How to Setup hMailServer and Integrate with Active Directory

How to setup hMailServer and integrate with Active Directory. The hMailServer has been around since 2002. It’s arguably one of the most well trusted open source email servers for Microsoft Windows. The price tag isn’t the only thing that makes it so popular. Many people gravitate to it because of its ease of use. In fact, we’ve seen how hMailServer can be easily deployed on the Cloud using a few simple steps.

It requires very little administration from you but still has enough advanced settings to meet the requirements of experienced power users. The ability to view and modify its source code makes it the perfect option for advanced IT professionals looking to run a private email server from a local machine. Essentially, if there are features you feel are missing from hMailServer, you can add them yourself. Nevertheless, as easy as configuring hMailServer has become (thanks to community support and consistent updates), navigating through its interface can be jarring for first time users. Thus, this guide will show you how to set hMailServer and integrate with Windows Active Directory. Let’s start.

Let’s start with How to set up hMailServer and integrate with Active Directory.

How to Install hMailServer on Windows

This section will show you how to install hMailServer on your local system.

 

  • Download the latest version of hMailServer for Windows.
  • Run the hMailServer installation file e.g. hMailServer-5.6.8-B2574.exe. The setup package will allow you to install both the server and its administrative tools. Previous installations required you to install these features separately. The first screen the installation launches on is the Welcome screen.
  • Click on the Next.
  • Next, read through the license agreement, select the radio button marked I accept the agreement and click on the Next.
  • Choose where you would like the installation to place the hMailServer files on your local system and then click on the Next. You will then be taken to the Components Selection screen.
  • Next, select Full Installation from the drop-down menu and click on the Next button. If this is the first time you’re installing hMailServer, the installation wizard will present you with a database selection screen.
  • Next, choose a database type. We suggest picking the default option (Use built-in database engine…) unless you have an external database engine. Once you’ve selected the database, click on Next. The installation wizard will ask you for a password.
  • Insert the password and confirm it. Make a note of the password, as you’ll need to set hMailServer up.
  • Click on the Next.
  • Next, select where you would like to place the HmailServer shortcut and click on the Next The installation wizard will then prompt you to complete the installation.
  • Click on the Install.
  • Once the installation is complete, make sure you’ve ticked the Run hMailServer Administrator box and click on the Finish.

Configuring hMailServer

Now, that you’ve installed hMailServer, you need to set up a domain and users for your local mail server. The first thing the hMailServer Administrator will do upon launch is request your password.   

  • Enter your password.
  • Click on OK. The hMailServer Administrator will launch its main screen.
  • Click on the Add Domain. Next, hMailServer will ask you to enter a domain under its General tab.
  • Enter your domain name e.g., com.
  • Tick the Enabled.
  • Click on the Save.

If you followed the above steps correctly, your domain should be displayed under the Domains category in the left tree-panel. Next, you must add an account to your domain. You can then link this account to an Active Directory and authenticate it accordingly.  

Integrate hMailServer into Active Directory

Now that you’ve created your domain, you can start adding new user accounts to it and use Active Directory to authenticate them.

  • Expand the Domains category in the left tree-list panel.
  • Next, expand the Domain you previously created.
  • Click on the Accounts Next, click on the Add… button. The hMailServer Administrator will display the account creation/configuration screen.
  • Make sure that the General tab is selected.
  • Add a user name to the Address field i.e.,
  • Enter your password into the Password.
  • Set the Administration level to Domain.
  • Next, click on the Active Directory tab.
  • Tick the Active Directory account check box.
  • Enter the Active Directory domain name. If you’re using a WORKGROUP, you can enter its name into this field.
  • Next, enter the Active Directory user name. This can be your local account if you’re using a WORKGROUP.
  • Click on the SAVE button.

Once you complete the above steps, your new user account will appear under the Accounts folder in the tree panel. You can edit or delete it from here. In fact, you can connect a previously created account to your Active Directory.

You can do this by selecting the account (under the Accounts Directory section), and then clicking on the Active Directory tab. This will allow you to add the domain name and password the same way it did in the account creation process.

Alternatively, you can instantly add an Active Directory user from the tree panel. Right-click on the Accounts folder and select Add AD Account.

The hMailServer Administrator will scan your system for Active Directory accounts. Once it finds any, it will allow you to select which domains and addresses to link.

How Does hMailServer Work with Active Directory?

Now that we’ve looked at how to setup hMailServer and integrate it with Active Directory, let’s look at how the entire process works. Active Directory is a collection of processes and services used for user and client authentication. It’s a fundamental component of Microsoft’s server operating systems.

Active Directory empowers network administrators with tools to manage granular access control. Furthermore, it can act as an additional layer of security when used with Active Directory. It makes it easier for you to manage company email addresses and accounts. So how does your email client (such as Outlook) work with hMailServer and Active Directory?                 

  • Your email client activates a Send/Receive.
  • The email server (hMailServer) will demand a username and password from the email client. Your email client will utilize the email server’s domain account username but the active directory password it’s linked to. For instance, if my domain email account is mdu@cloudinfrastructureservices.co.uk and it’s linked to an Active Directory account named mdu@cloudinfrastructureservice.local, it will use mdu@cloudinfrastructureservices.co.uk as the account name but get the password from mdu@cloudinfrastructureservice.local.   
  • Once you insert your password, your email client will supply the user account and password and check it against the Active Directory server.
  • If the credentials are valid, you’ll be able to send and receive your emails through the client. If not, access will be denied.

Thank you for reading How to set up hMailServer and integrate with Active Directory.

How to Setup hMailServer and integrate with Active Directory Conclusion

The above guide shows you how to setup hMailServer and integrate it with Active Directory. Installing and configuring hMailServer is straightforward. The hardest part may be managing the Active Directory. Thankfully, there are a host of auditing tools to make the process easier. Nevertheless, combining hMailServer with Active Directory can streamline administrative tasks and workflows for IT leaders. But even more importantly, it can strengthen and simplify security for you.

Avatar for Mduduzi Sibisi
Mduduzi Sibisi

Mdu is an Oracle-certified software developer and IT specialist, primarily focused on Object-Oriented programming for Microsoft and Linux-based operating systems. He has over a decade of experience and endeavors to share what he's learned from his time in the industry. He moonlights as a tech writer and has produced content for a plethora of established websites and publications - including this one. He's always open to learning and growing.

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