all, this is my first question and I hope I chose the right place to post it. Here's what I need help with:

I've been looking for this all day and I'm having a hard time finding a SMTP mail server that would fit the following criteria:

  • lightweight, does one thing and does it good
  • is able to route and deliver local mail to a Rails application

The second point could be accomplished in any number of ways. I'm running a VPS, so I have full freedom in how to implement this. It could, for example, put messages straight in the db, pipe them to a helper program that would then process them accordingly or also save messages in a mbox file and run a script after every received message.

I'm building a small site so the traffic is not going to be a problem. If there are alternative ways to deliver messages to a Rails app, I'd gladly hear about them. Thank you.

EDIT: After long searching, I think I've found what I was looking for. Exim is a mail server that can deliver local mail to pipes. Also, Rails 3 and ActionMailer can make it really easy to process the incoming mail. More info here:

  • It's perfectly OK to answer your own question blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/07/… so why don't you put that last bit into an answer on its own. Commented Jul 4, 2011 at 15:23
  • I tried, but I didn't have enough karma. New user.
    – Gunchars
    Commented Jul 11, 2011 at 23:09

1 Answer 1


I'd just set up an IMAP or POP3 server and have the rails app retrieve the mail that way. Ruby most likely has decent library support (either in the standard library, the rails framework or another third party library) for both protocols and it will require very little work on your part to get working.

I'm not a Ruby guy but I do know just about every single programming language out there has good support for these. Plus it also has the advantage that you can test the email system out easily with a standard email client.

  • This is a good suggestion. Rails stack needs to be notified the second a new mail arrives, but this can be done with a Ruby script hanging in the background utilizing IMAP Push capabilities. I'll look into this. Thank you.
    – Gunchars
    Commented Jul 3, 2011 at 20:17

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