Introduction to Dovecot

Dovecot is an Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP) and Post Office Protocol (POP) server, written primarily with security in mind. Dovecot aims to be lightweight, fast and easy to set up as well as highly configurable and easily extensible with plugins.

This package is known to build and work properly using an LFS-8.2 platform.

Package Information

Dovecot Dependencies




CLucene-, ICU-60.2, libcap-2.25 with PAM, Linux-PAM-1.3.0, Lua-5.3.4, MariaDB-10.2.13 or MySQL, MIT Kerberos V5-1.16 (for GSSAPI support), OpenLDAP-2.4.45, PostgreSQL-10.3, SQLite-3.22.0, Valgrind-3.13.0, Cassandra, lz4, and stemmer

User Notes:

Installation of Dovecot

There should be dedicated users and groups for unprivileged Dovecot processes and for processing users' logins. Issue the following commands as the root user:

groupadd -g 42 dovecot &&
useradd -c "Dovecot unprivileged user" -d /dev/null -u 42 \
        -g dovecot -s /bin/false dovecot &&
groupadd -g 43 dovenull &&
useradd -c "Dovecot login user" -d /dev/null -u 43 \
        -g dovenull -s /bin/false dovenull

Install Dovecot by running the following commands:

CFLAGS+="-I/usr/include/tirpc" \
LDFLAGS+="-ltirpc" \
./configure --prefix=/usr                          \
            --sysconfdir=/etc                      \
            --localstatedir=/var                   \
            --docdir=/usr/share/doc/dovecot- \
            --disable-static                       \
            --with-systemdsystemunitdir=/lib/systemd/system &&

To test the results, issue make -k check. An error may be reported if Valgrind-3.13.0 is present when running the test.

Now, as the root user:

make install

Command Explanations

CFLAGS+=...LDFLAGS+=...: build with libtirpc instead of the recently removed RPC code provided by GlibC.

--disable-static: This switch prevents installation of static versions of the libraries.

--with-systemdsystemunitdir=/lib/systemd/system: This switch is used to set the correct installation directory for systemd units.

--with-ldap: This switch enables OpenLDAP authentication support.

--with-pgsql: This switch enables PostgreSQL authentication support.

--with-mysql: This switch enables MySQL authentication support.

--with-sqlite: This switch enables SQLite authentication support.

--with-lucene: This switch enables CLucene full text search support.

--with-krb5: This switch enables GSSAPI authentication support.

Configuring Dovecot

Config Files

/etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf, /etc/dovecot/conf.d/*, and /etc/dovecot/local.conf

Configuration Information

Copy an example configuration, which you can use as a starting point:

cp -rv /usr/share/doc/dovecot-* /etc/dovecot

The following configuration is a simple proof of concept with IMAP service using local users for authentication and mailbox location. Reading files from the conf.d directory is commented out since the included example configuration requires OpenSSL and Linux PAM.

sed -i '/^\!include / s/^/#/' /etc/dovecot/dovecot.conf &&
chmod -v 1777 /var/mail &&
cat > /etc/dovecot/local.conf << "EOF"
protocols = imap
ssl = no
# The next line is only needed if you have no IPv6 network interfaces
listen = *
mail_location = mbox:~/Mail:INBOX=/var/mail/%u
userdb {
  driver = passwd
passdb {
  driver = shadow

You will definitely want to read the official documentation at if you plan to use Dovecot in production environment.

Systemd Unit

To start the dovecot daemon at boot, enable the previously installed systemd unit with the following command:

systemctl enable dovecot


Installed Programs: doveadm, doveconf, dovecot, and dsync (symbolic link)
Installed Libraries: various internal plugins in /usr/lib/dovecot
Installed Directories: /etc/dovecot, /usr/{include,lib,libexec,share}/dovecot and /usr/share/doc/dovecot-

Short Descriptions


is the Dovecot administration tool.


is Dovecot's configuration dumping utility.


is the IMAP and POP server.


is Dovecot's mailbox synchronization utility.

Last updated on 2018-03-08 15:21:13 -0600