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Revision as of 23:53, 1 January 2013 by Jhernberg (Talk | contribs) (Configuration)

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

Dovecot is an open source IMAP and POP3 server for Linux/UNIX-like systems, written primarily with security in mind. Developed by Timo Sirainen, Dovecot was first released in July 2002. Dovecot primarily aims to be a lightweight, fast and easy to set up open source mailserver. For more detailed information, please see the official Dovecot Wiki.


Install the package dovecot and pam from the official repositories.

Create the SSL certificate

The dovecot package contains a script to generate the server SSL certificate.

  • Copy the configuration file from the sample file: # cp /etc/ssl/dovecot-openssl.cnf{.sample,} .
  • Edit /etc/ssl/dovecot-openssl.cnf to configure the certificate.
  • Execute # /usr/lib/dovecot/ to generate the certificate.

The certificate/key pair is created as /etc/ssl/certs/dovecot.pem and /etc/ssl/private/dovecot.pem.


Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: This section needs to be updated to reflect the new directory structure of the configuration files. (Discuss in Talk:Dovecot#)
  • To configure the server to use PAM for authentication, create /etc/pam.d/dovecot with the following content:
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:
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

Start, and optionally, enable for autostart on boot, the dovecot.service daemon.

Read Daemon for more information.