I'm looking into creating my first email server on CentOS Linux. I know it can be a challenge when it comes to managing one, but I'm up for the challenge. If I have my domain name pointed directly to my email servers IP address, would I still have to add MX Records to my DNS? As far as i know, the email server should work with Apple mail that is built in to my computer that should connect with IMAP on the SMTP server port. I'm considering using IRedMail for my email server since it looks like it could make setup a lot easier for me. Any suggestions on what I should first know before creating my own email server would be appreciated!
if i have my domain name pointed directly to my email servers IP Address would i still have to add MX Records to my DNS?
an MX record tells the internet what servers are responsible for handling incoming mail. so without an MX record, an email sent to your domain, would bounce back, as the remote email server would not know where to send it. if you want to receive mail, you need an MX record. (you also would want to implement SPF and domain keys to verify your domain email server as well). just google this and read up on it.
the email server should work with Apple mail that is built in to my computer that should connect with IMAP on the SMTP server port.
IMAP and SMTP, in this instance, is about your email client. IMAP is used by the client to retrieve mail from the server, and SMTP in this case is used by the client to send mail. so dont confuse this with an IMAP service on the server, nor SMTP as used by the email server to forward on email, based on MX records (and SPF/DKIM for domain verification.
in short, you need to google these things and understand the difference, before deploying your email server.