Can't understand how email works!

NOTE: I have shared hosting on DH.

This is what I understand :

There’s the email frontend and there’s the email backend.

Front end is what roundcube and squirrelmail is. It’s just a script that shows you a bunch of pages through which you can see/send/write the emails. The front end simply connects to the backend so the user can use email in a user friendly way.

Backend is : DH people have an email server at for every domain. New addresses can only be created through the panel. The backend cannot be customized in any way. The only way is to get VPS/DPS and setup my own email server (what I’m calling the “backend”) as well.

DH offers two types of webmail front ends, squirrelmail and roundcube. Neither of these pre-installed frontends offer any/much customization.

Now here’s what I don’t get :

-If I disable webmail from the DH panel, is now available for my own use ? cannot be disabled(used for my own purposes) as long as I’m using DH’s mail server ?

-To use my own custom front end for webmail am I supposed to disable webmail from the DH panel ?[/quote]

What I want:

-My own fully customizable front end.

And I hope I’m using the correct terminology or it’s easy to understand what I’m saying.

Disabling webmail via the panel does seem to get rid of the standard DNS entry for So you should be able to enter your own custom record using webmail. I didn’t try it tho, if for some reason the panel won’t let you enter a custom webmail. sub-domain then ask support to help. (I believe you had to ask support to help do it a few years ago, but I don’t think we had a check box to disable webmail back then.)

And what is the mysql database used for ?

Is my understanding of “front end” and “backend” correct ?

All the email IS stored on the mail server that we don’t have admin(ish) access to right ?

Someone draw me a diagram plz…:stuck_out_tongue:

A webmail client (examples: squirrel and roundcube) that you install is exactly that, a client. You’re calling that the front-end. You configure the client (that you installed) to access the mailbox (on the mail server at via IMAP, it keeps synched folders just as a local client like (outlook, thunderbird, etc) would on your local computer.

I don’t find a reference in your first post to a mysql database, so I’m not sure what you are asking in that regard. Guessing tho, when you install the client you will need to provide a database for it to store information in, you can create one in the panel. You will also need a mysql hostname. For comparison purposes installing the mail client on your webserver is not much different that install any web app (like wordpress for example).

From your first post, yes can’t be deleted, its your interface to the “backend”. Changes you make there are pushed to the mail server. It’s worth noting that if you have panel access, you can make all the same changes to a mailbox thru the panel. the interface exists so that end users that don’t have panel access can adjust some of their own mail settings.

[edit:added a sentence]

Thanks for the clarification.

And yes, that’s what I wanted to ask about squirrelmail/roundcube requiring a database.

So in order to have a fully customized email system where let’s say a user can register for a new email address in a automatic-y way through a simple series of pages like they have on yahoo, gmail etc. And not me having to create email addresses one by one through the panel, I need a VPS or can I do it on shared hosting as well ?

You can’t do that on shared hosting for sure. There is no automatic way to create accounts.

I’m not sure you realize how much headache and hassle running a mail server on a dedicated server would be. (that’s the “backend” we’re talking about now.)

I don’t know if your plan is to resell email accounts, but you don’t want to do that anyway. There are free yahoo/hotmail/gmail accounts, why would someone want to pay? And if your going to offer it free, why would you want the headache?

Free and low cost email services attract spammers by the millions. Spam generation will subject your server to RBL or real-time blacklists. The short story is ALL mail from your server gets blacklisted for what a spammer did in 15 minutes on one account.

You should carefully read each of these documents if you wish to proceed, especially the first and second
Terms of Service
Anti-Spam Policy
Acceptable Use Policy

It’s likely hard to stay within all the terms, offering end user email service.

The application is corporate email (email addresses for workers/management in a medium/large enterprise). I wanted a customized page where the enterprise can have their own logo etc instead of squirrel mail written everywhere. Plus confidentiality/privacy/security. That’s important too.

And a page where you could apply for registration for email, instead of an admin creating individual email addresses (slow) would be efficient. There’s ~50 people who need email addresses and I’ll have to make them all individually, which is a hassle. Instead if they could all go to a certain registration url and register and then later I could simply “approve” registrations. That would be more efficient, don’t you think ?

But I suppose, the only way to do that is through a VPS/DPS by setting up my own mail server…

Don’t do this with dreamhost’s email, it’s simply not business class email. Period.

(read other threads in this forum.)

I tried searching the forum, any general direction ? Can you give me atleast a few key words ?


Here is on recent thread I remember:

There are many others, that deal with email issues. From delayed mail (in or out), mail that goes missing or never arrives, mail that filters to the receipiants spam, and being unable to forward to certain providers.

One suggestion I would give you for searching this forum is don’t use the forums search box, instead open google and type or paste “” (exclude the quotes) into the search box, then space and typical search words “email” etc. Using the “site:” notation will limit your google search to this forum, and it’s much easier than the forums search.

Yes you will end up paying per user for a good business class email provider, I still recommend that. Dreamhost is an amazing hosting provider, as an email provider tho they are not.