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A bit confused, is postfix to receive or send email?

I am using a 3rd party to send email, and just need to receive email and was wondering if postfix is what I should be researching.

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Postfix is actually a bit of both; it's a mail transfer agent, or MTA.

However, note that if you only wish to fetch mail, you may find it easier to install and configure the aptly named fetchmail program to accomplish this task.

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Both: Postfix is a mail transfer agent (MTA), and it can transfer mail in both directions (from a local program to a distant machine, from a distant machine to a local program, and it can also relay mails between machines if needed).

If you have a machine with a permanent Internet connection (preferably with a static IP address, but that is not required) and you wish to receive mail directly at this machine, then Postfix is the right tool (or some other MTA — but Postfix is the default MTA in Ubuntu and is a reasonable choice). If your server is and you want to receive mail for, then all you need is to run Postfix and set up an MX record for with your DNS provider. If you want to receive mail for, you don't even need an MX record. If you want to receive mail that comes from some other machine, you'll need to convince that machine to bounce the mail to your server.

If you want to feed mail periodically from some server, then Postfix isn't the right tool, but it can be part of the tool chain. You can use fetchmail or a similar program to periodically retrieve mail from an external IMAP or POP3 server, and either drop it directly to your mail reader's inbox or route it through Postfix as a local mail delivery system.

For sending mail, you can set up Postfix to talk to that third party and tell your mail user agent to route mails through your machine's email system.

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