[Mailman-Users] Question about Mailman hosting service.

Hank van Cleef vancleef at lostwells.net
Wed Feb 19 18:54:28 CET 2014

The esteemed Joe has said:
> Hello, everyone.
> In my attempt to find a Mailman hosting service I have received a message from one IT specialist advising me to avoid hosting services that utilize a cPanel. According to this specialist this is a bad arrangement and one that doesn't provide me full control of my lists. Since I am not an IT specialist I don't know what a cPanel is or how this can be a problem. Can any of you enlighten me ? What is a cPanel, why can this be a problem and how would it not allow me full control of my lists ?
> In addition, what problems should I expect to encounter in hosting my lists with an outside Mailman hosting service ?
Joe, I'm going to comment on meeting your needs from my own direct
experience.  Just by way of introduction, let me say that I don't
consider myself an "IT specialist," though there are times when I've
had to do until a real one comes along.  

Instead, I'm a hardware engineer who first worked with digital systems
in the 1950's, and learned software on the side.  You've heard of the
DEC PDP-1. I worked on that team.  Fast forward 43 years until I
retired at 67 in 2001.  Most of that time, I worked on teams who
didn't go to school to "learn that stuff," because we were too busy
inventing it.  (Later some of those schools hired us to teach what
we'd invented).  

A couple of years after I retired (and moved into a small Rocky Mt.
ranch community), the local dialup service developed wireless radio
link services, and when they learned that I was a potential customer
and had Sun servers with Solaris available (and the skills to use
them), I was part of their development.  My setup here is as "my own
ISP" using them as my upstream feed.  About a year after we got that
up and running, a mail list I was on fell apart because of
sociological conflict.  I agreed to set up Mailman needed resources
to host his domain name, and received the needed data from the last
host site, which was also Mailman.   I downloaded the Mailman and
Python sources, built them, and installed Mailman using the existing
Solaris sendmail and apache builds in the Solaris distribution.  
Some of the Mailman web pages got customized for sociological reasons,
which meant that I had to maintain a non-standard configuration.

Our assumption at the time was that the list would operate for 3-5
years and sail off into the sunset.  That's not what happened.  We
solved the sociological problems, and at eight years, the list was 
more active than ever.  It was time to for me to get out of the hosting
"sideline," and find a commercial provider.  Before starting that
search, I did a stock build of Mailman, uncustomized, and moved my
lists to that, to see if there was any more need for the
customization.  There was none, and we found a commercial service that
was running stock Mailman with the HtDig search engine, which we
needed.  Sent them a dump of the subscriber base, the configuration
files we were using, and many gigabytes of mbox files, and they've run
the list for a good three years now.  I'll identify them in private
e-mail if you wish.

What was my actual "need" for full access to the installation?  So far
as Mailman itself was concerned, "virtually none" was the answer.  It
was convenient to be able to read the log files, but that generally
was to monitor activity involving Sendmail and its control files.  

I don't know about cPanel itself.  But I think you want to consider
what your objectives are.  I think you are saying you want to set up a
mail list, but don't want to try to turn into a systems administration
wizard in the process.  My experience is this: you don't need to,
if you're hosted on a good system with competent sysadmins.  


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