Smarthost configuration

You can instruct MailerQ to use a "smart host". When you enable this feature, MailerQ does not send the messages directly to the final recipient, but to an alternative mailserver instead: the smarthost.

This feature could for example be useful if you use MailerQ for sending mails from your own server to the internet, but you want to use an external service (like smtpeter.com) to track the clicks and opens for your mailings. Other use cases for smarthosts are when you want to create a chain of MailerQ instances, and have the mails from one instance forwarded to the next instance.

How to configure the smarthost feature

By default, the smarthost feature is disabled. If you want to enable it, you either need to explicitly configure it in the configuration file, or you can enable it on a per-message level. The following config file variables can be used to enable the smarthost for all messages that flow through MailerQ:

smarthost:          <hostname>  (empty by default)
smarthost-port:     <port>      (default: 25)
smarthost-username: <username>  (empty by default)
smarthost-password: <password>  (empty by default)

The "smarthost" has to be set to enable the smarthost feature, and should contain the hostname of the server that you want to redirect the email to. The other "smarthost-*" options are optional, and can be used if the target smarthost uses a different port than the default one (default is 25), and if the smarthost requires authentication.

Setting the smarthost on a per-message level

If you do not want to send all messages using a smarthost, but only specific messages or send specific messages to specific smarthosts, you can do so by adding the smarthost variables to the JSON or MIME-header of a specific message. If global smarthost settings are set, these settings will override the settings set in your configuration file.

{
    "envelope": "my-sender-address@my-domain.com",
    "recipient": "info@example.org",
    "mime": "...",
    "smarthost": {
        "hostname": "hostname-smarthost",
        "port": "25",
        "username": "example-user",
        "password": "example-password"
    }
}

MIME header

You can use MIME headers too to enable the smarthost on a per-message level. The following header variables have the same meaning as the JSON settings mentioned above:

x-mq-smarthost-hostname: <hostname-smarthost>
x-mq-smarthost-port:     <25>
x-mq-smarthost-username: <example-user>
x-mq-smarthost-password: <example-password>

Only the "hostname" property is mandatory. The port defaults to 25, and not setting the username or password means MailerQ will not try to authenticate to the smarthost.

Using smarthost for debugging

If you use the "smarthost" option mails are not delivered to the actual recipient but to the smarthost server. As a consequence, MailerQ internally queues all mails as if they were sent to the smarthost domain. If you open the management console, the list of active domains will contain only one item: the smarthost domain indicated by "(smarthost)", which is where all emails are going to be sent to.

If you are debugging, you often want to run MailerQ in (almost) the same configuration as you normally would, with queues for all the domains to which messages are being delivered. The only difference is that you do not want to actually deliver the mails, but send them to a dummy destination: the "smarthost". This is where the smtp-sink options comes in.

smtp-sink-ip:           <ip address>    (default: 0.0.0.0)
smtp-sink-port:         <port>          (default: 25)
smtp-sink-username:     <username>      (empty by default)
smtp-sink-password:     <password>      (empty by default)

If you include the "smtp-sink-ip" and "smtp-sink-port" options in the config file, MailerQ runs normally, and all mails are routed through different internal queues with their own send capacities. However, when a TCP connection is created, the connection will be set up to the sink instead of to the actual recipient mail server.

The "smtp-sink-username" and "smtp-sink-password" options can be used if your sink requires authentication.

If you are looking for an SMTP server that simply accepts and discards incoming messages, you can use Postfix' smtp-sink.

What happens if you configure both the smarthost and the smtp-sink?

It is possible to configure both the smtp-sink option and the smarthost at the very same time. If you do this, MailerQ will keep a single queue of messages to the smarthost (and thus not separate queues for hotmail, gmail, yahoo, et cetera) - but when the TCP connection is set up, it does not connect to this smarthost, but to the sink address instead.