Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 2: Dovecot

Dovecot Logo

This is the second part of a five part tutorial that will show you how to install a full featured email server on your Raspberry Pi. This tutorial covers Dovecot, which provides SASL authentication and IMAP capabilities. The parts are:

The Introduction & Contents Page (read first)
Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 1: Postfix
Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 2: Dovecot
Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 3: Squirrelmail
Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 4: Spam Detection with Spamassassin
Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 5: Spam Sorting with LMTP & Sieve

Fixing the errors that appeared during dovecot installation

In part 1, when you installed Dovecot I mentioned that you might see some errors like this:

Creating config file /etc/dovecot/conf.d/20-imap.conf with new version
[....] Restarting IMAP/POP3 mail server: dovecotError: socket() failed: Address family not supported by protocol
Error: service(imap-login): listen(::, 143) failed: Address family not supported by protocol
Error: socket() failed: Address family not supported by protocol
Error: service(imap-login): listen(::, 993) failed: Address family not supported by protocol
Fatal: Failed to start listeners
 failed!
invoke-rc.d: initscript dovecot, action "restart" failed.
dpkg: error processing dovecot-imapd (--configure):
 subprocess installed post-installation script returned error exit status 1
Setting up dovecot-ldap (1:2.1.7-7) ...

These errors are caused by the lack of IPv6 support, which I mentioned in the previous tutorial. To remove the errors, open the main dovecot configuration file (/etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf) and find this line:

listen = *, ::

And change it to:

listen = *

The * means “all IPv4 addresses”, the :: means “all IPv6 addresses”. Now restart Dovecot, and you shouldn’t get any errors:

sudo service dovecot restart

Note: since I wrote this tutorial, there have been a few small changes to the default configuration file - you may find that the line is commented (with a # at the start of the line). If so, remember to uncomment it when you make your changes!

Tell Dovecot where your Mailbox is

Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-mail.conf and find this line:

mail_location = mbox:~/mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u

Change it to this:

mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir

Instruct Postfix to use Dovecot SASL

Now we need to tell Postfix that we would like to use Dovecot for SASL authentication. Open /etc/postfix/main.cf and add these lines:

smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot
smtpd_sasl_path = private/auth
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes

Now tell Dovecot to listen for SASL authentication requests from Postfix. Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-master.conf and comment out the current block that begins with service auth (place a # at the start of each line). Replace it with this:

service auth {
        unix_listener /var/spool/postfix/private/auth {
                mode = 0660
                user = postfix
                group = postfix
        }
}

Now you want to enable plain text logins. Do it by adding these two lines to /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf. Make sure they are not already present in the file, or your settings may be overwritten with the default ones if the default is declared later in the file than the lines you add. If the parameters are already present, you can either modify the existing lines or comment them out and add these new ones:

disable_plaintext_auth = no
auth_mechanisms = plain login

Note that although the logins are in plain text, we will be setting Postfix up later so that it only allows you to use plaintext logins from within SSL/TLS. This means that your login and password will sent in an encrypted session - you wouldn't see them in plain text if you used a packet sniffer, for example. For now, we’re allowing unencrypted plain text logins so that we can test logging in with Telnet. Since the connection is local (from the Pi to the Pi), your password isn’t being sent over any insecure networks so this is fine.

Testing SASL

Creating a new user for testing purposes is a good idea. Let’s call this temporary user testmail and give it the password test1234 Use this command to add the user, and follow the prompts including setting a password.

sudo adduser testmail

Now restart Postfix and Dovecot:

sudo service postfix restart
sudo service dovecot restart

We’re now going to try and send an email after authenticating with SASL. The server is expecting to see a base64 encoded version of your username and password, so we have to convert it first. There are three ways of doing this, so I've given examples below using the testmail username and test1234 password:

#Method No.1
echo -ne '\000testmail\000test1234' | openssl base64

#Method No.2
perl -MMIME::Base64 -e 'print encode_base64("\0testmail\0test1234");'

#Method No.3
printf '\0%s\0%s' 'testmail' 'test1234' | openssl base64

I have discovered that if your password starts with a number, methods 1 and 2 don’t work. Assuming the username and password are testmail and test1234, the commands produce this:

AHRlc3RtYWlsAHRlc3QxMjM0

WARNING: If you’re having problems with authentication and you paste examples to forums or mailing lists, be aware that it is really easy to convert this back into your username and password (hence the creation of a test user). If you're using your real username and password to test, redact it before posting!

Now, still logged into the Pi via SSH, you can telnet port 25 to test whether or not SASL is working. There’s only one extra step, which is the AUTH PLAIN command that comes after ehlo but before mail from. For testing, the permit_mynetworks parameter should be commented out under your postfix smtpd_recipient_restrictions block in /etc/postfix/main.cf. If you’re following on from Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 1: Postfix then this should already be the case. If you have to change it, remember to reload postfix (sudo service postfix reload) after you change the value. Here’s an example:

telnet localhost 25
Trying 127.0.0.1...
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 samhobbs ESMTP Postfix (Debian/GNU)
ehlo facebook.com
250-samhobbs
250-PIPELINING
250-SIZE 10240000
250-VRFY
250-ETRN
250-STARTTLS
250-AUTH PLAIN LOGIN
250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
250-8BITMIME
250 DSN
AUTH PLAIN AHRlc3RtYWlsAHRlc3QxMjM0
235 2.7.0 Authentication successful
mail from:testmail
250 2.1.0 Ok
rcpt to:me@externalemail.com
250 2.1.5 Ok
data
354 End data with .
Subject: This is my first email that has been authenticated with Dovecot SASL
Woop woop
.
250 2.0.0 Ok: queued as B87133F768
quit
221 2.0.0 Bye
Connection closed by foreign host.

Now try again but enter the username/password incorrectly (base64 encode something random) – you should get an error message and the email won’t send. If everything went to plan, then SASL is working properly!

You can now uncomment permit_mynetworks again.

Separating Incoming email (unauthenticated) from Outgoing Email (SASL authenticated)

It’s probably a good idea to have a dedicated port for sending outgoing email…here’s why: Port 25 doesn’t require (but does offer) SSL/TLS encryption. If you mess up configuring your mail client you could end up letting it authenticate with SASL over insecure connections. Using a different port that only accepts SSL/TLS connections removes the risk that a poorly configured email client could be sending your password unencrypted over dodgy networks. There are two ports you can use for this:

  1. 465: SMTP over SSL
  2. 587: Email submission

587 is the “official” port for email clients (like K9 mail, Thunderbird and Outlook) to use when submitting messages to the Mail Submission Agent (your email server) – the submission may be encrypted or unencrypted depending on the server configuration. 465 was a port that was assigned for SMTP with SSL/TLS before the STARTTLS protocol was introduced, back in the days when you chose your port and that decided on the type of connection you were going to get (encrypted or unencrypted).

STARTTLS changed things because it allows you to connect with an unencrypted connection (like the one you get with Telnet), and then upgrade to an encrypted connection without changing port… so when STARTTLS was introduced, SMTPS on port 465 was removed from the standard because you could do the same thing with a single port (25).

However, I think there is some value in specifying a port for submission that only accepts SSL/TLS encrypted connections, and won’t work if the connection isn’t encrypted. This means that if you misconfigure your email client it just won’t work, instead of working and sending your password in an unencrypted format. So, anyway… Here’s how to set up Postfix to listen on port 465 for encrypted connections. The first step is telling Postfix to listen on port 465, so open /etc/postfix/master.cf and uncomment the line:

smtps     inet  n       -       -       -       -       smtpd

Now restart Postfix:

sudo service postfix restart

Test whether Postfix is listening on port 465:

telnet localhost 465
Trying 127.0.0.1...                                                                           
Connected to localhost.                                                                       
Escape character is '^]'.
220 samhobbs.co.uk ESMTP Postfix (Debian/GNU)
ehlo samhobbs.co.uk
250-samhobbs
250-PIPELINING
250-SIZE 10240000
250-VRFY
250-ETRN
250-STARTTLS
250-AUTH PLAIN LOGIN
250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
250-8BITMIME
250 DSN
quit
221 2.0.0 Bye
Connection closed by foreign host.

OK, so now it’s listening on the right port, but it’s allowing unencrypted connections. Here’s how you force TLS on port 465: open /etc/postfix/master.cf and find the line you uncommented earlier. Below it are some options, you want to edit them so that they look like this (i.e. uncomment lines 2 and 3):

smtps     inet  n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/smtps
  -o smtpd_tls_wrappermode=yes

Line 3 is forcing TLS on port 465, and line 2 means that connections to port 465 have a different label in the logs, which can be useful for debugging.

sudo service postfix restart

Now try connecting with Telnet again… you should be able to establish a connection, but not receive any prompts from the server:

telnet localhost 465                                            
Trying 127.0.0.1...                                                                           
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
exit
exit
Connection closed by foreign host.

Now try openssl:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:465 -quiet
depth=0 CN = samhobbs
verify error:num=18:self signed certificate
verify return:1
depth=0 CN = samhobbs
verify return:1
220 samhobbs.co.uk ESMTP Postfix (Debian/GNU)
quit
221 2.0.0 Bye

Good: we are able to start a TLS encrypted connection. We got some errors because the certificate is self-signed (it's not signed by a certificate that is in the trusted root store on the server) but this is OK because we're just using the certificate for testing for now. When you come back later to set up a proper certificate, you can use this command to verify it. The -CApath option tells openssl where the trusted certificates are stored on your system:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:465 -quiet -CApath /etc/ssl/certs

Successful validation looks something like this:

sam@samhobbs:~$ openssl s_client -connect localhost:465 -quiet -CApath /etc/ssl/certs
depth=3 C = SE, O = AddTrust AB, OU = AddTrust External TTP Network, CN = AddTrust External CA Root
verify return:1                                                                              
depth=2 C = GB, ST = Greater Manchester, L = Salford, O = COMODO CA Limited, CN = COMODO RSA Certification Authority
verify return:1                                                                              
depth=1 C = GB, ST = Greater Manchester, L = Salford, O = COMODO CA Limited, CN = COMODO RSA Domain Validation Secure Server CA
verify return:1                                                                              
depth=0 OU = Domain Control Validated, OU = PositiveSSL, CN = samhobbs.co.uk                 
verify return:1                                                                              
220 samhobbs.co.uk ESMTP Postfix (Ubuntu)                                                    
quit                                                                                         
221 2.0.0 Bye

There are a couple more changes we want to make here: first, tell Postfix to only advertise SASL authentication over encrypted connections (so that you don’t accidentally send your password in the clear). Open /etc/postfix/main.cf and add this line:

smtpd_tls_auth_only = yes
sudo service postfix reload

Now connect to port 25 and you shouldn’t see AUTH advertised:

telnet localhost 25
Trying 127.0.0.1...
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
220 samhobbs.co.uk ESMTP Postfix (Debian/GNU)
ehlo samhobbs.co.uk
250-samhobbs.co.uk
250-PIPELINING
250-SIZE 10240000
250-VRFY
250-ETRN
250-STARTTLS
250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
250-8BITMIME
250 DSN

Lastly, we want to override the smtp_recipient_restrictions for port 465 so that it doesn't accept incoming messages from unauthenticated users.

At first, I didn't make this change and I noticed that some spam emails were coming in on port 465 and bypassing my spam filter, which I configured to scan all incoming email on port 25, but not 465 because I only expected it to be used for outgoing email. We can do this by overriding the smtp_recipient_restrictions list for port 465 in /etc/postfix/master.cf. Open master.cf and find the smtps line. Add a new recipient restrictions list option like this:

smtps     inet  n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/smtps
  -o smtpd_tls_wrappermode=yes
  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject

Now reload postfix:

sudo service postfix reload

Perfect! Postfix configuration is now complete.

Testing IMAP

There are two main protocols for fetching mail: POP and IMAP. The main difference between them is what they do with emails when they collect them: a POP client will fetch email from your server and remove it from the server when it’s done. This is inconvenient if you want to connect with two or more devices (like a phone and a computer) and have complete copies of all your emails on both. IMAP, on the other hand, makes a copy of the emails on the server and leaves the originals there. For this reason, I think IMAP is much more useful than POP and I didn’t even bother to set up POP on my server. We can now test the IMAP server with Telnet in a similar way to SMTP & SASL testing earlier. This time, we’ll be using port 143, the standard port for IMAP. The stages are:

  1. establish a connection with telnet localhost 143
  2. log in with a login "USERNAME" "PASSWORD"" (not base64 encoded this time)
  3. select inbox to see messages inside b select inbox
  4. logout with c logout

In case you're wondering, the "a b c" thing is done because a client can send multiple commands to the server at once, and they might not come back in the same order depending on what they are. So, the responses have the same letter as the commands they are responding to so that the client doesn't get muddled.

Here’s an example, using the testmail user we created earlier:

telnet localhost 143
Trying 127.0.0.1...
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
* OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 LITERAL+ SASL-IR LOGIN-REFERRALS ID ENABLE IDLE STARTTLS AUTH=PLAIN AUTH=LOGIN] Dovecot ready.
a login "testmail" "test1234"
a OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 LITERAL+ SASL-IR LOGIN-REFERRALS ID ENABLE IDLE SORT SORT=DISPLAY THREAD=REFERENCES THREAD=REFS MULTIAPPEND UNSELECT CHILDREN NAMESPACE UIDPLUS LIST-EXTENDED I18NLEVEL=1 CONDSTORE QRESYNC ESEARCH ESORT SEARCHRES WITHIN CONTEXT=SEARCH LIST-STATUS SPECIAL-USE] Logged in
b select inbox
* FLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft)
* OK [PERMANENTFLAGS (\Answered \Flagged \Deleted \Seen \Draft \*)] Flags permitted.
* 1 EXISTS
* 0 RECENT
* OK [UNSEEN 1] First unseen.
* OK [UIDVALIDITY 1385217480] UIDs valid
* OK [UIDNEXT 2] Predicted next UID
* OK [NOMODSEQ] No permanent modsequences
b OK [READ-WRITE] Select completed.
c logout
* BYE Logging out
c OK Logout completed.
Connection closed by foreign host.

Adding TLS support

Now that we know IMAP is working, we need to enable IMAPS (imap with SSL/TLS). The standard port for this is 993.

Many other tutorials that were written for older versions of dovecot will tell you to do this in different ways that won’t work, I tried 3 different methods before I ended up with a working one.

First, edit /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-master.conf, find the “service imap-login” block and uncomment the port and SSL lines so that it looks like this:

service imap-login {
  inet_listener imap {
    port = 143
  } 
  inet_listener imaps {
    port = 993
    ssl = yes
  }
}

Edit 14/10/2015: the default dovecot configuration files changed recently after Jessie became the new stable distribution of Debian, which caused some users problems; TLS on port 993 used to be enabled by default but now it isn't. We need to re-enable it.

In /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf, find ssl = no and change it to:

ssl = yes

There have been some security vulnerabilities discovered in older versions of the SSL protocol in recent times. SSLv2 is disabled by default, but it doesn't harm to explicitly disable it again. SSLv3 is vulnerable to an attack called POODLE, so we will disable it too. In the same file, find the ssl_protocols parameter line, uncomment it and add !SSLv3 to the end, like this:

ssl_protocols = !SSLv2 !SSLv3

Edit 02/09/2017: if you're using Debian Stretch or later, or one of its derivatives, then you will need to edit that line to match the following. The SSLv2 option is no longer recognised as an option for ssl_protocols because it has been removed entirely:

ssl_protocols = !SSLv3

For some bizarre reason, the Dovecot package for Raspberry Pi (and possibly newer versions of Ubuntu) does not create a self-signed certificate during installation like it used to. So, we have to create one manually. If you look in /usr/share/dovecot/ you will find the script that used to be used to generate the certificate; we can use it ourselves to simplify the process.

The script is located at /usr/share/dovecot/mkcert.sh and looks like this:

#!/bin/sh

# Generates a self-signed certificate.
# Edit dovecot-openssl.cnf before running this.

OPENSSL=${OPENSSL-openssl}
SSLDIR=${SSLDIR-/etc/ssl}
OPENSSLCONFIG=${OPENSSLCONFIG-dovecot-openssl.cnf}

CERTDIR=/etc/dovecot
KEYDIR=/etc/dovecot/private

CERTFILE=$CERTDIR/dovecot.pem
KEYFILE=$KEYDIR/dovecot.pem

if [ ! -d $CERTDIR ]; then
  echo "$SSLDIR/certs directory doesn't exist"
  exit 1
fi

if [ ! -d $KEYDIR ]; then
  echo "$SSLDIR/private directory doesn't exist"
  exit 1
fi

if [ -f $CERTFILE ]; then
  echo "$CERTFILE already exists, won't overwrite"
  exit 1
fi

if [ -f $KEYFILE ]; then
  echo "$KEYFILE already exists, won't overwrite"
  exit 1
fi

$OPENSSL req -new -x509 -nodes -config $OPENSSLCONFIG -out $CERTFILE -keyout $KEYFILE -days 365 || exit 2
chmod 0600 $KEYFILE
echo 
$OPENSSL x509 -subject -fingerprint -noout -in $CERTFILE || exit 2

If you were going to use this certificate for any significant length of time, it would be worth editing the parameters in the config file it uses (/usr/share/dovecot/dovecot-openssl.cnf) to set the proper common name and contact details on the certificate. However, I suggest you leave the defaults as they are, use this certificate just for testing, and then come back later and generate a new cert when everything is working (more on that later).

You must be in the same folder as the configuration file when you run the script, or it will not find the config and the certificate generation will fail. The following two commands will change to the right folder and then execute the script:

cd /usr/share/dovecot
sudo ./mkcert.sh

You should see a message "writing new private key to '/etc/dovecot/private/dovecot.pem'" and then some details about the certificate.

Next, find the following two lines in /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf and uncomment them:

#ssl_cert = </etc/dovecot/dovecot.pem
#ssl_key = </etc/dovecot/private/dovecot.pem

Now reload dovecot to apply the changes:

sudo service dovecot reload

Since IMAPS is a connection over SSL/TLS, we can’t use Telnet to test it. Instead, we use openssl to create a secure connection. There are two versions of the command, one will show you LOADS of information about the certificate used to encrypt the connection, and the other will suppress this info. I recommend trying the long version out of interest, but both will work the same for the test:

For full information:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:993

For minimal information:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:993 -quiet

I won’t print the output of the first command, because it’s ridiculously long. Here’s an example of the second, including a login test:

admin@samhobbs /etc/dovecot/conf.d $ openssl s_client -connect localhost:993 -quiet
depth=0 O = Dovecot mail server, OU = samhobbs, CN = samhobbs, emailAddress = root@samhobbs.co.uk
verify error:num=18:self signed certificate
verify return:1
depth=0 O = Dovecot mail server, OU = samhobbs, CN = samhobbs, emailAddress = root@samhobbs.co.uk
verify return:1
* OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 LITERAL+ SASL-IR LOGIN-REFERRALS ID ENABLE IDLE AUTH=PLAIN AUTH=LOGIN] Dovecot ready.
a login "testmail" "test1234"
a OK [CAPABILITY IMAP4rev1 LITERAL+ SASL-IR LOGIN-REFERRALS ID ENABLE IDLE SORT SORT=DISPLAY THREAD=REFERENCES THREAD=REFS MULTIAPPEND UNSELECT CHILDREN NAMESPACE UIDPLUS LIST-EXTENDED I18NLEVEL=1 CONDSTORE QRESYNC ESEARCH ESORT SEARCHRES WITHIN CONTEXT=SEARCH LIST-STATUS SPECIAL-USE] Logged in
b logout
* BYE Logging out
b OK Logout completed.
Connection closed by foreign host.

Good stuff: SSL/TLS is working on port 993, and you can log in successfully.

Note that by default Dovecot uses a “snakeoil” self-signed certificate. SSL/TLS certificates are used for two purposes: encryption and verification. The “snakeoil” certificate will encrypt your content but it won’t verify that you’re talking to your server – you could be talking to someone imitating your server (anyone can create a self-signed certificate claiming to be any website).

If you’d like to get your certificate signed without forking out loads of money to a cert signing authority, I’d recommend CAcert. I've written a tutorial explaining how to generate your own cert and get it signed here. If you opt for a commercial certificate, you can use the CAcert tutorial to generate the certificate and then this tutorial will explain the differences in the installation/configuration of commercial certificates once you have it signed.

If you're testing a proper certificate, use this command to tell openssl where the trusted root certificates are stored:

openssl s_client -connect localhost:993 -quiet -CApath /etc/ssl/certs

Tidying up and enabling WAN access

Before opening the ports on your router to the world, it’s a good idea to delete that test user because the password is so easy to guess.

sudo userdel testmail

Also, if you still use the "pi" login, for goodness' sake change the password from "raspberry"! You can do this using the passwd command when logged in as pi:

passwd

Or you can achieve the same thing when logged in as another user by using sudo to gain root privileges:

sudo passwd pi

Now you can open a few ports on your router’s firewall. Make sure your Pi has a static LAN IP address and then forward these ports from WAN to its LAN IP address:

  • Port 25 for SMTP (used for receiving emails)
  • Port 465 for secure SMTP (used for sending emails after SASL authentication)
  • Port 993 for IMAPS (used to receive emails on your phone/tablet/computer)

Here’s an example on my router, running OpenWrt:

openwrt-port-forwards-raspberry-pi-email-server.png

Setting up IMAP Email Clients

I’m now going to run through setting up IMAP email clients quickly, using K9 Mail on Android and Thunderbird on GNU/Linux as examples. The setup for Thunderbird on Windows and Mac OSX should be very similar.

The basics are this:

  • Select an IMAP connection
  • Your login is your username only (omit @yourdomain.com), and you password is…your password!
  • For incoming emails: select use SSL/TLS always and the program should automatically select port 993
  • For outgoing emails: select SSL/TLS always. The program may suggest port 587, but you want port 465

K9 Mail

Open K9 Mail and select add new account. Type in your account information (you@yourdomain.com and password) and then select manual setup. Select IMAP and then enter your information as follows…

Incoming email:

K9 Incoming Email Settings

Outgoing email:

K9 Outgoing Email Settings

Thunderbird

Open Thunderbird, and then click Account Actions –> Add Mail Account.

Fill in your password and email address, which is your username followed by your fully qualified domain name (FQDN), i.e. username@yourdomain.com:

Thunderbird Step 1: Mail Account Setup

Thunderbird will try to auto-detect settings and fail. Don’t worry, this is normal. Select “manual config”:

 Thunderbird Step 2: TB will try to autodetect settings, and fail. Select “Manual Config"

Now edit the settings as appropriate. I had to remove a period (.) from in front of my “server hostname”, and edit the SSL and Authentication settings. If you select “SSL/TLS” for both incoming and outgoing, ports 993 and 465 are automatically selected:

Thunderbird Step 3: Edit the settings so that they match these (but change them to match your username and domain name!)

Now try emailing yourself from your external email address, and see if your email gets through. If you are having problems, be sure to check you’ve set up an MX record as well as a DNS A record.

Stuck in spam filters?

A few people have contacted me recently to say that their email server is working fine but their emails are getting sent to Gmail's spam folder.

If you are experiencing problems like this (or even if you're not), try setting up an SPF and/or PTR record as explained in my DNS basics tutorial.

You might also want to check if your domain name or IP address are on any blacklists. There's a handy website called MX toolbox that lets you do this (choose blacklist check from the dropdown menu).

Almost done…

Good news! If you’ve reached this far and everything is working, then you’re almost done. The next step (Webmail with Squirrelmail) is optional but by far the easiest of the three steps.

If you’ve hit a rut, please post a comment and I’ll try and help you out.

If not… continue to Raspberry Pi Email Server Part 3: Squirrelmail

Type: 

Comments

Hey Sam!

First of all, thanks for the great tutorial, I really appreciate it!

Now, I've followed your tutorial closely up until the end of the second part, where I should try to connect my newly created account to Thunderbird for example, which doesn't work (I tried Outlook and K9 as well, each with two different accounts). When I write a mail through telnet though, I can receive it on my gmail (in the spam folder, but I'm guessing that's a certification issue). When I send an email from my external account I can receive it on the pi as well (checked the logs, everything looks fine). I also let a few of those dns configuration websites check my domain and everything came back positive.

Do you have any idea where I might have screwed up? Im guessing it is a authentification issue, because that is where the account setups seem to run into problems... Anyway, thanks in advance and I really appreciate your work here!

regards,
Julian

Hey Sam!

Thanks for your response, ironically the mail notifying me about it got stuck in my spam-filter... Anyway, I've sorted the issue out it is a problem with my the network configuration of my router, which is provided by my ISP. Sadly, I cannot change the configuration in question manually, which is why I decided to host my mail server externally. All is well now!

Thanks for your support anyway!

Hi Sam,

I am able to send and receive emails from my own domain but not any other domain. However I cannot find an error log or something similar which might point me to a solution - none of the emails have bounced, but they don't show up. The emails during part I got through, although they were obviously caught by the spam filter.

I thought something might have been caught up in a firewall somewhere, but my pi is the DMZ and its firewall allows everything outgoing and ingoing connections on ports 25, 465 and 993. Is that sufficient to rule this out?

I host something on websitename.tld, so I set mail.websitename.tld to point to my IP, and my MX record points to mail.websitename.tld. Although I use Cloudflare, these records are DNS only, so that shouldn't be the problem - should I rule this out too?

Thanks,
J

Can I just check that you mean you can send and receive email locally, but you don't receive email sent to your domain from external email servers? And you also don't receive email sent to external email servers from your server?

Most likely to be a firewall or DNS issue as you have identified. If you would like me to help test, can you post your domain name and I'll check your DNS records and make a test connection etc.

Sam

I managed to solve all the problems by somewhat drastic action, ie. reinstalling Raspbian and going through the tutorial again.

I now have another question: my emails have a red lock next to them in Gmail, indicating that they are "not encrypted". Have I missed something in the tutorial which can encrypt them? Is this to do with getting a verified certificate in the certificate generation bit?

I don't know, I don't use gmail...try allowing TLS when it is available for outgoing connections. In /etc/postfix/main.cf:

smtp_tls_security_level = may

That will tell Postfix to use TLS when it is available, for outgoing connections to other servers.

Sam

do i have to create a unix user for every email? and what if i host more than one website how to get a mail box for them too?

Hi,

Yes you need a unix user for each email address, unless some of the email addresses are an alias for other users, in which case you can use /etc/aliases and the emails will be delivered to the same mailbox.

If you have more than one website and you don't mind emails to foo@website1.com and foo@website2.com being delivered to the same mailbox (/home/foo/Maildir) then you can just add the second domain to mydestination in your postfix config and configure an MX record for the second domain to point to the A record for the first domain, so that email for both domains is handled by the same server.

If you want the maidirs to be kept separate, then you will need to use virtual users, which is beyond the scope of this tutorial.

Sam

So I upgraded to Squeeze and Dovecot broke. Here is how to fix it.

Upon upgrade I got the following error in the log:
"dovecot: imap-login: Fatal: Invalid ssl_protocols setting: Unknown protocol 'SSLv2'"

Dovecot fails to load. No IMAP.

How do we fix it? Where Sam Hobbes tells you that it does no harm to explicitly disable SSLv2, it keeps it from running at all in Raspbian Squeeze, so open up the file /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf. Where it says "ssl_protocols = !SSLv2 !SSLv3" change it to "ssl_protocols = !SSLv3" Don't worry about the vulnerability. SSLv2 has been removed from OpenSSL. Then type "sudo service dovecot restart" and you are good to go.

When I send email from raspberry pi (telnet) to my email account, it gets received and I can retrieve it in my iPhone client. But when I try to send from any client, the mail server rejects it with an "unknown user" msg.

Hi Nader,

Some troubleshooting steps to work through:

  • Does the user you are trying to send email from (in the mail client) exist? They must have a system login on the server.
  • Have you checked to make sure your mail client is connecting to the correct server - if your DNS records are incorrect then your email client may be talking to another server (some DNS providers have an email forwarding service)
  • Try watching the mail logs as you try to connect, i.e. in the terminal type tail -f /var/log/mail.log and see what happens when you attempt to send an email from the client. If you don't see anything related in the log then your client isn't talking to the right server! CTRL+C to exit out of tail.

Let me know what you find!

Sam

Hi Sam thank you for getting back to me
The client is the mail App in my iPhone and it seems to connecting to the server ok. When I open the App I see the login get logged and when I close the App the connection-closed gets logged in mail.log

But when I try to send an email to the same email account (basically sending email to myself) from the same App, I get a pop up message that says “the sender address was rejected by the server”. And, there is nothing logged on the mail.log as if nothing gets through. I checked with my domain name provider (namecheap) and made sure I did not have any email services active.

Also , when I try to send an email from my gmail account from a web browser I get a failed delivery email with this content…
(Replaced my actual domain name with MYDOMAIN below)

----------------------------------------------------------------------
This is the mail system at host eforward3b.registrar-servers.com.

I'm sorry to have to inform you that your message could not
be delivered to one or more recipients. It's attached below.

For further assistance, please send mail to postmaster.

If you do so, please include this problem report. You can
delete your own text from the attached returned message.

The mail system

: unknown user: "nader@MYDOMAIN"

IMAP and SMTP are two different connections, it's possible your mail client is connecting to your server for IMAP but another server for SMTP. I still think you have a DNS problem and your DNS provider's default mail server (eforward3b.registrar-servers.com) is handling your email, but IMAP is working because you have specified the domain name to connect to directly (i.e. the MX record isn't involved).

Can I check you read the DNS tutorial and configured an MX record? I expect you have an MX record pointing to eforward3b.registrar-servers.com at the moment.

Sam

my ISP blocks port 25. Is there a workaround?
I seem to be able to send and receive emails from my domain addresses (pi@MYDOMAIN to and from pi2@MYDOMAIN) over the internet and my network.
But when I try from a gmail address over the internet I get
Sep 19 11:16:22 raspberrypi postfix/smtp[31623]: connect to alt1.gmail-smtp-in.l.google.com[173.194.219.27]:25: Connection timed out
which seem to be using port 25

Nader,

The alternatives are:

  • See if you can get a static IP address without port blocking
  • Use a relay (can't help you with that though)
  • Use a virtual private server hosted elsewhere

Sam

Hi,

This tutorial is brilliant so far. I love the inclusion of testing to verify things are working before going on to the next step. I am stuck on the "testing IMAP" section of your tutorial. When I use telnet localhost 143, it says:
Trying ::1...
Trying 127.0.0.1...
telnet: Unable to connect to remote host: Connection refused

All the telnet/openssh testing steps before this have worked marvelously. In my troubleshooting steps for this, i found that systemctl status dovecot.socket gives the error "Failed to listen on Dovecot IMAP/POP3 em".

I added a line protocols = imap to the dovecot.conf file per their own troubleshooting recommendations, but this did not remedy the issue.

If you could help tell me what I am missing, I would be super thankful. I am using a Pi 3 with the Raspian based off of Debain Stretch

Thanks,
Tim Sanderson

Have a look through the mail log/error log (/var/log/mail.log and /var/log/mail.err) to see if there are any hints in there. Are you sure you haven't previously installed a different IMAP server?

Also can you post the output of:

sudo netstat -tulpn

Which will show us which services are listening on which ports.

Sam

Hi Sam,

at the part "Testing SASL" where I added the user "testmail" I got the same output "AHRlc3RtYWlsAHRlc3QxMjM0" because of the same settings. But when I go further to test telnet it connects and then closes the connection with the following statement:

Trying ::1...
Trying 127.0.0.1...
Connected to localhost.
Escape character is '^]'.
Connection closed by foreign host.

I had to reinstall dovecot because of a problem that didn't restart the service after configuring all the things from the tut.

What is wrong in my config?

Thanks so far.

Best regards
Roman

Is Dovecot running? Check the status (sudo service dovecot status) to see.

What do you see in the mail log (/var/log/mail.log) when you try to connect? Sometimes you get connection closed errors if the server is listening for TLS connections (e.g. openssl) but you connect with a plain text connection (e.g. telnet). The server should be listening for plain text connections with an option to upgrade to TLS with STARTTLS, but it's possible you have configured it differently or the defaults have changed.

Sam

I'm having the same issue. Dovecot is active (running). When I try and do that part of the tutorial the I don't see the line after Escape character that says 220 Hostname SMTP Postfix (Debian/GNU) I got to type my ehlo like in the previous tests and when I press enter it doesn't return any information. It just moves my cursor down another line.

Oh, my mistake. Now I see what you meant. That happened in my case because of the mistyping. Check the log files, may be you find the answer there. That was what helped me.

Hi Sam,

/var/log/mail.log shows:

Sep 14 18:56:32 raspberrypi postfix/smtpd[1455]: connect from localhost[127.0.0$
Sep 14 18:56:32 raspberrypi postfix/smtpd[1455]: warning: SASL: Connect to priv$
Sep 14 18:56:32 raspberrypi postfix/smtpd[1455]: fatal: no SASL authentication $
Sep 14 18:56:33 raspberrypi postfix/master[823]: warning: process /usr/lib/post$

It's like chinese for me :(

Kind regards
Roman

Sorry, here is the log in full:

Sep 14 18:56:32 raspberrypi postfix/smtpd[1455]: warning: SASL: Connect to privat/auth failed: No such file or directory
Sep 14 18:56:32 raspberrypi postfix/smtpd[1455]: fatal: no SASL authentication mechanisms
Sep 14 18:56:33 raspberrypi postfix/master[823]: warning: process /usr/lib/postfix/smtpd pid 1455 exit status 1
Sep 14 18:56:33 raspberrypi postfix/master[823]: warning: /usr/lib/postfix/smtpd: bad command startup -- throttling

Roman

Man, sorry for stealing your time, I AM totally stupid :|

The mistake was "privat/auth" instead of "private/auth" in the postfix conf.

Sorry, sorry, sorry

Roman

Hi Sam,

it's me again. Thunderbird does not connect to my server (running with dnssynamic.org - updates the ip, runs). It does not receive mails and I can't send with "telnet localhost 25" without authentification. postfix running fine, dovecot running fine, ddclient too ... What could be the problem? The MX Record is set, the port forwarding is set. Check for open ports on the net tells me, the ports are open.

I was so excited as everything went on ... but now, damn.

Kind regards
Roman

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