How to setup a mail server on windows - part 1/4 network setup

How to setup a mail server on windows - part 1/4

Network setup

Network pre-requisite:

Static IP address

Domain name

Step 1 of 4

a.     Contact your local ISP and tell them you want a static-IP Internet connection

Step 2 of 4 (if you have a domain name, skip this step)

a.        Go to domain name provider and find out if your domain is available to register?

b.        Once a valid domain name is found, register with provider according to your need

Step 3 of 4

a.     Configuring you DNS by adding an A record for your domain, such as mail.YourDomain.com. The following diagram is an example of ZONEEDIT.COM screenshot.

Step 4 of 4

a.     In your DNS settings, add the A record in step 3 as mx record for your domain. The following diagram is an example of ZONEEDIT.COM screenshot.

Optional setup

1.      More DNS record options:

a.     SPF (http://www.openspf.org/) – This record identifies legitimate SMTP server for your domain to the destination mail servers.

b.     SRV (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SRV_record) – These records provide automatic service discovery for mail clients.

2.      Reverse IP resolution – If you use the ISP’s default reverse resolution value for static IP, mails should have no problem going through. If your IP has no reverse IP resolution value, then you need to contact your ISP to set one for it

Mail server hosting alternatives

1.    Using VPS such as Amazon EC2: Sometimes, it is a hassle to prepare both hardware and its operating system. We have an option by hosting a rental server on the cloud.


1.    Can I use dynamic iP?

No, a mail server requires a static IP to operate properly.

2.    Is reverse resolution absolutely necessary?

Yes, your static IP should have a reverse resolution value assigned by your ISP. If there is no value in it, then contact your ISP and set one for it.

3.    Is SPF record absolutely necessary?

No, it is not necessary. However, with SPF, it stands a bigger chance for major mail servers on Internet to accept the sending mails from you.

4.    Is SRV record absolutely necessary?

No, auto service discovery is not widely supported yet.

5.    Is MX record necessary?

Yes, MX record indicates where mails should be delivered to.


1.    ZONEEDIT (http://www.zoneedit.com/) – ZONEEDIT provides DNS hosting service that covers all necessary DNS records you need for mail server purposes, including SPF and SRV records.

2.    AMAZON EC2 (http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/) – If you feel it is a hassle to prepare hardware/windows/environment on premise, this cloud VPS service may fit your need.

3.    MX TOOL BOX (http://mxtoolbox.com/) – This website provides useful tools that help you detect current DNS settings on your domain and server settings.

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