capsule review

CommuniGate Pro 3.4

The Internet's killer apps have always been e-mail programs, but users' demands for more features, better security, and speed are tough to meet for Mac administrators using traditional mail-server packages. Mac OS X opens up the Mac to powerful mail servers previously available only on other platforms.

One of those mail servers is Stalker Software's CommuniGate Pro 3.4, a power application with such advanced features as encrypted mail transfer, Web-based administration and e-mail access, list management, and spam and virus protection. With its rich feature set and scalability, CommuniGate Pro turns the Mac into a world-class mail-serving platform.

New to the Mac

Don't confuse it with CommuniGate, Stalker's older, Mac-only program; CommuniGate Pro is a completely different product that until now ran only in Windows and Unix. Version 3.4 is the first commercial release to run on the Mac in any capacity, and it runs only in OS X. Because Stalker uses a single code base for all platforms, the Mac version offers the same capabilities as Windows and Unix versions.

Installation is a snap, and the package is easy to administer via any Web browser. Unlike other Web-administered programs, however, CommuniGate Pro supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption right out of the box; you don't need to acquire a digital certificate. That means you can safely administer CommuniGate Pro from anywhere.

CommuniGate Pro's lineup of services is extensive. The program supports most mail protocols--including SMTP, POP3, and IMAP4--as well as the latest SSL encryption and Simple Authentication and Security Layer (SASL) authentication extensions. It can serve any number of domains,

and it gives users their own Web sites. An extensive rule-processing engine allows you to set up mail preprocessing to filter and prioritize mail. Built-in spam protection prevents hackers from abusing your mail server and lets you use DNS-based spam-blocking services. With its support for content-filtering plug-ins, you can use third-party virus scanners on incoming mail.

Advanced Features

One of CommuniGate Pro's most impressive features is its scalability: you can support a few thousand users on a small Mac (such as an iMac) running OS X, tens of thousands on a large OS X server, or millions on a multiserver cluster. Even the smallest CommuniGate Pro configuration includes access to the entire suite of standard features.

CommuniGate Pro uses SSL encryption to protect mail from interception whenever it enters or leaves the server. SSL encrypts POP3, IMAP4, and Web user sessions, as well as SMTP sessions between CommuniGate and distant mail servers. This latter protection requires the cooperation of off-site mail-server administrators, so it's most useful for setting up secure enterprise e-mail exchange.

Macworld's Buying Advice

CommuniGate Pro 3.4 is a sophisticated mail server with loads of features, but it's easy to set up and maintain. Its many security options help you keep e-mail private, and extensive spam protection lets you minimize the amount of e-mail noise your users must endure. But these features don't come cheap--small-network administrators may find the entry-level price too high.

Surf Safely with Sharks CommuniGate Pro 3.4 lets users access their e-mail via a customizable Web interface, making remote mail sessions safe and convenient.
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