Newest version that will use the Windows hosts file?
Question asked by Dan Morris - June 5, 2016 at 12:44 PM
I have used older versions of SmarterMail (4 & 5) behind a NATted firewall and successfully sent mail from one SM server (outgoing gateway) to the SM server that has the local mailboxes on it, by having the mail server names/IPs in the Windows hosts file on both mail servers, that are behind the same firewall. I've tried some of the newer versions (12 and 13) and apparently they no longer read the hosts file - I was unable to send from one server to the other behind the same firewall. Does anyone know the latest SM version that will use a hosts file?

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The HOSTS file is nothing but a rudimentary (local only) DNS mechanism. 
A good way to achieve what you're asking for is to set up the DNS server in Windows; it's included with all Windows server versions AFAIK. Set up A records for and with their respective local server (LAN) IP addresses, and forwarders to your usual name servers for anything not set up on that DNS server. You then set the network adapter on each server to use your new DNS servers. You can set this up on each Windows server - you could set it up on only one server but probably better to have it set up on (at least) all Windows servers that are running SM, and they can reference each other as a backup.  It's simpler than it looks at first glance. This should solve the problem for you.
You could alternatively set up "loopback" addresses in your firewall (e.g. Sonicwall), if it allows this, but the DNS server setup mentioned above is more "elegant" IMO, because it's more "self-contained," and should work even if there are issues with the firewall.
Happy to give you more info if you need it.
There are 3rd party DNS servers, in that case, that should do the job just fine.
Apparently you can install BIND, for one:
and there are other alternatives that are available free or cheap (under $100); check out maradns and simpledns, for example. YMMV.
I do know that I can set up alternate DNS servers. I appreciate the ideas. But, using the Windows hosts file was such a simple solution. Does anyone know which versions of SM will actually use it?
Just my opinion, but wouldn't setting up a DNS server would be simpler than changing SM versions on 2 different servers? I don't think Host files are supported in later versions of SM.
Matt Petty Replied
Employee Post
The HOSTS file should still work, I use it in my development pipeline for testing domains. I've been using the hosts file myself since I jumped in around SmarterMail 12/13.
Matt Petty
Software Developer
SmarterTools Inc.
(877) 357-6278

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