Setting Up a Web Based Email system with Auto Account Creation, e.g. a "HotMail" Type System

NB: This page is part of the DMail System Administrator Manual

To set up a Web Based Email system where users can add themselves without intervention from the system administrator (like 'HotMail') you will need to set up:

  1. An email server
  2. A web to email interface for the users to read their mail.
  3. Then you need to set up some way for the users to add themselves as users to the email system (and you also may want this to include options for users to change password or to set up forwarding rules, autoresponders, mailing lists etc.).
Our Solution (presented on this page):

1. The Email Server: We produce the DMail email server which is a good product to use as the email server for such a setup.

2. The Web-EMail Interface: We produce CWMail (and DMailWeb) as an excellent email to web interface solution.

3. The Web EMail Account Creator: We now produce NetAuth which allows users to add themselves to the email server system (and much more) from a web page.

Each part of this system that we produce is an individual fully featured product.

The rest of this page has details on how each of these three parts relate to each other to setup the Auto Account Creation system and links to relevant information in each one's section of our site.

Table of Contents for this page:

These links may also be useful:

Special Note on Cost:

This is not an expensive system, approximately
for a large (unlimited user) system!

You can register DMail and CWMail (or DMailWeb) for a BUNDLE price. NetAuth comes free with all DMail licenses.

See our prices page for details.

The Email Server - DMail

You will find more than enough 'trumpet blowing' on the
DMail Home Page

The Web Email Interface - CWMail (or DMailWeb)

We produce two options for the Web Email Interface part of a Web Email system, CWMail or DMailWeb.

Basically CWMail is a more fully featured version of DMailWeb and each has its niche area:

  • CWMail allows the user to have a fully featured email client, so it suits users who will mostly access their mail from the web.
  • DMailWeb on the other hand simply has the necessary email client features, and suits users who want occasional access to their email from the web.

Both are CGIs (commonly known as 'scripts') that run on your web server.

They come with a set of template web pages which are fully customisable so that you can make this 'web based email client' look like the rest of your site.

CWMail/DMailWeb Home Page

The Web EMail Account Creator: - NetAuth

The best option for the Web based email account creation part of the system is NetAuth.

NetAuth is a web based email account creation/administration tool which provides:

  1. email account creation and administration for users
  2. email domain adminstration tools for domain administrators
  3. email system administration tools for the sys admin

Some examples of its capabilities are,

  • adding users
  • changing passwords
  • setting up aliases
  • creating mailing lists
  • etc.

It is a new beta product (free with the DMail 'Unlimited User License') , with its own web page at,

NetAuth is a CGI that runs on the web server (in the same way that CWMail and DMailWeb do) and has a set of web pages (templates) which you can customise.

Note: NetAuth is fully customisable as per CWMail/DMailWeb - it is easy to make NetAuth look as good as the rest of your site :-)

The other option for Web based email account creation is WAdduser.

Note: WAdduser was an early limited form of NetAuth which will slowly be phased out. WAdduser can be used to create and optionally delete mail accounts from the web. For more details see,
Setting Up WAdduser

So how does the NetAuth CGI add users to the email system?

NetAuth 'talks' to an external authentication module which in turn adds the users to the user database.

Up until now NetAuth required that you use NWAuth (free with DMail) as your user database. NWAuth is Netwin's own simple but very efficient user database program. It comes in the DMail distribution set, along with its source so that you can modify it.

Version 2.0 of NetAuth works with external authentication modules other than NWAuth - e.g. our LDAPAuth or a module of your own design or modification (e.g. the ODBC authenticator). (In the near future it will also work with system password files, i.e. Unix style /etc/passwd and NT's system user database.) For more information about available authenication modules see the URL: External Modules

We still recommend that you use NWAuth if you do not have any limitations on which authentication option you choose. For details of its performance see,
Performance Statistics

I want to make use of the Free Trial period to try this out.
So how do I set this up?

For those who want simple 'do this' type instructions we now have the,
Step by Step Installation Guide

For those who need to know more about how the system works, we recommend the following sequence:

  1. Download and install DMail. Set it up for just ONE domain (add extra 'virtual' domains later)
  2. Set up External Authentication (nwauth) with 'user@domain' type authentication:
    for example, set/edit the following settings in dmail.conf (typically c:\winnt\system32\dmail.conf or /etc/dmail.conf),

    authent_method external
    authent_process c:\dmail\nwauth.exe
    authent_domain true


    • there should be a host_domain setting in dmail.conf for your domain, e.g.,
    • you need to RE-START DMSTP and DPOP after changing the authentication process.

  3. Add a couple of test users:

    You can do this either using the 'Users' section of the windows GUI admin tool, DMAdmin, or you can run NWAuth from a command line, e.g. to add bob and fred to the domain, enter,

    c:\dmail\nwauth (runs NWAuth)
    set pass1
    set pass2
    quit (to close nwauth)

    Now check that you have successfully added the two users by opening in a text editor the database file, nwauth.add (or nwauth.txt). You should see two lines (with encrypted passwords) like,

    At this point you should be able to send and receive email with a normal, non-web-based, email client.

  4. Download and install CWMail (or DMailWeb)

    Now you should be able to send and receive email using the web interface.

  5. Download and install NetAuth

    Now you should have a complete system. You should be able to add users from the web.

Each of the products has its own information on installation, which you should read (click on the links above). Our products are rich in features so don't get bogged down in the details :-)

If you have any problems or this does not cover your specific situation then please contact
DMail support

or for CWMail/DMailWeb specific queries you can contact,
CWMail support

similarly for NetAuth specific queries you can contact
NetAuth support

- any of us will be happy to help :-)

What is a Auto Account Creation system?

A very popular feature of the DMail suite of products is the ability to setup a Web Based Email System with Auto Account Creation, for example a 'HotMail' type system.

Users Adding Themselves to Your EMail System:

Basically such a system is where users can go along to your web site and create themselves a mail account. Often they are asked to provide details about themselves.

Users can then access this mail account via the web, so that they can send and read mail from anywhere in the world. All they need is a computer with a web browser and an internet connection.

Find out how to set up an Web Based Email system