Lightmeter will soon help you tune up your email server

Lightmeter promises to significantly improve private email server performance.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

If you refuse to be tied to a big-name email server, such as Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo, then you probably run your own mail server. While that requires some technical savvy, you don't need to be a computer scientist to do it… until recently. Lately, 15% of all email messages fail to reach their destination. That's lousy. The new open-source delivery monitoring tool, Lightmeter, may be able to change those numbers for the better.

There are many reasons for this. One is that spam, powered by botnets such as Emotet, often overwhelms not just frustrated users but overwhelmed email servers as well. For those problems, server-based spam filtering programs, such as SpamTitian, MX GuardDog, or the good-old, do-it-yourself, open-source SpamAssassin are a must. 

Recent email verification systems such as Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting and Conformance (DMARC), DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM), and Sender Policy Framework (SPF) also help stop spam from spreading. But they've also made it harder to deliver email. I run my own email servers and not a day goes by that I don't see one or the other of them fumbling and dropping a legitimate message. 

That's where Lightmeter comes in. In this early version, the Lightmeter Control Center analyzes Postfix's -- one of the most popular open-source email servers -- mail logs. It then gives you real-time, easy-to-read information on email deliverability. In future versions, you'll be able to easily act on this data from Lightmeter.

Deliverability monitoring and recommendation capabilities will also be expanded. In addition, network intelligence updates will in future be provided, to enable mail servers predictive maintenance. In short, you'll be warned of email traffic problems before they affect users. In time, Exim, another popular open-source email server, support will be added.

Lightmeter Control Center is all open-source and licensed under the GNU Affero General Public License v3 (AGPLv3). You can try it out today from Docker Hub. Your feedback and, of course, pull requests, are welcome on GitLab.

As someone who gets sick and tired of wrestling with email delivery problems, I'm looking forward to seeing how Lightmeter developers. This may go a long way to make email far more efficient than it is currently.

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