The procedures below configure sendmail to work in "outbound-only" mode - that is, to relay mail from the local network onto the internet, but NOT to receive mail from the internet. Incoming mail is handled via some other mechanism - in my case, the mail goes to my hosting provider and then I download it with POP3.
Firstly, if you're looking to configure sendmail to accept mail FROM the internet, don't follow the instructions below, they won't work for you. Secondly, as noted in the FreeBSD handbook, using sendmail for "outbound-only" mail is unnecessary, when ports such as ssmtp do the same job, with a fraction of the complexity.
In an ideal world, the configuration below might be fine, but delivering your mail directly to recipients' servers - as the configuration below does - is no longer a recommended approach, because modern mailservers may reject mail if it does not come from a "known-good" IP address, and it's likely that the IP address you have is NOT one of these. This is a widely-adopted anti-spam measure, and consequently using sendmail in the configuration below may cause you to suffer delivery problems, which you may or may not find out about.
To avoid delivery problems, mail should be routed via your ISP's mailserver. It's possible to use sendmail's SMART_HOST feature for this, but sendmail in outbound-only mode can be replaced entirely with ssmtp (ports/mail/ssmtp), which is reportedly much simpler, and no trouble to manage.
Consequently, the instructions below are deprecated, and should not be used, unless ssmtp or an equivalent is not an option for you.
Sendmail (docs: manpage - handbook) is installed and enabled by default. Use this procedure to configure it:
In FreeBSD 8.x, the syntax of this file has changed slightly. The RELAY line now starts with "#Connect:128.32". Uncomment this line, then change it to reflect the subnet of the local LAN
Where yourdomain.com is the name of the domain for which mail is being processed.
This setup permits the server to relay mail sent by any machine on the LAN, and also removes the machine's hostname from any mail originating from the machine.
The checks below ensure sendmail is correctly configured - as I need it to be on my server, which may or may not suit your own network. In particular, this sendmail is configured in "outbound-only" mode. Use the process below if your sendmail is malfunctioning.
Note: before making ANY changes to ANY files ensure to STOP sendmail like this:
To start it when done:
To check sendmail, login to the server as root, then:
Audit your sendmail.cf like this:
cd /etc/mail m4 /usr/share/sendmail/cf/m4/cf.m4 sendmail.mc > sendmail.audit diff sendmail.cf sendmail.audit
If diff tells you that some lines are different, then you have some manual edits in your sendmail.cf, which are not generated by the m4 file. These edits may or may not be causing issues.
Still got problems? Recompile the config file:
cd /etc/mail mv sendmail.cf sendmail.cf.old m4 /usr/share/sendmail/cf/m4/cf.m4 sendmail.mc > sendmail.cf make
WARNING: recompiling the sendmail.cf will overwrite any changes previously made to it. Ensure to create the .old file before recompiling, and ensure to add any customisations (such as the port 587 tweak above) AFTER recompiling. Don't forget to stop sendmail before changing anything.
display mails currently on the outbound queue:
display the outbound queue directory:
ls -l /var/spool/mqueue
delete all mail on the outbound queue:
/etc/rc.d/sendmail stop rm /var/spool/mqueue/* /etc/rc.d/sendmail start
Note: sendmail should be stopped before mail is deleted, then restarted afterwards (this will flush any jobs currently executing, and prevent accidents).
TIP: by default, sendmail will never masquerade root's mail, which will likely prevent you from mailing from root onto the internet (since the unmasqueraded server address cannot be resolved). There is a sendmail.cf hack (apparently) that fixes this, but this is lame, not only will it be trashed next time sendmail.cf is recompiled, but is masquerading root's mail a good idea? I doubt it. Instead, use sendmail's -f parameter to send mails from any user (see below).
TIP: send a mail from the command line or from a script like this:
cat messagebody.txt | mailx -s "subject" email@example.com
To use sendmail directly, defining the sender's address (you need to be root, or a trusted user, to define the sender's address):
/usr/sbin/sendmail -f firstname.lastname@example.org -i -t < completemessage.txt
where completemessage.txt contains:
To: email@example.com Subject: test message Hi there, this is a test message.
See the manpage for an explanation of these switches.