As a small, flexible program, ssmtp, can perform secure authentication on mailservers - without the need for a dedicated mail-daemon (such as exim4) installed. Email is sent through encrypted tunnels to a mailserver's secure port. Ssmtp can easily be configured to work with port 587 on Yahoo's mailserver.

Installation and configuration

Install ssmtp, with the package manager of your Linux distro (or other UNIX operating system).

Open up /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf in a text editor. Make the necessary edits. My comments in explaining the various options can be removed.

# Config file for sSMTP sendmail
# The which gets the mail for userids < 1000
# To disable rewriting, make this option empty.
# The syntax below: your_local_UNIX_username:your_ISP's_email_address
# Uncomment and replace, if local, mail delivery failure is experienced.

# The server where the mail goes. The actual machine name is required
# since no MX records are consulted.

# Where will the mail seem to come from?

# The full hostname of your machine. Fill out and
# uncomment if mail delivery fails.
# hostname=

# Are users allowed to set their own From: address?
# YES - Allow the user to specify their own From: address
# NO - Use the system generated From: address


# Replace the two lines below with your Yahoo username and password.


/etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf holds the username and password for your mailbox. By default, it is world-readable. For the sake of security, remove the world-readable bit, change the group-ownership and place your username in the mail group.

$ sudo   chmod 640   /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf

$ sudo   chown root:mail   /etc/ssmtp/ssmtp.conf

$ sudo   usermod -G mail   your_username

On FreeBSD - for the last (group addition) command, do:

$ sudo   pw usermod your_username -G   mail

Mutt and fetchmail

If using mutt and fetchmail, there are two rubs to the otherwise rosy, ssmtp senario. Both mutt's and fetchmail's config files need to be altered - in order to make the setup functional.

If ~/.muttrc does not exist, copy it to your $HOME, with the following command:

$ cp   /etc/Muttrc   ~/.muttrc

Open ~/.muttrc in a text editor. Add the following to .muttrc:

set sendmail="/usr/sbin/ssmtp"
set from=""
set use_from=yes

As it was designed, fetchmail "looks" for the open localhost port 25. Ssmtp does not live on port 25. To force fetchmail into delivering mail correctly, an MDA (mail delivery agent), such as maildrop, needs to be installed. After installing maildrop, a last line to .fetchmailrc needs to be added, and the path to the local mailbox put into ~/.mailfilter, as follows:

$ echo   "mda maildrop"   >>   ~/.fetchmailrc

$ echo   "DEFAULT=/var/mail/your_username"   >   ~/.mailfilter


To test yahoo's mailserver, install swaks with your package manager. Swaks can do secure ssmtp auth with ssl and/or certs. To send a test email in interactive mode, follow the commandline below, making the necessary substitutions for the sender and recipient. You will be prompted for a username and password.

$ swaks -tls -f -t -s -a LOGIN