Since I moved my mail to my own mail server running on a Raspberry Pi in my apartment, I’ve been seeing weird delays in getting email. Most notably from Gmail accounts. I finally got to the bottom of what was happening. …Sort of. To tell you the truth, I found a couple of problems, and fixed them both, and only then tested sending from gmail. I’m pretty sure the last thing I fixed isn’t relevant, but who knows. This stuff probably isn’t worth a new post. But on the off chance that someone has actually been following these guides, I want to make sure they aren’t having the same problem. Plus, as I mentioned before, I’m documenting this as much for myself as anyone else. If something happens to the Pi and I need to do this all over again, I want a guide.
Calendar Syncing: Radicale
After I got a mail server running on my Raspberry Pi, I tried to find a way to sync my calendar and contacts to my phone, and computer. I was using Own Cloud, which handles contacts and calendar well. Unfortunately, Own Cloud was built for file syncing (like a self-hosted Dropbox), except it’s REALLY bad at it. It didn’t make sense to use it for the two add-on things I needed, since I couldn’t trust it to serve its primary purpose. I went looking for alternatives, and found Radicale.
Updates: @seanbonner has a great post on privacy vs security, which really gets at the heart of what I was trying to say at the end of this post, but in a much more easy to understand way. You should really check it out.
I also blogged about the technical details of how I build the mail server. That post is here.
For a long time, I’ve used Google for mail, calendar, and contact storing and syncing. I also used it for RSS. When Google announced they were shutting down Google Reader, I sort of panicked and started moving all of my various web stuffs off of free services. I moved my Tumblr and Blogger blogs to Hostgator WordPress instances, tried multiple new RSS readers, and tried replacing Dropbox, Google Calendar, and Google Contacts with Owncloud. Most importantly, I moved 6 years of email off of Gmail and into Hostgator’s mail servers.
Now that I’ve ranted about why I decided to build my own mail server, it’s time to explain how.
In order to build my own mail server, I decided to use Postfix and Dovecot on a Raspberry Pi. I chose these three very specifically. Postfix and Dovecot are the go-to for building a mail server, and Raspberry Pis have been the home server of choice ever since they were announced. By selecting these, I was certain I would be able to get the most community support, and I would be able to find the most comprehensive guides on how to set everything up.