Author Topic: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?  (Read 3925 times)

-pekr-

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Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« on: November 19, 2011, 11:37:07 am »
Hello,

3 years ago I was investigating few options to have small linux server as an ISP. I decided to go with ClearOS, and back at the time Ubuntu with E-box lacked FTP module. While I can configure things manually here or there, my other guys can't, and I need them to use a portal.

After a server crash, I decided to reinvestigate the e-box state, and found out Zentyal. I have to say, that this time, I am really impressed. Very nice and balanced work in regards to user interface and overall consistent feel of the system!

But, as usual, I am looking at certain functionalities, and I am a bit disappointed, that some Zentyal portal sections are oversimplified. What is it good for to have a portal for easy maintance, while pushing user to do eventual manual configuration? Here's what I am missing:

1) Emails. One of the reasons why I decided to leave ClearOS is, that they don't allow email aliases to particular domains. Those aliases are shared. I was glad, that Zentyal allows to define email aliases in the particular domain sections. But - does it? No :-( And here comes my first disappointment. It is imo absolutly normal, that my customers want to have info@domain.name, each of them. Why virtual map is not used? If the answer is the same as with ClearOS (simply a suggestion to use only one mail domain on the server, and use tonnes of virtual machines), then my answer is - no, thank you. Don't you find it rather common, that emails like info@domain.name, or webmaster@domain.name, are usual for websites? Each site has a different admin, so the email traffic has to be delivered to different accounts. Now how to easily overcome Zentyal limitation? And what is a reason for such a limitation to exist in the first place?

2) Webserver - once again - I miss the field to allow me to use ServerAlias directive. There are often cases of parked domain names, or simply client using more than one registered domain, which the client wants to point to its website, as an alternative. I think that this might be so commonly used scenario, that it would deserve a dedicated field in the portal form, once again to avoid the need to edit virtual host directives manually. Also - it is nice that docs describe http commands, but how usefull is that in comparison to not explain how to upload a content via FTP? ;-) Samba is really not an option here.

3) FTP. Maybe more than one question. First - why is not "Allow FTP" part of user account settings? Each user imo does not need FTP account to be available automatically? Second - ClearOS used something called FlexShare. I am not saying I will miss it, but anyway - is there an option, when I can define particular users being able to edit e.g. website content via FTP, via their user FTP account? Not a big deal, for particular websites, I can create separate FTP accounts (new users).

Please provide me with some options of how to overcome above limitations, as in generall I have really a good impression from few hours usage of Zentyal :-)

Thanks,
Best regards,
Petr

christian

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2011, 02:56:56 pm »
Frankly I don't understand what you mean with email limitation (the alias stuff)  ???
Could you please give me an example?

-pekr-

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2011, 06:56:44 pm »
Example is easy. Just imagine you have defined two domains:

company1.com
company2.com

And you want to have info@company1.com, and info@company2.com, delivered to two different accounts. When I try to add "info" as an alias for company2.com, server tells me, that such alias already does exist.

christian

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2011, 07:08:02 pm »
Understood now. Much better using simple words and example ;-)

That's strange, I'm not facing this issue.
I've an account with mail address (me@mydomain) with webmaster@mydomain alias.
I just created another mail domain (testdomain) and test account with mail test@testdomain and then added webmaster@testdomain without any error.

I suspect there is something else that needs to be clarified...

-pekr-

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2011, 02:51:13 pm »
Ah, I might have mixed several things. I now can see I can add info@domain1.com an info@domain2.com for particular user, in user Account setting. What is Mail/Virtual mail domain/Virtual domain alias good for then? Probably a different thing? I define several domains there (= simply which domains I want to receive my emails for), but what's their alias? Something like @domain1.com @something.domain1.com? Or? I don't understand the difference of this section to defining alias in user section.

As for defining alias in user section, I now might miss another feature. I have sales@domain1.com alias, which I want to be forwarded to several account - a sales team - is that possible? I tried to add sales@domain1.com for user1 and user2, but it was not possible? Or should I use group somehow, an set mail alias in there?

Thanks :-)
Petr

christian

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2011, 04:04:17 pm »
Domain alias is for domain while account alias is for account...  ;) not joking, it looks stupid but this is the way it works.
As a result, if testtown.com is a mail domain alias for testone.com, mail sent to whoever@testtwo.com will be delivered to whoever@testone.com, assunming such mail address exists, obviously.
In such case, there is no need to define alias on per user basis because this is handled at domain level.

On the other hand, if you have a third domain, let say testthree.com, you may want mails sent to admin@testthree.com to be delivered to webmaster@testone.com.
Is it clearer like this?

For what concerns mail to be sent to multiple mailboxes: yes this is definitely feasible but this doesn't work using alias mechanism but group.

Coming back to your very first post, is there really any missing feature or is it rather matter of basic understanding?  ;)

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2011, 08:15:05 am »
As for my initial post - I now might have everything I need for email, the way I use them. As for basic understanding - I am no linux guru, it is just sometimes it is a bit difficult to understand, what some GUI setting means in the low level. In the past I tried webmin, and found out, that I was constanly checking text configs, what particular setting in GUI is doing in low level, and left webmin as a complex and not much usefull thing for me. But - I need a GUI for other guys in company, to do simple stuff as add new users, etc., otherwise I would go directly at /etc/postfix, and do everything in there, not bothering using GUI :-)

Back to my initial email - I can probably live with no ability to alias virtual hosts using GUI, as I can add the ServerAlias directive to the Apache virtual host config myself (hopefully it does not get overwritten, when I edit the domain in GUI.)

But - what I definitely miss is the simple solution to upload FTP content. I can search the forum, and see various requests since 2 years, mostly not answered at all. Ppl were expecting, for 2.x, that they will be some more options to FTP. I would expect - at user settings, checkbox if to create FTP acces or not (as there is File sharing account). I know you use a bit different aproach, generally allowing personal home directory access at FTP module level. But I would revert it, discard the option, and add it at user level. And then - the ability to set root dir for such an FTP account, so that I can have an account to easily upload webserver content.

So actually - this is my "most/last missed" feature now - how to upload website content via FTP easily? If I resolve this one easily, I am in for a Zentyal :-) I can edit config myself, I just don't want it being overwritten, when I do some GUI change. So -what's the solution to upload FTP content to be served by Apache?

Thanks,
Petr

christian

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2011, 09:15:09 am »
As for my initial post - I now might have everything I need for email, the way I use them. As for basic understanding - I am no linux guru, it is just sometimes it is a bit difficult to understand, what some GUI setting means in the low level. In the past I tried webmin, and found out, that I was constanly checking text configs, what particular setting in GUI is doing in low level, and left webmin as a complex and not much usefull thing for me. But - I need a GUI for other guys in company, to do simple stuff as add new users, etc., otherwise I would go directly at /etc/postfix, and do everything in there, not bothering using GUI :-)

You could try something like... Zentyal  ;)
Joke aside, if your goal is to have something "Windows like", my real advice is that you stay on Microsoft Windows side. With Lunix, you may have some solution like Zentyal, or as you wrote, Webmin that is no more than GUI to write in config files (but at the end, as everything relies on config files, one will have to write in it, isn't it?) but at the end of the day, if you are not happy with Zentyal or similar product, Windows is your only way...  ::)

Quote
Back to my initial email - I can probably live with no ability to alias virtual hosts using GUI, as I can add the ServerAlias directive to the Apache virtual host config myself (hopefully it does not get overwritten, when I edit the domain in GUI.)

Yes, this can be done easily. For this one you could create a new post in "feature request" section.

Quote
But - what I definitely miss is the simple solution to upload FTP content. I can search the forum, and see various requests since 2 years, mostly not answered at all. Ppl were expecting, for 2.x, that they will be some more options to FTP. I would expect - at user settings, checkbox if to create FTP acces or not (as there is File sharing account). I know you use a bit different aproach, generally allowing personal home directory access at FTP module level. But I would revert it, discard the option, and add it at user level. And then - the ability to set root dir for such an FTP account, so that I can have an account to easily upload webserver content.

Did you notice that if you configure your virtual server to point to user's home directory, you will achieve - at least partially - what you expect here? Well, this might not be the perfect implementation but if publishing using FTP is a must, you can do it this way.
You could also deactivate limitation to home directory (although we all agree this is not very safe).
In any case, FTP based publishing will be an issue, whatever the design, as soon as you will want to share it among multiple accounts for single web site. I would rather suggest to use CMs approach (that is not embedded in Zentyal but:
- you can still install it
- I hope Zentyal will never aim to cover "everything"  ;)

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2011, 10:21:07 am »
You could try something like... Zentyal  ;)
Joke aside, if your goal is to have something "Windows like", my real advice is that you stay on Microsoft Windows side.

OK, here's my position - I work as an IT manager for one corporation. That means - you know that kind of guys, right? We like to talk into everything, but going down deep into details, we are often lost in the water, right? :-) My - jokes aside - opinion is - there's no free lunch. I am a REBOL addict, former Amiga user, and one of the principles I like is - simplicity. Today's world is pretty much complex, so what I am looking for is a - balance. And so far, what I saw with Zentyal - you are very good. I am kind of surprised - last time I checked (2-3 years ago, E-box, Ubuntu), FTP module was not even available and as for Ubuntu itself -  you know us lamers - we need Midninght commander for SSH available :-) So back at the time, I went with CentOS, as I was used to Fedora at least a bit. For now, I think I will switch to Zentyal, though I did not try back-up and recovery stuff yet (well, mirrored disks and vmware esxi might be my friends to consider too).

Quote
Quote
Back to my initial email - I can probably live with no ability to alias virtual hosts using GUI, as I can add the ServerAlias directive to the Apache virtual host config myself (hopefully it does not get overwritten, when I edit the domain in GUI.)

Yes, this can be done easily. For this one you could create a new post in "feature request" section.

OK, will do so ...

Quote
Did you notice that if you configure your virtual server to point to user's home directory, you will achieve - at least partially - what you expect here? Well, this might not be the perfect implementation but if publishing using FTP is a must, you can do it this way.

Well, it might do the trick, though I thought that it would be nice to have websites at one subdir, for the easy backup, but I will definitely try it. I also thought about possibly using Samba share over the web content dir, but not sure it can be accessed remotely using ome webdav or so ...

Quote
You could also deactivate limitation to home directory (although we all agree this is not very safe).
NO :-)
Quote
In any case, FTP based publishing will be an issue, whatever the design, as soon as you will want to share it among multiple accounts for single web site. I would rather suggest to use CMs approach

Well, simplicity again, remember?  :-) Should I use Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, SharePoint, RedDot? I just say - not yet, not necessarily. The last thing I need for the simple company server needs is another complex dependencies to recover, when things crash.

I think this thread might be closed. It is clear FTP module is not really well integrated with the rest of the system, which is a pity imo, but at least some workarounds exists. Zentyal also does not have something like ClearOS Flexshare FTP access, when user accesses FTP with his own credentials, and can be defined to have access to various directories. But - I can create one special user for one website to administer, so not a big deal.

Thanks,
Petr

-pekr-

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2011, 10:25:10 am »
Domain alias is for domain while account alias is for account...  ;) not joking, it looks stupid but this is the way it works.
As a result, if testtown.com is a mail domain alias for testone.com, mail sent to whoever@testtwo.com will be delivered to whoever@testone.com, assunming such mail address exists, obviously.
In such case, there is no need to define alias on per user basis because this is handled at domain level.

Well, no matter how I try, your above description does not work, or I don't know, what I am doing wrong :-( I have following scenario:

domains: company.com, company.cz, companycomputers.cz
user: mynick

Desired result: name.lastname@company.com, name.lastname@company.cz, name.lastname@companycomputers.cz delivered to mynick account.

So, what I did was:

- added new virtual domain: company.com
- added domain alias for company.com: company.cz, companycomputers.cz
- added new account: mynick
- assigning new user alias: name.lastname@company.com

Now - emails sent to name.lastname@company.com work. I expected that sending emails to name.lastname@company.cz and name.lastname@companycomputers.cz will work as well, but they don't. Such emails bounce with following errors:

Trying to send to name.lastname@xidys.cz:

550 smtp; 550 5.1.1 <name.lastname@company.cz>: Recipient address rejected: User unknown in virtual mailbox table

I also got following message, but don't remember what I did (I experimented with adding company.cz domain separately):

554 smtp; 554 5.7.1 <name.lastname@company.cz>: Relay access denied

I have still have to be missing something obvious :-(

Cheers,
Petr



Javier Amor Garcia

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 03:10:28 pm »
Hello -pekr-,

if I have understood you correctly you have 3 virtual domains and you have used a domain alias from one of them to another. This should not be  done and if the Zentyal interface has allowed you to do so it is a bug that we will address soon.

In this case you should make an  account alias  in your user page.

Could you try that? Or maybe I have misunderstood your scenario?

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2011, 03:42:07 pm »
Well, I really have some difficulties at Zentyal email usage. I have following scenarios:

1) 3 projects/companies:

xidys.com
vertuzo.cz
2zone-media.cz

2) And I have xy domains:

xidys.com - xidys.cz, xidyscomp.cz, x-zone-internet.cz
vertuzo.cz - vertuzo.com, vertuzo-invision.cz, vertuzo-invision.com, vertuzoinvision.com, vertuzoinvision.cz
2zone-media.cz - 2zone.cz, 2zonemedia.cz

3) Now each of such a project, has a scenario of:

firstname.lastname@domain.name
info@domain.name
webmaster@domain.name

So, what I did was:

- define 3 virtual mail domains - xidys.com, vertuzo.cz, 2zone-media.cz, as shown in 1)
- define the rest of domains as their domain name aliases, as shown in 2)
- define user account, belonging to main domain, e.g. name.lastname@xidys.com, assuming all variants of name.lastname@xidys-variants will work, and indeed - it does work

So - is my aproach incorrect? If so, what are virtual mail domain aliases good for then? I am also experiencing some weird bug - if I try to add domain alias, I get the "Missing argument: row", and then I can not see the alias in the list, although internally, it is in there, as trying to add it again the server states, the alias already exists ...

I hope that now my intention is more clear, with real domain names,  and project/companies structure?

Javier Amor Garcia

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2011, 09:08:30 am »
Sorry, I misunderstood you, I believed you have either only virtual domains or domains aliases but you have both.

However I don't get what is your exact working problem because before you say the mail was bouncing and now it seems working. What are the addresses or mail addresses which are failing?.

The 'missing element: row' is indeed a bug, if you reload the page the added alias is  shown or not?.

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2011, 12:25:35 pm »
Hello,

with my first installation of Zentyal, although that virtual domain alias was added, email was not received for an aliased server. However - this problem is not present on my new installation. Instead of that, I am getting "Missing element: row". And - the refresh of the page does not help. But - if I delete visible alias, sometimes invisible one pops-up. So basically I have only one (first) virtual domain alias visible, though I get an error even for that IIRC.

What Is also strange is - when I add an alias, I can see the Red indicator in upper right section, telling me to save the changes. When I do so, and enther Mail/Virtual domains section in left menu, the indicator is Red once again, although I have just saved my previous changes. That's imo bug too, or I have somehow broken installation. But - I did not install any special stuff, so not sure why it is broken. Hopefully you will publish some fix for that :-)

Javier Amor Garcia

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Re: Newcomer - more options for email, FTP and HTTP services?
« Reply #14 on: November 30, 2011, 01:10:47 pm »
Hello pekr,
have you tried the workaround given in http://forum.zentyal.org/index.php/topic,8829.msg36774.html ?

It has solved your problems?