Review roundup: 6 free email servers

These free servers boast feature sets nearly as robust as those of their commercial brethren

email servers

For this review we tested six free or open source email server products: Apache James (cross-platform), Citadel (Linux-only), hMailServer (Windows-only), SmarterMail (Windows-only), Zarafa (Linux-only) and Axigen (cross-platform). Most have commercial options, but we specifically limited our testing to the free or community editions. See story version.

email servers
hMailServer

Pros: Unlimited use, easy to install and configure, flexible code base runs on most Windows versions

Cons: Lack of native mobile and Web support

email servers
Citadel

Pros: Fully open source, no limits on users, small footprint, easy to install

Cons: Dated GUI, may not scale well for larger organizations

email servers
SmarterMail

Pros: Nice user interface, good support for mobile mail, informative tutorials

Cons: Free version limited to 10 users on a single domain

email servers
Apache James

Pros: Java platform runs on both Linux and Windows, `mailets’ provide modular design and flexibility

Cons: Current stable release dated August 2009; no GUI

email servers
Axigen

Pros: Cross-platform, great user interface, easy to install, includes help features

Cons: Free version limited to 100 users

email servers
Zarafa

Pros: Comprehensive mobile support, pleasing user interface, LDAP integration

Cons: Community edition somewhat lacking in features, installation has quite a few prerequisites