Running a mail server via MacPorts on macOS Monterey

Steven Smith steve.t.smith at
Mon Mar 7 13:24:05 UTC 2022

As a counterpoint, macOS is configurable with all the BSD flags you need to configure a performant server. Just add these options to /etc/sysctl.conf, which although does not exist in macOS 12, can easily be edited and works across reboots.

I just did this myself for a native VPN server using net.inet.ip.forwarding, net.inet6.ip6.forwarding, and kern.ipc.somaxconn.

The mail server tools used in the old macOS really have been (greatly) surpassed by current alternatives, e.g. rspamd instead of spamassassin, and Apache Solar searches versus whatever the old slow dovecot search plugin was. I used to run a mail server on, and the mail server configure in the port mail-server is MUCH more performant and nicer.

Furthermore, macOS has migrated to much better kernel-level security tools like pfctl that more than offset the pain of migration to a macOS-specific environment.

All-in-all, the mail and other servers I’ve observed running on macOS have all been rock solid, at the expense of the necessity of adapting from cookie-cutter Linux or BSD options, but with the simplified workflow of not needing to maintain another VPS somewhere.

> On Mar 5, 2022, at 8:56 AM, Ralph Seichter via macports-users <macports-users at> wrote:
> While MacPorts provides the necessary ports for running a mail server on
> macOS, I'd suggest an alternative approach if you are dead set on using
> a Mac as the server machine. As mentioned here before, Apple is not
> making it easy to use regular macOS for server use, and this seems to be
> a deliberate decision on their end.

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