by Bob Wright
I decided to investigate Pop3 mail servers for our intranet, installing many different products. VPOP3 virtual pop3 mail server was immediately appealing to me due to the ease of installation. I downloaded the software and had the mail server running within 10 minutes, fully capable of handling mail to five different mail boxes.
The main problem I needed to overcome was the nature of the mail header received upstream for the domain NOSPIN.COM. This header has a prefix that the mail server needed to ignore, a feature built into VPOP3. Then adding the users was a quick mouse click, type an account name with password. The mailbox/accounts were setup. The learning curve for this program was minimal, only taking a few minutes to have it running.
VPOP3 is strictly a Windows95/98/NT application, starting seamlessly upon boot and hiding in the tray with a cute red icon to display incoming or outgoing mail. I found the ability of VPOP3 to handle not only a full domain’s mail, but also a single user account intriguing. You can setup a single user account, such as NoSpin@nospin.com to be divided into multiple email accounts for others on an Intranet. One user account with multiple mail boxes makes ISP charges minimal. It also has the ability to handle thousands of mailboxes for a large domain, with ease of sorting, account management and too many options for each account to name.
Then, I discovered the web interface built into the server. Any email account may be accessed from anywhere on the web via the IP address of the computer it resides, as long as the user name and password are known. We tried this feature and I was more than impressed as it was able to easily access the host computer through the ISP and down a 56k modem connection seemingly without any data transfer bog down time. I can imagine someone traveling with any Internet access, then only logging into the web page for the mail server and reading, replying and culling out their mail. A superb feature.
VPOP3 has so many features of large mail servers I could be writing a manual just explaining them all. Here are some other features I also liked:
- Built in mailing list capability. Build your own mailing lists, allowing subscribers to join and quit as easily as our large Listserv mailing lists.
- Mapping (aliasing) from several email addresses to a single 'virtual' mailbox, or from a single email address to multiple 'virtual' mailboxes.
- Routes mail to the same email domain locally, without needing to access your Internet Provider - thus allowing use it as an Intranet email server.
- Finger Server for remote querying of user information & status.
- Download Rules allow you to specify mail to be rejected or downloaded depending on size or header contents. You can even tell VPOP3 to ask the intended recipient if he/she really wants to get this message. This is useful for Killing SPAM.
- You can set up user 'assistants' who can be internal or external email addresses. Mail for specified users will be forwarded on to those users as well as (or instead of) the normal user.
- Supports Multiple POP3 Servers, so you can consolidate your multiple ISP accounts, and use one program, and one email client to read all the messages.
- Supports incoming mail using SMTP
- Supports Multiple outgoing SMTP Servers, and you can limit the domains which each server can be used for if you wish.
- AutoResponders to respond to incoming messages automatically, either using standard text or an external program to generate the response.
- VPOP3 can sense that a DUN session is active, so it can use it to automatically collect mail unobtrusively whilst you're 'surfing' the net.
- Security - only defined administrators can modify the VPOP3 settings.
- Flexible scheduler to allow automatic connections at predefined intervals or times on specified days.
- VPOP3 can negotiate a session via a SOCKS V4 compliant firewall or proxy, so you don't need to meddle with your Internet Security policy just to have proper Email.
All these features are incredible for a small program, taking less than 4mgs of space on the hard drive when installed.
Initially, I thought the price of VPOP3 mail server to be on the high side. This idea, I am not sure where I got that impression, was dashed when I reviewed the pricing structure for similar products, here is the list of servers I priced it against:
I discovered that my issue with the price of a pop mail server software package was in the deceptively small size of the program, "How can you charge that much money for software that takes up less than 4mgs of space." Obviously, I was wrong in this issue. I found other mail server packages with as many features as VPOP3, but none that were as simple to configure, setup and then administer. I also discovered that VPOP3 to be not only competitively priced, but even more economical than the majority of it's competitors.
The bottom line here is Paul Smith Computer Services have done an excellent job in keeping the code tight, the features easy to access and the the package a marvel to administer. I highly recommend this product to anyone requiring a mail server for home or a small to medium sized office. A real thumbs up on this one.
Paul Smith Computer Services