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Postfix vs. sendmail

What is the difference between postfix and sendmail? Is one better than the other for certain things? We're evaluating both.

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Sendmail and postfix are message transfer agents (MTAs). An MTA is a program responsible for receiving, routing and delivering e-mail. MTAs receive e-mail messages and recipient addresses from local users and remote hosts; perform alias creation and forwarding functions; and deliver messages to their destinations. The most obvious difference between these two MTAs is architecture. Postfix uses a modular approach and is composed of multiple independent executables. Sendmail has a more monolithic design utilizing a single always running daemon. Sendmail and postfix each have large installed bases and perform well for businesses of many sizes. They are direct replacements for each other. Some will claim that one or the other is more secure, faster or easier to administer. There is a wealth of good information available online to enable you to dig deeper into these claims.

This was first published in June 2005

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