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.
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.
For all domains which you want contained, enter a line like so:
In our example, we are using the domain “localmail.com”. Once you are done, save your changes.
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.
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”.
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.
When setup is complete a reboot is not required, but it is generally a good idea.
Once installed, open the MailEnable Administrator which is available under Start > Programs > Mail Enable.
Under the Servers > localhost > System > Services option, make sure that all services are started (List Connector is not required to be running).
Under Messaging Manager > Post Offices > LocalMailDelivery, select the Create Mailbox function.
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 ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’.
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.
Once created, you should see the newly created recipient in the list of mail boxes.
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: email@example.com (from our example, firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 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)
Testing your settings should show everything is working successfully.
If everything is working, you should get a welcome message from MailEnable.
To test the flow of mail, send a message to your locally configured email address.
Hopefully it is no surprise that the test message gets delivered a few moments after sending.
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.