Book of Postfix
State-of-the-Art Message Transport
By Ralf Hildebrandt, Patrick Koetter
Publisher: No Starch Press
Final Release Date: March 2005
Pages: 496

Best practices for Postfix--the popular alternative to Sendmail.Developed with security and speed in mind, Postfix has become a popular alternative to Sendmail and comes preinstalled in many Linux distributions as the default mailer. The Book of Postfix is a complete guide to Postfix whether used at home, as a mailrelay or virus-scanning gateway, or as a company mailserver. Practical examples show how to deal with daily challenges like protecting mail users from spam and viruses, managing multiple domains, and offering roaming access.

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oreillyBook of Postfix

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(1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


Why no eBook versions available?

By Bluegeek

from Michigan

About Me Sys Admin

Verified Reviewer


  • Helpful examples
  • Well-written


    Best Uses

    • Expert
    • Intermediate
    • Novice

    Comments about oreilly Book of Postfix:

    I've used this book successfully in the past to help me navigate the configuration of Postfix, and highly recommend it.

    Imagine my disappointment when I see that there's no ebook versions available from O'Reilly! I'm NOT paying $35.95 for a PDF version from NoStarch Press when I already own the print copy.

    I'd buy it in the mobi format, like the rest of my O'Reilly ebooks, and I love the distribution methods available from

    (5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)


    Probably best Book of 2005

    By valentin_nils

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Book of Postfix:

    O.K, finally the book arrived after waiting what I believe must have been nearly a year by now.

    In the above mentioned book Patrick Koetter and Ralf Hildebrandt are walking you through the basic setup options and everyday scenarios a typical administrator will come across.

    I have been setting up postfix not the first time. I understand that Patrick

    and Ralf are doing an outstanding job taking the reader by the hand. I dont

    want to push it, but they almost make it look like configuring postfix is a walk on a spring sundays shiny, sunny afternoon.

    The book basically pays for itself within a couple of days, especially

    taking into account the research time you would need to carefully find out the many details which are hidden in the book. This book gives you the best "Bang for the buck". Short precise descriptions, lots of tips and tricks all the way along and tutorials for far more scenarios than I could have imagined.

    When I did the setup for a postfix server the first time without the book (80

    user accounts + multiple domains + anti virus + anti spam + pop-before-smtp +

    sasl + etc.) it took me not less than a month and a whole lot of headaches and long overtimes.

    Those issues are gone. If I would have had the book at that time,

    that alone could have saved me at least 2 weeks.

    "The book of postfix" is an excellent wholesight INTRODUCTION for mail server

    administrators. The book contains more scenarios than the average joe sysadmin can imagine. ALL are thoroughly described.

    After the first 50 pages (Chapter 1-5) you will be able to setup a basic

    single domain mail server (network based or dial up version), and on top of

    that, have a clear understanding what each of the 20+ processes of postfix are

    doing. That alone is a sensation itself, knowing the complexity of the topic

    mail server !!

    The Chapters 6-12 are focused completely on contents control. After a short

    intro to the message components (Envelope, Header, Body and

    Attachments) in Chapter 6 Patrick and Ralf have assigning not less than 2

    separate chapters (each) for Restrictions, Checks and Filters.

    The first chapter always describes the complex theory behind it and the second

    chapter follows up with practical samples. Its like you have your own

    personal instructor right next to you.

    Ralf and Patrick walk you through the necessary tasks all the way. They

    spotted the most typical mistakes and severe points to watch out for and

    mention them in a short note.

    What makes the book also very appealing is the simple fact that it is VERY

    compact, considering the many tips and tricks which would take you normally

    years to get to that experienced level.

    The descriptions are kept short and straight to the point. Every single page

    contains so many thoroughly researched details. In fact the book is so cram packed with information, that I remember that at some point I ended up having marked most of the page. ;-)

    This book is easily worth 5 times the price, considering the time saving

    factor it will give you at your daily work.

    What I havent mentioned yet is that the book also includes many setup

    scenarios for advanced users (Chapters13 -22) like Mail gateways, Multi DNS

    setups, SMTP authentication, Security, Chroot, Tuning and a very big chapter

    which summarises the setup procedure for a complete mail system (including

    SASL Courier maildrop + Lmtp , LDAP etc. )

    The appendix completes the book with installation instructions,

    Troubleshooting checklists, a Glossary and finally with a

    very detailed 16 page index !!

    at the end which contains any keyword I could possibly think of.

    The cream would have been if they would have included something that I would

    like to call a detachable "Installation & troubleshotting cheat sheet".

    So far this is the best mail server book which I came across. I wouldnt be to

    surprised if it is nominated as the "Best book in 2005" or if your favourite

    bookstore doesnt have it anymore as the waiting list is probably a long one.

    For now and the near future I make sure its close to wherever I am to make the

    most use of it.

    If I remember correctly, I ordered the book more than 1 year ago. Let me tell

    you that it was worth to wait for it, all the way.

    Thanks to Ralf and Patrick for a first class mail server administration book.

    I instantly hope that Patrick and Ralf will find the time to write a second

    book for advanced user scenarios.

    Summary for Book of Postfix :

    "The Book of Postfix" from Patrick Koetter and Ralf Hildebrandt could easily

    be named "Book of 101+ Postfix Tutorials". The carefully prepared "lessons"

    serve perfectly to study and understand any of the 20+ single postfix processes itself, as well as the over all system functions of Postfix.

    Sooo, to sum it all up in one sentence, this book is for those

    - who have only one life,

    - or those whose wife is complaining that you never have enough time for her

    - or those whose boss or manager shouts, that (again) you are to slow setting up the mail server

    - besides the fact that you have the pressure to make sure

    that the server is secure, reliable and 100% correctly setup.

    If any of the above points apply to you than you will find that this book is your best friend for a long time to come.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    A great resource

    By Jason Wood

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Book of Postfix:

    I'm looking to migrate from sendmail to postfix, having heard a lot of good things, and purchase this to give me some insight. For a tech book I've found it quite easy to read and am quite impressed with the practical examples it gives as the book moves you through. It covers not only how to get a mail server running but other things like how sending internet mail works, content/spam filters, security of the mail server and performance tuning. All up I'm very happy with this book and can't wait to put the knowledge into practice.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)


    Using Postfix? Read this book!

    By Dave Walz-Burkett

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Book of Postfix:

    After having used Sendmail for over five years, I finally stumbled upon Postfix. I wish I had found Postfix much, much sooner. Don't get me wrong, Sendmail is a hugely flexible mail transfer agent (MTA) that currently handles the bulk of email on the Internet.

    I decided to try Postfix after spending some time on the Postfix website (, reading what appeared to be a fairly trivial configuration process for a simple, single domain setup. I wanted more information on serving up email for multiple domains and a deeper understanding of the nuts and bolts of Postfix.

    That's when I found The Book of Postfix by Ralf Hildebrandt and Patrick Koetter, published by No Starch Press. The book will help you get a single domain email server up and running in the first three chapters. It includes an email primer for postmasters - a great tutorial if you haven't already covered the material.

    Trying to light up an email server as powerful as Postfix (or Sendmail for that matter) requires patience and good documentation. You may already have the patience to pull it off and the Postfix website has excellent documentation. The Book of Postfix is like a mega-vitamin and sugar coating to top it off - it gives you the required dose of information to perform the task at hand and goes way beyond by giving you a wide array of extras that will increase your overall understanding of Postfix and email server technologies in general.

    There is an excellent chapter that highlights the 'anatomy' of Postfix, describing what each tiny piece of Postfix does. The book covers message transfer restrictions and content filters in great detail.

    After you have learned enough Postfix basics, the book dives into more advanced topics such as SMTP authentication and the Transport Security Layer. There is a sizable chapter on setting up a company mail server (based on Postfix, Cyrus SASL, Courier maildrop and Courier IMAP) that illustrates an excellent 'real-world' example of how you might use Postfix in a production environment.

    The book finishes off with chapters on how to install, tune and troubleshoot your Postfix installation. I found this book very easy to read and understand and I think the material covered targets not only those new to email servers, but also seasoned postmaster veterans.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)



    By nabs

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Book of Postfix:

    I've been going through lot of books and tutorials without succeding in building up my mail server. With this book it was realy stright forward and with no pain. It covers all details of configuration and gives means to test your set up at every step. For me it's realy the reference for seting up a postfix mail server.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)


    The Book of Postfix

    By lokeey

    from Undisclosed

    Comments about oreilly Book of Postfix:

    I had originally started off reading "Postfix: The Definitive Guide", which was a good book, but at times left me scratching my head. I had never setup my own mailserver, so I knew there were going be challenges.

    When I saw that No Starch Press was releasing an updated version on setting up your mail server, I didn't waste any time and picked it up right away.

    So far I have found this book a lot more helpful than "The Definitive Guide" because it covered some additional details that were not covered in that book and others that were, but explained with a bit more understanding for a first timer as myself.

    Overall, if you're planning on setting up your own mail server (at home or small office) and it's your first time than pick up this book and it will get you going in no time.

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