A subset of sendmail functionality for modern self hosting.


Traditional models of email security are designed around a
trusted mail server, and semi-trusted user agents. The mail server should
continue to perform reasonably even if an end-user machine is compromised.
For single-user domains, realistic threat models are more likely to
involve compromise of the publicly connected server, motivating a design
minimizing trust in the front server.

GoSendmail is an originating mail transfer agent for this threat model.

It is designed as a counterpoint to
maildiranasaurus, which
receives email on a semi-trusted server.


  • Sends from an authoritative / stable IP, supporting StartTLS, and with
    client certificates proving the authoritative sender.
  • Mail DKIM signed with a key that isn't on the authoritative server.


gosendmail provides two binaries which together provide:

  • Santitizing / writing a message ID to identify a new message.
  • DKIM signing / authorization of email.
  • Finding the destination mail server(s) for the message.
  • Speaking the SMTP protocol over secured TLS for delivery.

signmail parses stdin for mail sent via a mutt-like program.
It runs santization and dkim signing, and then passes the signed message
to another process, based on the sending domain. The sub-process
interaction is designed to be interoperable with the semantics of
sendmail. (e.g. the final email body is passed to stdin.)

sendmail runs on a semi-trusted server, takes an already signed message,
and performs the actual sending to remote MTSs.


  • go build ./cmd/sendmail ./cmd/signmail
  • copy sendmail to your cloud server (or build it there).
  • Modify config.json for relevant keys and domain(s).
  • Configure Mutt or your MTA to send using the signmail binary.
  • Use the environmental variables GOSENDMAIL_TLS and GOSENDMAIL_SELFSIGNED
    when insecure mail delivery is desirable. These variable will be read by
    the sendmail binary, a can be propagated through SSH.

Configuration Options

Environmental Variables

  • GOSENDMAIL_TLS - set to a false-y ("false", "0") value to skip StartTLS
  • GOSENDMAIL_SELFSIGNED - set to a true value ("true", "1") to allow
    TLS handshakes with servers that present invalid certificates.
  • GOSENDMAIL_RECIPIENTS - overrides the addresses the message will be sent
    to. This helps support partial resumption of remaining recipients and BCC.
    If not specified, recipients will be loaded from the To, CC, and BCC fields.

Configuration Options (signmail)

  • DkimKeyCmd The subprocess to execute to retrieve the bytes of the dkim signing key.
  • DkimSelector The DKIM selector, a part of the DKIM dns record. (default: 'default')
  • SendCommand The subprocess to use to send signed messages via the semi-trusted server.

Configuration Options (sendmail)

  • DialerProxy A URL (e.g. socks5://...) that connections to remote MTAs will be
    dialed through.
  • TLSCert The certificate file for the sender (client) to use for self authentication.
  • TLSKey The corresponding private key file for the sending client to use.