Instead of using a local mail server, you can integrate Plesk with a remote SmarterMail server. This enables your customers to send and receive mail, although with a number of limitations, listed below. You can use a single SmarterMail server as a centralized mail server used by multiple Plesk installations.

Note: Remote SmarterMail support is a premium Plesk feature, and requires the purchase of the Power Pack or the Hosting Pack.

Important Information and Limitations:

  • Only SmarterMail 15 and later versions are supported.
  • Mail data from a remote SmarterMail server is not included in Plesk backups. You must put a backup/restore scheme in place manually - for example, following the practices recommended by SmarterTools.
  • After switching to a remote SmarterMail server, some mail-related functionality and settings, such as spam filtering, antivirus, autoresponders, or black/white lists can no longer be managed from Plesk and must be configured on the SmarterMail side. Note that the functionality is not lost - just replaced by the SmarterMail counterparts.

Warning: Switching to a different mail server is only recommended on fresh Plesk installations. On servers already used to host live customer accounts, switching to a different mail server is not recommended and will result in the loss of mail settings and data. If you must change the mail server on a live Plesk installation, we recommend notifying your customers in advance and advising them to save their mail (you will not be able to restore mail from Plesk backups after the mail server change).

To switch to a remote SmarterMail server:

  1. To use SmarterMail Free, go to Tools & Settings > External SMTP Server (under “Mail”), clear the “Use the mail server installed with Plesk and the default mail account created by Plesk” checkbox, and then click OK.

    If you use paid SmarterMail editions, you can skip the current step and go to the next one.

    Note: SmarterMail Free supports one domain with up to 10 mailboxes. If the checkbox described above is selected, Plesk automatically creates the localhost domain for technical needs. This domain uses up the one-domain limit set by SmarterMail Free, and SmarterMail installation in Plesk fails.

  2. Go to Tools & Settings > Server Components (under “Server Management”).

  3. Find the “Mail Server” section and click “Remote SmarterMail Server (not configured)”.

  4. Type in the necessary information about the remote SmarterMail server: its hostname, port, and administrator login and password. The hostname must resolve correctly, and the port must be accessible from the Plesk server (you must make the necessary changes to the firewall settings manually).

  5. (Optional) For additional security, you can enable the following options:

    • “HTTPS protocol” allows only secure connections to the remote SmarterMail server.
    • “Check SSL certificate” forces the mail server certificate validity check.

    Note: To use the options above, you must manually configure the remote SmarterMail server to use HTTPS following the instructions here and here.

  6. Click Save. If a connection to the remote SmarterMail server can be established, SmarterMail will appear in the list of available mail servers.

  7. To complete the mail server change, click Mail Server, select the “Remote SmarterMail Server” option from the list, and click OK.

  8. To ensure that the DNS records of hosted domains point to the remote SmarterMail server, update the MX records in the Plesk DNS template accordingly.

  9. (Optional) To enable your customers to access the SmarterMail webmail from Plesk, click Mail Server, select Remote SmarterMail Web Client under “Webmail”, type or paste the SmarterMail webmail URL into the “Login page URL” field, and then click OK.