Use a remote SmarterMail installation with Plesk 12.5

Post meta

Posted on
March 28th, 2016 at 12:47
Posted by
Anthony Francis

In my opinion, there is no reason that Plesk cannot use a remote Smartermail installation, but it doesn’t let you. I have comeĀ up with a process that you can use to trick it into thinking a remote Smartermail instance is local. This was developed for, and tested with Plesk 12.5. The process may work on older versions. The process is fairly simple, and takes a little time, but it is well worth it.

NB: This only works on a fresh installation of plesk with no webspaces created.


  • IIS7+
  • URL Rewrite
  • Application Request Routing

Your first order of business is to update your Smartermail to the latest revision, make sure that you are running a version that Plesk supports. Once that is out of the way, follow these steps.

  1. Install the free version of Smartermail on your Plesk server, use the same version that is on your target server.
  2. Set the new Smartermail to use the same admin password as your target server.
  3. In Plesk go to components and refresh to make sure Plesk detects it.
  4. Set up Smartermail as the default mail server in Plesk, give it the admin password. Turn off all features such as antivirus and spam checking, these settings will be administered via Smartermail’s UI.
    Plesk Default Mail settings
  5. Disable the built in web server for Smartermail.
    Disable SM web server
  6. Make a site in IIS called Smartermail, bind it to any IP and use Smartermail’s port 9998.
    Add Website
    Edit site details
  7. Go to URL Rewriting and add a new rule. Click on Reverse Proxy and then click OK.
    Add Rewrite Rule
  8. Edit the Inbound Rule to direct connections to your real Smartermail instance.
    Edit Rewrite Inbound rule
  9. Click OK and then browse to the site, you should be able to login as admin and confirm that you are able to view existing domains.
  10. Edit the DNS template in Plesk so that the MX record ends up resolving to the IP of your actual smartermail instance.

That’s it! At this point you will be able to add domains and users. To import existing users into plesk you can use this powershell script that I wrote. It was originally meant to work with Parallels Plesk Automation, but will work with Plesk the same way.