Mail-in-a-Box Setup Guide

What is it?

Mail-in-a-Box lets you become your own mail service provider in a few easy steps. It’s sort of like making your own gmail, but one you control from top to bottom.

Technically, Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh cloud computer into a working mail server. But you don’t need to be a technology expert to set it up.

Pre-flight Checklist

Can I run my Mail-in-a-Box at home?
No. Computers on most residential networks are blocked from sending mail both on the sending end (e.g. your ISP blocking port 25) and on the receiving end (by blacklists) because residential computers are all too often hijacked to send spam. Your home IP address is also probably dynamic and lacks configurable “reverse DNS.” If any of these apply to you, you’ll need to use a virtual machine in the cloud.
What will it cost?
This is going to cost you about $12 per month. Most of the cost is in having a (virtual) machine connected to the Internet 24/7. You can divide this among friends and share your Mail-in-a-Box if you’d like to split it up.
Do I have time?
There’s also your time. Once a Mail-in-a-Box is set up, we hope it “just works” but when you are your own system administrator you must be prepared to resolve issues as they arise.
How will this affect my website? (Advanced.)
If your website is just HTML pages and static files, you can copy it onto your Mail-in-a-Box for a really simple hosting solution. If you have a website already, be aware that your Mail-in-a-Box wants to take over your DNS so that it can configure it correctly for email, and we recommend you let the box do that, but you can configure the DNS to keep your website on another machine. You may also need to configure relaying for outbound transactional email.


Can I modify my box after / use my box for something else too? (Advanced.)
No. Mail-in-a-Box must be installed on a fresh machine that will be dedicated to Mail-in-a-Box, and you cannot modify the box after installation (configuration changes will get overwritten by the box’s self-management).

Here’s how you can get a Mail-in-a-Box running: