Setup mail server on ubuntu 14.04 ( Postfix – dovecot )

This tutorial explains how to setup mail server on ubuntu 14.04 using postfix,dovecot and squirrelmail.
» Postfix ( for sending )
» Dovecot ( for receiving )
» Squirrelmail ( for webmail access ).
Here i have used for hostname and for Domain . please replace with your domain .

Setup mail server on ubuntu 14.04

» Installing and configuring  postfix
» Installing and configuring  dovecot
» Installing and configuring squirrelmail

» Installing and configuring  postfix

Step 1 » Assign static IP and hostname and add a host entry for the host name .
Assign hostname in /etc/hostname
mail.krizna.comAdd a hostentry in /etc/hosts
Step 2 » Update the repositories.
krizna@mail:~$ sudo apt-get update
Step 3 » Install postfix and dependencies . Press enter for all prompted questions during installation. we will do that in the next step.
krizna@mail:~$ sudo apt-get install postfix
Step 4 » After installation issue the below command to configure postfix.krizna@mail:~$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure postfixNow you will be prompted for set of details . choose the following values and replace with your domain name.
1. Internet Site
3. krizna
4., localhost.localdomain, localhost
5. No
6. [::ffff:]/104 [::1]/128
7. 0
8. +
9. all

Step 5 » Now configure Postfix for SMTP-AUTH using Dovecot SASL by adding the below lines to postfix config file /etc/postfix/ .
home_mailbox = Maildir/
smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot
smtpd_sasl_path = private/auth
smtpd_sasl_local_domain =
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = permit_sasl_authenticated,permit_mynetworks,reject_unauth_destination
smtp_tls_security_level = may
smtpd_tls_security_level = may
smtp_tls_note_starttls_offer = yes
smtpd_tls_loglevel = 1
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes

Step 6 » Now generate a digital certificate for tls. Issue the commands one by one and provide details as per your domain.
krizna@mail:~$ openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 2048
krizna@mail:~$ openssl rsa -in server.key -out server.key.insecure
krizna@mail:~$ mv server.key
krizna@mail:~$ mv server.key.insecure server.key
krizna@mail:~$ openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr
krizna@mail:~$ openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crt
krizna@mail:~$ sudo cp server.crt /etc/ssl/certs
krizna@mail:~$ sudo cp server.key /etc/ssl/private

Step 7 » Now configure certificate path
krizna@mail:~$ sudo postconf -e 'smtpd_tls_key_file = /etc/ssl/private/server.key'
krizna@mail:~$ sudo postconf -e 'smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/ssl/certs/server.crt'

Step 8 » Open /etc/postfix/ file and uncomment below lines to enable smtps ( 465 ) and submission ( 587 ) .

submission inet n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/submission
  -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_relay_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING
smtps     inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/smtps
  -o smtpd_tls_wrappermode=yes
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_relay_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING

Step 9 » Now install Dovecot SASL by typing the below command.
krizna@mail:~$ sudo apt-get install dovecot-commonIssue the following values for the prompts during installation.
1. yes

Step 10 » Make changes to the files as follows.
Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-master.conf file and find # Postfix smtp-auth line ( line no:95 ) and add the below lines .
# Postfix smtp-auth
unix_listener /var/spool/postfix/private/auth {
mode = 0660
user = postfix
group = postfix
Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf file and find (line no:100)
auth_mechanisms = plain and replace auth_mechanisms = plain login
Step 11 » Restart postfix and dovecot services
krizna@mail:~$ sudo service postfix restart
krizna@mail:~$ sudo service dovecot restart

Step 12 » Now test SMTP-AUTH and smtp/pop3 port access .
Type the below command and should get below response.
krizna@mail:~$ telnet smtp
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 ESMTP Postfix (Ubuntu)
now type ehlo and should get below response , please make sure you get those bolded lines .

250 DSN
and try the same with port 587 (telnet 587).
Postfix configuration is over, continue for dovecot installation.

» Installing and configuring dovecot

Step 12 » Install dovecot using the below command
krizna@mail:~$ sudo apt-get install dovecot-imapd dovecot-pop3d
Step 13 » Now configure mailbox. Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-mail.conf file and find (Line no:30 )
mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%uReplace with
mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir
Step 14 » Now change pop3_uidl_format . Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/20-pop3.conf file and find and uncomment the below line ( Line no : 50 )
pop3_uidl_format = %08Xu%08Xv
Step 15 » Now enable SSL . Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf file and find and uncomment the below line ( Line no : 6 )
ssl = yes
Step 16 »Restart dovecot service.
krizna@mail:~$ sudo service dovecot restart
Step 17 » Now test pop3 and imap port access using the telnet command.
krizna@mail:~$ telnet 110
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
+OK Dovecot (Ubuntu) ready.
Repeat the same for 995,993,143 ports.
OR check for listening ports using netstat command .
krizna@mail:~$ netstat -nl4 you should get the result like below.
Setup mail server on ubuntu 14.04
Step 18 » Create some users and check using mail clients like thunderbird or outlook
krizna@mail:~$ sudo useradd -m bobby -s /sbin/nologin
krizna@mail:~$ sudo passwd bobby

Setup mail server on ubuntu 14.04
Now mail server is ready, you can send and receive mail using the server. Continue for squirrelmail ..

» Installing and configuring squirrelmail

Step 19 » Install squirrelmail using the below command. This will install apache and PHP packages.
krizna@mail:~$ sudo apt-get install squirrelmail
Step 20 » Configure squirrelmail
krizna@mail:~$ sudo squirrelmail-configureEverything is pre-configured , we just need to change Organization name .
» Press 1 (Organization Preferences) » again press 1 (Organization Name) » Organization Name » Press S » Press Q to quit
Step 19 » Now configure apache to enable squirrelmail .
krizna@mail:~$ sudo cp /etc/squirrelmail/apache.conf /etc/apache2/sites-available/squirrelmail.conf
krizna@mail:~$ sudo a2ensite squirrelmail

Step 20 » Restart Apache service
krizna@mail:~$ sudo service apache2 restart
Step 21 » Now open http://serverIP/squirrelmail in your browser and login using username (bobby) . you can send and receive mail using squirrelmail.
Okay .. its over now ..
Please note when you decide to move server to the production, it is very important to implement Spam filter and antivirus . please check this post for more detail Postfix spamfilter and antivirus implementation
Also see :
» Setup mail server on centos 7
» Setup mail server on centos 6


  1. Excellent tutorial ! I did everything. The squirrel mail is up. I can login but the messages I send are going nowhere. I created an email id as and I tried sending mail to itself, to gmail – nothing seems to be working. What did I miss ?

  2. Oh crap! It seems most of all posted “Squirrel works” Uhmm, I have done everything no errors, but may I ask, how do I know what is my “URL” for squirrelmail?

    “http://serverIP/squirrelmail” don’t work for me :3 HELP PLS

  3. Thanks for the tutorial.

    Finally it works in Ubuntu 15 but it took me 2 days to figure out an issue where the incoming email is not available in POP nor IMAP although from the log seen that the SMTP nicely accept the email. I wrongly do step-13 where mail_location is set to mbox:~/Maildir instead of maildir:~/Maildir.

    • You probably also wrongly did step-13 where mail_location is set to mbox:~/Maildir instead of maildir:~/Maildir. As mentioned in Lion’s post.

  4. root@mail:~# netstat -tap
    Active Internet connections (servers and established)
    Proto Recv-Q Send-Q Local Address Foreign Address State PID/Program name
    tcp 0 0 *:ssh *:* LISTEN 880/sshd
    tcp 0 0 *:smtp *:* LISTEN 27536/master
    tcp 0 0 *:imaps *:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp 0 0 *:pop3s *:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp 0 0 *:mysql *:* LISTEN 977/mysqld
    tcp 0 0 *:submission *:* LISTEN 27536/master
    tcp 0 0 *:pop3 *:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp 0 0 *:imap2 *:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp 0 0 *:urd *:* LISTEN 27536/master
    tcp 0 464 mail.remittanceuk.c:ssh ESTABLISHED 4997/0
    tcp 0 1691 mail.remittanceuk.c:ssh ESTABLISHED 6745/sshd: [accepte
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:ssh [::]:* LISTEN 880/sshd
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:smtp [::]:* LISTEN 27536/master
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:imaps [::]:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:pop3s [::]:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:submission [::]:* LISTEN 27536/master
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:pop3 [::]:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:imap2 [::]:* LISTEN 26864/dovecot
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:http [::]:* LISTEN 26842/apache2
    tcp6 0 0 [::]:urd [::]:* LISTEN 27536/master

  5. ERROR: Could not complete request.

    Query: SELECT “INBOX”

    Reason Given: [SERVERBUG] Internal error occurred. Refer to server log for more information. [2016-01-28 18:58:56]

    everything else works in squirrelmail just inbox not working checked everything wice

    any ideas please

  6. Thank you! Superb article.

    Everything went on as instructed. I have one query. After setting up the mail server, what values you enter in MX records of the domain hosting service.

  7. Best tutorial for setting up postfix and dovecot. I refer this page each and every time I setup a new server. Thanks a lot.

  8. Hey Krizna, thanks for the tutorial! Easy to follow but I am having some issues. When I do the telnet 110 step, it connects to my static ip that I setup in /etc/hosts and tells me that I am connected but then it is closed by foreign host. I did netsat and the ports are listening, but when I went back into the dovecot config files and set “ssl = no” and commented the pop3_uidl_format back out. It works fine.

  9. I’m done but on the last part

    krizna@mail:~$ sudo a2ensite squirrelmail

    it says ‘Site squirrelmail does not exist’

    Need your help Krizna.


    ** issue already solved and I can be able to open the squirrelmail but I got
    “Unknown user or password incorrect.”

    Is there any problem with the authentication? I simply followed the steps above. Please assist me. Thanks.

  10. KUDOS! After trying postfix/dovecot documentation from Ubuntu & DigitalOcean over more days than I care to count, your tutorial is the one that worked. Great work.

  11. if you have this problem: MTP server response: 530 5.7.0 Must issue a STARTTLS command first
    then my recommendation to you is to remove the comment mark at the start of the line

    good luck

  12. good day,
    i’ve done setting up my own ubuntu 14 with postfix and squirrel mail.
    Sending to local users for
    email server =

    users sends to
    totally works fine

    but when i send emails to outsiders like, or
    Mail delivery is fail.

    How can this be solved?
    I need this for my project

    Thank you very much and God bless you for sharing your wisdom

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