Kerio MailServer 6

This is a real gem of a product, with a great mix of messaging and collaboration features at a remarkably affordable price.

We installed the mail server on a Windows host, a process that took just a couple of minutes with a setup wizard to configure the primary domain and the main admin user. There’s no Web-based management interface but any further administration can be done using a custom Windows management tool, and this can be run locally or remotely to manage the server on all supported platforms.

On the security front, the Kerio mail server will, by default, block attempts to relay messages and there’s optional SSL encryption for all the services. It's also possible to filter out specific attachments, stop mail being sent or received from specific domains, and block messages on size. The mail server can also be had with or without a built-in McAfee anti-virus scanner (it costs an extra £4.90 ex. VAT per seat for 100 users) although, even without, there’s support for a range of third party scanners. You get a good set of anti-spam tools at no extra charge.

The browser-based mail client is much enhanced in this latest release of the Kerio software. Although it's not as customisable as some clients, it's very useable, with a nice Outlook-like interface. Access to shared folders and other collaboration features is available here; for Outlook users, this comes via a plug-in called the Outlook Connector.

With the Outlook Connector installed, the Microsoft client can communicate with the Kerio mail server directly using MAPI (Microsoft’s own Mail API), just as when using Outlook with Exchange. Users can then send and receive mail and access public address books, calendars and other folders held on the server. They can also share folders of their own, schedule meetings and so on, just as with Exchange. Spam protection is also added by the connector, and we found its performance to be excellent.

A built-in list server is another option in Kerio MailServer 6, along with an LDAP directory server and good logging and reporting facilities. Instant messaging isn’t an option, but that’s really the only feature from this comprehensive, but very affordable and delightfully straightforward Exchange Server alternative.

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