Axigen Mail Server 6 review

14 Mar 2008

A capable and scalable mail server that's easy to set up and use.

Price when reviewed 
250
5

In-house mail servers have a number of advantages, but can be a problem to set up and maintain, especially if you go down the Linux route.

However, Axigen Mail Server provides some relief from the pain in the shape of a fully featured scalable mail server that can be up and running on a Linux box in minutes.

We installed Axigen on a server running CentOS 4.5. Installation was uncomplicated and the configuration wizard handled all the chores.

As you'd expect, Axigen provides SMTP, IMAP and POP3 services. It also offers a range of security and filtering options, plus support for content filtering, antivirus and antispam software.

Mail filtering operates on several levels, and covers message acceptance and routing as well as malware scanning. You can also set up message filters to detect specific senders or content and give them special handling.

Axigen has built-in support for SpamAssassin, AVAST and ClamAV and also has the MILTER and AMAVIS interfaces to allow products from other suppliers such as Sophos, Kaspersky, Symantec and Grisoft to be used as well. SpamAssasin is also bundled with the server software.

As for email clients, Axigen cheerfully supports the usual suspects. Outlook Express and Thunderbird will all work with it, as will Outlook, although you'll need to install the additional Outlook Connector software on each client. Just note that Axigen's connector doesn't support versions earlier than Outlook 2003 with SP2.

However, Axigen's webmail interface offers much the same range of features as Microsoft's Outlook.

Apart from the normal email functions, it provides journalising options and notes, to-do lists and reminders. Version 6 offers improved control over the collaborative functions, allowing users to share personal folders plus collaborative calendar functions to arrange meetings with other users.

The client also has extensive email-filtering options. You can have your own personal filtering rules and blacklists so you can control and organise your inbox to suit yourself.

Webmail seemed equally at home with both Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox 2, and the fact it can be used over the internet means road warriors don't need Outlook installed on their laptops.

Administration is straightforward. The web interface is clear and well organised, and gets the job done with the minimum of fuss. Although there's normally no need to monitor a mail server, there are times when you must see what's happening, especially when it isn't.

The interface allows you to check on performance, examine the communication logs and trawl through the message queues for individual messages.

Problem messages can be disposed of in various ways, although deleting them from the message queue is generally the wisest choice.

You can also customise the performance graphs to suit specific requirements, although the standard graphing and reporting setup should be suitable for most purposes.

Axigen's mail server provides all the features you could expect and would function equally well as an internal mail server or as a public server.

Its webmail facility facility with its improved collaborative features could be a very effective alternative to Microsoft's Outlook, which makes it even more attractive. There's even a free Office Edition available, although it's limited to only five mailboxes.

Its use of Linux could be a problem if you're short of expertise in this area, but it's a lot less trouble than coming to grips with Sendmail.