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Dovecot is an IMAP and POP3 server.

The goal of this article is to setup dovecot, using SSL auth. It requires an SMTP server already working. You can follow the Sendmail guide to set up sendmail as your SMTP server.


Install the package dovecot and pam from the official repositories.

Create SSL certs

In the SSL_certs subsection of the SOHO postfix article, you can read steps to create the ssl certs


  • Create the /etc/pam.d/dovecot file, and put the following:
auth    required nullok
account required 
  • Check the correct path where you mail is stored. Normally is /var/spool/mail.
  • Edit the /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf. Be sure you set the path of ssl_cert, ssl_key and mail_location correctly:
# 2.1.9: /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf
listen = *
ssl = yes
ssl_cert = </etc/ssl/certs/server.crt
ssl_key = </etc/ssl/private/server.key

mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/spool/mail/%u
passdb {
  driver = pam
protocols = imap pop3
service auth {
  user = root
service imap-login {
  chroot = login
  user = dovecot
service pop3-login {
  chroot = login
  user = dovecot
userdb {
  driver = passwd
  • Change permissions for the mail_location directory:
chmod 0600 /var/spool/mail/*

Start the server

/etc/rc.d/dovecot start