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I had a few VMs configured with ssmtp to relay a small number of emails, usually from cron jobs. Unfortunately, this project is no longer maintained so it’s unfit for production, and while Postfix is a solid piece of software, I was looking for something very lightweigth.

I came across msmtp, which fit the bill perfectly and is trivial to set up.

On a Debian based distro :

apt install msmtp msmtp-mta

Then create /etc/msmtprc to configure it globally on your host. You’ll need to edit the values in caps with your SMTP credentials :

tls on
tls_trust_file /etc/ssl/certs/ca-certificates.crt
logfile /var/log/msmtp.log

account mailgun
port 587
auth on
user [email protected]_USER.TLD
from [email protected]

account default : mailgun

You should definitely keep logging enabled. There’s a wealth of information that will come handy.

Using a service like Mailgun, rather than your own SMTP server, ensures better delivery of your email, along with detailed logs and sending stats. If these emails are somewhat critical to you, you may want to set up a secondary provider such a Sendgrid so that you can failover easily, albeit manually – if you need this to be automated because they are mission critical, that’s a job for Postfix.

Simply create another account section. Instead of SMTP credentials, you’ll have to create an API key with sending permissions. Again, edit accordingly :

account sendgrid
port 587
auth on
user apikey
password YOUR_API_KEY
from [email protected]

Note that user should be apikey.

If you need specific user configurations, you can create ~/.msmtprc files. To route emails to different recipients, you can set up aliases.

Also, you can customize the timeout per account using e.g. timeout 60 to wait one minute.

Finally, send a test email from the command line :

echo "Subject: Testing msmtp" | sendmail -v [email protected]

If everything went well, you should see your test within a few seconds.

Update Sept. 8th 2019:

  • msmtp links updated to current project homepage.