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simultaneous access to POP mailbox

Discussion in 'E-mail Discussions' started by sbrunner, Jun 21, 2005.

  1. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    We recently switched to a WHM/cPanel dedicated box and have encountered a problem. We need to have simultaneous access to a given mailbox - more than one of our team has to be able to check for e-mail on a given mailbox, say info@ourname.com, at the same time. We use Outlook’s remote mail function to check headers and each team member selects which e-mail to download and respond to. We have done it that way for years before switching to cPanel and need to configure cPanel to continue do the same.

    My understanding is that in the default WHM/cPanel configuration, all of the messages in a given mailbox are aggregated in one Mbox file and that the mailbox is "locked" when one user is accessing the mailbox and no-one else can access it. It seems much lower risk, and the locking problem could be avoided if the messages were instead stored in individual files.

    I have read that Exim can be configured to use maildir, individual files for each message in a common folder, but have not seen that this can be done specifically in cPanel’s implementation of Exim.

    Skipping past my limited research, my specific question is can WHM/cPanel be set to allow simultaneous access to one mailbox, and if so, how?

    If any of you know, I would love to hear the answer. We need to solve this problem.

    To save time and possible suggestions, we for internal reasons, need to continue with POP3 and not change to IMAP.

    Thank you for your help. Steve
     
  2. chirpy

    chirpy Well-Known Member

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    AFAIK, you have to use the mbox format in exim on cPanel. Even if you did enable maildir access, POP3 is quite a basic protocol and does not allow for multiple access and retrieval while another connection is active. By its very nature that will not work and the POP3 mailbox will become corrupted if it was allowed due to the very nature of the way the POP3 protocol works. This is because all delete transactions are only actioned when the final QUIT command is sent to the POP3 server.

    IMAP is normally the answer to such issues, but on a cPanel that won't work either as the IMAP server that cPanel uses does not allow simultaneous connections.

    So, I fear you are out of luck on that front.
     
  3. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    Thank you Jonathan,

    The only thing that baffles me is that for the last seven years we have functioned with POP exactly as I have described, with simultaneous access to the same mailbox using Outlook’s remote mail and each user reviewing the headers and choosing the messages to download and respond to, and we would like to continue without changing our practices or configurations here.

    Our “lock” situation only began on our new cPanel box. So could it be a function specific to cPanel and not POP?

    Any new thoughts will be very much appreciated.

    Regards,
    Steve
     
  4. webignition

    webignition Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately not. The act of locking a mailbox file when it is being accessed is a pretty standard feature of POP and so wouldn't be specific to cPanel.

    It is possible that Outlook’s remote mail feature doesn't use POP but instead uses IMAP? The behaviour you describe sounds much more like IMAP functionality than POP.
     
  5. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    It may be that the operative words are "pretty standard" because as I wrote above, for years we have had a POP service that allowed us to have simultaneous access. In fact it was not until we moved to our cPanel box did I even know there was such a thing as "locking".

    I suspect it is more the difference between mail hosts that store all of the messages in one large file (Mbox), and those that store each message as an individual file (Maildir).

    I would love to find a way to implement Maildir in cPanel, or any other solution that allows us simultaneous mailbox access under cPanel.

    In case you wonder, we switched hosts to have a dedicated box.

    I believe Outlook's remote mail is POP, but in any event, cPanel will not allow us simultaneous access.

    Thank you for your thoughts and ideas. Please keep them coming.

    There has to be solution.
     
    #5 sbrunner, Jun 21, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  6. eppler

    eppler Registered

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    Webmail?

    Have you thought about having the users check it via a webmail interface? Or do they like/need to use Outlook?

    Steven Eppler
     
    #6 eppler, Jun 21, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  7. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    Hi Steven,

    We check the headers with Outlook, and choose which to download and work on and which to leave for other team members to downlaod and work on - all in one motion as it were. All of our messages, both incoming and outgoing, are all stored here in Outlook folders for later offline reference. Webmail unfortunatly would not lend itself to that.

    But please keep the thoughts coming about how cPanel will allow simultaneous connection to a given mailbox.

    Steve
     
    #7 sbrunner, Jun 21, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2005
  8. RickG

    RickG Well-Known Member

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    Steve:

    When you say "We recently switched to a WHM/cPanel dedicated box and have encountered a problem ..."

    1) From what OS and system were you previously running where you were able to do this?

    2) Are you certain there was not some "intermediate" script involved? For instance, take a look at CommuniGate Pro at http://mail.bulgaria.com/Guide/POP.html. Scroll down to the "Special Features" section and follow the Sharing link which talks about simultaneous access:
    This sounds like what you need -- maybe someone else can comment on installation ramifications (although it looks like it might work).

    Keep us posted -

    Rick
     
  9. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    Hi Rick,

    Thank you for your thoughts. I really want to solve this problem.

    We were on a shared server at NetNation but our mail server was our ISP, Racsa, and there is very little information available about what they had or ran. It (Racsa) was primitive to be sure (9MB mailbox size, which they would not change) but it worked great - no problem ever with simultaneous access by two or more of our team members. The most I have been able to determine is that one one of Racsa's mail control panel (definitely not cPanel) windows it says Messenger Express.

    We switched to a dedicated box for a number of reasons and one was to get away from the 9MB limit. That's when we ran into the "lock".

    What your quote describes is exactly what we need, only continuing to use cPanel.

    Thanks again,

    Steve
     
  10. AndyReed

    AndyReed Well-Known Member
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    I am not sure if this will ever work with a CPanel powered server, CommuniGate Pro IMAP is designed to provide simultaneous access to any mailbox for any number of clients. The author defines Simultaneous Access as:

    • several clients (POP, IMAP, Web, etc.) can have simultaneous access to the same mailbox;
    • new messages can be added to a mailbox while mailer clients are working with that mailbox;
    • messages can be deleted from a mailbox while mailer clients are working with that mailbox.

    You can read/learn more at: http://mail.bulgaria.com/Guide/default.html
     
  11. RickG

    RickG Well-Known Member

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    The "quote" is from the feature list of CommuniGate Pro. Did you look at the link to see if that is a solution?
     
  12. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    Thank you Rick and Andy,

    It looks like CommuniGate Pro would certainly work, although I would likely tend toward a lower cost, open source solution.

    Our present thinking is to install, separate from cPanel, a mail program, like CommuniGate, that will allow simultaneous POP3 access, probably one that uses Maildir, and direct all of the mail to that separate mail program. I would clearly much prefer to manage everything within cPanel, but for now a separate mail handling program seems to be the solution.

    If any of you have reason to believe that this will, or will not, work, please let me know.

    Also, if any of you want to offer your thoughts on what you see as the best email program that allows simultaneous POP3 access, as well as spam and antivirus scanning of incoming mail, please let me know. It may be that CommuniGate Pro is the best, but I’d like to look carefully at the alternatives.

    Thank you all again for kindly sharing your thoughts and observations.

    Steve
     
  13. bking

    bking Well-Known Member

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    It sounds like you are using the mailbox for some kind of support email system, Is that correct? If so, you might want to look into a trouble ticketting system?
     
  14. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    As you might imagine, we use our e-mail in many ways, including respoding to inquiries, and want to do it all in one program, managed the same way, in our case, in Ouotlook.

    Steve
     
  15. RickG

    RickG Well-Known Member

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    Steve:

    Based on your business model, have you ever considered ASP hosted Exchange mailboxes? There are lots of companies that offer this service -- I've used MailStreet (http://www.mailstreet.com/exchange/whymailstreet.asp) for a couple of clients and at just $9.95 a mailbox they have all the functionality of an in-house Exchange server. Mailbox access as you describe, shared contacts, calendars, etc., public folders ... you name it. The cost is a no brainer given their productivity needs. Just wanted to pass that along as you consider various options (no flames please).

    Rick
     
  16. sbrunner

    sbrunner Member

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    Hi Rick,

    Thank you.

    We indeed are considering a separate mail host and have tested Inet7 for example and found that their service allows simultaneous access.

    I just thought it might be better if we do it all on our own server, and best if we could do it within cPanel.

    No flames from here. I love to learn and so much appreciate your, and everyone's, wanting to help.

    Steve
     
    #16 sbrunner, Jun 22, 2005
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2005
  17. pizzaman

    pizzaman Well-Known Member
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