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I normally install postfix for my MTA. However, I've never really used sendmail so I'd decide to give it a whirl for a new application I'm working on. I don't use it for anything but handling the mail that the application needs to send out, like new user welcome emails, password resets, etc.
Sendmail, unlike postfix, won't work out of the box. Postfix will prompt you for the necessary config setup when running the install. Sendmail won't, and therefore it's not 'out of the box'. You'll have to make some modifications on your own. Nothing major but this is what I've found in order to get it to work, reliably and quickly. The first thing I did was add the fully qualified domain name to my /etc/hosts file
apt-get install sendmail
After this I added the fully qualified domain name to my apache default configuration file
Reload and restart...
vhost info etc...
/etc/init.d/apache2 force-reload /etc/init.d/sendmail restart
You can test sendmail like so
This should deliver a message to you (the "." on a new line, followed by a new line, closes the message).
sendmail firstname.lastname@example.org hello from me .