7 Best Self Hosted Email Server Software 2024 (Ranked)

by Chris Von Wilpert, BBusMan • Last updated November 23, 2023

Expert Verified by Leandro Langeani, BBA

Editorial Disclosure: We buy, test and review products featured on our website using a 3-step rating methodology. If you buy through our links, we will get a commission. Read our rating methodology and how we make money.

Today there are about 103 different self hosted email servers to host your company email communications on. We spent 120 hours comparing the top 50 to find the seven best you can use to guarantee privacy, protection, and scalability.

What are the Best Self Hosted Email Servers?

  1. MailWizz — best of the best
  2. iRedMail — best open source solution
  3. Modoboa — best for customization 
  4. Mail-in-a-Box — best for simplicity 
  5. Zimbra — best for collaboration 
  6. hMailServer — best for flexibility 
  7. Postfix — best for reliability 

Our Verdict — Best Of The Best

Price: Starts at $79

MailWizz is one of the most famous self hosted email solutions for good reason. We think it’s the best because of its scalability, detailed reporting, and powerful features.

The Best Part:

  • Light as a butterfly. MailWizz is written in PHP and uses MySQL as its database. Not only is it quick and light, but it can run in pretty much any web hosting account.

The Worst Part:

  • Not the easiest on the eyes. The user interface has room for improvement, as it’s not the most friendly one out there.

Get it if you want a real solid self hosted email server that will do the work.

I recommend you get started with the Regular license for $79.

(one time fee)

Best For

MailWizz is best for businesses looking for a self hosted email server that won’t let them down.

Top Features

  • Battle tested. MailWizz has been around since 2013, being continuously developed and enhanced. Rock solid.
  • It’s developer friendly. You can find tons of themes, extensions, apps, and third-party integrations to set up MailWizz just the right way.
  • No BS support. MailWizz goes above and beyond to help customers, even when issues are not directly related to MailWizz.
  • Unlimited everything. Contacts, email lists, segments, campaigns, surveys… There’s no limit to what you can do and achieve with MailWizz.
  • Great performance. MailWizz doesn’t leave you hanging. It loads quickly after every click. Brace yourself for a smooth experience.

Pricing

MailWizz offers two pricing plans:

  • Regular License. $79 one time fee, for users wanting to run email campaigns for their businesses.
  • Extended License. $275 one time fee, for users wanting to set up an email autoresponder business.

Try MailWizz today with a one-time fee.

Our Verdict — Best Open Source Solution

Price: Starts at $499/year

iRedMail is a full-featured mail server solution that is easy to install and maintain. 

Since it's built upon open source software like Postfix and Roundcube, it's easy to find resources that extend its capabilities or that fix issues you may have.

The Best Part:

  • Easy to install and set up. iRedMail sports a simple web-based interface  anyone with zero technical knowledge can figure out.

The Worst Part:

  • Poor customer support. While iRedMail is incredibly easy to set up, it seems like the customer support team may take some time to respond, as we found on a few online reviews.

Get it if you want a self hosting email server primarily designed for Linux-based systems.

I recommend you get started for $499/year on the One year plan, then upgrade to the Three plan for $899/year if it works for your business.

(free plan)

Best For

iRedMail is best for businesses that want a free, open-source mail server solution for their Linux-based systems.

Top Features

  • Templated deployment. Migrating an old server, or restoring a crashed server is easy and quick.
  • No account limits. You can create as many domains, users, mailing lists, and admins as you want without ever paying extra charges.
  • Sturdy security features. iRedMail employs antivirus and spam protection capabilities to keep your inboxes clean as a whistle.
  • Web installer and webmail. You can set up your email server on your website with a few clicks. You can also use Roundcube webmail or/and SOGo groupware to manage mails, folders, sieve filters, and vacations, which are intuitive and easy to use.
  • Go mobile. Manage your calendars, address books , and tasks from your mobile phone.

Pricing

iRedMail offers four pricing plans:

  • Free. Free forever for people getting their toes wet with hosting their own email server.
  • One year: $499 per license, for startups.
  • Two years: $699 per license, for companies.
  • Three years: $899 per license, for large companies.

All paid licenses renew at $250 per year.

Our Verdict — Best For Customization

Price: Free

Modoboa is another open-source mail server solution that is easy to use and maintain, which offers a consistent and professional look and feel.

Modoboa is modular, allowing users to easily add or remove features and tools as needed. You can even host your email on the same server as your website!

The Best Part:

  • Seamless operation. Modoboa is designed to be lightweight and swift,  guaranteeing quickness and efficiency.

The Worst Part:

  • Not very user-friendly. Modoboa is not user-friendly for non-techies. It requires more technical knowledge to be set up and managed than some other options. Even their documentation is super technical.

Get Modoboa if you want a free, open source email server that you can expand at will.

(free forever)

Best For

Modoboa is best for businesses that want a free and customizable mail hosting and management platform.

Top Features

  • Easy on developers. Since Modoboa was written in Python 3, the code is easy for developers to read, maintain, and debug. The large and active community of Python developers makes it a breeze to find help and resources for working on Modoboa.
  • “Let’s Encrypt” certified. Modoboa is endorsed by Let's Encrypt, a non-profit organization sponsored by many reputable tech companies like CISCO, Chrome, Meta, Amazon Web Services, IBM, and Shopify.
  • Add-on services. If you get stuck, you can pay for assistance from the Modoboa team. From one-time jobs like installation, to year-round maintenance of your email server, you can count on them to help you keep your email server running smoothly.
  • Up to industry standards. Modoboa comes with great features like webmail, calendars management, and administrator tools, and it offers unlimited domains, mailboxes and aliases. 
  • Amavis-powered security. Modoboa used the Amavis email filter to block spam, viruses, and other unwanted email messages. You can interact with Amavis on Modoboa to manage its settings and configuration.

Pricing

Modoboa offers a single pricing plan:

  • Modoboa: Free forever!

Try Modoboa today for free.

Our Verdict — Best For Beginners

Price: Free

Mail-in-a-Box is an open-source software package that allows users to set up their own mail server quickly and easily. It includes a number of pre-configured packages like Postfix, Dovecot, and Roundcube, as well as a web-based interface for managing the server and accounts.

Mail-in-a-Box is easy to use and keep, even for users with limited technical knowledge. It includes a number of helpful tools and features to make the process of setting up and managing your mail server as simple as possible.

 Best Part:

  • Lots of third-party integrations. Mail-in-a-Box is designed to work with the most popular webmail services such as Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, and Apple Mail. It can also be used as an alternative to the built-in email server in Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The Worst Part:

  • Slow load time. When you have too many inboxes in your system, it can get to a point where it takes too long to load, so make sure you keep it clean and tidy.

Get it if you want a free open source email server that is easy to set up.

(free forever)

Best For

Mail-in-a-Box is best for businesses that want a private mail server that is extra easy-to-use.

Top Features

  • Free for life. Save money on monthly subscription fees that are typically associated with commercial email services.
  • Automated backups. Mail-in–a-Box is integrated with Amazon S3 to protect your data by regularly creating and storing copies in a secured cloud-based storage service.
  • Discussion forum. Mail-in-a-Box has a very active community of users. Whenever you feel stuck, reach out to other Mail-in-a-Box users in the discussion forum to help you figure it out.
  • It’s always up-to-date. Mail-in-a-Box features Exchange ActiveSync as a beta feature for latest Outlook version users to access the most current version of their email, calendar, and other personal information data synced up.
  • Let’s Encrypt certified. You can trust your files are always safe as your server is certified by Let's Encrypt, a vetted tech-security certification body.

Pricing

Mail-in-a-Box offers a single pricing plan:

  • Mail-in-a-Box: Free forever.

Our Top Three Picks

Here’s a quick summary of our top three picks:

  1. MailWizz — best of the best
  2. iRedMail — best open source option
  3. Modoboa — best for customization

Here’s a quick comparison of our top seven picks:

Tool

Entry Offer

Pricing

MailWizz

None

Starts at $79

iRedMail

Free plan

Starts at $499/yr

Modoboa

None

Free forever

Mail-in-a-Box

None

Free

Zimbra

60-day free trial

Custom

hMailServer

None

Free forever

Postfix

None

Free forever

Here are the top 50 self hosted email servers we considered in this review:

  1. MailWizz
  2. iRedMail
  3. Modoboa
  4. Mail-in-a-Box
  5. Zimbra
  6. hMailServer
  7. Postfix
  8. Exim
  9. Maddy
  10. Docker MailServer
  11. Mailu
  12. Poste.io
  13. Apache James
  14. Dovecot
  15. WildDuck Mail Server
  16. MailSlurper
  17. Magma Server Daemon
  18. Imp
  19. Chasquid
  20. Mailcow
  21. Postal
  22. Haraka
  23. Mailpile
  24. Mailenable
  25. IceWarp
  26. Axigen
  27. OpenEmail
  28. Atmail
  29. Mailcow
  30. Synology MailPlus
  31. Axigen
  32. MDaemon
  33. Scalix
  34. Zoho Mail
  35. Kerio Connect
  36. SmarterMail
  37. CommuniGate Pro
  38. GroupWise
  39. Zarafa
  40. AfterLogic WebMail Pro
  41. Roundcube
  42. ISPConfig
  43. Citadel
  44. ProtonMail
  45. Yandex Mail
  46. eXchange
  47. Open-Xchange
  48. MailCleaner
  49. Dada Mail
  50. Intermedia Exchange

Is it worth hosting your own email server? 

The idea of having your own email server is an appealing one. On the upside, you'll have full control over your email server and all its settings. You'll also be able to configure it exactly how you want it, so that it's secure and efficient. Your email will be private. You won't have to worry about anyone logging into your account or reading your messages.

On the flip side, it might cost more than using a hosted email provider like Gmail or Outlook.com. You'll need technical expertise in order to set up and maintain the server yourself (or hire someone who does). An email server is not a done-once-and-for-all service.

Is it cheaper to build your own server?

Yes, it can be. Building a custom server for your business is a good way to keep the costs down.

Ordering off of a pre-built server vendor's website can be cheaper than building your own, depending on what you want and how much time you have. Some vendors offer one-stop shopping solutions that include everything from hardware and software to support, training, and more.

You can buy new hardware and install it yourself without having an IT department do the work for you. You'll save money by not having to pay someone else to set up your server and deal with any potential issues that may come up during installation or set up (like hardware incompatibility or software conflicts).

How much does it cost to have your own email domain?

The cost of having your own email domain will depend on several considerations, such as the type of extension you choose (.com, .org, .net, etc.) and the demand for the name you select. 

There are many companies offering email hosting services, with pricing ranging from free to monthly or yearly fees. You may opt for a basic email account at a lower price point, or you can pay more for extra features like increased storage capacity, spam protection and personalized branding. 

Generally, prices range anywhere from a couple bucks a month to several hundred dollars annually for an email domain and hosting service. To get the best value for your money it's wise to compare prices and features between different providers before selecting.

Where can I host a mail server?

When it comes to hosting a mail server, you have several choices. 

You can set up and manage your own server on a physical machine or virtual private server (VPS) (hardware). This provides the most control, but it also requires significant technical experience and resources to keep it running. 

Many hosting providers offer email hosting services with shared, VPS, or dedicated servers that handle the maintenance for you. 

Then, cloud-based services like Google Workspace (formerly G Suite) and Microsoft 365 let you host your mail server in the cloud.

The best hosting option for you will depend on your needs, the amount of storage you need, how much control and customization you want, and your budget. These services often include a range of features for managing email plus flexible pricing plans for all budgets.

Does Microsoft do email hosting?

Yes, Microsoft provides email hosting services as part of its Microsoft 365 (previously known as Office 365) suite of tools. Microsoft 365 offers different email hosting solutions to meet different needs and budgets, such as: 

  1. Exchange Online: A cloud-based service that includes support for emails, calendaring, contacts and tasks. This email solution is tailored for businesses and organizations and it includes features like custom domain support, advanced protection from spam/malware and integration with other Microsoft 365 applications.
  2. Outlook.com: This is a free web-based email service used to send/receive emails using a custom domain name. Outlook.com offers many features like protection from spam/malware, integration with other Microsoft services (ex: OneDrive or Skype) and multi-language support.

Microsoft 365 also provides additional business/organization tools like online meetings & video conferencing, file storage & sharing as well as productivity apps such as Word, Excel & PowerPoint.

Where can I host email with my own domain name for free?

If you're looking for free options to host emails with your own domain name, there are a few options. You can use a free web-based email service like Gmail or Outlook.com and utilize your own domain name for your email addresses. However, these services typically have limited features and storage space.

Other free hosting providers like Zoho Mail, Hushmail, ProtonMail, Yandex or Mail.com offer basic email hosting features but may impose restrictions on storage, bandwidth and other features - not to mention displaying ads or branding on your emails. 

If you want full control over your email server, you can set up and host it on your own hardware or VPS - but it requires technical knowledge and resourcefulness. It's important to keep in mind that free hosting may come with certain limitations, so if you need more advanced features or more storage space, you might need to pay for a hosting plan instead.

Do I need to buy hosting for email?

When it comes to deciding whether you need to purchase hosting for email, it all depends on your needs and goals. To help decide, here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Do you want to use a custom domain name like "yourname@yourdomain.com''?
  2. Do you need full control over your email server and settings?
  3. Are you willing to pay for extra features or storage?

If not, using a free, web-based email service such as Gmail or Outlook.com might be the best option — but bear in mind that these services usually impose restrictions on features and storage, and sometimes display advertisements.

Does Google have an email server?

Yes, Google provides email hosting through their Google Workspace (formerly G Suite). Their different plans cover different needs and budgets. 

For instance, Gmail is a free web-based service with spam and malware protection, integration with Google Drive/Calendar, and support for various languages. If you're looking for more features, they offer Google Workspace for Business with custom domains, advanced security features, and connection to other Google Workspace apps. 

Additionally, they offer other business-oriented tools and services like video conferencing, file storage/sharing, and productivity apps like Docs/Sheets/Slides.

The Bottom Line

Here are our top picks for the best self hosted email server to try this year:

  1. MailWizz — best of the best
  2. iRedMail — best open source solution
  3. Modoboa — best for customization 
  4. Mail-in-a-Box — best for simplicity 
  5. Zimbra — best for collaboration 
  6. hMailServer — best for flexibility 
  7. Postfix — best for reliability

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