentication technologies for email delivery and security that, through a reporting function, help senders and receivers boost and monitor the protection of the domain against fraudulent email. The cool thing is that it lets you configure a fully functional mail server through the most important features you can benefit from, including:

  • Webmail
  • Calendars management
  • Address books management
  • Creating visualized filtering rules to organize emails
  • Auto-responder
  • Supporting multiple domains, mailboxes, and aliases
  • Administrator tools that help you monitor the traffic
This is a mail transfer agent developed at the University of Cambridge. Distributed under the GNU (General Public License), Exim aims to be one of the most flexible mailers with a great number of features for checking incoming emails.

Exim is a free software that has been incorporated into most UNIX-like systems. Its fourth version is the default MTA on Debian Linux systems. Some of the best features of this mail server are:

  • The external authenticator
  • Pre-built support for a large number of database management systems such as MYSQL, Oracle DB, SQLite, PostgreSQL, and Redis
  • Encrypted SMTP connections using SSL/TLS
  • Straightforward configuration, customization, and task management
  • Three log mechanisms i.e. main log, panic log, and reject log
  • Local scan function
  • System-wide message filtering
  • Message processing
  • GNU GPL license
First released in 1998 under the IBM Public License 1.0, Postfix is now available under the Eclipse Public License.
Postfix is also known as IBM Secure Mailer and VMailer. It runs on BSD, AIX, HP-UX, Linux, macOS, Solaris, and every UNIX-like operating system with a C compiler and POSIX development environment. This powerful, open-source mail server can be used for routing and delivering emails. It is the default message transfer agent for Ubuntu, RedHat /CentOS, NetBSD, and macOS. Some of the most important features of this Linux mail server are listed below:
  • Junk mail control
  • Database support
  • Fast and secure
  • Flexibility in administration
  • Convenient log management
  • Defense against spambots
  • Pre-packed content filtering
  • Virtual domain support
  • Configurable status notification
  • Support for many standard databases, including MYSQL, SQLite, PostgreSQL, LDAP, Memcached, CDB, and Berkeley Database

This mail server consists of many programs that run in the background and a few that interact with the user processes. You can imagine the whole system as a router because it looks at the IP packet and determines the destination and resource IP address exactly like a router. Then, it selects the right interface to route the mail toward its destination.

Linux Hosting Simplified

Linux Hosting Simplified

Want a better way to host your websites and web apps? Developing something new? Simply don’t like Windows? That’s why we have Linux VPS.

Axigen is one of the best mail servers for Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Docker that supports POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and webmail.
It comes with groupware and collaboration functionalities (like calendars, notes, tasks, and outlook connectors) that can be completely free. The development of this mail server began in 2003 based on innovative proprietary technology. It supports all demanding users, from small businesses to large service providers. Some of the good features of this mail server are:
  • Integrated mailing list server
  • Fully automatic migration tool
  • Antivirus and antispam integration options
  • Malware and spam protection mechanism
  • A convenient address book
  • Unmatched manageability for administrators
  • Various mobile capabilities, including mobile-friendly webmail and Exchange Active Sync support
  • Can be hosted in data centers, on bare-metal, private or public cloud servers and VPS.
  • Multiple, customizable advertising and branding options
  • Integrated Web-Admin and Web-Mail client
  • 60-day, Full-Featured Trial
  • Highly configurable platform
Qmail is among the best Linux mail servers. It is one of the most widely-used mail servers. It is an excellent alternative to Sendmail. It offers different kinds of benefits for users and security is the biggest one.
The SMTP protocol verifies this claim by providing different credentials through the queue manager or the SMTP sender. Also, the simple and easy configuration makes it popular as one of the best Linux mail servers. Some of its notable features are listed below:
  • QMT support
  • Supporting different platforms such as Linux, Solaris, Mac OSX, and BSD
  • Offering EZMLM mailing list manager, VERPs, and automatic host configuration
  • Having a modular-based system (It allows you to replace any single part of the system with an alternative module)
  • Managing custom mailing lists and supporting the automatic prevention of mailing loops
  • User-controlled wildcard mailboxes
iRedMail is an open-source mail server solution for Linux and BSD distributions. This mail server is known for its focus on security, privacy, and secure management.
iRedMail’s focus on security urges users to use mail services over secure connections such as POP3/IMAP/SMTP over TLS and webmail with HTTPS. With iRedMail, you can create as many mail accounts as you want. iRedMail also provides a free and user-friendly web admin panel that allows you to manage your emails. They also offer a paid edition called iRedAdmin-Pro with more features. Some other iRedMail features are:
  • Managing calendars, address books, and tasks on a user-friendly web UI or mobile devices
  • Easy-to-use web UI to manage folders, emails, and sieve filters
  • Antispam and antivirus systems, including SpamAssassin, ClamAV, SPF, etc.
  • Storing mail accounts in OpenLDAP, MySQL, MariaDB, and PostgreSQL backends
Cyrus IMAP server
The Cyrus IMAP server is a powerful Linux mail server that helps you access your private emails via the IMAP protocol. It also covers contacts and calendar services.
Having multiple services attached to a mail server improves your business performance. Users can access the mail server through IMAP, IMAPS, POP3, POP3S. You can benefit from a private mailbox database that optimizes the server efficiently, with scalability and administration. The list below are a few features of Cyrus IMAP server:
  • JMAP support
  • Supporting antivirus and anti-spam toolkits
  • Handling deliverability through SPF, DKIM, DMARC
  • Using mail filtering
  • Full authentication options through Cyrus SASL
  • Deploying consistent software updates
  • Supporting access control lists on mailboxes
Mail-in-a-Box is an easy-to-use Linux mail server that uses the latest security solutions. It provides you with useful services like automatic DNS configuration, spam filtering, and greylisting.
More features are backups to Amazon S3, static website hosting, and easy SSL certificate installation. This tool aids in providing a hosted mail for multiple users and DNS and delivers the webmail and an IMAP/SMTP server for mobile and desktop mail software. The features of Mail-in-a-Box include:
  • Using web-based control panel for email configurations and settings
  • Contacts and calendar synchronization
  • Free TLS (SSL) certificates from Let’s encrypt
  • Implementing modern mail protocols (SPF, DKIM, and DMARC) and the latest security practices, including opportunistic TLS, strong ciphers, and HST
Linux Hosting Simplified

Linux Hosting Simplified

Want a better way to host your websites and web apps? Developing something new? Simply don’t like Windows? That’s why we have Linux VPS.

Kolab Groupware
Kolab is an open-source collaboration system for Linux distributions. Kolab Groupware offers solutions for email server, calendars, events, address books, etc.
The mail server Kolab Groupware offers is also an open-source solution that competes with enterprise-grade products. If you need a mail server for a large load of email delivery, Kolab’s mail server is a suitable solution for you. Kolab’s mail server is known for efficiently handling any amount of mail traffic. Kolab also offers an enterprise edition with premium features and tech support. Some other Kolab Groupware features are listed below:
  • Built-in support for standard web protocols (SMTP, POP3, IMAP, DANE, ActiveSync, and Sieve)
  • Central Storage Support and easy integration with directory service and mail delivery systems
  • Email filtration based on pre-defined criteria
  • Cloud service for using and sharing files between users
Zimbra Email Server
Zimbra Email Server is an open-source powerful Linux mail server that comes with a variety of features. It’s easy to use, scalable, and secure. In addition, it supports a number of different devices and operating systems. This makes it a great choice for businesses of all sizes. Zimbra also has a great community of users who are always willing to help out.
If you’re looking for an email server that can meet your needs, Zimbra is a great option. It’s been used by millions of people around the world and is known for its reliability and security.

It provides users with so many features, such as:

  • Group calendars and document sharing
  • Mobile web client application
  • Suitable for hosting on VPS
  • Customizable
  • Backup feature
  • Email management
  • Instant messaging feature
The Horde Project is a webmail and collaboration suite that provides an email server, tasks and notes functionality, contact management, and more. The software is written in PHP and is licensed under the GNU General Public License.
This Linux mail server is easy to use and navigate and can easily be scaled up or down to meet your needs. It is designed to work with any size organization, and its team is always on hand to help with any questions or problems you may have. Here are some of its other features:
  • Shared calendars, contacts, reminders, IMAP files, and tasks
  • Supports IMAP, POP3, 3-pane, and 3-column layouts, and HTML messages
  • Provides message filtering
  • Supports News feed
  • Supports mobile email access
  • Advanced productivity tools
  • Spell-checker
  • Email filtration
  • Threaded conversation view
Apache James
Apache James is a popular open-source Linux mail server. It’s easy to set up and configure and is a great option for those who need an email server that can handle a high volume of messages.
It’s also perfect for businesses that need to comply with strict email regulations. Apache James can be used as a standalone server or as part of a larger infrastructure. It supports both SMTP and IMAP protocols, and it can be used with a variety of different mail clients. Apache James also has a wide range of features, including:
  • Supports SMTP, LMTP, JMAP, POP3, IMAP, and ManageSieve
  • Email management
  • Store the message data
  • Filtering spam emails

Free SMTP Server Linux

SMTP servers can be used for a variety of purposes, the most common of which is to send and receive emails.

Small businesses and individual users are always looking for free SMTP servers. There are many different SMTP servers for both Windows and Linux available on the internet. Some of them are free, while others charge a fee. The best SMTP server is one that is reliable, fast, and easy to use.

The best SMTP server Linux is undoubtedly Sendmail. Sendmail is very powerful and has many features that other SMTP server applications lack. It’s open-source, feature-rich, and easy to configure. Plus, it’s free!

Open Source Mail Server Linux

Open-source mail servers are becoming more and more popular as businesses and individuals search for ways to cut costs and increase efficiency. But what is an open-source mail server? And why are they becoming so popular?

An open-source mail server is a type of server that uses software that is freely available to the public. This means that the code used to create the software can be modified and improved by anyone who chooses to do so.

An open-source mail server Linux is a great alternative to expensive commercial options. It can be configured to your specific needs, and it’s free! There are many different open-source mail servers available for Linux, so do your research to find the best one for you.

Be sure to evaluate the features that are important to you, such as spam filtering, virus protection, and user support. Once you have chosen a server, be prepared to spend some time configuring it to meet your needs.

There are several reasons why open-source Linux mail servers are becoming so popular:


They are often cheaper than their proprietary counterparts.

They are typically free to download and use, while proprietary software can be expensive.

They tend to be more reliable and secure than proprietary software, as it has been tested by many people over a longer period of time.

Wrapping Up — Choosing the Best Linux Mail Server

Choosing any one of the best mail servers for Linux depends on the specific needs of your business, but aside from choosing the best Linux mail server, you should also choose a good Linux VPS hosting provider. Even the best mail servers cannot perform well when your server is down or limited in resources. A decent but affordable VPS is perhaps the best way to start out or even expand to a mid-sized online business.

Here at Cloudzy, our Linux VPS services provide you with robust infrastructure and ultrafast connections, giving you a secure and safe hosting experience at affordable prices. Plus, our next-gen SSD storage with NVMe protocol and DDR4 RAM devices are offered to ensure high performance. We provide services to businesses of any size. We offer Linux VPS in more than 15 global locations with extensive peering and minimal latency.

emma bennet
Emma is a content creator with an interest in digital marketing. She has been working as a writer and social media specialist for a few years. She enjoys hanging out with her dogs and writing great blog posts.


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