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The Book of Postfix

Ralf Hildebrandt and Patrick Koetter
Published by No Starch Press
496 pages
£ 30.99
Published: March 25, 2005
reviewed by Robert Easthope
   in the June 2006 issue (pdf), (html)

``The Book of Postfix'' is a fantastic book explaining all aspects of the Postfix mail server system. Its all in there how to configure a basic setup where you just want to relay mail from one host to another, to very advanced content filtering and integration with database servers such as MySQL.

The first five chapters introduce mail servers in general and explain how to configure the DNS. There is a basic explanation on the structure of the system and what commands are available for administrative and other tasks. Personally I found chapter four very useful for explaining configuring mail relays and SMTP authentication.

The second part of the book concentrates on content control. Chapter six has some good examples of how to filter on header information, standard mechanisms available in all mail servers such as checking if the from address maps to a valid IP address in the DNS etc. Building restrictions based on keyword triggers is covered and also how to test these filters in a test environment and later on testing on real messages.

Part three of the book is on advanced configurations, building a server to answer to multiple domains, building in support for MySQL integration, configuring mail relays and SMTP authentication.

Part four is a small one chapter section on fine tuning POSTFIX. This appears to be for those who handle huge amounts of mail traffic and need to put limits on what the server can handle at any one time. It also explains in great detail how you can get statistical data on what the server is doing something that can be very useful in debugging problems.

The Appendix section is very useful as a reference for debugging problems. It explains clearly what to check on the system when postfix is not responding and details common errors in configuration files for postfix.

To sum this book up I would say it's a good all round guide to POSTFIX, it pitched at the right level that if you are new to mail servers it has enough introduction, but also a very good guide for those like myself how have previously used other mail servers such as EXIM and Sendmail.

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