Setup mail server on centos 7 using postfix and dovecot

Installing packages

Step 1 » Assign hostname for the server using the below command.

[root@krizna ~]# hostnamectl set-hostname

Step 2 » Make a host entry with your IP in /etc/hosts file.

Step 3 » Now start installing packages.

[root@krizna ~]# yum -y install postfix dovecot

After package installation continue with postfix configuration.

Step 4 » Follow the below steps one by one for creation.

[root@mail ~]# mkdir /etc/postfix/ssl
[root@mail ~]# cd /etc/postfix/ssl
[root@krizna ssl]# openssl genrsa -des3 -out server.key 2048
[root@krizna ssl]# openssl rsa -in server.key -out server.key.insecure
[root@krizna ssl]# mv server.key
[root@krizna ssl]# mv server.key.insecure server.keyLeave blank for A challenge password [] value in the below step.
[root@krizna ssl]# openssl req -new -key server.key -out server.csr
[root@krizna ssl]# openssl x509 -req -days 365 -in server.csr -signkey server.key -out server.crt

Step 5 » Now open /etc/postfix/ file for changes.

Find and uncomment the below lines.

#inet_interfaces = localhost #---> line no 116
#mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain, localhost #--> line no 164

and add below lines at the end of the file. change myhostname and mydomain values with yours and home_mailbox value to your desired directory. Here it will store mails in the users home directory (Eg: /home/john/mail ).

myhostname =
mydomain =
myorigin = $mydomain
home_mailbox = mail/
mynetworks =
inet_interfaces = all
mydestination = $myhostname, localhost.$mydomain, localhost, $mydomain
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_key_file = /etc/postfix/ssl/server.key
smtpd_tls_cert_file = /etc/postfix/ssl/server.crt
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
smtpd_tls_session_cache_timeout = 3600s
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom

Step 6 » Open /etc/postfix/ file, add the below lines after “smtp inet n – n – – smtpd” line.

submission     inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/submission
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING
smtps     inet  n       -       n       -       -       smtpd
  -o syslog_name=postfix/smtps
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING

Now check the configuration using postfix check command.

Step 7 » Now configure Dovecot SASL for SMTP Auth. Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-master.conf file, 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

Step 8 » Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-auth.conf file, find “auth_mechanisms = plain” ( Line no: 100 ) and add login to the value like below.

auth_mechanisms = plain login

Step 9 » Postfix configuration is over. Now restart both postfix and dovecot services and enable auto start

[root@mail ~]# systemctl restart postfix
[root@mail ~]# systemctl enable postfix
[root@mail ~]# systemctl restart dovecot
[root@mail ~]# systemctl enable dovecot

Step 10 » Add the firewall rules to allow 25, 587 and 465 ports.

[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=smtp
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=587/tcp
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=465/tcp
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --reload

Now start testing connectivity for each ports 25,587 and 465 using telnet and make sure you are getting AUTH PLAIN LOGIN line after issuing ehlo command in telnet.

[root@mail ~]# telnet 465
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
220 ESMTP Postfix
ehlo <------- Type this command
250-SIZE 10240000
250 DSN

Start configuring Dovecot

Step 11 » Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-mail.conf file, find #mail_location = (line no : 30 ) and add the same directory which is given to home_mailbox in the postfix config file ( Step 5).

mail_location = maildir:~/mail

Step 12 » Open /etc/dovecot/conf.d/20-pop3.conf file, find and uncomment the below line ( line no : 50 ) .

pop3_uidl_format = %08Xu%08Xv

Step 13 » Restart dovecot service.

[root@mail ~]# systemctl restart dovecot

Step 14 » Add firewall rules to allow 110,143,993 and 995.

[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=110/tcp
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=pop3s
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-port=143/tcp
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --permanent --add-service=imaps
[root@mail ~]# firewall-cmd --reload

Check the connectivity for the ports 110,143,993 and 995 using telnet.

User creation

Step 15 » Create user with /sbin/nologin shell to restrict login access.

[root@mail ~]# useradd -m john -s /sbin/nologin
[root@mail ~]# passwd john

Mail server is ready now, Configure user in your mail client and test send/receive.

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