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What A Steal: Host Unlimited Email Domains for Life

In these inflationary times, it’s always refreshing to find a technology solution that has actually decreased in price. To combat spam, hosting providers including Comcast and Spectrum have made it next to impossible to deploy a downstream mail server. So a relay hosting solution has become a must-have for VoIP server platforms including Incredible PBX. We’re thrilled to introduce MXroute’s $129 lifetime, cloud-based email hosting solution which supports unlimited domains, unlimited email addresses, and 10GB of storage. But you better hurry. This special won’t last long.

To get started with MXroute, you’ll want to spend some time in their tutorials making sure that you’ve properly configured DNS for the email domains you wish to host on MXroute. Pay particular attention to resolving DMARC, DKIM, and SPF issues before you go live. MXroute’s DNS support documentation is second to none.

For our part, we’ll show you how to configure Incredible PBX 2027 with Debian 11 or Ubuntu 22.04 to use MXroute as your email relay host so that email messages leave your server and arrive at their intended destinations without a hiccup or a SPAM flag. By default, Incredible PBX 2027-D and 2027-U servers are shipped with SendMail preconfigured and an enable-gmail-smarthost-for-sendmail script. Running the script assures proper delivery of outbound email so long as you use an existing Gmail account with a generated App password. But many prefer to cut the cord to Google and host their own email accounts, and that’s where we begin today.

To get started, sign up for an MXroute Unlimited Account. With your credentials in hand, log into the DirectAdmin web portal. Create your first email domain in Account Manager -> Domain Setup. Next, drop down to Email Manager -> Email Accounts and create an email account for the domain you created. Make note of the account password you use because you can’t retrieve it after you leave the creation step. You’ll see an arrow beside the newly created email account. It will take you to a functioning, web-based email client without having to enter your email account’s password. This email client can be used to send out test messages after you get the DNS settings for your domain squared away. Don’t continue with the Incredible PBX server setup below until you can successfully send and deliver a message from within the web-based email client with at least DKIM and SPF showing as PASSED in the original message listing for the delivered email message.

Incredible PBX Using MXroute As Smart Relayhost

What follows has been tested on Incredible PBX 2027 platforms deployed with Debian 11 or Ubuntu 22.04. It will not work with RedHat, CentOS, or Rocky 8 platforms which we no longer support. See this post for RedHat tips. Configuring your server to use MXroute as a smart relay host is a two-step process. First, we’ll replace SendMail with Postfix. And then we’ll set up MXroute as your email relay to avoid issues sending email from servers downstream from your Internet Service Provider, a.k.a. Comcast or Spectrum among others.

Replacing SendMail with Postfix on Incredible PBX

Begin by logging into your Incredible PBX server as root. Then issue the following commands:

systemctl stop sendmail
systemctl disable sendmail
apt-get update
apt-get install postfix sasl2-bin libsasl2-modules -y
dpkg-reconfigure postfix
# choose NO Configuration option
systemctl start postfix
systemctl enable postfix
sed -i 's|-c sendmail|-c postfix|' /usr/local/sbin/pbxstatus
echo "incrediblepbx.com" > /etc/mailname
sed -i 's|SendMail| Postfix|' /usr/local/sbin/pbxstatus
systemctl status postfix

Deploying MXroute with Postfix

You’ll need three pieces of information to deploy MXroute as a smart relayhost with Incredible PBX: the name of your MXroute server (e.g. friday.mxrouting.net) and both the email address and password of an active account on MXroute (e.g. myname@mydomain.com & mypassword).

With these in hand, edit and save /etc/postfix/main.cf after adding the following to the bottom of the file using your actual MXroute server name in the first line. Leave the brackets in place.

relayhost = [friday.mxrouting.net]:587
smtp_use_tls = yes
smtp_tls_security_level = encrypt
smtp_sasl_tls_security_options = noanonymous
smtp_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtp_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
smtp_sasl_password_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
smtp_tls_CAfile = /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
header_size_limit = 4096000

Next, create an /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd file with your three credentials:

[friday.mxrouting.net]:587	myname@mydomain.com:mypassword

Finally, issue the following commands to complete the setup:

chmod 600 /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
postmap /etc/postfix
postmap /etc/postfix/sasl_passwd
systemctl restart postfix
systemctl status postfix

Testing Email with MXroute and Postfix

As a security precaution, you can only send emails through MXroute using the email address registered with Postfix as your Reply-TO address. From the command line, your outbound email should look like this:

echo "test" | mail -r myname@mydomain.com -s testmsg somebody@somewhere.com 

Also be sure to adjust the FROM address for outbound voicemail messages in the FreePBX GUI. Login as admin and enter your Sender Identity Email Address in the Server Email field in Settings -> Voicemail Admin -> Settings -> Email Config.

Originally published: Monday, September 25, 2023

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1 Comment

  1. Ward, Do you still recommend MXRoute? Do you actually use it? Thinking of using it for some of my domains. Thanks

    [WM: We use it every day. Flawless.]

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