SEARCH

How-To Geek

How to Build a Self Contained Email Environment

A common function of many programs is the ability to send email. When working on development projects or doing product demos which utilize email, having an environment you know will work can be critical. For these situations, having a completely self contained email system, that is all emails “sent” never leave the local machine, is the answer.

To set up this environment, we are going to use MailEnable Standard which is a fully functional SMTP and POP mail server. We will configure select domains to “route” all messages so that they are sent and received locally. This allows you to test/demonstrate the full email cycle entirely on the local machine.

Preparing Your Environment

Prior to setting up the self contained MailEnable installation, a few changes will have to be made on your system.

The first would be to stop and disable any existing mail services you have running. If you have any, it would most likely be the Microsoft ‘Simple Mail Transfer Protocol’ service which is installed with IIS.

image

Next we have to configure the hosts file on the machine to route all traffic to our “contained” domains so that it never leaves the machine.

Open the file “C:Windowssystem32driversetchosts” in Notepad.

image

For all domains which you want contained, enter a line like so:

127.0.0.1     domain.com

127.0.0.1     localmail.com

In our example, we are using the domain “localmail.com”. Once you are done, save your changes.

image

Installing MailEnable

Launch the MailEnable Standard installation program. During the installation, there will be several informational screens as well as some generic data entry screens, so we are going to show you the screens which require some special configuration.

In the Get Postoffice Details screen, enter “LocalMailDelivery” for Post Office Name along with a password.

image

In the SMTP Connector Configuration, enter the domain you want to contain the email for (in our example, “localmail.com”) and for the DNS Host, enter “127.0.0.1”.

image

You do not need to install the WebMail portions as we will be checking the mail through a POP client. These are time limited in the Standard edition of MailEnable.

image

When setup is complete a reboot is not required, but it is generally a good idea.

image

Configuring MailEnable

Once installed, open the MailEnable Administrator which is available under Start > Programs > Mail Enable.

image

Under the Servers > localhost > System > Services option, make sure that all services are started (List Connector is not required to be running).

image

Under Messaging Manager > Post Offices > LocalMailDelivery, select the Create Mailbox function.

image

In the Mailbox Properties, enter the name of the recipient in the Mailbox Name box without the domain name added to the end. By default, the recipient will have an email address for all the domains listed in the Domains folder of LocalMailDelivery. In our example, we configured “localmail.com” as our domain so in this example the full email would be ‘jfaulkner@localmail.com’.

Also make note of the ‘Username for mail clients’ and ‘Password’ boxes. These are the respective credentials which we will configure in our POP client to downloading the mail.

image

Once created, you should see the newly created recipient in the list of mail boxes.

image

Configuring the POP Client

Once the local mail server is configured, you can use any POP client you want. In our screenshots, we are using Outlook 2007, but any client will do.

The key items for setup are:

  • Email Address: recipient@localdomain.com (from our example, jfaulkner@localmail.com)
  • Account Type: POP3
  • Incoming Server: 127.0.0.1
  • Outgoing/SMTP Server: 127.0.0.1
  • User Name / Password: from the “Create Mailbox” screen in MailEnable (from our example: jfaulkner@LocalMailDelivery / password)

image

Testing your settings should show everything is working successfully.

image

If everything is working, you should get a welcome message from MailEnable.

image

To test the flow of mail, send a message to your locally configured email address.

image

Hopefully it is no surprise that the test message gets delivered a few moments after sending.

image

Conclusion

Again, having a completely local mail environment is ideal for demonstrations or development projects where you may not have reliable connections. Since the message never leaves your machine, nothing is left to chance.

Links

Download MailEnable Standard Edition

Jason Faulkner is a developer and IT professional who never has a hot cup of coffee far away. Interact with him on Google+

  • Published 07/19/10

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!