Guides and examples

Check Dovecot IMAP config is running

Take a look at the official Dovecot documentation on how to test an IMAP connection, Auth and Inbox listing. See Test Dovecot Installation.

Using maildir mail storage format

If you want to use maildir instead of mbox you first have to make sure, that your mail delivery agent is storing the incoming mails in the maildir format. If you are using the ansible-postfix role, this can be achieved by setting the following configuration:

  • Make sure local is in your postfix capabilities list

  • Set the postfix home_mailbox configuration value to the desired path. It must end with a slash / to indicate the maildir format:

    postfix_local_maincf: |
      home_mailbox = Maildir/

This example will store the mails in the Maildir/ folder within the user's home directory. You can make dovecot looking for this maildir by setting:

dovecot_mail_location: 'maildir:~/Maildir'

The dovecot_mail_location variable corresponds to the mail_location statement in the dovecot configuration file, so you can also set much more advanced values. Check the dovecot mail_location documentation for more examples.

Enable server-side mail filtering with sieve

Sieve is a programming language to define mail filtering rules. The rules are stored as text files on the mail server and can be managed by a client via ManageSieve network protocol. Dovecot provides sieve support via Pigeonhole sieve interpreter.

To enable the ManageSieve protocol in your Dovecot role you have to add it to the dovecot_protocols list:

dovecot_protocols: [ 'imap', 'managesieve' ]

It will create a network listener on port 4190 which requires STARTTLS for authentication. You can restrict access to this port by explicitly listing the networks or hosts which are allowed to connect:

        allow: [ '' ]

By default every host can connect.

The sieve filter rules are applied before delivering the mail to the user's mailbox. There are various ways for mail delivery but only a few of them respect the sieve filters. By default DebOps would simply use Postfix to write the mail. However, Postfix doesn't know about sieve. Therefore you have to manually add the following configuration to each user's ~/.forward file, to hook-in the Dovecot LDA (local delivery agent):

| "/usr/lib/dovecot/dovecot-lda"

To enable the sieve filter with the Dovecot LDA you further have to enable the plugin for the corresponding protocol:

    mail_plugins: '$mail_plugins sieve'

The Dovecot LDA would then deliver the mail after enquiring the sieve files. Alternatively mail can be delivered via LMTP protocol, which also supports sieve filtering (see section below).

By default the Dovecot sieve plugin will store the user defined rules as plain text files in the ~/sieve/ folder. They can be managed directly via file system, by a mail client which supports the ManageSieve protocol or alternatively by a tool like sieve-connect.

Enable LMTP to deliver mails from Postfix

LMTP is a reliable, scalable and secure protocol to deliver mails into virtual mail boxes. It is implemented by Dovecot as an alternative to the Dovecot LDA and also supports most mail plugins, such as sieve filtering.

It can be enabled by adding it to the dovecot_protocols list. E.g.:

dovecot_protocols: [ 'imap', 'lmtp' ]

Without further configuration, this will instruct DebOps to setup a LMTP unix socket, which is then used by Postfix for mail delivery. In this case Postfix will be automatically added as a dependency and configured accordingly.

To enable mail plugins specifically to LMTP only, they can be added to the mail_plugins parameter in dovecot_lmtp_config_map:

    mail_plugins: '$mail_plugins sieve'

In case your Postfix is not running on the same machine, you can enable a network socket where the LMTP service is listening on. E.g.:

dovecot_lmtp_listeners: [ 'lmtp' ]

Then define its properties:

        port: 24
        allow: [ '' ]

This would bind LMTP to the local address on port 24. Additionally, access is restricted by ansible-ferm to the given network. When using the LMTP network socket, you have to configure Postfix independently by setting e.g.:

postfix_local_maincf: |
  virtual_transport = lmtp:inet: