Install Postfix + Dovecot e-mail server

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  • 13 Feb 2023: Use Letsencrypt ssl. Change gedit to micro as non-graphical editor.
  • 11 Feb 2023: Add full config files. Correct opendkim socket.
  • 1 Feb 2023: Correct typos.
  • 10 Oct 2022: Add DKIM setting.
  • 18 Jun 2021: Adjust TLS setting.
  • 5 Jan 2021: Increase imap-login process limit. List Dovecot full custom settings.
  • 9 Dec 2020: Define cron job to delete filtered mails.
  • 20 Sep 2020: Stop using mail-stack-delivery.
  • 8 May 2020: Correct typo errors.
  • 30 May 2019: Add anti-virus and spam mail filtering.
  • 17 May 2019: Add copying emails to external accounts.
  • 7 May 2019: Change "gksudo gedit" to "sudo gedit" as Ubuntu 18.04 dropped "gksudo". Add header_checks. Add auto creation of Trash folders. Add webmaster.
  • 29 Sep 2018: Add "body_checks" for spam control.
  • 20 Sep 2018: Increase message_size_limit to 20 times the default.
  • 5 Apr 2018: Increase message_size_limit to 10 times the default.
  • 25 Dec 2018: Publish on web.
  • 12 Apr 2014: Specify maximal_queue_lifetime to notify unsuccessful delivery immediately.
  • 2 Apr 2014: Specify fully qualified domain name.
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Postfix is a mail transfer agent (MTA) responsible for sending out and receiving emails between servers.

Dovecot is a mail delivery agent (MDA) responsible for sending out and receiving emails between a server and its users.

Mail-stack-delivery was a combined package containing both Postfix and Dovecot. It is now no longer supported.

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Re-direct to server ports​

Set the internet router to re-direct the following connections to server ports:

  • SMTP = port 25 (for receiving or sending emails)
  • secure SMTP = port 465 (for receiving or sending emails securely)
  • IMAP = port 143 (for retrieving emails)
  • secure IMAP = port 993 (for retrieving emails securely)
  • POP3 = port 110 (for retrieving emails)
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Install both Postfix and Dovecot​

Ubuntu 20.04 does not support the combined package "mail-stack-delivery" anymore.

Install Dovecot and Postfix individually:

$ sudo apt install dovecot-imapd dovecot-pop3d
$ sudo apt install postfix

However, the previous config file "/etc/dovecot/conf.d/99-mail-stack-delivery.conf" is still retained for use, because "99" represents the last and overriding config file. This eliminates the need to change the individual config files.

(revised to install individually, 20/9/2020)

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Reconfigure Postfix


$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure postfix

Use Tab key to change selection.

Select "Internet Site".

Enter the following information:

System mail name: <fully qualified domain name, such as "">
Root and postmaster mail recipient: <such as "kctang">
Other destinations to accept mail: <fully qualified domain name, such as "">, <server name such as "server">, localhost.localdomain, localhost
Force synchronous updates on mail queue: No
Local networks: <leave it blank to accept the default>
Use procmail for local delivery: No
Mailbox size limit (bytes): 0
Local address extension character: +
Internet protocols to use: all

Edit "" settings:

$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/

Specify in full:

# See /usr/share/postfix/ for a commented, more complete version
# Debian specific:  Specifying a file name will cause the first
# line of that file to be used as the name.  The Debian default
# is /etc/mailname.
#myorigin = /etc/mailname
smtpd_banner = $myhostname ESMTP $mail_name (Ubuntu)
biff = no
# appending .domain is the MUA's job.
append_dot_mydomain = no
# Uncomment the next line to generate "delayed mail" warnings
#delay_warning_time = 4h
readme_directory = no
# See -- default to 2 on
# fresh installs.
compatibility_level = 2
# the following automatically set by dpkg-reconfigure postfix
myhostname =
# fully qualified domain name instead of server name used,
# otherwise some servers would not accept e-mails sent without fully qualified domain name, 2/4/2014
alias_maps = hash:/etc/aliases
alias_database = hash:/etc/aliases
myorigin = /etc/mailname
mydestination =, server3, localhost.localdomain, localhost
relayhost = 
mynetworks = [::1]/128
# something similar to the above line
mailbox_size_limit = 0
recipient_delimiter = +
inet_interfaces = all
# ALL the following added to default
inet_protocols = all
home_mailbox = Maildir/
mailbox_command = /usr/lib/dovecot/deliver -c /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf -m "${EXTENSION}"
message_size_limit = 204800000
# last line added to increase the default to 10 times, KCTang 5/4/2014
# increased to 20 times, KCTang 20/9/2018
maximal_queue_lifetime = 0
# last line added to report unsuccessful delivery immediately instead of after the default of 5 days, KCTang 12/4/2014
bounce_queue_lifetime = 0
# last line added, this should not be bigger than maximal_queue_lifetime, KCTang 20/5/2019
# smtpd setting
#smtpd_proxy_timeout = 240s
smtpd_sasl_type = dovecot
smtpd_sasl_path = private/dovecot-auth
smtpd_sasl_local_domain = $myhostname
smtpd_sasl_security_options = noanonymous,noplaintext
# noplaintext in last line added to prevent unencrypted credentials, KCTang 13/2/2023
smtpd_sasl_tls_security_options = noanonymous
# last line added, KCTang 13/2/2023
broken_sasl_auth_clients = yes
smtpd_sasl_auth_enable = yes
smtpd_sasl_authenticated_header = yes
smtpd_recipient_restrictions = 
    check_policy_service unix:private/policyd-spf
# last line added to enable spf, KCTang 19/2/2022
smtpd_relay_restrictions = 
smtpd_sender_restrictions = reject_unknown_sender_domain
# TLS parameters
smtp_use_tls = yes
smtpd_tls_loglevel = 1
smtpd_tls_received_header = yes
# use the following two as provided as default
# use the following two if self define key and certificate
# use the following two if using letsencrypt, KCTang 13/2/2023
# use the following if using self certification authority
smtp_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtp_scache
smtpd_tls_session_cache_database = btree:${data_directory}/smtpd_scache
smtpd_tls_auth_only = yes
smtpd_tls_mandatory_ciphers = medium
# smtpd_tls_mandatory_protocols = SSLv3, TLSv1 # commented, replaced below, KCTang 18/6/2021
# next 2 lines added to enhance security, KCTang 1/7/2021
smtp_tls_mandatory_protocols = !SSLv2, !SSLv3, !TLSv1, !TLSv1.1
smtpd_tls_mandatory_protocols = !SSLv2, !SSLv3, !TLSv1, !TLSv1.1
tls_random_source = dev:/dev/urandom
#header_checks = regexp:/etc/postfix/header_checks
# last line added to check headers, KCTang 30/9/2018, disabled after using amavis 1/6/2019
#body_checks = regexp:/etc/postfix/body_checks
# last line added to refer to another file to check contents of email bodies, KCTang 29/9/2018, disabled after using amavis 1/6/2019
# virtual_alias_domains =
# last line added on 17/5/2019, but disabled since same domain name already defined as destination above, KCTang 20/5/2019
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual
# last line added to forward emails to another server, KCTang 17/5/2019
content_filter = smtp-amavis:[]:10024
# last line added for amavis, KCTang 1/6/2019
# the following line added to enable spf, KCTang 19/2/2022
policyd-spf_time_limit = 3600
# Milter configuration, added but disabled, KCTang 2/6/2019, enabled again, KCTang 19/2/2022
milter_default_action = accept
milter_protocol = 6
smtpd_milters = local:opendkim/opendkim.sock
non_smtpd_milters = $smtpd_milters

(full file given, 11/2/2023)

(updated, 13/2/2023)

Edit "" settings:

$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/

Specify​ in full:

# Postfix master process configuration file.  For details on the format
# of the file, see the master(5) manual page (command: "man 5 master" or
# on-line:
# Do not forget to execute "postfix reload" after editing this file.
# ==========================================================================
# service type  private unpriv  chroot  wakeup  maxproc command + args
#               (yes)   (yes)   (no)    (never) (100)
# ==========================================================================
smtp      inet  n       -       y       -       -       smtpd
#smtp      inet  n       -       y       -       1       postscreen
#smtpd     pass  -       -       y       -       -       smtpd
#dnsblog   unix  -       -       y       -       0       dnsblog
#tlsproxy  unix  -       -       y       -       0       tlsproxy
#submission inet n       -       y       -       -       smtpd
#  -o syslog_name=postfix/submission
#  -o smtpd_tls_security_level=encrypt
#  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
#  -o smtpd_tls_auth_only=yes
#  -o smtpd_reject_unlisted_recipient=no
#  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=$mua_client_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=$mua_helo_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=$mua_sender_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=
#  -o smtpd_relay_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
#  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING
smtps     inet  n       -       y       -       -       smtpd
# last line uncommented, KCTang 2/4/2014
#  -o syslog_name=postfix/smtps
  -o smtpd_tls_wrappermode=yes
# last line added to force use of TLS, KCTang 2/4/2014
  -o smtpd_sasl_auth_enable=yes
# last line uncommented to enable STARTTLS authentication, KCTang 2/4/2014
#  -o smtpd_reject_unlisted_recipient=no
#  -o smtpd_client_restrictions=$mua_client_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=$mua_helo_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=$mua_sender_restrictions
#  -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=
  -o smtpd_relay_restrictions=permit_sasl_authenticated,reject
# last line uncommented to reject if not authenticated, KCTang 2/4/2014
  -o milter_macro_daemon_name=ORIGINATING
# last line uncommented, KCTang 2/4/2014
#628       inet  n       -       y       -       -       qmqpd
pickup    unix  n       -       y       60      1       pickup
  -o content_filter=
  -o receive_override_options=no_header_body_checks
# last two lines added for anti-spam, KCTang 29/5/2019
cleanup   unix  n       -       y       -       0       cleanup
qmgr      unix  n       -       n       300     1       qmgr
#qmgr     unix  n       -       n       300     1       oqmgr
tlsmgr    unix  -       -       y       1000?   1       tlsmgr
rewrite   unix  -       -       y       -       -       trivial-rewrite
bounce    unix  -       -       y       -       0       bounce
defer     unix  -       -       y       -       0       bounce
trace     unix  -       -       y       -       0       bounce
verify    unix  -       -       y       -       1       verify
flush     unix  n       -       y       1000?   0       flush
proxymap  unix  -       -       n       -       -       proxymap
proxywrite unix -       -       n       -       1       proxymap
smtp      unix  -       -       y       -       -       smtp
relay     unix  -       -       y       -       -       smtp
        -o syslog_name=postfix/$service_name
#       -o smtp_helo_timeout=5 -o smtp_connect_timeout=5
     -o smtp_connect_timeout=60s
# last line added, KCTang 10/3/2021
showq     unix  n       -       y       -       -       showq
error     unix  -       -       y       -       -       error
retry     unix  -       -       y       -       -       error
discard   unix  -       -       y       -       -       discard
local     unix  -       n       n       -       -       local
virtual   unix  -       n       n       -       -       virtual
lmtp      unix  -       -       y       -       -       lmtp
anvil     unix  -       -       y       -       1       anvil
scache    unix  -       -       y       -       1       scache
postlog   unix-dgram n  -       n       -       1       postlogd
# ====================================================================
# Interfaces to non-Postfix software. Be sure to examine the manual
# pages of the non-Postfix software to find out what options it wants.
# Many of the following services use the Postfix pipe(8) delivery
# agent.  See the pipe(8) man page for information about ${recipient}
# and other message envelope options.
# ====================================================================
# maildrop. See the Postfix MAILDROP_README file for details.
# Also specify in maildrop_destination_recipient_limit=1
maildrop  unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
  flags=DRhu user=vmail argv=/usr/bin/maildrop -d ${recipient}
# ====================================================================
# Recent Cyrus versions can use the existing "lmtp" entry.
# Specify in cyrus.conf:
#   lmtp    cmd="lmtpd -a" listen="localhost:lmtp" proto=tcp4
# Specify in one or more of the following:
#  mailbox_transport = lmtp:inet:localhost
#  virtual_transport = lmtp:inet:localhost
# ====================================================================
# Cyrus 2.1.5 (Amos Gouaux)
# Also specify in cyrus_destination_recipient_limit=1
#cyrus     unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
#  user=cyrus argv=/cyrus/bin/deliver -e -r ${sender} -m ${extension} ${user}
# ====================================================================
# Old example of delivery via Cyrus.
#old-cyrus unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
#  flags=R user=cyrus argv=/cyrus/bin/deliver -e -m ${extension} ${user}
# ====================================================================
# See the Postfix UUCP_README file for configuration details.
uucp      unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
  flags=Fqhu user=uucp argv=uux -r -n -z -a$sender - $nexthop!rmail ($recipient)
# Other external delivery methods.
ifmail    unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
  flags=F user=ftn argv=/usr/lib/ifmail/ifmail -r $nexthop ($recipient)
bsmtp     unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
  flags=Fq. user=bsmtp argv=/usr/lib/bsmtp/bsmtp -t$nexthop -f$sender $recipient
scalemail-backend unix    -    n    n    -    2    pipe
  flags=R user=scalemail argv=/usr/lib/scalemail/bin/scalemail-store ${nexthop} ${user} ${extension}
mailman   unix  -       n       n       -       -       pipe
  flags=FR user=list argv=/usr/lib/mailman/bin/
  ${nexthop} ${user}
# the following added, KCTang 29/5/2019
smtp-amavis     unix    -       -       -       -       2       smtp
    -o smtp_data_done_timeout=1200
    -o smtp_send_xforward_command=yes
    -o disable_dns_lookups=yes
    -o max_use=20 inet    n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
    -o content_filter=
    -o local_recipient_maps=
    -o relay_recipient_maps=
    -o smtpd_restriction_classes=
    -o smtpd_delay_reject=no
    -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_mynetworks,reject
    -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=
    -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=
    -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_mynetworks,reject
    -o smtpd_data_restrictions=reject_unauth_pipelining
    -o smtpd_end_of_data_restrictions=
    -o mynetworks=
    -o smtpd_error_sleep_time=0
    -o smtpd_soft_error_limit=1001
    -o smtpd_hard_error_limit=1000
    -o smtpd_client_connection_count_limit=0
    -o smtpd_client_connection_rate_limit=0
    -o receive_override_options=no_header_body_checks,no_unknown_recipient_checks,no_milters
# the following added for spf, KCTang 1/6/2019, 
# then disabled as considered not necessary
# then re-enabled 19/2/2022 to overcome rejection by gmail
policyd-spf   unix  -       n       n       -       0       spawn
    user=policyd-spf argv=/usr/bin/policyd-spf

(full file given, 11/2/2023)

Create "body_checks" file, if required:

$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/body_checks

Specify​ one or more lines of texts within //:

/unique text contained in email you do not want to receive/ DISCARD

"DISCARD" means delete from the server.

Create "header_checks" file, if required:

$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/header_checks

Specify similarly.

(header checks added, 7/5/2019)

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Change Dovecot settings

Edit config file:

$ sudo micro /etc/dovecot/conf.d/99-mail-stack-delivery.conf

Note that a number of default config files are contained in sub-directory "conf.d". To override them, create a config file beginning with "99" so that it is read the latest to override the others. The name is based on the previous "mail-stack-delivery" config file, but can be any.

Specify in full:

# Some general options
# Installed protocols are now auto-included by /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf
# Since mail-stack-delivery depends on them it is more flexible to not
# explicitly list them here, but achieves the same.
# protocols = imap pop3 sieve
disable_plaintext_auth = yes
# Since 18.04 basic SSL enablement is set up by dovecot-core and configured
# in /etc/dovecot/conf.d/10-ssl.conf.
# So by default basic enablement is no more done here. The old section is kept
# as comment for reference to the old defaults.
# ssl = yes
# ssl_cert = </etc/dovecot/dovecot.pem
# ssl_key = </etc/dovecot/private/dovecot.pem
# If you keep a formerly used custom SSL enablement in this file it will (as
# before) continue to overwrite the new defaults in 10-ssl.conf as this file is
# sorted later being 99-*.conf
# If you choose to take the new defaults (no ssl config in this file) please
# make sure you have also chosen the package defaults for 10-ssl.conf (to enable
# it there) when dovecot-core configures. Also check that the links for cert/key
# set up there got created correctly (they would not be created if they conflict with your
# old keys done by mail-stack-delivery).
# use letsencrypt ssl, KCTang 13/2/2023 
ssl = yes
ssl_cert = </etc/letsencrypt/live/
ssl_key = </etc/letsencrypt/live/
ssl_client_ca_dir =
#ssl_protocols = !SSLv2 !SSLv3
mail_location = maildir:~/Maildir:LAYOUT=fs
# LAYOUT=fs added to last line, to use "/" instead of "." to denote sub-folders, KCTang 25/5/2019
auth_username_chars = abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyzABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ01234567890.-_@
# IMAP configuration
protocol imap {
        mail_max_userip_connections = 1000
        # 10 in last line increased to 1000, KCTang 25/5/2019
        imap_client_workarounds = delay-newmail
# POP3 configuration
protocol pop3 {
        mail_max_userip_connections = 50
        # 10 in last line increased to 50, KCTang 25/5/2019 
        pop3_client_workarounds = outlook-no-nuls oe-ns-eoh
# LDA configuration
protocol lda {
        postmaster_address = postmaster
        mail_plugins = sieve
        quota_full_tempfail = yes
        deliver_log_format = msgid=%m: %$
        rejection_reason = Your message to <%t> was automatically rejected:%n%r
# Plugins configuration
plugin {
# Authentication configuration
auth_mechanisms = plain login
service auth {
  # Postfix smtp-auth
  unix_listener /var/spool/postfix/private/dovecot-auth {
    mode = 0660
    user = postfix
    group = postfix
# The following are additional to those in 15-mailboxes.conf.
# They are to auto create Trash folders.
# Trash folders would not be backed up with back-in-time,
# and therefore would need to be re-created after email recovery is done from back-in-time.
namespace inbox {
  mailbox Trash {
    auto = subscribe
# process_limit increased, KCTang 4/1/2021
service imap-login {
  process_limit = 200
# The following added to resolve stats-writer failure, KCTang 3/6/2021
service stats {
  unix_listener stats-reader {
    user = root
    group = root
    mode = 0660
  unix_listener stats-writer {
    user = root
    group = dovecot
    mode = 0660

(full file given, 11/2/2023)

(updated, 13/2/2023)

Activate the changes:

$ sudo systemctl reload postfix
$ sudo service postfix reload
$ sudo systemctl restart dovecot
$ sudo service dovecot reload
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Verify success

See whether the Postfix server is running:

$ telnet localhost 25

should display:

220 ESMTP Postfix (Ubuntu)

ehlo localhost

should display the following:


250-SIZE 102400000






250 DSN


to exit to "telnet >" prompt.


to exit telnet.

Try also:

$ telnet localhost 993

("993", not "995", 1/2/2023)


$ telnet localhost 465

should display either one:

Connected to localhost

Connected to


to exit to "telnet >" prompt.


to exit telnet.

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Specify internal email forwarding

Edit "aliases" file:

$ sudo micro /etc/aliases


postmaster: kctang
webmaster: kctang
kctcl: kctcl, kctclpop


  • forwarding e-mails sent to postmaster@localhost and webmaster@localhost to kctang@localhost, no email will be left at postmaster or webmaster

(webmaster added, 7/5/2019)

  • forwarding e-mails sent to kctcl@localhost to kctcl@localhost (itself) and to kctclpop@localhst, i.e. making a copy

"localhost" means "" in our case. For the email user name before "@", there is no need to create a file system user account for it if all emails addressed to it are forwarded elsewhere. The name serves as an alias only of the email account forwarded to.

(added, 17/5/2019)


Activate setting everytime the "aliases" file has been changed:

$ sudo newaliases


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Copy to external email accounts

(section added, 17/5/2019)


$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/

Specify​ at the end of the file (already shown above):

virtual_alias_domains =
virtual_alias_maps = hash:/etc/postfix/virtual


$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/virtual

Specify​ to make a copy to itself and a copy to the external email account:

# from               to one or more addresses, separated by a space

Omit making a copy to itself if only email forwarding is required.

Save and exit.

Execute after the "virtual" file is created or changed:

$ sudo postmap /etc/postfix/virtual


$ sudo systemctl restart postfix

Test by sending emails.

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Install anti-virus Clamav-Daemon

(section added, 30/5/2019)

Install clamav-daemon:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install clamav-daemon            (clamav-freshclam also automatically installed)
$ sudo dpkg-reconfigure clamav-daemon   (must be done, generally accept all defaults, set yes to scan emails)
$ sudo systemctl start clamav-freshclam
$ sudo systemctl start clamav-daemon
$ sudo systemctl status clamav-freshclam    (check if running)
$ sudo systemctl status clamav-daemon       (check if running, OK if reported "/bin/mkdir /run/clamav (code=exited, status=1/FAILURE" because directory already created)
$ sudo tail -f /var/log/clamav/clamav.log        (see running progress, Ctrl-Z to exit)

(typo corrected, 8/5/2020)

(use sudo, 11/2/2023)

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Filter spam mails

(section added, 30/5/2019)

Execute to install various software:

$ sudo apt update
$ sudo apt install amavisd-new spamassassin
$ sudo apt install postfix-policyd-spf-python                                 (optionally required for spf) 
$ sudo apt install opendkim                                                   (optionally required for opendkim)
$ sudo apt install pyzor razor                                                (optional extras)
$ sudo apt install arj cabextract cpio lhasa nomarch pax rar unrar unzip zip  ("lhasa", not "lha")

Configure ClamAV:

$ sudo adduser clamav amavis
$ sudo adduser amavis clamav

Configure SpamAssassin:

$ sudo micro /etc/default/spamassassin

Change "ENABLED=0" to:


(no longer set here, 8/5/2020)

Start the service:

$ sudo systemctl start spamassassin.service

Configure Amavisd-new:

$ sudo micro /etc/amavis/conf.d/15-content_filter_mode


use strict;
# Uncomment the two lines below to enable antivirus checking mode
@bypass_virus_checks_maps = (
   \%bypass_virus_checks, \@bypass_virus_checks_acl, \$bypass_virus_checks_re);
# Uncomment the two lines below to enable SPAM checking mode
@bypass_spam_checks_maps = (
   \%bypass_spam_checks, \@bypass_spam_checks_acl, \$bypass_spam_checks_re);
1;  # insure a defined return


$ sudo micro /etc/amavis/conf.d/20-debian_defaults

Change "D_PASS" to:

$final_spam_destiny = D_DISCARD

(deleted, 8/5/2020, reinstated, 26/7/2021)

Adjust the following values only if desired to flag more messages as spam:

$sa_tag_level_deflt = 2.0; # add spam info headers if at, or above that level
$sa_tag2_level_deflt = 6.31; # add 'spam detected' headers at that level
$sa_kill_level_deflt = 6.31; # triggers spam evasive actions
$sa_dsn_cutoff_level = 10; # spam level beyond which a DSN is not sent


$ sudo micro /etc/amavis/conf.d/50-user


$myhostname = '';

Re-start the service:

$ sudo systemctl restart amavis.service

Edit the following file to specify domains to be whitelisted if necessary:

$ sudo micro /etc/amavis/conf.d/40-policy_banks

Test that the Amavisd-new SMTP is listening:

telnet localhost 10024
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.
220 [] ESMTP amavisd-new service ready

Press Ctrl-] and enter "quit" to exit.

Configure Postfix

$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/

Add the following to the end of the file (already done above):

smtp-amavis     unix    -       -       -       -       2       smtp
    -o smtp_data_done_timeout=1200
    -o smtp_send_xforward_command=yes
    -o disable_dns_lookups=yes
    -o max_use=20 inet    n       -       -       -       -       smtpd
    -o content_filter=
    -o local_recipient_maps=
    -o relay_recipient_maps=
    -o smtpd_restriction_classes=
    -o smtpd_delay_reject=no
    -o smtpd_client_restrictions=permit_mynetworks,reject
    -o smtpd_helo_restrictions=
    -o smtpd_sender_restrictions=
    -o smtpd_recipient_restrictions=permit_mynetworks,reject
    -o smtpd_data_restrictions=reject_unauth_pipelining
    -o smtpd_end_of_data_restrictions=
    -o mynetworks=
    -o smtpd_error_sleep_time=0
    -o smtpd_soft_error_limit=1001
    -o smtpd_hard_error_limit=1000
    -o smtpd_client_connection_count_limit=0
    -o smtpd_client_connection_rate_limit=0
    -o receive_override_options=no_header_body_checks,no_unknown_recipient_checks,no_milters

Add the following immediately below the "pickup" transport service (already done above):

     -o content_filter=
     -o receive_override_options=no_header_body_checks

Configure Postfix

$ sudo micro /etc/postfix/

Add the following to the end of the file (already done above):

content_filter = smtp-amavis:[]:10024

Comment it with "#" at the start of the line if desired to stop using amavis.

Restart service:

$ sudo systemctl restart postfix

Check the hidden header of email received after the above to see the presence of one or more of the following:

X-Virus-Scanned: Debian amavisd-new at

If present, the spam filter is working.

See for a full explanation of the above.

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Delete filtered mails

(section added, 9/12/2020)

Filtered files are stored in /var/lib/amavis/virusmails and should be deleted regularly.

Edit to define a scheduled job to delete filtered files:

$ sudo crontab -e -u amavis 


-e = edit

-u amavis = user amavis

Define as follows:

0 0 * * * find /var/lib/amavis/virusmails/ -type f -mtime +15 -delete

which means at

0 = 0 minute

0 = 0 hour

* = every day of month

* = every month

* = every day of week

find /var/lib/amavis/virusmails = find in that directory

-type f = regular files

-mtime +15 = file modified more than 15 days ago

-delete = delete the file

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Set up DKIM

(implemented, 19/2/2022

section added, 10/10/2022)

Set up DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) to prevent email phishing by others by putting a digital key in the outgoing email headers so that the receiving email server can verify the digital key by looking up the public key in the DNS record of the sender domain.

Install OpenDKIM:

$ sudo apt install opendkim opendkim-tools

Add postfix user to opendkim group:

$ sudo gpasswd -a postfix opendkim


$ sudo micro /etc/opendkim.conf


# keep to log in /var/log/mail.log
Syslog             yes
SyslogSuccess      yes
# change to "yes" if desired to log more details
Logwhy             no
# keep
Canonicalization   relaxed/simple
# uncomment
Mode               sv
SubDomains         no
# keep
OversignHeaders    from
# add
AutoRestart         yes
AutoRestartRate     10/1M
Background          yes
DNSTimeout          5
SignatureAlgorithm  rsa-sha256
# keep
UserID              opendkim
UMask               007
# comment
#Socket             local:/run/opendkim/opendkim.sock
# add
Socket              local:/var/spool/postfix/opendkim/opendkim.sock
# keep
PidFile             /run/opendkim/
TrustAnchorFile     /usr/share/dns/root.key
# keep
KeyTable            refile:/etc/opendkim/key.table
SigningTable        refile:/etc/opendkim/signing.table
ExternalIgnoreList  /etc/opendkim/trusted.hosts
InternalHosts       /etc/opendkim/trusted.hosts

Create a directory structure:

$ sudo mkdir /etc/opendkim
$ sudo mkdir /etc/opendkim/keys
$ sudo chown -R opendkim:opendkim /etc/opendkim
$ sudo chmod go-rw /etc/opendkim/keys

Create the signing table:

$ sudo micro /etc/opendkim/signing.table


# if sub-domain used

Create the key table:

$ sudo micro /etc/opendkim/key.table


Create the trusted hosts file:

$ sudo micro /etc/opendkim/trusted.hosts

Specify to sign but not to verify emails from localhost or the following domain:

("*" added, 1/2/2023)

Create separate folder for the domain and generate Private/Public Keypair:

$ sudo mkdir /etc/opendkim/keys/
$ sudo opendkim-genkey -b 1024 -d -D /etc/opendkim/keys/ -s default -v

Use -b 2048 instead of -b 1024 for bits of key if the domain name server permits.
-d for domain name

-D for directory to store the keys

-s for selector

The private key will be written to default.private file and the public key will be written to default.txt file.

Change owner and permission:

$ sudo chown opendkim:opendkim /etc/opendkim/keys/
$ sudo chmod 600 /etc/opendkim/keys/

Display the public key:

$ sudo cat /etc/opendkim/keys/

The string after the p parameter is the public key:

default._domainkey      IN      TXT     ( "v=DKIM1; h=sha256; k=rsa; "
          "p=..." )  ; ----- DKIM key default for

Define in the Domain Name Record on the domain name host:

Name = default._domainkey

Address or value = the text in ( ) above, but deleting double quotes and spaces

Type = SPF (txt)

Test DKIM Key:

$ sudo opendkim-testkey -d -s default -vvv

Successful if an opendkim-testkey output is key OK.

No problem if an opendkim-testkey output is key not secure because DNSSEC may not have been enabled on the domain name.

The DKIM record may take up to 24 hours to propagate to the Internet.

Can also go to, enter "" as the domain name and "default" as the selector to check DKIM record propagation.

In case of the query timed out error, comment out the following line in /etc/opendkim.conf file and restart opendkim.service.

TrustAnchorFile       /usr/share/dns/root.key

Create a directory to hold the OpenDKIM socket file, and allow only opendkim user and postfix group to access it:

$ sudo mkdir /var/spool/postfix/opendkim
$ sudo chown opendkim:postfix /var/spool/postfix/opendkim


$ sudo micro /etc/default/opendkim 

Comment out:

# SOCKET=local:$RUNDIR/opendkim.sock

Add to suit Ubuntu:


Create the file

$ sudo mkdir /var/spool/postfix/opendkim 
$ sudo chown -R opendkim:opendkim /var/spool/postfix/opendkim

(file creation added, 11/2/2023)

Edit Postfix to configure Milter as shown above.

Restart opendkim and postfix service and check status to see any errors:

$ sudo systemctl restart opendkim postfix
$ sudo systemctl status opendkim postfix

(status check added, 11/2/2023)

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Set up Domain Name record

Set up the Domain Name record at the domain hosting company as follows:

v=DMARC1; p=quarantine; pct=10
v=spf1 ip4: ~all

The ip4 is our company's IP address. This is not a secret.

(added, 21/2/2023)


End of Page

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