Jumping headfirst into security- noob question about email servers

I’m sure there are more appropriate places to ask this, but I just started using whonix and while I’m here I thought you guys would know how to help with this. If you’ve got a few minutes to explain it to a noobie I’d really appreciate the help.

I want to send and receive email @ my own .onion address. If I understand correctly hosting a hidden service is a simple as running the web server as normal for clearnet and then pointing tor at it. But are there extra complications for email? I know it’s a weird old protocol. Can I just run my MTA/MDA on the server as normal? Someone said something about pointing my email server applications at SOCKS? How would I do this?

Thanks a ton in advance for any help!

p.s. I know pointing a MUA like thunderbird at onion email is tricky, that’s okay, webmail is fine.

An important thing to consider. If this setup succeeds at all, you would only be reachable by people who are using Tor and/or who are using mail servers that also are talking Tor.

Someone from clearnet couldn’t send you an e-mail. Just as clearnet users cannot browse .onion addresses. There are services such as tor2web, but it’s “2web”, not “to e-mail” or “to anything”.

Have you considered this?

I understand. I’m fine with that.


Have you considered alternative to hidden services? Those are listed here:

They might work better.


But if you want only Tor to Tor communication, I mean who many people have such an obscure setup… Why e-mail?


Using Tor hidden services it could be difficult. Because e-mail usually require MX DNS. Tor does not support those yet. (Support all kinds of DNS over Tor (#7829) · Issues · Legacy / Trac · GitLab) I am not aware of someone having done this setup.

Mixmaster is similar to e-mail. When I documented it back then, this was quite difficult. You might find some interesting pointers here:

There might also be relevant information here:

Onioncat might help (all parties need this, but in your setup, all parties need that anyhow):

You can also try asking on the tor-talk mailing list since this is mostly Whonix unspecific.

After having written this, I just typed “e-mail onion” into Google. Did you try that? Found this pdf, didn’t test:

Oh, wow, that pdf looks great! Just what I was hoping for. I’ll try to puzzle through it, but in the meantime do you have any sage advice about it? Or (dare I ask) would you be willing to sit in a chat with me and hold my hand through setting it up? At the risk of being crass I could pay a bit of BTC for your time.


I just found this: Petter Reinholdtsen: A Debian package for SMTP via Tor (aka SMTorP) using exim4

It looks really promising- what do you think? Should I be able to do this on whonix?
I feel very close to understanding this myself, but I’m just not quite there.

No, sorry, I don’t think I will have time for that.