A very limited email server, e.g. using postfix

Posted May 12, 2021 171 views

I understand the negatives about running your own email server, but I have requirements that are extremely limited, but also need a bit more flexibility than I expect to find in a 3rd party service.

I would like to be able to receive documents through emails to a limited set of target email addresses, from a limited set of registered senders. The basic goal is to make it easier for naive users to post documents to an incoming queue by letting them do it through familiar email tools and attachments.

For protection the target email addresses would be randomized, hard-to-guess, and highly disposable. If it starts to get junk we’d throw away the address and make a new one. In addition, they would only be allowed to receive emails from known senders. All other senders’ emails will be immediately discarded.

I am expecting it will hard to find a service focused on such a use case. Or at least I expect it would be pricey and or inconvenient to automate. But maybe I’m wrong. So any service recommendations would be wonderful.

So here are my distilled questions:

  • Is there a service that can effectively deal with server-managed disposable inboxes?

  • Is it safe and a valid use case to set up a very tight postfix installation that provides this highly restricted access?

  • Can it safely omit a spam filter, if it discards unknown senders and no actual people-users are receiving these emails?

I’m far from an uber-administrator. So I’d greatly appreciate being pointed in the right direction.

Thanks in advance!

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1 answer

Hi @coops222,

I’m not sure aboutte first question, I’ve never seen such a mailing service as you are describing for your needs. I might be wrong though it does seem like what you need would be as you guessed better achieved by creating your own mail server.

Regarding what you need, Yes, it’s possible to configure Postfix to receive only e-mails from specific domains or mailboxes so that should actually solve the issue with eventual spam.

The other question you had as well “Is it safe and a valid use case to set up a very tight postfix installation that provides this highly restricted access?”, yes it’s a valid use case. Regarding safe, there is always a possibility a mailbox to get hacked. I mean, there are weak passwords, outdated systems and stuff like that. Yes, you can prevent all of these but there is always a possibility of someone hacking your mailbox. Having said that, if you follow the standard recommendations the possibility becomes really small.

All in all, I do think for your needs, it’s better to use your own e-mail server and all your needs are doable with a Postfix - Dovecot setup!


  • Thanks, KFSys!

    I appreciate the detailed response. Obviously you’re confirming my bias. :)

    Another advantage is for the users. They are already entrusting me with their documents. So not having a third party handle emails is eliminating another party that would have to be trusted.


    • Hi @coops222,

      Happy to be of help! Yes, I forgot about the trusted part but you are completely correct.

      Feel free to use the community in the future for such things, It’s the aim of the whole community to help with such dilemas