Nico Amarilla

My personal notes on programming.

Install Sendmail on Ubuntu And Why Is It So Slow?

Featured Sendmail Slow

When building a web app that will have registered users, you will need to have a way to send email to users during sign-up. The number one reason is to confirm that their email address is valid. Another reason is to have a “forgot password” feature.

If you are on a shared hosting, there is no need to set this up. But if your on a VPS, you may need to setup your own SMTP server. Now, there are many options out their, like Amazon SES and Mailgun, but they will cost you a little bit of extra cash.

In my case, I wanted to try out sendmail on a Digital Ocean droplet. Although this doesn’t cost a dime, it will cost more time to setup! To save you some trouble, here’s what I did:


Login into your droplet and do the following:

  1. Update ubuntu
    sudo apt-get update
  2. Install sendmail
    sudo apt-get install sendmail
  3. Configure /etc/hosts:

    nano /etc/hosts

    Find this line: localhost

    Make sure that it looks like this: localhost.localdomain localhost yourhostname

    Change yourhostname to the name of your droplet.

  4. Run Sendmail’s config and answer ‘Y’ to everything:
    sudo sendmailconfig


  • Type this in the console:
    echo "test message" | sendmail -v

    Change to the receiving email address.

  • Check your inbox. Most probably its in the spam folder if your domain has no reputation yet.

Why is Sendmail So Slow?

This happened while I was testing. Sendmail is very slow, an upwards of 60 secs in sending a single mail!

To solve it you need to make sure that you change the localhost entry in /etc/hosts. In Digital Ocean it has an additional entry: droplet-name-goes-here

Comment that out and only have a single See number 3 in the install section above.


Using It In A Web App

In my case, I built my app with nodejs. I installed nodemailer and use the sendmail transport. The docs are pretty straightforward. If you are on PHP you can just use the mail() function.

That’s it for now.

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