Email technology showdown: Postfix vs Sendmail vs Exim
Email transfer tech compared and contrasted
Table of contents
- Understanding the Two Types of MTA
- Postfix vs. Sendmail vs. Exim
- 1. Postfix
- 2. Sendmail
- 3. Exim
- Postfix vs. Sendmail vs. Exim: How They Compare
- Which MTA Offers Greater Security?
- Which MTA Performs Better Overall?
- Which MTA is more trustworthy and secure?
- Which MTA is simpler to manage?
- Is there a justification for selecting Sendmail?
Understanding posts comparing Postfix, Sendmail, and Exim requires a basic knowledge of mail transfer agents and how they impact email deliverability. It is challenging to manage your own mail server. For this reason, you must consider every aspect before making a decision. First, think about whether you want a relay-only or full-featured MTA.
Continue reading to learn more about MTA types and how Postfix, Sendmail, and Exim compare.
Understanding the Two Types of MTA
The SMTP server of your Internet service provider (ISP) is typically where your emails are forwarded by relay-only or send-only MTAs.
Nullmailer, msmtp, and sSMTP are the three most popular relay-only MTAs. If you simply want to send emails to your email address, such as Gmail, then this kind of mail transfer agent is a good option.
Full-fledged MTAs, also known as mail hubs, manage all the specifics of Internet mail delivery. This mail transfer agent typically receives emails from MTAs that only relay them before forwarding them. This group includes Exim, Postfix, and Sendmail.
Postfix vs. Sendmail vs. Exim
While Sendmail is the default MTA for Unix systems, Postfix is a security-focused MTA, and Exim is one of the most configurable and adaptable mail transfer agents.
Postfix has a security-oriented architecture, a ton of parameters, and options. Even though Postfix comes with a variety of mail filters, you'll still need to learn how to adjust its logic.
Easy to configure
High queuing operation speed
- Hard to customize
Of all online public email servers on the Internet, Sendmail's market share has decreased from 80% to 4% since 1996. But is it still on the market? Yes, it is, and it is not looking like it is phasing out yet.
Hard to customize
Weak security mechanisms
With its application language for performing complex configurations, Exim is similar to a framework. Its sophisticated, multi-step mail processing logic can handle complex cases.
Huge supportive community
Very flexible in configuration
Slow queuing operation speed
Postfix vs. Sendmail vs. Exim: How They Compare
|Server OS support|
|AUTH methods||PLAIN / LOGIN / CRAM-MD5 / DIGEST-MD5 / ANONYMOUS / EXTERNAL / G2 / GSSAPI / GSS-SPNEGO / KERBEROS_V4 / NTLM / OTP / PASSDSS / SCRAM / SRP||PLAIN / LOGIN / CRAM-MD5 / DIGEST-MD5 / ANONYMOUS / EXTERNAL / G2 / GSSAPI / GSS-SPNEGO / KERBEROS_V4 / NTLM / OTP / PASSDSS / SCRAM / SRP / X.509 PKI auth via STARTTLS and EXTERNAL||PLAIN / LOGIN / CRAM-MD5 / DIGEST-MD5 / ANONYMOUS / EXTERNAL / G2 / GSSAPI / GSS-SPNEGO / KERBEROS_V4 / NTLM / OTP / PASSDSS / SCRAM / SRP / SPA / Dovecot SASL / GNU SAS / Heimdal GSSAPI|
|Built-in Anti-spam||Add-ons||Settings + spamassassin||Settings + spamassassin|
Which MTA Offers Greater Security?
Postfix places the biggest emphasis on security out of all the MTAs we're looking at. For the most part, Exim is very secure, but Postfix triumphs. Postfix MTA's defenses against spam, abuse, and the leakage of private information are strengthened with proper configuration.
Which MTA Performs Better Overall?
Postfix can queue up requests more quickly and effectively. Some administrators assert that it outperforms Exim under heavy loads, albeit not by much.
Many high-volume web apps use Exim, which efficiently handles thousands of emails per hour.
Which MTA is more trustworthy and secure?
The two most common options are Postfix and Exim. Both can easily take the place of Sendmail and are nearly equally reliable. But because of its modular architecture, Postfix is a step ahead.
Which MTA is simpler to manage?
Exim offers the most customizability. Exim offers superb integration capabilities and can provide system administrators with the services they require. Despite its focus on security, Postfix offers a high degree of flexibility and simplicity in administration. Postfix would be simpler to set up than any other MTA for novice administrators.
Is there a justification for selecting Sendmail?
In all respects, including usability, Sendmail falls short of Postfix and Exim. So there is no justification for installing this MTA.
It is possible and sometimes advantageous to use a split architecture using multiple MTAs for different tasks. This suggests you can use Postfix and Exim to carry out tasks simultaneously.