Mail-in-a-Box helps individuals take back control of their email by defining a one-click, easy-to-deploy SMTP+everything else server: a mail server in a box.


By @JoshData and contributors.

Mail-in-a-Box helps individuals take back control of their email by defining a one-click, easy-to-deploy SMTP+everything else server: a mail server in a box.

Please see for the project's website and setup guide!

Our goals are to:

  • Make deploying a good mail server easy.

  • Promote decentralization, innovation, and privacy on the web.

  • Have automated, auditable, and idempotent configuration.

  • Not make a totally unhackable, NSA-proof server.

  • Not make something customizable by power users.

Additionally, this project has a Code of Conduct, which supersedes the goals above. Please review it when joining our community.

The Box

Mail-in-a-Box turns a fresh Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit machine into a working mail server by installing and configuring various components.

It is a one-click email appliance. There are no user-configurable setup options. It "just works".

The components installed are:

It also includes:

  • A control panel and API for adding/removing mail users, aliases, custom DNS records, etc. and detailed system monitoring.

  • Our own builds of postgrey (adding better whitelisting) and dovecot-lucene (faster search for mail) distributed via the Mail-in-a-Box PPA on Launchpad.

For more information on how Mail-in-a-Box handles your privacy, see the security details page.


See the setup guide for detailed, user-friendly instructions.

For experts, start with a completely fresh (really, I mean it) Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64-bit machine. On the machine...

Clone this repository:

$ git clone
$ cd mailinabox

Optional: Download my PGP key and then verify that the sources were signed
by me:

$ curl -s | gpg --import
gpg: key C10BDD81: public key "Joshua Tauberer <>" imported

$ git verify-tag v0.21c
gpg: Signature made ..... using RSA key ID C10BDD81
gpg: Good signature from "Joshua Tauberer <>"
gpg: WARNING: This key is not certified with a trusted signature!
gpg: There is no indication that the signature belongs to the owner.
Primary key fingerprint: 5F4C 0E73 13CC D744 693B 2AEA B920 41F4 C10B DD81

You'll get a lot of warnings, but that's OK. Check that the primary key fingerprint matches the
fingerprint in the key details at
and on my personal homepage. (Of course, if this repository has been compromised you can't trust these instructions.)

Checkout the tag corresponding to the most recent release:

$ git checkout v0.21c

Begin the installation.

$ sudo setup/

For help, DO NOT contact me directly --- I don't do tech support by email or tweet (no exceptions).

Post your question on the discussion forum instead, where me and other Mail-in-a-Box users may be able to help you.

The Acknowledgements

This project was inspired in part by the "NSA-proof your email in 2 hours" blog post by Drew Crawford, Sovereign by Alex Payne, and conversations with @shevski, @konklone, and @GregElin.

Mail-in-a-Box is similar to iRedMail and Modoboa.

The History

  • In 2007 I wrote a relatively popular Mozilla Thunderbird extension that added client-side SPF and DKIM checks to mail to warn users about possible phishing: add-on page, source.

  • In August 2013 I began Mail-in-a-Box by combining my own mail server configuration with the setup in "NSA-proof your email in 2 hours" and making the setup steps reproducible with bash scripts.

  • Mail-in-a-Box was a semifinalist in the 2014 Knight News Challenge, but it was not selected as a winner.

  • Mail-in-a-Box hit the front page of Hacker News in April 2014, September 2014, May 2015, and November 2016.

  • FastCompany mentioned Mail-in-a-Box a roundup of privacy projects on June 26, 2015.