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Local Email Testing with hMailServer

hMailServer is a free email server for Windows. It supports SMTP, POP, and IMAP. This document describes a simple setup using hMailServer for testing the email functions of your web application locally. If you own a static IP address and a domain name, and want to set up a proper email server for regular usage, i.e. sending and receiving email via the Internet, please check out the hMailServer documentation.

Download hMailServer from http://www.hmailserver.com/

During installation, choose

  • Full installation
  • Use built-in database engine
  • Run hMailServer Administrator

In hMailServer Administrator:

  • Add a domain localhost.localdomain .
  • Add a catch-all address (Domain -> localhost.localdomain -> Advanced -> Catch-all address) , e.g. cysun@localhost.localdomain. If an email is sent to this domain but the address of the email does not match any existing account under this domain, the catch-all address will get this email.
  • Add an account, e.g. cysun@localhost.localdomain .
  • Under Settings -> Protocols -> SMTP -> Delivery of e-mail, specify the host name to be localhost .
  • Under Advanced -> IP Ranges, delete Internet. This step is a safety measure to ensure that your email server will only be used locally.
  • Under Advanced -> Auto-ban, uncheck Enabled so your account won't get automatically disabled if you mistype the password a few times.

After setting up hMailServer, you can try using an email client to send and receive email from this email server.

A screen capture video illustrating this process is available here.

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