Knowledge base: Old email admin
- Users and Aliases
- Importance of the Star * Alias
- Add user
- Add Alias
- List users
- List aliases
- Delete user
- How can I set up an alias pointing to more than one email address?
- I need all my email to go to a particular address (eg. a Freeserve account)
- Can I give my friend an email account on my domain that (s)he can check with his/her own password?
- Why can't I use your mail server or mail.mydomain.com to send outgoing messages?
- What software will work with your mail server?
- How secure is this email system?
- Do I have to administer this via the web interface, or can I write a script of my own to make additions or removals to the system?
- There is a very large email in my account (or a users account) which is causing problems. Is there a way I can manually remove it from the server without having to download it over my modem?
Positive provides you with one of the most comprehensive and fully featured mail systems available. You have complete administratitive control over email sent to your domain name. This means you decide what happens to email sent to any address on your domain. Essentially, you have control over <anything>@yourdomain.com.
Because our system is so comprehensive and flexible, it is not quite as straightforward and simple as some other systems, please take a moment to read through this document and keep a copy for later reference.
Your email system is administered via a web interface. You can access this using your account login details by pointing a web browser to the /admin directory on your domain. For example:
Users and Aliases
There are two basic options for any email address you set up via this system, users and aliases:
- You can create an address as a user which will create a mailbox on our servers. This allows mail to this user to be picked up using any POP3 email software (such as Outlook Express, Netscape Mail, Eudora and so on) direct from your Positive account. You will need to configure your email client to connect to this mailbox (see our collecting email section for further details.
- You can create an address as an alias which will forward email to another known email address (e.g. your regular dialup ISP email address). The advantage of this setup is that you don't need to change your email software configuration because email is forwarded on to an existing email account.
To summarise the above: a user is a mailbox on our servers. An alias is a mail forwarder to another address. You can change any address from a user to an alias, or vice-versa, at any time.
We do not place a limit on the number of aliases or mailbox users you can set up on your account. However, we ask customers to be sensible and not attempt to run a huge free email service from your mail admin system. Our email service is intended for use by the account holder and associates, plus of course representatives of the account holder's business or organization. It is not intended for offering free email addresses on your domain to all and sundry.
When your account is originally set up, we have configured the mail in a certain way in order that you can start receiving email straight away and do not lose any mails. You can of course change this setup as soon as you wish by adding mailboxes and aliases.
By default, we have created for you one catch-all POP3 mailbox user and one alias. The alias is a special default alias known as a star (*). This special alias forwards all addresses (i.e. <anything>@yourdomain.com) to the one default catch-all POP3 mailbox. This ensures that initially no mail is lost. If you would like information on how to connect to this catch-all mailbox to download any messages that gather there before you get a chance to fine tune your email settings, please see here.
Importance of the Star * Alias
Please note the following about the default star * alias.
- It will be overridden by any other aliases or mailbox users you set up. For example, if you set up an alias or mailbox for 'info' this would take precedence over any settings for the default star * alias.
- Consider it as meaning either "everything" if no other aliases or mailboxes are present, or "everything else" if you do have other aliases or mailboxes.
- It is a last resort for mail delivery if the system finds no user or alias for an address. If you remove the star * alias, then any address not explicitly set up as an alias or mailbox user will bounce back to the original sender.
Selecting the Add User option displays a form for creating a new POP3 user account (mailbox) on our servers. This is a full account which will have it's own password and will have email stored separately from all other email accounts. The mail can be collected using any POP3 mail software (see here for instructions). The fields on this form are fairly self explanatory.
The username could be for example "fred" The Real Name or description is for your reference only, so that you can remember who you've set up an account for or why at a later date. It doesn't appear in any emai. The password you decide needs to be entered twice to ensure you set it as intended. Once this form is submitted, you can view the account and some basic usage information in the "List Users" section, or delete the account from the "Delete User" section.
An alias is simply an email address which forwards mail straight on to another existing email address. The email address it forwards to can be one you've set up on the mail system under "Add User" or it can be a completely separate email address hosted by your ISP, or it might be a web-based email service such as Hotmail.
For example, Fred Bloggs may have an AOL account which he wishes to use. He prints his business cards out with email@example.com and sets up an Alias called 'fred' pointing to his AOL email address firstname.lastname@example.org - all mail for address 'fred' is then forwarded on to his AOL address.
Note: the description field is purely for reference purposes. This currently has no effect and is not viewable and you may leave this blank.
The List Users screen is the most complex, it allows you to see a list of all the real POP3 user accounts (mailboxes) you have currently set up on your system. By default you have one POP3 account set up on the server which happens to have the same name as your account login username. On the list you can see a description of what the box is for or who it belongs to, followed by some statistics.
The statistics relate to the amount and total size of emails awaiting collection for a particular account (ie the mail hasn't been collected yet). The statistics also show if any mail has been collected, but has not been removed from the server. Many email programs have an option similar to "Leave mail on server" which leaves a copy of all received email on the server. This can be useful on occasion if you check your email from more than one place. Since your 120 MB space allowance is shared between your web site and your mailboxes, if many people leave lots of mail on the server this can fill up. So you might need to keep an eye on the situation and notify your users if necessary. This page will highlight in red any particularly large emails in any accounts which might be of concern.
Each user account has an Edit option, which when clicked on gives you additional information about the account and allows you to change the password or update the description for the account.
There is also a Configuration Help link which will give you a fully tailored walkthrough on how to set up Outlook Express to collect email from the mailbox in question.
The List Aliases option shows you a list of aliases and the mail accounts for which they point to. you may update one or more of these aliases directly from this screen if desired. If an email address is completely removed from this screen and update is pressed, the alias will be removed from you system.
From this section an entire user account (mailbox) and all its contents (including any unread email) can be deleted.
Be careful! There are no warnings or failsafes, once an account is deleted all mail stored on the server in that account will be lost.
Check first in the List Users section if you are unsure if there is any unread email. You may also delete aliases from this screen.
How can I set up an alias pointing to more than one email address?
You can list more than one email address for a single alias by using commas to separate them. For example:
I need all my email to go to a particular address (eg. a Freeserve account)
Set up an alias called * and put your email address in as the destination. Any additional aliases will override this.
Can I give my friend an email account on my domain that (s)he can check with his/her own password?
Why can't I use your mail server or mail.mydomain.com to send outgoing messages?
In order to save our server from possible 'spam' abuse (not necessarily from our own users) we have to restrict our service to picking up email only. Your CGI scripts running on our server can of course send out email, but you can't configure your email software to use our server to send email out. This is no great loss to you since you'll find your own Internet Service Provider's outgoing mail server to be faster and easier to use for your outgoing email, and the return email will come back to our server.
What software will work with your mail server?
Any POP3 compliant mail software will work. There are dozens of freeware, shareware and commercial products that will work. All the major mail clients work, including Outlook Express, Outlook, Netscape Mail, Eudora and The Bat. You are bound to already have software which is compatible. Most email software these days is capable of dealing with multiple mail accounts from different mail servers, and most can also filter messages as they arrive into separate inboxes. However some email software can not cope with more than one POP3 account, so you may need to investigate alternative software or install more than one copy of your software configured in different ways. The most popular email client, Outlook Express, does allow multiple mail servers to be checked by setting up additional mail accounts in the Tools menu.
How secure is this email system?
Like any secure system, the main weakness is in the password itself. Choose passwords which contain a mixture of letters and numbers, and even upper and lower case letters (passwords on our servers are case sensitive). You could even inlude punctuation marks for maximum security. Other than someone finding out or guessing a password, the mail system is extremely secure.
Do I have to administer this via the web interface, or can I write a script of my own to make additions or removals to the system?
We don't provide support if you choose to write your own administration system, but it is perfectly possible to do this. Your home directory contains a passwd file which is the main focus of the delivery system. Close examination of this and the users directory in your home should give you an idea of how things are set up. Note that the file desc.dat inside your users directory contains the descriptions for users and aliases. Also note that each POP3 user requires a directory within the users directory containing 3 further directories named "new, cur and tmp". Watch closely the file permissions on all of these files when you are altering or adding new ones. If you have any special requirement or script in mind, please call us, we can write customised scripts for reasonable rates.
There is a very large email in my account (or a users account) which is causing problems. Is there a way I can manually remove it from the server without having to download it over my modem?
Yes, if you are familiar with basic unix commands and SSH (secure telnet) software. You can SSH into your account and find the particular user within the users directory in your home directory. So, from your home directory, cd into the user in question's directory. Then inside this user's directory you'll find another sub directory called "new" - cd into that. Each email message is stored as a separate file inside this directory. Using a long listing (ls -l) you should be able to see which mail is the large one and move or remove it manually. Note: we don't provide a facility to do this from the web interface for security reasons.