How to Deploy a Private E-mail Server for Free Using Zextras Carbonio CE | Carbonio

Zextras Carbonio Community Edition (CE) is an open-source and free e-mail server. Zextras Carbonio CE provides you with a completely private, easy to deploy, and highly customizable e-mail platform.

In this article, you’ll see how to have your own private e-mail server using Zextras Carbonio CE.

Why Carbonio CE

Zextras Carbonio CE e-mail server is entirely hosted on your properties and managed only by your own IT team. Therefore you have full control over your data and infrastructure. This provides two main advantages.

  • Security of your data
  • Compliance with data privacy regulations such as GDPR

Let’s see how exactly Carbonio CE helps you in these fields.

Carbonio CE and Security

Hence the name, an on-premises e-mail server, is deployed locally on your premises. It is considered the most secure form of deployment. Although both cloud-based and on-premises servers remain popular, choosing one depends on your type of data and specific needs.

Services like Google and Yahoo might be easier to set up as you don’t need much technical knowledge to deploy your own servers. However, they are not comparable to on-premises e-mail servers in terms of security. Solutions like Zectras Carbonio CE are preferred options for those who need the highest degree of protection for their sensitive data.

Carbonio CE and Privacy Compliance

Our data stored on the cloud storage will be replicated repeatedly across different data centers scattered around the world. For instance, a Gmail attachment uploaded in Google Drive will be stored multiple times worldwide for accessibility.

To some extent, almost all cloud services have specific options to store your data or at least part of your data domiciled in specific locations. For example, you have some control over your storage with the Google cloud platform and Amazon web services. But for the most part, a small business using services like Gmail will never be sure where their data end up. If your country requires you to comply with specific data protection regulations such as GDPR, a private e-mail server gives you all the control you need over your data.

Built-in Anti-spam And Antivirus

Zextras Carbonio CE comes with a built-in anti-spam and antivirus to further protect your server. Let’s quickly go through some of their features.


  • Scanning infrastructure inbound and outgoing e-mails
  • Real-time server-side scanner
  • Automatic attachment scanning
  • Scanning archives and compressed files ZIP, RAR, Tar, Gzip, etc.
  • Detecting malware, crypto lockers, trojans, Microsoft macros, worms, etc.
  • Automatic database updater


  • Automatic blocking of unsolicited bulk e-mails and spam
  • E-mail header and body text analysis
  • Heuristic and statistical/Bayesian scoring framework
  • DNS blocklists
  • Automatic purge of the spam folder
  • Automatic source updater

How To Install Zextras Carbonio CE

As long as you have the requirements, the installation of Zextras Carbonio CE is very straightforward as the installer handles pretty much everything for you.


  • Intel or AMD 64-bit CPU 1.5 GHz
  • 8 GB of RAM
  • 40 GB of disk space for the operating system and Carbonio CE
  • Internet connectivity
  • FQDN (fully qualified domain name), let’s say
  • Valid A & MX records for server and domain
  • A clean installation of the operating system*

* We suggest a clean installation of Ubuntu Server 20.04 LTS as it’s officially supported by Zextras Carbonio CE. The other distros such as Redhat and CentOS will be available soon. It’s always recommended to have a fresh installation of the OS although it’s not necessary. This way we’re sure there is not any conflict in different services and the troubleshooting process is much easier if you notice any misbehavior before starting the installation.

Before Installation

Before proceeding to installation there are some preliminary steps to perform.

Carbonio CE Repository

Head to the Carbonio Community Edition webpage and fill out the form. You will soon receive an e-mail including very easy instructions to add the repository to your operating system.

After you successfully added the repository, simply continue the next steps in this guide.

Update the hosts file

Then simply update your hosts file by adding your local IP and hostname:

echo "$LOCAL_IP $HOSTNAME.$DOMAIN" >> /etc/hosts

Perform a quick check

Now it’s time to check server resolution and the domain as follows:

nslookup -type=a DOMAIN
nslookup -type=a $HOSTNAME.$DOMAIN
nslookup -type=mx DOMAIN

Run a system upgrade

Even if you have just installed the OS, it’s recommended to update the list of packages and run an upgrade before proceeding to installation:

apt-get update
apt-get upgrade

Installation Procedure

Install the Package

As the root user runs the installation using

apt install service-discover-server carbonio-directory-server carbonio-proxy \
carbonio-webui carbonio-files-ui carbonio-admin-login-ui carbonio-mta  \
carbonio-appserver carbonio-logger carbonio-user-management \
carbonio-files-ce carbonio-files-db carbonio-storages-ce \
carbonio-preview-ce carbonio-docs-connector-ce carbonio-docs-editor \

In this step, all the components (libraries, application server, users, configuration) are fetched and installed.

Services on the other hand are not enabled until they are configured in the next step.


In this step, you will use carbonio-bootstrap to configure your server. It is recommended to run the command in tmux or screen terminal as follows:

screen carbonio-bootstrap

You’ll see several menus to choose from and proceed with the configuration such as changing the domain. However, for a test installation, you can easily go with the default settings since it has all the proper configuration predefined.

Considering that you have already configured all the preliminaries including the MX record, you don’t need to set up or modify anything specific in this step.

Press y to finish and apply the configuration.

Select from menu or press 'y' to apply config (? - help)

After the configuration, press return to finish the process.

Configuration complete - press return to exit

In Zextras Carbonio CE the default administrator is zextras.

Congratulations! You have successfully deployed your secure and completely private Carbonio CE server.

You can now access your legacy admin panel using your IP or the domain you chose through port 7071:

  • https://yourIP:7071/carbonioAdmin/

Similarly, users can access their Carbonio CE without specifying the port as follows:

  • https://yourIP/



Hi Arman, First of all thanks for the great news. I was following the instructions. But ended us getting  E: Failed to fetch removed link 403 Forbidden [IP: 443] I have tried with several attempts but no luck.  Hope to get the solution soon. Thanks, Sharif

Arman Khosravi


Hi Sharif,

Yes, it was due to some issues with our email system. You should have received a new e-mail with instructions updated, if not, please download Carbonio CE again from here:

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