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When it comes to choosing an open source mail server, every service will be able to handle the basic functions of sending and receiving emails; the important aspects users and administrators are looking for are the extra features. Most open source mail server programs are built with features for businesses or busy people who need organization. This means users should look for mail servers with address books, calendars and scheduling tools. Another important function is being able to instant message other users, because this can be quicker than an email conversation. Safety is necessary, so encryption should be required, and the ability to block spam will help keep the inbox empty for important emails.
Aside from sending and receiving emails, email servers have tools that let users organize their communication and their daily lives. To assist in this, an open source mail server should come with an address book, so users can add and organize contacts, and a calendar to schedule daily events. More specific scheduling tools that allow users to schedule their days down to the hour also will be helpful in staying organized.
Sending an email with an open source mail server is a quick way to communicate with someone, but it is not as quick as instant messaging. This allows two users who are both online to communicate as if in a conversation, which facilitates communication better than an email. Email servers with instant messaging capabilities will assist in even speedier communication.
If an email address is ever compromised, or if a spammer sends emails to random email addresses, it is possible the administrator will receive a flood of spam emails, or emails with viruses. This means the inbox will be full of useless emails unnecessarily taking up memory, and there is a chance the administrator will accidentally open a malicious email. To keep this from happening, the open source mail server should come with spam blockers, so the administrator can block specific emails and senders.
Safety from spam is helpful, but keeping the email address itself safe from hacking or spying also is a priority. To keep the server safe, many email servers encrypt messages and all server interaction, making it difficult for outside forces to penetrate the server. The email server should have at least basic encryption protocols, or it will be easy for hackers to sneak into the email address or to spy on email-based conversations.
@ceilingcat - That is true. Most people do expect to be provided these things with any email service.
I think security is a necessity too. Most of us take the "spam" folder for granted, but I remember the days before spam folders were as effective. It was so annoying to wade through all those advertisements to get to my actual emails. I don't think any business could function without secure email!
I think having all the little "extras" is essential for email these days. Most email services come with a calendar, address book, and instant messaging.
So if you're setting up email for whatever reason, it only makes sense to provide these things. All these things are especially important if the email is going to be for business. I know I could never get through my day without my calendar and address book!
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